Cats bounce back, defeat South Carolina State 106-63


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats guard CJ Fredrick (1) dribbles the ball up the court during the No. 4 Kentucky vs. Michigan State Champions Classic mens basketball game on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Michigan State won 86-77 in the second overtime. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Ali Cetinok, Assistant Sports Editor

Kentucky mens basketball earned itself a convincing bounce-back win on Thursday night, defeating South Carolina State 106-63 to improve to 3-1.

The win marked the first time the Wildcats have scored over 100 points this season.

The matchup against SC State served as the second game of the Tribute Classic, which also includes North Florida and Duquesne, who the Cats beat 77-52 last Friday.

After a disappointing loss in Indianapolis against Michigan State in the Champions Classic, the Cats were eager to put the past behind them, jumping ahead to an early 11-3 lead and never looked back.

Kentucky was able to make shots that simply were not falling for the squad on Tuesday, shooting 39-68 from the field with 24 3-pointers attempted, 10 of which scored.

CJ Fredrick led all scorers with 17 points, shooting 5-11 from the field, 3-7 from beyond the arc and perfect from the free-throw line, making all four of his free throws. Fredrick also had five steals defensively.

The former Hawkeye’s shooting performance was something he said he was brought to Lexington to do, especially after not having an impressive night in Indianapolis.

“I like to think of myself as a good shooter, Fredrick said. “My job is to make shots and I didn’t make shots Tuesday. I wish I could’ve made more shots, obviously, but you’ve got to deal with that. That’s how it is as a shooter, you’re not going to make them all. You’ve just got to trust yourself and trust your teammates.” 

Cason Wallace also continued to leave his mark in Lexington thus far in his young career with 12 points and three assists.

Lance Ware also finished the game with 12 points, shooting perfect from the field after starting.

“It’s different because usually if I’m coming off the bench,” Ware said. “I can see the way the game is being played. Kind of how physical it is – when you start, you’re just thrown right into the fire. You just gotta adjust and run … It’s fun either way.”

Antonio Reeves and Chris Livingston both had double-digit point totals with 11 and 13 respectively, with Reeves shooting 3-7 from beyond the arc.

Livingston also had three blocks on defense. The freshman was eager to bounce-back after losing on Tuesday.

“I think it was very important, just for the teams’ morale. We needed to get back, especially after a disappointing loss like that,” Livingston said. “And we owed it to the fans also, so I think it was really good.”

The Wildcats return to action on Sunday, Nov. 20, against No. 2 Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and will air live on ESPN.