Men's Basketball
Kentucky Hosts New Mexico State in Regular Season Opener

Kentucky Hosts New Mexico State in Regular Season Opener

After winning a pair of exhibition games, No. 16 Kentucky opens its 2023-24 regular season on Monday night against New Mexico State at Rupp Arena (8 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

Kentucky topped Georgetown College 92-69 in its first exhibition contest. Tre Mitchell led the Cats with 22 points and nine rebounds in the win, while Antonio Reeves had 18 points for UK. Rob Dillingham came off the bench to score 16 points and dish out five assists, while Adou Thiero had 10 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals in the victory.

On Thursday night, Kentucky cruised past Kentucky State 99-53 behind 20 points from Reeves. Justin Edwards had 17 points and nine rebounds and Tre Mitchell had a double double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. D.J. Wagner added 12 points and seven assists and Thiero had 13 points and eight rebounds.

The Cats played their Blue-White game at Truist Arena in Highland Heights, with the Blue squad prevailing 100-89. Freshman guard Rob Dillingham stole the show in that game, scoring 40 points for the Blue team, dishing out seven assists, grabbing five rebounds and adding four steals.

Winner of the 2023 GLOBL JAM, Kentucky boasts the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class with seven first-year signees including five top-25 prospects in Aaron Bradshaw, Dillingham, Edwards, Reed Sheppard and Wagner. Jordan Burks, who led OTE in points per game, and Joey Hart, who captured a state high school crown, were spring additions, while Zvonimir Ivišić, a native of Croatia, was added in August.

New Mexico State went 9-15 last season. The Aggies are under the direction of new head coach Jason Hooten, who came to NMSU after a successful run at Sam Houston State. Hooten’s Bearkats went 26-8 last season and made the second round of the NIT.

Monday’s game will be the second all-time meeting between Kentucky and New Mexico State. The only other contest between the two came in the 1999 NCAA Tournament in New Orleans. Kentucky won that game 82-60. Heshimu Evans led UK with 15 points and Wayne Turner had 14 in the win.

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