Oscar Tshiebwe turns in 24th double-double, Cats go undefeated at home with win over Ole Miss
UK's 14th perfect home season in the 46-year history of Rupp Arena and sixth under John Calipari
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/UK ATHLETICS) – Oscar Tshiebwe had 18 points and 15 rebounds, Sahvir Wheeler added 16 points and No. 7 Kentucky shot 60% before holding off Mississippi 83-72 in its home finale Tuesday night.
Kentucky (24-6, 13-4 Southeastern Conference) took control after four minutes behind hot shooting, hitting 9 of its first 12 attempts including 4 of 6 from long range and finishing 59% at halftime. The Wildcats spread the offense well, with five players scoring at least seven points in the first 20 minutes.
Tshiebwe jump-started Kentucky’s 62% second-half shooting by scoring six points with a couple of dunks. The Wildcats eventually led 70-56 with 6:03 remaining before the Rebels rallied to within 76-70 on James White’s jumper with 2:15 left.
TyTy Washington Jr. (14 points off the bench) followed with three free throws in 20 seconds before Tshiebwe’s steal resulted in two more from the line by Keion Brooks Jr.’ to make it 81-70. Tshiebwe’s defensive rebound led to Brooks’ jumper with 17 seconds left for a 13-point cushion as the Wildcats finished unbeaten at home.
Matthew Murrell made 5 of 8 3-pointers for 25 points for the Rebels (13-17, 4-13), who dropped their third in a row and seventh in eight games. They fell to 2-56 lifetime in Lexington.
Tshiebwe, the national leader in rebounds per game coming in (15.3), helped Kentucky win the boards 30-24 and made 9 of 12 from the field for his 24th double-double this season. It was Tshiebwe’s 12th straight double-double, which is the longest streak since Dan Issel in the 1969-70 season. Brooks finished with 10 points and five rebounds.
Ole Miss shot 50% from the field and mounted several small runs to get within single digits. The Rebels just couldn’t stop Kentucky from stringing together enough baskets to maintain a safe cushion.
Kentucky finished unbeaten at Rupp Arena for the 14th time and sixth under John Calipari. More importantly, the Wildcats bounced back from a close loss at No. 14 Arkansas and stayed within sight of first-place Auburn.
To view the box score, click here.
Ole Miss hosts Vanderbilt in its regular season finale.
Kentucky visits Florida in Saturday’s regular season finale, seeking a season sweep of the Gators.