LEXINGTON – November 3, 2022 – David Leveridge
Kentucky returned to Rupp Arena for the final preseason exhibition of the season, hosting the Kentucky State Thorobreds. The Wildcats were without three starters in tonight’s game with Oscar Tshiebwe injured, Savhir Wheeler injured and Damion Collins who was out due to his father’s funeral Ben Collins. The starters for tonight’s game were Jacob Toppin, Lance Ware, CJ Frederick, Carson Wallace, and Chris Livingston. Without three starters on the floor Kentucky still managed to race out to an early lead in the first half and continued the impressive performance and led KSU by thirty- six points at intermission. In the second half the CATS build on the lead and grew the lead to fifty points midways through the game, before easily defeating Kentucky State University by fifty- eight points. Kentucky 111- Kentucky State 53.
In today’s dominating performance Kentucky had six players reach double figures in scoring led by Antonio Reeves with twenty-three points and Reeves was 5-10 from behind the ARC. Other Wildcats reaching double figures include Toppin with twenty-one points, Frederick with fourteen points, Chris Levingston 14 points, Wallace 12 points, and Ware with ten points. Kentucky dominated KSU in every statistical category and the game was never close except for the opening minutes of the game.
1st half– Kentucky jumped out to an early lead and continued to build throughout the first half. Kentucky had several unanswered runs in the half with and did not look back. Frederick amazed fans with his shooting in the first half, finishing the half with twelve points shooting 3-5 from behind the ARC and led the team in assists with five in the first half. Kentucky looked like the preseason #4 ranked team and simply dominated the game in all areas, scoring, assists, rebounds, forcing turnovers, and bench points. Midways through the first half Kentucky led KSU by twenty- one points, Kentucky 32-21. The Wildcats continued to build on the lead and at halftime the Wildcats had the game firmly in hand and led KSU 61-25 at intermission.
2nd half– Kentucky continued to dominate the game in the second half growing the lead to fifty points mid ways through the half. Kentucky 87- Kentucky State 37 with 8:37 remained in the game. Antonio Reeves got hot from behind the arc and added ten points in the half connecting on four out five from three-point range. Toppin electrified the crowd with a driving one hand dunk and connected on fade away jump shot over the smaller KSU defenders. Toppin did suffer a scare late in the game as he attempted to complete a lob pass from Antonio Reeves and landed awkwardly. After a brief worry from the crowd Toppin walked away, and the Big Blue Nation sighed with relief. In the closing minutes of the game Coach Cal played his walk on and the CATs dominate KSU by fifty- eight points. Kentucky 111- KSU 53.
Kentucky has completed exhibition play and will open the season on Monday November 7th hosting the Howard University Bison. Kentucky was dominate tonight but the season will get much tougher with some big games coming up including playing Michigan State in the Champions Classic on Tuesday, November 15th, 2022. Kentucky will need the injured Tshiebwe, and Wheeler healthy against better competition.
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Game Pics by Danny Pendleton: