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Bradshaw Stars as CATS Top Penn in Philly

Aaron Bradshaw - photo by Chet White - UK Athletics

Aaron Bradshaw with a double-double, CATS win 81-66

PHILADELPHIA – December 9, 2023

One week ago, Aaron Bradshaw saw his first game action for Kentucky this season. As the Cats lost to UNC-Wilmington, the freshman big man had three points and two rebounds in just under 13 minutes of action.

On Saturday against Penn, Bradshaw looked much more comfortable. And his numbers were much closer to what he and UK head coach John Calipari were expecting from the former five-star recruit.

Bradshaw had his first career double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, as Kentucky held off a tough Penn team 81-66 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Bradshaw added three blocked shots, a steal and also hit his first career three-pointer in the win.

Fellow freshman Rob Dillingham also had 17 points for the Cats, while Antonio Reeves had 16. D.J. Wagner had nine points and seven assists, returning after missing last Saturday’s game with an ankle injury.

The game was tight early before Kentucky scored five in a row to lead 19-12. Penn would answer with a 9-2 stretch to get within two, 23-21. That’s when the Cats got hot. Dillingham hit a three, Bradshaw scored on a layup, Reeves hit a jumper and Sheppard drilled a three to make it 33-12. After a Penn basket, Wagner, Mitchell and Bradshaw scored baskets to complete a 16-2 run, giving UK a 39-23 advantage.

Penn would scored the final six points of the half but the Cats led 39-29 at the break.

The Quakers started the second half with a 7-2 run to get within five, 41-36. Penn would cut it to two before Sheppard stole a pass and raced the length of the floor for a layup, giving UK a 47-43 lead. The Quakers would get within one before the Cats went on a 9-3 run, keyed by six points from Dillingham and a three from Bradshaw.

Kentucky would extend the lead to 10, 61-51, on a Wagner three but Penn answered with consecutive threes to get back within four, 61-57, with 10:18 left. But Reeves would score seven points in a 9-0 UK run that gave the Cats a 70-57 lead with 7:35 to play.

The Cats return to action next Saturday, facing North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic in Atlanta. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on CBS.

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