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UK MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES
KENTUCKY vs. NORTH CAROLINA
T-MOBILE ARENA | LAS VEGAS
DEC. 18, 2021
Final Score: No. 21/21 Kentucky 98, North Carolina 69
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky improved to 8-2 this season with the victory Saturday. UK snapped a five-game North Carolina winning streak to drop the Tar Heels to 8-3 in 2021-22.
- The Wildcats’ 29-point margin was the second largest margin in the series’ history. UK’s 39-point win on Jan. 9, 1950 is the largest. Kentucky won that game 83-44.
- UK cut UNC’s series lead to 25-17 and 13-7 in games played at neutral sites.
- Kentucky is 2-0 vs. the Tar Heels in games played in T-Mobile Arena.
- UK has won six of the last nine matchups vs. UNC.
- The Wildcats are now 4-4 in the CBS Sports Classic, including 3-1 vs. North Carolina.
- The Tar Heels lead the four-team event with a 5-3 mark, but the Wildcats have handed the Tar Heels all three of their losses in the annual event.
- UK was originally slated to play Ohio State and UNC was scheduled to face UCLA, but both teams had to withdraw from the event due to COVID-19 results within their respective programs.
- The event’s current ledger: UNC is 5-2, Ohio State is 4-3, UK is 4-4 and UCLA is 2-5.
- The Wildcats notched their first victory away from Rupp Arena this season in their third try.
- They are 1-1 in neutral-site games this season.
- Next up: Kentucky heads home to host archrival Louisville on Wednesday at Rupp Arena. That game will be televised by ESPN at 6 p.m. p.m. ET.
- Kentucky led by as many as 35 points. UK is 294-12 in the John Calipari era when leading by at least 10 points at any time in the contest.
- In a battle of two of the nation’s best rebounding teams, the Wildcats flexed their muscles by beating the bigger, taller Tar Heels 44-26.
- UK is 8-1 this season when it outrebounds the opposition.
- Kentucky entered the game No. 1 in the country with a plus-16.3 rebounding margin. UNC was ranked 13th coming into Saturday with a plus-10.7 edge per game.
- The Wildcats grabbed 17 offensive rebounds that led to 15 second-chance points.
- The Wildcats made 39 of 72 shots, the fourth time this season they have shot 50% or better.
- They are 4-0 this season when making 50% or better from the floor and 8-0 when outshooting their opponent.
- UK also made 8 of 15 from 3-point range.
- It’s the second time this season the Cats have hit at least 50% of their 3-point shots with victories in both of those games.
- Kentucky dished out 20 assists with nine turnovers.
- It’s the third time this season the Wildcats have dished out at least 20 assists with wins in both of those games.
- Coming off a 0-for-5 shooting night against Notre Dame last week, Sahvir Wheeler responded to the adversity sensationally with a season-high 26 points, eight assists and a season-high four steals.
- It was his sixth game in double-figure scoring this season but his first since Nov. 26 vs. North Florida, snapping a three-game single-digit scoring drought.
- Wheeler was 12 of 15 from the floor, a career high for field goals made.
- Ranked second national in assists per game entering Saturday with 7.7 per game, Wheeler notched his fifth game this season with at least eight assists.
- Oscar Tshiebwe continued his early season All-America campaign with his eighth double-double in 10 games, posting 16 points to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds in 22 minutes.
- Tshiebwe was 7 of 12 from the floor.
- The nation’s leading rebounder entering the game notched his ninth double-figure rebounding game of the season.
- With 18 points, Kellan Grady scored in double figures for the third time this season but the first time since Nov. 22 vs. UAlbany.
- Five of Grady’s field goals were from 3, a season high.
- He also added a season-high six rebounds.
- Keion Brooks Jr. contributed 10 points, marking the sixth game he’s reached double figures this season.
- John Calipari is now 347-95 at UK.
- Calipari now has a 792-235 all-time on-court record.
- UK improved to 283-56 under Calipari in games vs. unranked Associated Press competition.
- Calipari is now 8-4 in all-time meetings vs. North Carolina.
- The Wildcats moved to 80-28 in neutral-site games under Calipari’s watch.
In the First Half
- Kentucky started Sahvir Wheeler, TyTy Washington Jr., Kellan Grady, Keion Brooks Jr. and Oscar Tshiebwe for the ninth time this season and the fourth game in a row. UK is now 8-2 with that starting lineup.
- Tshiebwe, who entered the game with three straight 20-point scoring performances, logged the first points for the Wildcats with a driving layup as he was fouled for an old-fashion 3-point play.
- That jumpstarted UK on a 7-0 run to take an early 7-2 lead.
- Wheeler asserted himself early and often in this one with six of Kentucky’s first 11 points, plus a steal, by the first media timeout (15:26).
- Jacob Toppin and Davion Mintz were Kentucky’s first two subs, both entering at the 15:26 mark out of the timeout.
- Tshiebwe, who had seven rebounds in the first seven-plus minutes, picked up his second foul at the 12:37 mark and headed to the bench for the rest of the first half.
- UK opened up a 19-6 lead on the shoulders of back-to-back 3-pointers from Mintz and Grady, which was part of a 10-0 run.
- The Wildcats held the Tar Heels without a point for 5:10 of game time.
- The first half was best summed up with a fourth-chance bucket for UK to take a 31-15 lead. UK grabbed three straight offensive rebounds – two by Washington – to highlight a dominant offensive first half on the glass.
- UK extended its leads all the way to 35-17 on a layup by Wheeler with 4:21 before halftime, but UNC would close the half with a 12-5 spurt. Kentucky went into the locker room with a 40-29 advantage.
- The Wildcats are 8-1 when leading at the half this season.
- Even with Tshiebwe limited to seven minutes in the first half because of two fouls, Kentucky was dominant on the glass and outrebounded the Tar Heels 26-14, including 11 to three on the offensive boards.
- Wheeler was spectacular in the first half with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with three steals.
- Washington added seven points and three rebounds.
- UNC’s Armando Bacot kept the Tar Heels in the game with 17 first-half points.
In the Second Half
- Mintz got the start in the second half in place of Washington alongside Wheeler, Grady, Brooks and Tshiebwe.
- UK picked up right where it left off in the first half with a 13-6 advantage in the first 3:43 of the second half for a 53-35 lead.
- Wheeler kept attacking and had six of the points.
- Making 15 of their first 20 shots, the Wildcats lead stretched to 78-48 after a Tshiebwe offensive rebound and thunderous one-hand slam with 8:56 left, putting an exclamation point on a 6-0 run.
- Kentucky made a blistering 24 of 36 shots in the second half, 66.7%. It was the best shooting percentage in a half since the Wildcats connected on 14 of 21 shots (66.7%) at Florida on Jan. 9, 2021.
- The Wildcats led by as many 35 points in a 98-63 lead with 1:20 to play.
- Grady scored 15 of his points in the second half to lead all scorers. Tshiebwe had 13 and Wheeler added 12 as three players registered double-figure points in the second stanza.
- Wheeler dished out seven of his eight assists in the half as the Wildcats posted 13 assists on 24 made field goals.