Men's Basketball
Kentucky-Illinois State Postgame Notes

Kentucky-Illinois State Postgame Notes

DEC. 29, 2023

Final Score: No. 8/10 Kentucky 96, Illinois State 70

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky is 10-2 on the season. Illinois State is 8-5.
  • Kentucky leads the series 2-0 and is 31-15 all-time against teams comprising the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • Next for Kentucky: UK returns to action Saturday, Jan. 6 with its Southeastern Conference opener at Florida. The game will tip at 12:30 p.m. and be televised on ESPN.

Team Notes

  • UK scored 96 points tonight. The Wildcats entered the game fourth in the nation at 90.6 per game.
    • UK has scored at least 80 points in all but one game this season.
  • Kentucky shot 57.1% from the field, 36 of 63. It is the sixth time this season that the Wildcats have made at least half their shots in a game.
  • Kentucky made 11 of 25 3-point shots. The Wildcats entered the game 11th in the nation with 10.5 long balls made per game.
    • UK shot 44% on 3-pointers, entered the contest third nationally at 41.4%.
  • UK dished out 23 assists, entered the game 11th in the country with 19.1 per game.
  • Sparked by 16 points from Rob Dillingham and 11 from Reed Sheppard, UK won bench points 36-5.
  • UK also held a 27-6 lead in fast-break points and a 15-4 advantage in points off turnovers.
  • Kentucky blocked nine shots tonight, tying the season high set vs. North Carolina.
  • Kentucky led by as many as 28 points. UK is 338-15 (95.7%) in the Calipari era when leading by at least 10 points at any time in the contest.

Player Notes

  • Antonio Reeves scored a game-high 27 points after scoring 30 last time out at Louisville.
    • Reeves now has six games scoring 20-plus points this season and 37 for his career.
    • He extended his streak of 23 consecutive games with a 3-pointer, longest since Jamal Murray’s school-record 36-game streak in the 2015-16 season.
  • Tre Mitchell had eight points, 11 boards and four assists.
    • He has had at least four boards in every game this season.
    • He led the team in plus/minus at plus-30.
    • Mitchell has back-to-back games with double-digit rebounds after not accomplishing the feat in the first 10 games of the season.
  • J. Wagner poured in 14 points to go along with three assists.
    • It marked his sixth double-figure scoring game of the season.
  • Reed Sheppard totaled 11 points, five rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals.
    • Sheppard has scored in double figures in nine games.
    • He extended his streak of at least two steals in every game this season.
  • Rob Dillingham went for 16 points, seven assists, three boards and a career-high three steals.
    • It marked his 11th double-figure scoring game in 12 contests.

Coach John Calipari

  • Calipari has an 842-255 (76.7%) all-time on-court record, including 397-115 (77.5%) at Kentucky.
  • Calipari is 326-65 (83.3%) at UK against unranked competition.
  • Calipari is 2-0 vs. Illinois State.
  • UK is 119-8 inside Rupp Arena against nonconference foes under Calipari.

In the First Half

  • Kentucky started J. Wagner, Antonio Reeves, Justin Edwards, Tre Mitchell and Aaron Bradshaw for the third game in a row.
  • Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard were UK’s first substitutions with 14:47 remaining.
  • After a 3-point play gave Illinois State the early lead, Kentucky got on the board on a Reeves’ runner at the 18:32 mark, marking the first of four consecutive made shots for UK to start the game.
  • With the game tied at 13, Sheppard connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the 12:47 mark. The next time down the court, Reeves put back a missed free throw for a five-point Wildcat lead they would not relinquish.
  • Kentucky extended its lead to as many as 15 twice in the opening half, including a 45-30 advantage heading into the break.
  • UK shot 59.4% (19-for-32) and only turned the ball over once in the opening 20 minutes.
  • Reeves led the Cats with 12 points at the half while Wagner added nine, Sheppard chipped in with eight and Edwards poured in seven.

In the Second Half

  • Kentucky began the second half with the starting lineup.
  • The teams went back and forth to start the half, with UK holding a 55-40 lead with 15:47 remaining, but the Cats went on a 13-5 spurt over the next 3:21 to push their advantage to 68-45 with 12:21 left to play.
  • The Wildcat lead swelled to a game-high 28 at 75-47 after a pair of Dillingham free throws with 10:38 remaining.
  • Illinois State would pull back to within 19 twice the rest of the way but would get no closer.

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