The Kentucky Wildcats got their Feast Week kicked off with a win over the Saint Joseph’s Hawks in Rupp Arena, 96-88.
It was a back-and-forth game for much of the first half. The Cats got out to a slow start once again, forcing John Calipari’s hand to insert Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham right around the under-16 media timeout.
From that point on, Kentucky traded punches with the Hawks throughout the half, as the UK offense stayed hot, shooting 54% from the field through the first 20 minutes.
Ultimately, the Cats pushed ahead in the final minute to take a 41-38 lead into the locker room.
The second half was a slugfest. If Kentucky went on a run, St. Joe's would answer it with a short run to close the gap. Both teams hot shooting nights continued, eventually with the game coming down to the final shot.
After a DJ Wagner missed a layup, the Cats and Hawks headed to overtime.
The OT period was Tre Mitchell’s time to shine. Hitting two 3s to open up the lead for the Cats, he then helped ice the game with two clutch free throws heading into the final minutes of the game.
The Hawks gave Kentucky all they could want in more in tonight's matchup, including out-rebounding the Cats 42-37. With Aaron Bradshaw and Zvonimir Ivisic seemingly only a few games away from making their debuts, they will surely help bridge that gap when the team faces off against opponents that have quite a bit of size.
This award could have gone to several different players, including DJ Wagner, who had his first big game in a Kentucky uniform, but we have to award this one tonight to Tre Mitchell.
He finished the night with 22 points on 7-15 shooting and 4-10 from deep. He also added six rebounds, four assists, four blocks, and a steal in tonight’s win.
With the seven-footers expected to start playing in the coming weeks, Mitchell moving back to his regular position should do wonders for this team. He stretches the floor well and continues to be one of the better passers on the roster.
We have all said it: Mitchell is the perfect addition to this roster. That showed tonight.
Starters vs. Saint Joseph's pic.twitter.com/b0EP116dAA— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) November 20, 2023
I can’t think about St Joe’s without thinking of Jameer Nelson— BEEZY (@Burke_Franklin_) November 21, 2023
Baller of my childhood
Dillingham and Sheppard in for D.J. Wagner and Antonio Reeves.— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) November 21, 2023
Another rough start for Wagner, who is 0-for-2 with a turnover. Made a great move to get to the basket but couldn't finish. Missed a 3 early in the shot clock.
St. Joe's up 9-5 on Kentucky.
Let’s go ahead and play our best lineup (Reed, Dilly, Reeves, Adou, Mitchell) for a few minutes together since we haven’t done it for one second yet this game— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) November 21, 2023
Jordan Burks continues to give Kentucky good minutes off the bench, playing his role about as well as you can.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) November 21, 2023
Reed Sheppard makes so many plays on the defensive end that leads to offense for Kentucky— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) November 21, 2023
Did not anticipate Justin Edwards getting hung by the rim twice before Thanksgiving.— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) November 21, 2023
HALFTIME: Kentucky 41, Saint Joseph's 38— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 21, 2023
In a three-point game, the Cats were plus-13 in Reed Sheppard's 13 minutes. Food for thought. pic.twitter.com/qnV9x2fCUb
Answer to how we win this game pic.twitter.com/bfblrsXBCY— Barstool Kentucky (@BarstoolUK) November 21, 2023
Please let that be the turning point for him pic.twitter.com/43PPUHis98— WT - Adou Enthusiast (@WildcatsTongue) November 21, 2023
Missed free throws ➡️ free Chick-Fil-A ➡️ Reeves for 3! pic.twitter.com/7PjBj0Ogjd— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) November 21, 2023
It’s too early in the year for Joe Lunardi to be on television— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) November 21, 2023
Breaking: Reed is good at basketball— Cody Couch (@Couch_29) November 21, 2023
Best 3 point percentage in the nation pic.twitter.com/u2yaG27GBV
DJ WAGNER GOT A LAYUP IN TRAFFIC TO FALL pic.twitter.com/qSq8ps5vnk— Kentucky Guy BBN (@__NotKG) November 21, 2023
Away teams once they step inside Rupp Arena pic.twitter.com/QWptJfQrGI— Kentucky Guy BBN (@__NotKG) November 21, 2023
Reed Sheppard struggled tonight. Defensive lapses and untimely turnovers, non-factor as a scorer (0-1 FG).— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) November 21, 2023
But... four assists and five steals -- including one to seal the win in overtime. Dude just hoops.
I couldn't have handled all of the Saint Peter's & Saint Joseph's tweets.— Rare Rookies #BBN (@rarerookies) November 21, 2023
First time since Feb. 2016 that Kentucky has had 3 straight games with at least 10 made 3-pointers.— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) November 21, 2023
UK is now shooting 39.5% from 3-point range on the season. https://t.co/2UpT0Nupzg
Reed Sheppard’s crowd-favorite potential is scary. We may have a 19 year old governor in Kentucky here soon.— jordan (@mrjordanhughes) November 21, 2023
Kentucky has six players averaging double-figures:— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) November 21, 2023
Antonio Reeves (18.2)
Rob Dillingham (16.0)
Tre Mitchell (14.4)
DJ Wagner (11.8)
Reed Sheppard (10.6)
Justin Edwards (10.0)
This team needed another close game before Miami next week at Rupp Arena.— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) November 21, 2023
John Calipari mentioned last week after Kansas that Kentucky needed to get better at finishing games but that is something a young team learns.
Even though it wasn't pretty at times, Kentucky finished…
There are not a lot of separation between Kentucky’s 7 best players (and possibly 8 when Aaron gets back) so the “Final 5” will change a lot.— Matt Sak BBN (@MattSakR2NG) November 21, 2023
But think Reed and Tre need to be constants. Shooting, defense, playmaking, IQ, winning plays, just need that on the floor. https://t.co/sBUruG6aS4
DJ Wagner on his “breakout” game as a Wildcat: “There’s always room for improvement. I’m just happy we got the win.”— Tres Terrell (@TerrellTres) November 21, 2023
Says John Calipari tells them that every night someone is going to have their night (hot hand). Tonight was just his turn.