Tshiebwe's dominant night leads UK past Chippewas
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Oscar Tshiebwe had 20 points and 16 rebounds, TyTy Washington Jr. added 15 points and No. 9 Kentucky quickly overwhelmed Central Michigan for a 85-57 victory on Monday night.
The Wildcats (6-1) shot 60% in the first half before cooling off to finish 43% overall while dominating the rebuilding Chippewas (1-5) in most phases. They led 25-5 within seven minutes and maintained at least a 25-point cushion for much of the contest. Kentucky's six wins have been by an average margin of 28.3 points.
Jermaine Jackson Jr. had 11 points, and Cameron Healy and Miroslav Stafl each added nine for Central Michigan, which dropped its third consecutive game. It spoiled the Lexington return of first-year Chippewas coach Tony Barbee, who took over the program in April after seven seasons as a Kentucky assistant.
Tshiebwe was 6 of 8 from the field and 8 of 11 from the foul line in 26 minutes to key his sixth double-double this season. Washington was 6 of 11, including 3 of 5 from behind the arc, and chipped in six rebounds as Kentucky controlled the boards 47-30.
The Wildcats also won the paint 36-26 and committed just six turnovers while scoring 23 points off 15 Chippewas mistakes.
Central Michigan came in shooting just 39% from the field and those struggles continued as the Chippewas were just 10 of 30 in the first half, including a 3-of-16 first-half stretch that briefly dug a 30-point hole. They improved to 50% in the second half and even outscored Kentucky's bench 29-27, but faced too deep a hole.
Kentucky came out fast, created opportunities and made them count in perhaps its best start this season. The Wildcats shot just 32% after halftime but were never really threatened. They may have to wait until facing Notre Dame on Dec. 11 to be seriously challenged in their nonconference schedule.
Central Michigan: Visits Xavier on Wednesday night.
Kentucky: Hosts Southern on Dec. 7.