BAHAMAS (LEX 18) — The Kentucky men's basketball team won its first Big Blue Bahamas exhibition matchup 108-56 over the Dominican Republic National Select Team Wednesday night at the Baha Mar Grand Ballroom.
Big Blue Nation got to see the 2022-23 team take the floor for the first time against another opponent, and the Cats put on a show. Several highlight reel plays unfolded, and none stick out more than a couple of dunks from Daimion Collins.
OH MY DAIMION COLLINS!!!!! pic.twitter.com/9bW7VMMv5u— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 10, 2022
DAIMION DID IT AGAIN!!!! pic.twitter.com/c3GPJsq6S5— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 11, 2022
Collins finished the game with 15 pts (6-9 FG), 5 reb, 5 ast and 2 blk. His development during the offseason has been phenomenal, adding a mid-range jumper to his game to go with his freakish athleticism.
Reigning National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe showed continued force down low, leading the team with 17 pts and adding 6 reb.
Among the other returning players, Jacob Toppin and Lance Ware combined for 19 pts, but more importantly, showed energy and effort that keeps the team moving. Toppin had a handful of defensive plays with 2 huge blocks and 3 stl.
His name is Jacob Toppin.— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 10, 2022
He enjoys chase-down blocks. pic.twitter.com/tJO3yVrXY8
Sahvir Wheeler exited the game in the first half with an apparent leg injury, but would return for the second half of play. He finished with 6 pts and 4 ast.
As for the new guys, Illinois St. transfer Antonio Reeves showed what type of threat he could be from behind the arc. He finished with 12 pts, all of which coming from 3-point land (4-5 3FG).
Reeves from 3 🔥🔥🔥— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 10, 2022
We like the sound of that. pic.twitter.com/yXOqkmdNoZ
The highly touted recruits of Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston had impressive first showings as well. After a slow start, Wallace really settled in and showed a commanding presence running the point guard position. He'd go on to finish with 15 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast.
Livingston nearly finished with a double-double, scoring 11 pts and grabbing 8 reb.
Adou Thiero raised some eye brows as well. As soon as he checked in late in the first half, he produced on both ends of the floor, going on to finish with 7 pts, 3 ast, 3 blk and 2 stl. If he continues to trend upward not only physically, but skillfully, he could see a lot of playing time this season.
Overall, the Cats shot 57% from the field, recorded 18 turnovers (13 steals), pulled down 43 rebounds and shot 42% from three.
That was an exciting game to watch and shout have Big Blue Nation pumped for the season.
Big Blue Bahamas isn't over! We'll have another chance to watch the Cats Thursday when they take on Monterrey Tech at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.