Kentucky triumphs over Duquesne 77-52


Isabel McSwain

Kentucky Wildcats guard Antonio Reeves (12) dribbles the ball down the court during the No. 4 Kentucky vs. Duquesne mens basketball game on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 77-52. Photo by Isabel McSwain | Staff

Samantha Money, Assistant Sports Editor

No. 4 Kentucky (2-0) defeated Duquesne 77-52 on Friday night to secure its second consecutive win to start the season.

The victory came on the back of the Cats holding the Dukes to shooting 30% from the field with only a few lead changes early on in the first half.

Several minutes into the game, Kentucky point guard Sahvir Wheeler checked in for the first time during the regular season after suffering a minor knee injury in UK’s first exhibition.

He wasted no time getting back into the flow of the game, recording six assists by the end of the half.

Wheeler’s energy continued to build throughout the game as he earned his 11th double-double of his career, accumulating 11 points and 11 assists.

Wheeler’s desire to get back on the court set the tone for the night with his teammates happy to have him back.

He speeds the game up for us and makes it a lot easier for us as a whole because he can get downhill, dish it out to our shooters who can make shots,” Jacob Toppin said. “He looks for the open guy, so it’s definitely enjoyable for him to be back.” 

Despite Wheeler stealing much of the headlines, Antonio Reeves led the Wildcats in scoring once again, putting up 18 points, 12 of which came from behind the 3-point line.

As well as having good perimeter shooting, if Kentucky began struggling to make a basket, it could simply enter Ugonna Onyenso into the game to fix that problem.

Onyenso finished the night with nine points and 10 rebounds, only one point away from a double double.

With Oscar Tshibwe still recovering from knee surgery, Onyenso has had a fortunate opportunity to step up in his absence and show what he brings to the team.

Onyenso recorded three blocked shots against the Dukes, moving his block total to seven for the season just two games in.

The total ties him for third with Rodney Dent in most blocks for a Wildcat within the first two games of the season.

His defensive abilities contribute to the dominant team Kentucky is becoming, though the freshman still has plenty of time to learn and grow.

“I am working on being more vocal on the court,” Onyenso said. “Calling out screens, knowing where to be, and helping my teammates when it comes to the screens.”

Even as the Cats held a 25-point lead well into the second half, the team still continued to sweep the boards and connect on threes.

CJ Fredrick amassed four 3-pointers and totaled 14 points against Duquesne, while Jacob Toppin and Onyenso led the Cats in rebounds.

Kentucky, in total, shot 46% from inside the arc and 58% from long range, which was enough to satisfy head coach John Calipari.

“Antonio keeps amazing me,” Calipari said. “CJ’s doing his thing. Cason. Sahvir. We got four really good guards. I (also) thought Chris Livingston banged the boards and rebounded.”

The Cats will take the triumph over Duquesne to Indianapolis, Indiana, next week for the Champions Classic, where Kentucky is set to take on Michigan State.

The Champion’s Classic is scheduled for on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. EST inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse and will air live on ESPN.