Kentucky takes a battle in Rupp 76-67.
LEXINGTON – January 21, 2023 – David Leveridge
Kentucky continued SEC Play hosting the Texas A&M Aggies. Entering Today’s contest, the Aggies were undefeated in SEC play with a 5-0 record and 13-5 overall. From the opening tip this game was going to be physical, as Texas either double teamed Oscar Tshiebwe or had a hard foul on the reigning National Player of the Year. With the Aggies trying to contain Tshiebwe in the paint, Kentucky relied on scoring form the three point line, attempting a season high thirty- two 3PT FG attempts. Kentucky has struggled this season to connect from behind the ARC but today, Kentucky made 11 3PT FG, led by Antonio Reeves who finished with a game high of twenty- three points, and was 5-11 from behind the Arc.
Kentucky got off to a hot start in the first half and had a 21-15 lead over the Aggies. The Aggies respond with a 14-2 run led Kentucky 29-23 and the Physical play down low really affected Kentucky’s Offensive game plan, and the CATS looked out of sync during the Aggies Run. Kentucky responded with a six to run to finish the half, and at intermission Texas A&M led Kentucky 31-29.
In the second half the game stayed close for the majority of the half, but Kentucky was able to pull away late in the game and finally prevailed with a hard fought 76- 67 Victory over Texas A&M. During the second half the game got chippy, with the referees separating players from both teams multiple times and at least two flagrant fouls were called. Tshiebwe had several encounters with A&M Player Julius Marble, and one foul resulting in Tshiebwe being called with the flagrant. The Aggies kept the game close by being perfect 16-16 from the free throw line, But in the end, Kentucky prevailed with a hard fought 76-67 victory.
First half: Texas A&M scored the games first four points, Kentucky got on the board with CJ Frederick making a three point basket. The teams trade baskets the next couple of possessions before Kentucky took an early 21-15 lead. Kentucky was able to get an early lead with the team making five three-point baskets two for Chris Livingston, two for Antonio Reeves and Frederick with one made three point basket. Texas A&M respond with a 14-2 run during the next three and half minutes and led Kentucky 29-23 with 4:12 remaining in the half. Kentucky was out of sync offensively and the aggressiveness of the Aggies really affected the game plan with Tshiebwe frustrated in the post and the CATS become cold from behind the Arc. Kentucky responded with back-to-back three-point baskets from Jacob Toppin and Reeves tying the game at 29. Texas A&M scored late in the half and led Kentucky 31-29 at intermission.
Second half: Kentucky opened the second half with a seven to two run and led Texas A&M 36-33. The teams trade baskets the next few possessions. The Kentucky crowd today was awesome being one of the largest and most passionate crowds of the season. Kentucky’s Highlight of the game came when Cason Wallace found Toppin for an over-the-top lob, completed by a two-hand slam. The play gave Kentucky a three point lead and the energy the play created inspired the team.
As great as Toppin’s dunk was, the crowd got the loudest when Tshiebwe was called for a flagrant. On one possession Tshiebwe and Marble were running down court and got tangled up with Tshiebwe throwing an inadvertent elbow near the head, When Tshiebwe caught the ball in the post, he was grabbed and threw to the floor very intentionally by Marble. Tshiebwe become visible frustrated and had to be restrained by his teammates. The play was reviewed by the officials, with the review taking several minutes to determine what the foul would be. Lead Referee Doug Shows made the call and the Rupp Arena Crowd become irate as this was a biased call and the crowd was frustrated on the hard foul on Tshiebwe. Later on in the half, Marble was called for a flagrant foul when he fouled Toppin in transition. The game was getting very chippy and was still close, with either team having breathing room.
Texas A&M continued to keep the game close, and with 4:37 remaining in the game Kentucky had a narrow lead of two points, Kentucky led Texas A&M 63-61. Kentucky finished the game on a thirteen- to six run and put the game out of reach. Kentucky prevails with a hard fought 76-67 victory over a scrappy Texas A&M Aggies Team.
- Kentucky 76 Texas A&M 67
- FG % 27-67 (40%) 24-49 (49%)
- 3PT FG % 11-32(34%) 3-16 ( 19%)
- Free Throws 11-17 (65%) 16-16 (100%)
- Rebounds 38 31
Player Stats Kentucky:
- Antonio Reeves 23 points, FG 8-17, 3PT FG 5-11, 1 Rebound, 1 Assist.
- Jacob Toppin 17 points, FG 7-12, 3 PT FG 1-2, 4 rebounds, 3 assists.
- CJ Frederick 12 points, FG 3-12, 3PT FG 2-12, 4 rebounds, 2 assists.
- Oscar Tshiebwe 7 points, FG 3-5, 17 Rebounds, 1 assist.
Player Stats Texas A&M:
- Tyreece Radford 22 points, FG 7-11, 3PT FG 2-4, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, FT 6-6.
- Dennis Dexter 10 points, FG 2-9 3PT FG 0-6, 6 rebounds, 0 assists, FT 6-6.
- Henry Coleman 10 points, FG 5-7, 6 Rebounds.
- Julius Marble 12 points, FG 4-7, 1 Rebound, 1 Assist, FT 4-4.