The game was much closer than was anticipated, and expected, and the main culprit is Kentucky’s porous defense. Over the past five games, the Wildcats have not been able to contain the three-point shot and have been letting their opponents score at will, never being able to close out games.
Kentucky led by as many as 14 with just over five minutes left, but the lead slipped to just six after they let up off the gas and the Rebels to get a few baskets and spark a comeback.
Now, Ole Miss shot lights out, which is expected when a team comes to Rupp, but there are some concerns for this Wildcats team heading into the regular season finale at Florida and into the SEC Tournament.
Defensive adjustments will be the big topic of discussion after tonight’s game.
On a lighter note - it was Senior Night for Davion Mintz and Kellan Grady. Thank you to both of them for wonderful careers at UK, however short they may have been. They are a part of one of the most memorable teams John Calipari has had.
Also, Oscar Tshiebwe bolstered his National Player of the Year hopes with 18 points and 15 boards.
Kentucky finishes 18-0 at home on the season.
Here’s what Twitter had to say.
Senior Day at Rupp Arena >> pic.twitter.com/zSXxWVu7ie— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) March 2, 2022
Really love this moment— Maggie Davis (@MaggieDavisTV) March 2, 2022
Davion Mintz & Kellan Grady also hug each other’s parents on senior night pic.twitter.com/A9tdElEt9p
Kentucky defeats Ole Miss 83-72 to move to 24-6 on the year and 13-4 in the SEC.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) March 2, 2022
Oscar Tshiebwe leads the way with 18 PTS and 15 REB, followed by Sahvir Wheeler with 16 PTS and 7 AST. TyTy Washington added 14 PTS, 4 AST and 3 STL.
UK shoots 60% from the field, 42.9% from three.
Davion says goodbye to Rupp. pic.twitter.com/FMFzGdF7ex— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) March 2, 2022
I cannot believe i’ll never get to see Mintz play in Rupp again.— KG (Lance Ware Stan Account) (@kentucky_guyBBN) March 2, 2022
He was one of the few bright spots in a terrible year last year and i’m forever thankful for him choosing our school. So glad he got to experience that final moment walking off the court. He deserves it.
Good to see Grady and Mintz get a big reaction from the Rupp crowd— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) March 2, 2022
Two guys I really loved watching wear the Blue and White
How many double doubles does Oscar Tshiebwe have this season? pic.twitter.com/Ui0svT9QtE— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) March 2, 2022
Oscar Tshiebwe has now moved to No. 3 on Kentucky's all-time single-season list for rebounds with 460.— Cats Coverage (@CatsCoverage_) March 2, 2022
We’re witnessing history. pic.twitter.com/cCgYMidyz7
If 18 and 15 feels like an average night for Oscar Tshiebwe, it's because it's pretty darn close to an average night, which is crazy in and of itself.— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) March 2, 2022
Oscar Tshiebwe has separated himself. 65 points and 49 rebounds in the last three games.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 2, 2022
A historical season stastically.
National Player of the Year.
It was kind of a funky game, certainly not Kentucky's best defensive effort, but to get 30 points, 11 assists, 3 turnovers out of Wheeler/Washington after their injuries and layoffs and rust ... and the Cats shoot 60% and score 83 ... that's pretty encouraging on March 1.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) March 2, 2022
Kellan Grady is hitting and taking shot early in this one. Open 3's are like layups for him. 7-10 attempts every game should be the average for him.— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) March 2, 2022
Kentucky's in a real defensive slump.— Aaron Gershon (@agershon99) March 2, 2022
Kentucky's Defense points allowed per game:— Aaron Gershon (@agershon99) March 2, 2022
First 25 games: 64. 2
Last 5: 74.0 https://t.co/lzjTjRCcTV
Calipari:— Kernel Sports (@KYKernelSports) March 2, 2022
“Our fans, I’ve said it all along, are the biggest part of what happens here. It’s what sets us apart.”
Davion Mintz: "Kentucky was one of the first teams that called me [after deciding to leave Creighton], and it blew my mind. I just stayed consistence and here I am"— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) March 2, 2022
Calipari says he thinks Oscar Tshiebwe got "bullied" tonight. "And I was on him about it." Acknowledged that he had 18 points and 15 rebounds. "But he still got bullied."— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) March 2, 2022
“Grandad out” that’s what Kellan Grady said to the crowd at the end of the game, him and “Uncle Dave” (according to TyTy) take in their final night in Rupp Arena. @FOX56News #BBN @deemintz1 @KellanGrady31 pic.twitter.com/Sv7Gj7Z0mM— Michael Epps (@MichaelEppsTV) March 2, 2022
Cal on turning this thing around after last season:— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) March 2, 2022
“We knew we had to change the roster. We needed to change. And TyTy was a big part of that — and then Kellan and Oscar, who wanted to be here. I had to convince Kellan a little bit and had to convince Sahvir a little bit.”