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No. 18 Kentucky races past Missouri in SEC opener

Sportsnaut
Dec 29, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Missouri Tigers forward Trevon Brazile (23) drives to the basket against Kentucky Wildcats forward Jacob Toppin (0) during the first half at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Missouri Tigers forward Trevon Brazile (23) drives to the basket against Kentucky Wildcats forward Jacob Toppin (0) during the first half at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Keion Brooks Jr. scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the No. 18 Kentucky Wildcats past the Missouri Tigers 83-56 in their Southeastern Conference opener Wednesday in Lexington, Ky.

TyTy Washington Jr. scored 14 points and Oscar Tshiebwe had 13 points and 20 rebounds for the Wildcats (10-2 overall, 1-0 in the SEC)

The Wildcats have averaged a robust 92 points while winning their last three games and have won 10 consecutive home games dating back to last season.

Amari Davis and Jarron Coleman led Missouri (6-7, 0-1) with 10 points each. The Tigers played without coach Cuonzo Martin, who stayed home following a positive COVID-19 test.

Assistant coach Cornell Mann took over on an interim basis.

The Wildcats raced to a quick 11-2 lead as Brooks and Sahvir Wheeler each scored two buckets.

Leading Missouri scored Kobe Brown went to the bench with his second foul with 14:26 left in the first half, but the Tigers got 3-point jumpers from Davis and Ronnie DeGray III to pull ahead, 18-17.

The Wildcats, however, responded with a 25-4 surge — capped by Washington scoring seven points in less than 2 minutes — to take a 42-22 lead with 1:43 left in the half.

Missouri turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and earned just one free throw, which it missed. Kentucky had seven steals in the first 20 minutes and made 10-of-12 free throws.

Coleman and DaJuan Gordon combined to lead Missouri on a 9-1 run opening the second half. That cut the margin to 45-36, but Kellan Grady’s 3-point basket stabilized the Wildcats.

Kentucky hit the accelerator midway through the second half with Wheeler scoring a driving layup and setting up Brooks for a dunk on the next possession to put the Wildcats up 59-45.

The Tigers got no closer than 11 points after that.

Kentucky improved to 14-2 against Missouri all-time and 8-0 against the Tigers at home.

–Field Level Media