LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky let it get interesting, but this one was never truly in question. The Wildcats cruised to 83-72 senior night win over Ole Miss, to move to 24-6 on the season and 13-4 in SEC play.
The Cats were undefeated (18-0) at Rupp Arena this season. That's the 14th time in program history and the sixth time in the Calipari era the Wildcats finished the regular season perfect at home.
Oscar Tshiebwe led the way for the Cats, finishing the night with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Tonight's double-double performance was Tshiebwe's 12th in a row; he is the first Wildcat to hit that number since Dan Issel did so in the 1969-70 season. Sahvir Wheeler was also highly productive, scoring 16 points and dishing out seven assists with just two turnovers in 35 minutes.
TyTy Washington looked to be back at full health, and Kentucky's freshman put up a smooth 14 points on 5-10 shooting. Keion Brooks Jr. was the fourth Cat to hit double-digit scoring with 10 points and five rebounds in the win.
Kellan Grady and Davion Mintz were both honored before the game as part of senior day. Both players were joined by their parents for the celebration at half court.
Really love this moment— Maggie Davis (@MaggieDavisTV) March 2, 2022
Davion Mintz & Kellan Grady also hug each other’s parents on senior night pic.twitter.com/A9tdElEt9p
How it started ➡ How it's going— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) March 2, 2022
Retweet if you're glad Davion Mintz (@deemintz1) came back for a PROPER senior day with #BBN and his parents 💙 pic.twitter.com/KhQFj6erv6
Grady finished his final game inside Rupp Arena with nine points, while Mintz added eight of his own.
There was no slow start in this matchup. Kentucky got on the board quickly, and its seniors were a big reason why. Grady opened the game with a layup, a three and a pair of made free throws, while Mintz connected on a three of his own and Wheeler knocked down a pair of triples from behind-the-arc, as well.
Ole Miss put up a good fight, cutting Kentucky's lead to three multiple times in the first half. After the Cats increased it to 13, the Rebels responded by cutting it to seven. At halftime, UK had the 44-35 advantage.
Tshiebwe came out firing after the break, and he reached his 24th double-double of the season with just under 12 minutes remaining in the game. Kentucky's offense was steady, but its defense lagged down the stretch. Both teams finished the game connecting on at least half of their baskets from the floor - Ole Miss shot 50% and Kentucky shot 60% on the night. The Cats hit six of their 14 attempted three-point shots.
Both offenses are in rhythm right now, but neither defense is applying much pressure— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) March 2, 2022
Kentucky has hit 5 of its last 6, and Ole Miss 5 of its last 5
Cats lead 76-68 with 2:26 to go
Regardless, Kentucky's offense was too much for the Rebels, and the Cats secured the 83-72 win inside Rupp Arena.
The Wildcats will play their final game of the regular season this Saturday on the road at Florida. SEC Tournament play begins next week in Tampa, Florida.
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