Antonio Reeves records season high 27 points in Oxford


Isabel McSwain

Kentucky Wildcats guard Antonio Reeves (12) dribbles the ball during the Kentucky vs. LSU mens basketball game on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 74-71. Photo by Isabel McSwain | Staff

Samantha Money, Assistant Sports Editor

Kentucky mens basketball defeated Ole Miss 75-66 on the road in Oxford, Mississippi, on Tuesday night, with veteran point guard Antonio Reeves stealing the spotlight.

The transfer from Illinois State racked up a season high of 27 points against the Rebels with 18 of those points coming from beyond the arc. In total, Reeves shot 66% (8-12) from the field and 86% (6-7) on 3-pointers.

Kentucky Wildcats guard Antonio Reeves (12) shoots a free throw during the Kentucky vs. No. 5 Tennessee mens basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee. Kentucky won 63-56. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff (Jack Weaver)

Coming off the bench, Reeves wasted no time getting started, scoring within just two minutes of stepping onto the court around seven minutes into the game.

Before Ole Miss could even adjust to his presence, Reeves had nine points on the scoreboard, only missing one of his field goal attempts in the first half.

Reeves’ hot streak continued as his point total kept growing early in the second half, with the Wildcat doubling the number of points he had already put up to allow Kentucky to find itself with a 14-point lead over the Rebels in the closing minutes.

After a relatively slow offensive start for Kentucky at the beginning of the game, the fire that Reeves brought to court no doubt contributed to the Cats finding their footing more in the second half.

Following Reeves, who led all scorers, Jacob Toppin finished the night with 18 points while Oscar Tshiebwe found himself with his 54th career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, likely having been able to take advantage of the spacing created by Reeves forcing the Rebels defenders to guard the perimeter as well as the paint.

Kentucky Wildcats guard Antonio Reeves (12) guards Texas A&M Aggies guard Dexter Dennis (0) during the Kentucky vs. Texas A&M mens basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 76-67. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff (Jack Weaver)

In addition to his success behind the line, Reeves made all five of his free throw attempts in the winning effort, improving his free throw streak to 21 points.

Reeves’ 27 points marked the fourth highest total by a Kentucky player off the bench in the John Calipari era. It’s also the most points any Wildcat coming off the bench has racked up since PJ Washington’s 28 points against Auburn in March of 2019.

Since coming to Lexington in the offseason, Reeves has been one of the more consistent players for the Cats. Tuesday’s matchup against the Rebels marked his eighth game in a row recording a double-digit point total and his 17th time all season.

His 27 points was just seven shy of his career-high of 34 points that he knocked down for Illinois State last season against the Valparaiso Beacons.

While at Kentucky, Reeves’ previous season-high came against Texas A&M on Jan. 21, when he led the Cats with 23 points.

With the Ole Miss win, Kentucky improved to 15-7 overall and 6-3 in the league. The win also meant, after breaking its 28-game home win streak against South Carolina earlier this month, Kentucky have claimed victory in their past three away games and five of their last six games period.

Reeves and the rest of the Wildcats will return home this weekend to host the Florida Gators inside Rupp Arena on Saturday, Feb. 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EST and can be watched live on ESPN.