Kentucky Basketball: Wildcats claw and fight, but no answer for Duke’s length

Kentucky vs Duke (Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky vs Duke (Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Kentucky basketball
Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe (Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Oscar Tshiebwe battles nonstop and earns everything he gets

We knew Tshiebwe was going to be a big force in the paint for Kentucky this year and if his performance is any indication of what we will get all year then the Wildcats interior will have no problems.

The big man from the Congo recorded the most rebounds ever by a UK player in their first career game played at Kentucky.

Corey Price also pointed out that he is the first UK player to have at least 17 points and 19 rebounds in a season opener since Dan Issel’s game against Xavier on November 30th, 1968 when he tallied 29 points and hauled down 24 rebounds.

He sacrificed his body the entire game playing just 29 minutes thanks to some early foul trouble, but he made the most of every minute he played. He was 8 of 14 from the field and made the only free throw he shot.

The big man was asked about his tenacity and rebounding after the game.

"“That’s what you got to do. If you really want to help your team, you got to fight, so I came out and fight. So I was going for everything. I was doing my best. I came in to win the game. That’s why I was fighting. I cannot make anybody rebound them for me. That’s why I was going for everything.”"

His play reminds you of a great NBA rebounder who played the same style in one Moses Malone. He stood out a player who was consistent, a hard-nosed player that cleaned the boards. A lot of his points came on second-chance baskets.

Malone was named the “Chairman of the Board” and from what we saw from Tschiebwe I thought he looked like Malone in his 19 years in the NBA.

Tshiebwe showed us that same demeanor and fight. He stayed home in the paint where he knows he is needed, except for setting high picks, and was the recipient of some amazing passes from Sahvier Wheeler.