Reeves, Tshiebwe lead Kentucky to first NCAA Tournament win since 2019

Antonio Reeves scored 22 factors and Oscar Tshiebwe pulled down 25 rebounds in an overwhelming show, serving to Kentucky beat Providence 61-53 in Friday evening’s first spherical of the NCAA Tournament.

Tshiebwe’s rebounding work was the second-most within the match since 1973, and 11 of his rebounds got here on the offensive glass — an enormous issue within the sixth-seeded Wildcats (22-11) staying in management as each offenses grinded to a halt after halftime.

With the two-time Associated Press All-American grabbing nearly each free ball, Kentucky completed with a 48-31 rebounding benefit, controlling the offensive glass (plus-10) and dominating in second-chance factors for an 18-2 edge.

On a day when neither group shot effectively after halftime, that boardwork was very important to sending Kentucky on to face the Montana State-Kansas State winner Sunday within the East Region — an enormous turnaround from final 12 months’s shocking first-round exit towards Fifteenth-seeded Saint Peter’s.

Reeves hit 5 3-pointers to steer the offense, whereas Jacob Toppin had his personal huge sport with 18 factors. Tshiebwe managed eight factors, however he was nonetheless an indomitable power that the Eleventh-seeded Friars (21-12) simply could not handle.

When it was over, Tshiebwe emerged from a TV postgame interview by gleefully skipping his manner off the court docket towards the locker room.

Kentucky gained whereas capturing simply 36.5%.

Ed Croswell scored 16 factors for Providence, which shot simply 36.2% whereas making 5 of 24 3-pointers.

The sport arrange a reunion between Providence star Bryce Hopkins and the Kentucky program he left behind as a switch in the hunt for a much bigger position. Hopkins got here in averaging 16.1 factors, however completed with simply seven on 2-for-9 capturing in a tricky evening whereas being chased primarily by Toppin.

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Reporting by The Associated Press.

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