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Kentucky Basketball

Oscar Tshiebwe snags a Champions Classic record 20 rebounds plus Boxscore and Other Game Notes

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NOV. 9, 2021

Final Score: No. 9/9 Duke 79, No. 10/11 Kentucky 71

Team Records and Series Notes

  • This was the season opener for both teams.
  • Now in its 120th season of men's basketball, Kentucky fell to 98-21 in season openers (no season in 1952-53).
  • Despite the loss, Kentucky still leads the series 12-11.
    • Duke has won nine of the last 11 games in the series.
    • The Wildcats are 6-9 vs. the Blue Devils in neutral-site games.
  • Next up: Kentucky hosts Robert Morris on Friday at 7 p.m. in the regular-season home opener in Rupp Arena for the first of three games in the Kentucky Classic. The game will be televised on SEC Network.

Champions Classic

  • The Wildcats are now 5-6 in the Champions Classic while Duke goes to 7-4.
    • Kansas is now 6-5 after its victory over Michigan State in the first game of the night. Michigan State fell to 4-7.
  • UK fell to 1-3 vs. Duke in the Champions Classic.
  • The Wildcats suffered their first loss in this arena in the Champions Classic and are 3-1 in Madison Square Garden in the annual series.

Kentucky in New York

  • Kentucky is 38-15 all-time in games in the New York City area, including wins in 10 of the last 13 games.
  • In the modern-day version of Madison Square Garden, UK is 14-5.
  • The Wildcats are 0-3 vs. Duke in all-time matchups in New York.

Team Notes

  • Led by , who set a Champions Classic record with 20 rebounds, UK won the board battle 44-36.
  • The Wildcats showed a good eye at the free-throw line, making 6 of 7 for 85.7%.
    • Duke had 23 attempts, making 16.
  • UK only shot 37.7% for the game (29 of 77) and 38.9% from 3 (7 of 18)

Player Notes  

  • In his first official game at Kentucky, Oscar Tshiebwe led the Wildcats with 17 points and 20 rebounds, the 13th double-double of his career. He added two blocked shots, an assist and a steal.
    • In addition to setting the Champions Classic record for rebounds, he also set the UK record for most boards in a Wildcat debut. The previous inaugural mark was 17 rebounds by Roger Newman vs. VMI on Dec. 1, 1960; Cotton Nash vs. Miami (Ohio) on Dec. 2, 1961; and Sam Bowie vs. Duke on Nov. 17, 1979.
    • His 19 boards tied Nick Richards (vs. Southern Illinois on Nov. 9, 2018) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Dec. 31, 2011) for the most rebounds in the era.
  • In his first official game as a Wildcat, notched the ninth double-double of his career with 16 points and 10 assists.
    • He tied for the second-most assists in a UK debut. The record is 12 by De'Aaron Fox vs. Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 11, 2016; Wheeler tied Kyle Macy, who had 10 vs. SMU on Nov. 26, 1977.
  • Kellen Grady had nine points in his Wildcat debut, including 3 of 7 on 3-point shots.

Coach Calipari

  • Calipari fell to 339-94 at UK.
  • Calipari has a 784-234 all-time on-court record. 
  • UK is 64-39 under Calipari against teams in the Associated Press Top 25.
    • Calipari is 27-20 in his career when both teams are ranked in the top 10 of the AP Top 25, including 16-13 at UK.
  • Calipari is 1-4 in his career vs. Duke.
  • Calipari is 11-2 in regular-season openers at Kentucky.
    • Both losses are to Duke in the Champions Classic.

In the First Half

  • Kentucky started Sahvir Wheeler, Jr., , . and Oscar Tshiebwe to start the regular season.
  • Washington scored the first point of the 2021-22 year at the free-throw line at the 18:24 mark.
  • Tshiebwe got the first field goal with a layup at the 17:53 mark off a pretty feed from Wheeler.
  • Wheeler made the first 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 6-6 at 17:04.
  • was the first sub of the game, checking in for Brooks at 16:05.
  • The Wildcats came out cold from the field, making just two of their first 10 shots and three of their first 15.
  • Duke took a 13-8 lead with 13:41 in the first half but UK answered with a 5-0 spurt to tie it at 13 with a Davion Mintz 3-pointer.
  • Kentucky got into foul trouble in the first half. Tshiebwe was the first to pick up his second with 7:49 until halftime, quickly followed by Toppin and Brooks.
  • The Wildcats hung tough despite falling behind by seven twice, at 34-27 and 39-32. With both deficits, Grady immediately answered with a 3-pointer and sparked 5-0 bursts.
  • Kentucky stayed in it despite shooting just 31.7% (13 of 41) in the first half. However, the Wildcats were sharp from deep, making 6 of 11 from long range (54.5%).
  • Wheeler was solid in the first half with 12 points, two 3-pointers and five assists.
  • Grady made 3 of 4 from long range for nine points.
  • Tshiebwe helped Kentucky to 11 second-chance points with seven offensive rebounds (and eight total boards for the half).
  • Duke led 39-35 at the half.

In the Second Half

  • Kentucky started the second half with the same starting five.
  • UK opened the second half with a spark. The Wildcats outscored Duke 6-2 out of the break and took their first lead of the game 42-41 on a 3 from Brooks.
    • It was Wheeler's third straight assist.
  • After Kentucky pulled ahead 48-47 with 16:33 left, Duke answered with an 8-0 run to take a 55-48 lead. Washington snapped the run and ended nearly a three-minute scoring drought with a pair of free throws.
    • Duke quickly answered with four more to take a 59-50 lead with 13:04 left after a Theo John two-hand slam, forcing Calipari to call a timeout.
  • Lance Ware snapped a field-goal drought that last 4:18 of game time with a layup to slow a 14-2 Duke run after the Blue Devils had taken a 61-50 lead.
  • UK would not go away. After Duke took a 69-54 lead – the largest of the game – the Wildcats stormed back with an 11-0 run, headlined by seven straight points and an “and one” from Tshiebwe. That cut the deficit to 69-65 with 6:07 left.
    • Duke ended the streak with a second-chance layup from Trevor Keels and followed with an “and one” from Paolo Banchero to extend its lead to 74-65 with 4:26 left.
    • The Cats got within six at 77-71 with a minute to go but got no closer.

On This Day In UK Basketball History

On February 26, 1949, Cliff Barker hit a shot against Vanderbilt from 63 feet, 7 inches to record the longest field goal ever made by a Kentucky player.  The previous record of 53 feet , 9 inches was set by Ralph Beard.


On February 26, 1991, Kentucky beat the Crimson Tide to win its 200th game in Rupp Arena and became one of two schools (along with North Carolina) to win 1,500 basketball games.


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