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ANALYSIS: Ugonna Onyenso once again shines in Kentucky’s win over Ole Miss

Abbey Cutrer
Kentucky forward Ugonna Onyenso defends during the Kentucky vs. Ole Miss men’s basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 75-63. Photo by Abbey Cutrer | Staff

Kentucky men’s basketball (17-7, 7-4) got back in the win column on Tuesday night, defeating the Ole Miss Rebels (18-6, 5-6) 75-63 in Rupp Arena.

Not only did Kentucky defeat the Rebels, it held them to just 63 points, 13 less points than they average per game (76.4), and a huge reason for that was sophomore, seven-footer Ugonna Onyenso.

Onyenso recorded ten blocks in the win, tying Hall of Famer David Robinson’s record for most blocks in a game inside of Rupp Arena which he set in January of 1987 for Navy.

“The pride that I take in blocking shots, I’m happy that I did that,” Onyenso said. “Hopefully I’m gonna break it again.”

Onyenso also became the fourth Division-I player and first SEC player to record ten blocks in a game this season.

The Nigerian recorded the most playing time compared to the other Kentucky seven-footers, seeing the court for 24 minutes while Aaron Bradshaw recorded 13 minutes and Zvonimir Ivišić did not receive any playing time.

Freshman Justin Edwards joined Onyenso in playing 24 minutes, with the two finishing third in overall recorded minutes for UK with only Reed Sheppard (32 minutes) and Antonio Reeves (28 minutes) recording more time.

Onyenso started the 2023-24 season off injured and did not make his sophomore year debut until Dec. 16 when Kentucky defeated North Carolina 87-83. In that game, Onyenso played nine minutes and recorded one point and three blocks.

Since his season debut, Onyenso’s playing time has skyrocketed as he is now averaging 17.1 minutes per game.

Onyenso looks to build off of his ten block performance and contribute some more on the defensive end when Kentucky plays next at Auburn on Feb. 17. As of now, the Tigers are averaging 82.3 points per game, so the defense needs to stand united and defend hard with each other.

Tip-off against the Tigers is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET and will air live on ESPN.

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Abbey Cutrer, Managing/Photo Editor

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