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Sahvir Wheeler scores a season high plus Boxscore and Other Game Notes from the North Carolina game

Sahvir Wheeler responded to adversity sensationally with a season-high 26 points, eight assists and a season-high four steals against UNC.


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DEC. 18, 2021

Final Score: No. 21/21 Kentucky 98, North Carolina 69

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky improved to 8-2 this season with the victory Saturday. UK snapped a five-game North Carolina winning streak to drop the Tar Heels to 8-3 in 2021-22.
  • The Wildcats' 29-point margin was the second largest margin in the series' history. UK's 39-point win on Jan. 9, 1950 is the largest. Kentucky won that game 83-44.
  • UK cut UNC's series lead to 25-17 and 13-7 in games played at neutral sites.
    • Kentucky is 2-0 vs. the Tar Heels in games played in T-Mobile Arena.
    • UK has won six of the last nine matchups vs. UNC.
  • The Wildcats are now 4-4 in the CBS Sports Classic, including 3-1 vs. North Carolina.
    • The Tar Heels lead the four-team event with a 5-3 mark, but the Wildcats have handed the Tar Heels all three of their losses in the annual event.
    • UK was originally slated to play Ohio State and UNC was scheduled to face UCLA, but both teams had to withdraw from the event due to COVID-19 results within their respective programs.
      • The event's current ledger: UNC is 5-2, Ohio State is 4-3, UK is 4-4 and UCLA is 2-5.
  • The Wildcats notched their first victory away from Rupp Arena this season in their third try.
        • They are 1-1 in neutral-site games this season.
  • Next up: Kentucky heads home to host archrival Louisville on Wednesday at Rupp Arena. That game will be televised by ESPN at 6 p.m. p.m. ET.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky led by as many as 35 points. UK is 294-12 in the era when leading by at least 10 points at any time in the contest.
  • In a battle of two of the nation's best rebounding teams, the Wildcats flexed their muscles by beating the bigger, taller Tar Heels 44-26.
    • UK is 8-1 this season when it outrebounds the opposition.
    • Kentucky entered the game No. 1 in the country with a plus-16.3 rebounding margin. UNC was ranked 13th coming into Saturday with a plus-10.7 edge per game.
    • The Wildcats grabbed 17 offensive rebounds that led to 15 second-chance points.
  • The Wildcats made 39 of 72 shots, the fourth time this season they have shot 50% or better.
    • They are 4-0 this season when making 50% or better from the floor and 8-0 when outshooting their opponent.
  • UK also made 8 of 15 from 3-point range.
    • It's the second time this season the Cats have hit at least 50% of their 3-point shots with victories in both of those games.
  • Kentucky dished out 20 assists with nine turnovers.
    • It's the third time this season the Wildcats have dished out at least 20 assists with wins in both of those games.

Player Notes  

  • Coming off a 0-for-5 shooting night against Notre Dame last week, responded to the adversity sensationally with a season-high 26 points, eight assists and a season-high four steals.
    • It was his sixth game in double-figure scoring this season but his first since Nov. 26 vs. North Florida, snapping a three-game single-digit scoring drought.
    • Wheeler was 12 of 15 from the floor, a career high for field goals made.
    • Ranked second national in assists per game entering Saturday with 7.7 per game, Wheeler notched his fifth game this season with at least eight assists. 
  • Oscar Tshiebwe continued his early season All-America campaign with his eighth double-double in 10 games, posting 16 points to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds in 22 minutes. 
    • Tshiebwe was 7 of 12 from the floor.
    • The nation's leading rebounder entering the game notched his ninth double-figure rebounding game of the season.
  • With 18 points, scored in double figures for the third time this season but the first time since Nov. 22 vs. UAlbany.
    • Five of Grady's field goals were from 3, a season high.
    • He also added a season-high six rebounds.
  • . contributed 10 points, marking the sixth game he's reached double figures this season.

 Coach Calipari

  • John Calipari is now 347-95 at UK.
  • Calipari now has a 792-235 all-time on-court record. 
  • UK improved to 283-56 under Calipari in games vs. unranked Associated Press competition.
  • Calipari is now 8-4 in all-time meetings vs. North Carolina.
  • The Wildcats moved to 80-28 in neutral-site games under Calipari's watch.

In the First Half

  • Kentucky started Sahvir Wheeler, Jr., Kellan Grady, Keion Brooks Jr. and Oscar Tshiebwe for the ninth time this season and the fourth game in a row. UK is now 8-2 with that starting lineup. 
  • Tshiebwe, who entered the game with three straight 20-point scoring performances, logged the first points for the Wildcats with a driving layup as he was fouled for an old-fashion 3-point play.
    • That jumpstarted UK on a 7-0 run to take an early 7-2 lead.
  • Wheeler asserted himself early and often in this one with six of Kentucky's first 11 points, plus a steal, by the first media timeout (15:26).
  • and were Kentucky's first two subs, both entering at the 15:26 mark out of the timeout.
  • Tshiebwe, who had seven rebounds in the first seven-plus minutes, picked up his second foul at the 12:37 mark and headed to the bench for the rest of the first half.
  • UK opened up a 19-6 lead on the shoulders of back-to-back 3-pointers from Mintz and Grady, which was part of a 10-0 run.
    • The Wildcats held the Tar Heels without a point for 5:10 of game time.
  • The first half was best summed up with a fourth-chance bucket for UK to take a 31-15 lead. UK grabbed three straight offensive rebounds – two by Washington – to highlight a dominant offensive first half on the glass.
  • UK extended its leads all the way to 35-17 on a layup by Wheeler with 4:21 before halftime, but UNC would close the half with a 12-5 spurt. Kentucky went into the locker room with a 40-29 advantage.
    • The Wildcats are 8-1 when leading at the half this season.
  • Even with Tshiebwe limited to seven minutes in the first half because of two fouls, Kentucky was dominant on the glass and outrebounded the Tar Heels 26-14, including 11 to three on the offensive boards.
  • Wheeler was spectacular in the first half with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with three steals.
  • Washington added seven points and three rebounds.
  • UNC's Armando Bacot kept the Tar Heels in the game with 17 first-half points.

In the Second Half

  • Mintz got the start in the second half in place of Washington alongside Wheeler, Grady, Brooks and Tshiebwe.
  • UK picked up right where it left off in the first half with a 13-6 advantage in the first 3:43 of the second half for a 53-35 lead.
    • Wheeler kept attacking and had six of the points.
  • Making 15 of their first 20 shots, the Wildcats lead stretched to 78-48 after a Tshiebwe offensive rebound and thunderous one-hand slam with 8:56 left, putting an exclamation point on a 6-0 run.
  • Kentucky made a blistering 24 of 36 shots in the second half, 66.7%. It was the best shooting percentage in a half since the Wildcats connected on 14 of 21 shots (66.7%) at Florida on Jan. 9, 2021.
  • The Wildcats led by as many 35 points in a 98-63 lead with 1:20 to play.
  • Grady scored 15 of his points in the second half to lead all scorers. Tshiebwe had 13 and Wheeler added 12 as three players registered double-figure points in the second stanza.
  • Wheeler dished out seven of his eight assists in the half as the Wildcats posted 13 assists on 24 made field goals.


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