Kentucky Basketball: Wildcats improve to 2-0 in physical matchup with Duquesne

Kentucky Wildcats guard Sahvir Wheeler (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky Wildcats guard Sahvir Wheeler (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Kentucky Wildcats move on to 2-0 on the young college basketball season after a physical test from the Duquesne Dukes with a 77-52 final. In a game thought saw more takedowns than some MMA fights, the Cats matched the Dukes physicality and intensity to stretch the game out of reach in the second half. 

The Cats looked a little sloppy on the offensive end in tonight’s game compared to their opening-night performance against Howard. Kentucky had 15 turnovers tonight, which won’t get them far in a game with a Michigan State team who just took Gonzaga to the wire. For all the talk of turnovers, the Cats still have plenty to be thrilled with in tonight’s victory.

Ugonna Onyenso Taking Advantage Of Playing Time

There’s not a bigger surprise on the team this year than the hot start of freshman Ugonna Onyenso. Onyenso followed up his dazzling opening night with another stellar performance for fans at Rupp Arena.

Onyenso finished the night with 9 pts, 10 rebs, and 3 blks. One point shy of what would have been the first double-double of his college career. Onyenso’s early play has been a welcomed sight for a team missing their star player in the post in, Oscar Tshiebwe.

Sahvir Wheeler’s Return Made An Immediate Impact

Sahvir Wheeler made his season debut tonight, and it was felt immediately. The All-SEC point guard wasted no time getting acquainted with the game. Six of Wheeler’s eleven assists came in the first half.

Wheeler’s presence opened the floor for the team on the offensive end and proved just how deadly of a weapon the speedy point guard can be. Wheeler also finished the game 4-7 from the field, posting 11 pts, which led to what will be the first of many double-doubles from him this season. Welcome back, Sahvir Wheeler!

Duquesne didn’t run from the challenge and let the Cats know early and often that they were here to play with their physicality. This was a good test for a team still trying to play a game with all their pieces together.

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There’s not much time to look back at this one, as the Cats turn to their first marquee matchup of the season this coming Tuesday when they take on Michigan State in the Champions Classic. More from that one coming soon. For now, enjoy this one, Big Blue Nation!