Everything seemed to be stacked against No. 23 Kentucky on Saturday. Consider:
– The Cats were facing an Arkansas team that won by 15 at Rupp Arena about a month ago
– UK was playing in a very hostile Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville
– Kentucky was without both of its point guards, Cason Wallace and Sahvir Wheeler
– The Cats coming off a disappointing loss against Vanderbilt on Wednesday
Never fear, Big Blue Nation. Saturday’s terrific trio, Antonio Reeves, Jacob Toppin and Oscar Tshiebwe, were on the case. And that pair carried the 23rd-ranked Cats to a 88-79 win on Saturday.
Reeves had the hot hand for the entire game. He made 12 of 17 from the field, including two of four from long range, and made 11 of 11 from the free throw line on his way to a career-high 37 points. Reeves also handled many of the point guard duties with Wallace and Wheeler out.
Toppin came up huge late on his way to 21 points. He made seven of eight free throws, a number of them late in the game, to seal the victory. Toppin also carried some of the ballhandling duties, dishing out three assists for the Cats.
Meanwhile, Tshiebwe was, well, Tshiebwe. The defending National Player of the Year had 12 points and 13 rebounds, his 46th career double-double, before fouling out.