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Highlights, MVP, and Twitter reactions from Wildcats’ fun win over Aggies

What a start to the 2023-24 season!

mascot cheerleaders Drew Brown - Sea of Blue

The college basketball season is finally here, as the Kentucky Wildcats were in Rupp Arena for the regular season opener against New Mexico State.

Early on, it was obvious that this Kentucky team was going to be fun to watch while they were getting after it defensively and flying up and down the court.

Kentucky used a strong defensive effort to build an early 10-6 lead at the first media timeout of the season.

New Mexico State was not going to go away, however, as they continued to battle back when the Cats would make a run, and with just under 10 minutes to go in the half, it was a 20-15 ballgame.

Then, Reed Sheppard entered the game and sparked Kentucky on both ends of the floor.

Sheppard came up with a steal that led to a fast break dunk for his first points as a Wildcat. He then came up with his second steal that ended with a Jordan Burks putback to make it 27-20.

After knocking down three free throws, a defender went under the screen, and Sheppard drilled a three to make it 35-24.

After the first 20 minutes of the regular season, it was the Cats holding a 37-29 lead over the Aggies.

The second half got off to a great start for the Cats, as they outscored the Aggies 11-4 early on to take a 48-33 lead.

Kentucky used that momentum to keep the lead growing, and with just under 12 minutes to go, it was a 54-35 ballgame.

By the under-eight media timeout, the Cats were rolling as the lead grew to 65-44.

Down the stretch, the Cats continued to execute on both ends of the floor and were able to get a blowout 86-46 win in the season opener. Kentucky finished the game on a 17-0 run and outscored the Aggies 49-17 in the second half.


I think it is safe to say that after what we saw during the summer, we knew that Reed Sheppard would be important for this team.

However, I don’t think many expected him to shine as bright this early as he has, and on Monday night, he was phenomenal, making him the first MVP of the season.

In his first official half of college basketball, Sheppard had eight points, three rebounds, two steals, one assist, and one block while shooting 2/3 from the field and 3/3 from the free throw line.

The second for Sheppard continued to be impressive as he was getting after it defensively and making life tough for the opponents. He was actually named the UK Postgame Show Defensive Player of the Game by Goose Givens to give you an idea of just how big his impact there was.

Offensively, Sheppard just makes things happen with his high basketball IQ and seeing the floor very well. He finished the game with 12 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks while shooting 4/6 from the field, 1/2 from three, and 3/3 from the free throw line.

No. 15 in white will deserve a ton of minutes for this team this season.

Box Score


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