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Kentucky Kernel

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At the buzzer: No. 22 Kentucky earns bounce-back home win over Ole Miss

Abbey Cutrer
Kentucky players are announced during the Kentucky vs. Ole Miss men’s basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Abbey Cutrer | Staff

No. 22 Kentucky men’s basketball earned a bounce-back home win over Ole Miss 75-63 inside Rupp Arena on Tuesday.

The performance was highlighted by Ugonna Onyenso, who finally achieved the 10-block game — a single-game record inside Rupp Arena — that had eluded him prior.

The Wildcats entered the game on the back of a three-game home losing streak, the first time that had ever happened inside Rupp Arena, after most recently losing to Gonzaga.

Looking to get a much-needed bounce-back win, Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Justin Edwards, Antonio Reeves, D.J. Wagner, Onyenso and a returning Tre Mitchell, who had not played in recent games due to a back injury.

Kentucky did not find itself in a massive hole to start, a departure from recent home games, with Edwards scoring all seven of Kentucky’s first seven points.

Unfortunately for the home fans in attendance, the Rebels quickly did reclaim the lead, scoring 10 points off six Kentucky turnovers to lead by two at the under-12 media timeout.

Kentucky surged ahead however, going on a scoring run that, combined with the Rebels going cold from the field, saw the Cats lead by five with under four minutes remaining in the half.

Kentucky continued to propel itself forward while keeping the Rebels down, out-scoring Ole Miss 9-2 to close out the half.

While the first half ended on a high note, the second half easily began on a low note, with the Cats being outscored 8-2 with the Rebels getting all their points from easy layups and free throws.

While Kentucky was able to get things going, the Rebels continued to score, racking up 12 points in under five minutes, something that unsettled home fans, though not as much Mitchell having to go to the locker room in the middle of the half due to a shoulder injury.

All would be alleviated shortly, however, when Kentucky seemed to wake up, surging ahead to a 14-point lead with under 11 left to play.

While it was far from pretty, with the Cats going on a scoring drought that lasted over two minutes, Kentucky was able to pull out the win it so desperately needed heading into a tough road matchup.

The Wildcats will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 17, on the road against the Auburn Tigers. Tip-off inside Auburn Arena is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET and will air live on ESPN.

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Cole Parke, Sports Editor
Abbey Cutrer, Managing/Photo Editor

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