Men's Basketball
Onyenso Lifts Cats Past Rebels on Tuesday

Onyenso Lifts Cats Past Rebels on Tuesday

by Tim Letcher

Defense has been the topic of conversation around the Kentucky basketball team in recent weeks. On Tuesday night against Ole Miss, UK got a historic individual defensive performance from Ugonna Onyenso on its way to a much-needed Southeastern Conference victory.

Onyenso, the sophomore big man from Nigeria, blocked 10 shots, tying the previous Rupp Arena record of 10 held by Hall of Famer David Robinson (Navy, 1987), as the Cats topped the Rebels 75-63. Onyenso added eight points and three rebounds in the contest.

Kentucky (17-7, 7-4 SEC) got 15 points from Antonio Reeves and 13 points, five assists, five steals and four rebounds from Reed Sheppard. Justin Edwards added 12 points and Rob Dillingham had 10.

Ole Miss (18-6, 5-6) scored the first five points of the game before UK got an Edwards basket to make it 5-2. Another Edwards basket got the Cats within one, then a driving, twisting Edwards layup, and subsequent free throw, gave UK a 7-5 advantage. A Dillingham basket made it 9-5, completing a 9-0 run for the Cats.

The Rebels would respond with a run of their own. Ole Miss scored 10 straight to turn four-point deficit into a 15-9 lead. UK would get within one, 15-14, before the Rebels scored five more in a row to lead 19-14 with 10:32 left in the half.

A Reed Sheppard three brought the Cats within one, 19-18. After Ole Miss scored the next four, Sheppard hit a deep three to make it 23-21 with 6:33 to play in the half. And when Reeves hit a three from the left corner on the next possession, Kentucky grabbed a 24-23 lead.

The UK run would continue with a pair of free throws from both Reeves and Edwards, making it 28-23 Cats with 4:50 to play in the half. Those free throws completed a 10-0 UK run.

After Ole Miss got a pair of free throws from Jamarion Sharp, Kentucky went on a 10-2 run to lead 38-27 with 1:32 left in the half. The Cats would lead 43-29 at the break.

Ole Miss opened the second half with an 8-2 run to get within 45-37. The Rebels would eventually get within six, 47-41, before Dillingham drilled a three to give UK a 50-41 advantage. That was the start of a 10-2 run that built the UK lead to 57-43 with 11:56 to play.

Kentucky would hold a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game on its way to the victory.

The Cats return to action on Saturday, visiting No. 13 Auburn on the Plains. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on ESPN.

Related Stories

View all