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

Antonio Reeves scored 22 points and Oscar Tshiebwe had 25 rebounds in a crushing display, helping Kentucky beat Providence 61-53 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.

Tshiebwe’s rebounding work was the second in the tournament since 1973, and 11 of his rebounds came on the offensive glass – a major factor in the sixth-seeded Wildcats (22-11) staying in control as the two offenses stopped after half-time.

With the Associated Press All-American double grabbing just about every stray ball, Kentucky finished with a 48-31 rebounding advantage, controlling the offensive glass (plus-10) and dominating in second-chance points for an advantage. of 18-2.

On a day when neither team shot well after halftime, that advisory work was key to sending Kentucky to face the Montana State-Kansas State winner on Sunday in the East Region – a big a turnaround from last year’s surprising first-round exit against 15th seed Saint Pierre.

Reeves hit five 3-pointers to lead the offense, while Jacob Toppin had his own big game with 18 points. Tshiebwe managed eight points, but he was still an indomitable force that the 11th-seeded Brothers (21-12) simply couldn’t handle.

When it was over, Tshiebwe came out of a post-match television interview happily jumping from the field to the locker room.

Kentucky won shooting just 36.5%.

Ed Croswell scored 16 points for Providence, which shot just 36.2 percent while making 5 of 24 3-pointers.

The game set up a reunion between Providence star Bryce Hopkins and the Kentucky program he left behind as a transfer looking for a bigger role. Hopkins averaged 16.1 points but finished with just seven on 2-for-9 shooting on a tough night while mostly chased by Toppin.

Associated Press report.

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