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No. 4 Kentucky rolls in opener despite missing 3 starters

Nov 3, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Antonio Reeves (12) talks with head coach John Calipari during the second half against the Kentucky State Thoroughbreds at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Reeves scored 22 points off the bench and CJ Fredrick added 20 as No. 4 Kentucky opened the season with a 95-63 victory against visiting Howard despite playing without three starters Monday night.

Fredrick, a transfer from Iowa, was making his Wildcats debut after missing all of last season due to a hamstring injury. Jacob Toppin added a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds as Cason Wallace scored 15.

Oscar Tshiebwe, the reigning national Player of the Year, and All-SEC guard Sahvir Wheelers were sidelined by injury and Damion Collins missed the game in the wake of his father’s death last week.

Kobe Dickson scored 17 and Elijah Hawkins added 14 to lead the Bison.

The Wildcats held the Bison to 34.3 percent field-goal shooting (23 of 67), including 28 percent (7 of 25) on 3-pointer tries.

Kentucky shot 54.8 percent from the floor (34 of 62), including 45.8 percent (11 of 24) on 3-pointers.

Kentucky attempted 15 more free throws (28-13) than the Bison and made 16, compared with 10 for Howard.

Howard scored first in the second half on a layup by Jelani Williams, but Fredrick later had two baskets and a 3-pointer during a 12-0 run that gave Kentucky a 63-30 lead.

Hawkins scored five points as the Bison trimmed the lead to 65-40, but Reeves answered with a 3-pointer and the Wildcats eventually pushed the lead back to 30. Their biggest lead was 38.

Wallace had three consecutive Kentucky baskets as the Wildcats opened a 16-7 lead.

The Bison got within six points twice before Fredrick made a 3-pointer and another jumper to help Kentucky open a 31-16 lead.

The lead grew to 18 before Steve Settle III converted a three-point play to pull Howard within 36-21.

Fredrick made three free throws as the Wildcats opened a 21-point lead and Ugonna Onyenso converted two layups in the final minute, pushing the lead to 49-26 at halftime.

–Field Level Media