Brooks and Washington pace Kentucky as No. 13 Wildcats defeat Ohio


Kentucky Wildcats forward Keion Brooks Jr. (12) watches his shot during the UK vs. Ohio University men’s basketball game on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 77-59. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Hunter Shelton

No. 13 Kentucky improved to 3-1 on Friday night, fighting past the Ohio Bobcats 77-59.  

Early adversity hit the Wildcats hard in the first half, but some key runs and efficiency late in the game helped UK run away from the Bobcats.  

Keion Brooks Jr led the way for Kentucky, tallying 22 points on 9-18 shooting to go along with eight rebounds.  

Brooks made a living from mid-range on Friday night, as nearly all nine of his field goals came from outside the paint and inside the 3-point line.  

“We picked up on that they were giving me that shot,” Brooks said. “That’s a shot I’ve always shot pretty well…my guys did a great job…they threw it to me I just had to knock them down.” 

 Brooks’ 22 points is a season high for the junior forward 

“I keep telling [Brooks] ‘why are you shooting threes?’ shoot twos…these guys have the 2-point line they’re like 60 percent from,” UK head coach John Calipari said.  

Kentucky shot just 18 percent from downtown against Ohio, making only 3 of 16 attempts.  

TyTy Washington Jr finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. While making just one of six shots from beyond the arch, Washington still finished 8-15 from the floor.  

UK’s star forward Oscar Tshiebwe got into foul trouble early, picking up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game.  

Daimian Collins would hit the bench not too long after Tshiebwe, as he too was tagged with two quick fouls in the first half.  

Kentucky was again without Jacob Toppin and Lance Ware due to injury, meaning Calipari had to play small ball, as Bryce Hopkins provided crucial first half minutes to help UK keep up with the Bobcats. 

Hopkins provided seven points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes of first half action.  

“Without [Hopkins] playing, we don’t win the game,” Calipari said.  

Hopkins’ production was much needed, as OU was giving UK a run for their money early. Ben Vander Plas led the Bobcats with 13 points at the break. OU, a shooting team, connected on five treys in the first half. 

Despite zero production from their leading scorer and rebounder Tshiebwe, Kentucky headed to the break with a two-point lead.  

Once Tshiebwe hit the floor in the second half, he made an immediate impact on the glass. Playing 19 of the 20 minutes in the back half, Tshiebwe hauled in 10 boards, six of which were on the offensive glass. 

Finishing with zero points, Tshiebwe does not have to make the ball go through the hoop to have a monumental impact in a game for UK: 

“[Tshiebwe] gets 10 rebounds in the second half, he doesn’t care about scoring, just goes and chases down balls,” Calipari said.  

Only four Wildcats would score in the second half, but Washington, Brooks, Sahvir Wheeler and Davion Mintz would connect on 15 shots for 37 points, outscoring the Bobcats by 16 points in the half.  

While Kentucky lost the turnover battle, they crushed Ohio on the boards, outrebounding OU 53-17 en route to the 18-point victory.  

“This game really showed us something,” Calipari said. “I thought we got into [Ohio’s] legs, at least that’s what we were trying to do.” 

The win makes three on the trot for Kentucky. A quick turnaround awaits the Cats, as a Monday night matchup with the Albany Great Danes will kick off Thanksgiving week. The game is set to tip-off at 7 p.m. E.T.