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

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MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES
KENTUCKY vs. DUKE

CHAMPIONS CLASSIC
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN | NEW YORK
NOV. 9, 2021
ATTENDANCE: 18,132

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.
    • is now 6-5 after its victory over Michigan State in the first game of the night. Michigan State fell to 4-7.
  • 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, is 14-5.
  • The Wildcats are 0-3 vs. Duke in all-time matchups in New York.

Team Notes

  • Led by Oscar Tshiebwe, who set a Champions Classic record with 20 rebounds, 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.
  • 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 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 John Calipari era.
  • In his first official game as a Wildcat, Sahvir Wheeler notched the ninth double-double of his career with 16 points and 10 assists.
    • He tied for the second-most assists in a 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. 
  • 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., Kellan Grady, Keion Brooks 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.
  • Jacob Toppin 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.