[Ayden Crowley | WOUB]

Second half surge pushes Kentucky past Ohio

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WOUB) — After one half at Rupp Arena, the Ohio Bobcats were down just two and had led for long stretches of the first half against one of the premier blue-blood programs in the country. In the second half, things began to unravel.

“We got a lot of open looks and we were competing against them. At the end of the day, it shows where we can be and how we can improve,” said Jason Carter, who had 15 points in the loss.

The Bobcats came out firing in the first half, racing out to a 20-12 lead with Carter contributing 7 early points. After Kentucky got it back to a 26-25 Wildcat lead, it was Ben Vander Plas’ turn to take over.

Kentucky's Sahvir Wheeler (2) dribbles up court in the Wildcats' game against Ohio on Friday, Nov. 20, 2021 [Ethan Sargeant | WOUB]
Kentucky’s Sahvir Wheeler (2) dribbles up court in the Wildcats’ game against Ohio on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021 [Ethan Sargeant | WOUB]
BVP had himself quite the first half. He had 13 points in the half, with 3 huge 3-pointers and 5 additional rebounds. He helped the Bobcats out to a 38-34 lead near halftime, before a late 6-0 Wildcat run gave Kentucky the lead heading into the half. But the Wildcats came out of the halftime locker room a different team.

Kentucky’s athleticism took over in the second half. This biggest turning point of the game came at the 14 minute mark of the second half. Level at 48, Carter took a drive to the rim and looked like he had an easy dunk, but the finish rimmed out. Kentucky grabbed the board and took it up the floor, where Keion Brooks Jr drained a long two to get Rupp Arena rocking.

Oscar Tshiebwe stole most of the headlines coming into this matchup, but the undisputed star of this game was Ty Ty Washington. The former #14 recruit on the ESPN 100 took over, putting up a 20 point double-double and adding 5 assists. He also had the highlight moment of the game. After a wild sequence with multiple offensive boards by Tshiebwe and Davion Mintz, Mintz kicked it to Washington who drained a long three to extend Kentucky’s lead to 11. From there, the Bobcats seemingly ran out of gas, eventually slumping to the 77-59 loss.

The biggest stat that tells the story of the game is the rebounds. Kentucky out rebounded Ohio 53-17, and almost had more offensive boards (15) than Ohio had total rebounds.

“Obviously 53-17, you aren’t going to win a lot of games,” Ben 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. We have to get more if we want to win a game like that.”

The Bobcats will have to pick themselves off the mat on Monday as they travel to Mount St. Marys. Kentucky gains their best win of the young season and will take on Albany on Saturday.