Kentucky Basketball: Cats fight off pesky Vandy advance to SEC semis vs Vols

Keion Brooks Jr. of the Kentucky Wildcats. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Keion Brooks Jr. of the Kentucky Wildcats. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Kentucky basketball
Davion Mintz of the Kentucky Wildcats . (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Kentucky’s bench always has someone to do the unnoticed dirty work

They may not get a lot of credit in the box score and stat sheet but it’s the players on the bench who do the dirty work that keeps this Kentucky team in games.

There is the instant energy of Jacob Toppin, the calm and cool Davion Mintz, and the enforcer Lance Ware.

It seems Calipari knows this team and when it’s the perfect time to insert them into the game and they deliver.

Mintz is loving every minute of this season’s ride and delivering bombs when his team needs them. Against Vandy, they didn’t need him to run the offense or make spectacular plays. They needed him to give Washington time to regroup and contribute 10 points and dish out five assists.

Toppin was injured in the game when he took an inadvertent blow to the face by Tshiebwe. The blood wouldn’t stop and he went to the locker room. He returned in the second half with a face mask on that didn’t deter him.

He also came up with a rejection that came out of nowhere as UK turned it over only to have Toppin streak out of nowhere for the rejection.

His contribution was 10 points, three blocked shots, and two rebounds.

Ware didn’t score any points but he spelled Tshiebwe enough minutes while getting three rebounds, blocked two shots, and even had an assist.