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Kentucky falls to Duke in season opener

UK Athletics

UK's Sahvir Wheeler and Oscar Tshiebwe had double doubles in their debuts but it wasn't enough as the Wildcats lost their season opener to Duke 79-71 in the nightcap of the Champions Classic in Madison Square Garden.

The two basketball blue bloods, who have quite the history between them on the game's biggest stage, put on a spectacular show to open the season. The loud split crowd at Madison Square Garden that included many members of the New York Knicks and Bruce Springsteen was on its feet for most of the second half.

Duke, which led by four at the half, built the advantage to 15 with just under 10 minutes left behind Keels. The Wildcats wouldn't go away, scoring the next 11 points to get within 69-65 on a three-point play by Oscar Tshiebwe with 6:07 left.

That's as close as Kentucky could get. Freshman Trevor Keels scored on the Blue Devils' next possession and classmate Paolo Banchero followed with a three-point play after a huge block by Mark Williams to start a 7-0 run.

Kentucky could only get within eight the rest of the way.

Tshiebwe finished with 17 points and 19 rebounds. Sahvir Wheeler added 16 points and 10 assists for the Wildcats.


Kentucky: Hosts Robert Morris on Friday night.

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