LEXINGTON – December 10, 2022 – Michael Willis
Kentucky improves their record to 7-2 after defeating the Yale Bulldogs earlier today. The 69 to 59 victory did not come easy for the Wildcats who continues to have scoring droughts that allowed Yale to remain within striking distance for much of the game. Defense and Oscar Tshiebwe were the difference in the game that brought home the win for the Cats.
The Wildcats played with intensity of both ends of the court for the first 10 minutes of the first half. After Yale tied the game at six, Kentucky scored 9 straight after two back-to-back threes by Cason Wallace followed by a three by Antonio Reeves. However, the 15 to 6 lead did not last long as the Cats went 5:30 without a field goal and allowed the lead to dwindle to 3 points. The Cats were able to push the lead back to 33 to 27 to end the half, but the intensity of the first 10 minutes was nowhere to be found.
Yale scored 8 straight points to open the second half which gave the Bulldogs a 3-point lead, however, that was short lived after Oscar Tshiebwe scored 12 straight points for the Cats which relinquished the lead for the Wildcats. The Bulldogs were not able to recover from Tshiebwe’s dominating second half performance as the Wildcats picked up their 7th win of the season.
Oscar Tshiebwe’s second half performance was perhaps his most dominating of his college career. After only scoring 6 points in the first half, Tshiebwe added 22 points in second to give him 28 total. When asked about what changed at the half Oscar stated, “I told my teammates to give me the ball. I didn’t thing that their big men could guard me”. He also led both teams in rebounding with 12. Kentucky was the first team to out-rebound Yale this season.
Besides Tshiebwe’s performance, another positive aspect of today’s game was Chris Livington. Livingston scored 7 points making 3 of his 5 shots. He also gained 2 assists in only 14 minutes of play. It is apparent that Livingston is starting to feel more comfortable on the court. It also has grabbed the attention of John Calipari who stated in the post-game press conference that “I want him to continue on this path that he is on.”
It wasn’t the blowout victory that most fans would have like to have seen today, but it was another victory over a quality team. Kentucky will be tested once again next Saturday when they face UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden. The Bruins could be the Cats first Victory over a ranked opponent and their last test before beginning the SEC Conference games.