No. 10 Kentucky vies for its fourth straight win Monday when it continues a season-high seven-game homestand against Albany in Lexington.
The Wildcats (3-1) would like to get off to a faster start against the Great Danes (0-4) than they did in their 77-59 victory over Ohio on Friday. That sluggish beginning coincided with leading scorer and rebounder Oscar Tshiebwe being whistled for two fouls in the first two minutes.
Tshiebwe finished with two points and 10 rebounds after averaging 18.3 points and 18.7 boards in Kentucky’s first three games of the season.
“So, Oscar getting the two quick fouls, first one was — I’ll watch it on tape, but I already know what I’ll see. And then he gets 10 rebounds in the second half,” Wildcats coach John Calipari said. “Doesn’t care about scoring. Just goes and chases down balls.”
Keion Brooks Jr. had 22 points and TyTy Washington Jr. collected his first career double-double (20 points, 12 rebounds) for Kentucky, which held a commanding 53-17 edge on the boards. The plus-36 margin represents the most for the Wildcats since a victory over Vanderbilt on Jan. 3, 1998.
“In high school I rebounded average, like seven rebounds. It was pretty good to be out there tonight, finally rebounding again,” Washington said. “With Oscar not on the floor, you can see a lot of balls are going a lot of different places now. So, it was a lot of opportunity for me to get in there and rebound.”
Sahvir Wheeler also got his nose dirty by recording six rebounds on Friday after totaling five in his previous three games. He is averaging 11.0 points and a team-high 8.5 assists this season.
Albany began its three-game trek through the Bluegrass State with a 77-64 setback against Eastern Kentucky on Saturday. Matt Cerruti made 7 of 8 shots from the floor to finish with a team-high 17 points for the Great Danes, who will also play Wednesday against Eastern Illinois as part of the Eastern Kentucky Invitational.
“Looking forward to this extended road trip we are about to embark on,” Albany coach Dwayne Killings said prior to the trip. “… This trip will give us a chance to continue our growth process, compete at a high level and also get to spend some time together outside of the Capital Region. We are looking forward to a fruitful trip in Kentucky.”
Albany trimmed the Colonels’ lead to 40-38 early in the second half before EKU slowly pulled away. That’s been a familiar refrain for the Great Danes, who are struggling to put together a complete 40 minutes of basketball.
“I feel like we’ve shown how good we can be for a half, whether we’re up or down, we’ve shown the ability to win in some fashion, we just can’t quite complete the deal,” guard Jamel Horton said, per The Times Union. “I think the game we put together a full 40-minute effort, that’s when we get our first win.”
Justin Neely collected 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench for Albany.
–Field Level Media
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