Wildcats pull away from Bobcats


By Del Duduit - PDT Sports Writer



Ohio University’s Ben Vander Plas (5) slams home a dunk during the second half of the Bobcats’ 77-59 loss to No. 13 Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Friday.

Ohio University’s Ben Vander Plas (5) slams home a dunk during the second half of the Bobcats’ 77-59 loss to No. 13 Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Friday.


Courtesy of Michael Huang

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky’s 29-9 second-half run took what was a close game at the break, and turned it into a 77-59 non-conference blowout win over visiting Ohio University on Friday night at Rupp Arena in front of 19,045 fans.

Kentucky’s defensive pressure was a factor as Ohio did not make a two-point bucket or a free throw for 14 minutes in the second half.

The Bobcats (3-1) hung with the No. 13 Wildcats (3-1) and trailed 40-38 at the break, thanks in part to OU’s Ben Vander Plas, who scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the first half.

“He’s a tough matchup for most people,” Ohio University head coach Jeff Boals said of his player. “I thought late in the game, they started switching everything which kind of stagnated us. In the first half, we got some good looks and post entries. In the second half they made some good adjustments, but he is an All-American person.”

Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe was called for two quick fouls in the first two minutes, and he sat the bench the start of the second half.

“So Oscar getting the two quick fouls, first one was —- I’ll watch the tape, but I already know what I’ll see,” Wildcats coach John Calipari said. “And then he gets 10 rebounds in the second half. Doesn’t care about scoring. Just goes and chases down the ball.”

Kentucky outrebounded the Bobcats 53-17 — with 19 of them coming from the offensive glass.

“Obviously 53-17, you aren’t going to win a lot of games,” Vander Plas said. “I thought we did a good job with Oscar and bowing him out with the three rebounds, but just yeah with those 50-50 rebounds. We weren’t getting them, but they were, and they were easy buckets.”

The Wildcats were led by Keion Brooks Jr.’s 22 points, as he connected on 9-of-18 attempts and pulled down eight rebounds.

The 6-7 small forward from Fort Wayne, Indiana nailed mid-range jumpers all night long.

“We picked up that they were giving me that shot,” Brooks said. “That’s a shot I’ve always shot pretty well … my guys did a great job … they threw it to me, and I just had to knock them down.”

The performance was a season-high for the junior.

“Keion shot twos,” Calipari added. “I kept telling him, why are you shooting threes? Shoot twos.”

Kentucky’s Bryce Hopkins — a 6-6 forward from Oak Park, Illinois — provided crucial minutes in the first half to keep the Wildcats in the game.

At one time, OU held a 22-14 lead — after Vander Plas swished a 16-foot fadeaway.

Hopkins scored seven points and seven rebounds in the first half, while Tshiebwe sat with foul trouble.

“Without Hopkins playing, we don’t win this game,” Calipari said. “This game really showed us something. I thought we got into (Ohio’s) legs, at least that’s what we were trying to do.”

By limiting the Bobcats to 59 points, the Wildcats are 191-9 under Calipari when holding opponents to 63 points or less.

Kentucky also leads in matchups over Ohio University 15-1, including 7-0 in Lexington.

The win gives Kentucky its longest winning streak of the young season.

Both teams had quick turnarounds — as on Monday Kentucky hosted Albany and OU hosted Mount St. Mary’s.

BOX SCORE

OU 38 21 – 59

UK 40 37 — 77

OU:

Roderick 0-5, 0-2, 1-2 1; Vander Plas 8-15, 3-7, 0-0 19; Carter 7-16, 1-3 0-0 5; Sears 2-11, 0-1, 6-7 10; Brown 2-4, 1-3, 5; McDay 1-4, 1-3, 0-0 3; Schmock 0-3, 0-0, 0-0 0; Clayton 2-2, 2-2, 0

Rebounds: 17, Vander Plas 6

UK:

Brooks 9-18, 0-3, 4-4 22; Tshiebwe 0-3, 0-0, 0-0 0; Wheeler 4-9, 0-1, 3-3 11; Washington 8-15, 1-6, 3-3 20; Collins 1-1, 0-0, 0-0 2; Hopkins 2-4, 1-2, 2-2 7; Mintz 4-7, 0-2, 4-5 12; Allen 1-1, 1-1, 0-0 3

Rebounds: 53, Washington 11, Tshiebwe 10

Ohio University’s Ben Vander Plas (5) slams home a dunk during the second half of the Bobcats’ 77-59 loss to No. 13 Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Friday.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/11/web1_OU-UK-_-Vander-Plas-1.jpgOhio University’s Ben Vander Plas (5) slams home a dunk during the second half of the Bobcats’ 77-59 loss to No. 13 Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Friday. Courtesy of Michael Huang

By Del Duduit

PDT Sports Writer