LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Antonio Reeves scored 27 points to lead No. 8 Kentucky to a 96-70 win over Illinois State on Friday night.

Playing its first game since a 95-76 win over rival Louisville on Dec. 21, Kentucky (10-2) made 11 3-pointers - four by Reeves - and got 36 points from its bench. Reeves scored 30 points in Kentucky’s win over Louisville.

“Just being able to play with them on the same floor is just everything for me, being able to go out there for the last year and play against our teammates. It’s just it’s a great feeling,” he said.

Reeves began his career at Illinois State where he scored 1,195 points from 2019-22. He scored 12 points in the first half and his 3-pointer at the 5:35 mark of the first half gave the Wildcats their first double-digit lead, one that held for the remainder of the contest.

“Antonio didn’t just shoot it - he got to the rim when we needed it,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.

Calipari also praised Reeves’ performance on the defensive end.

“He was guarding their best player,” Calipari said. “Last year, he would guard their worst player and we hoped he had black socks on that guy, because now he’s our best perimeter defender.”

Rob Dillingham followed Reeves with 16 points, D.J. Wagner scored 14 and Reed Sheppard finished with 11.

Calipari wasn’t happy with his team’s rebounding. Despite being outsized in the post, the Redbirds outrebounded the Wildcats 45-40 and grabbed 24 offensive rebounds.

“(We did) a lot of good, but (giving up) 24 offensive rebounds, you’re not going to win games in our league … I can’t remember one of my teams in 15 years giving up 24 offensive rebounds,” Calipari said. “We didn’t go get any balls. We got a few, but not like they did. That’ll concern me. But we got time.”

The Wildcats were without sophomore Adou Thiero who sat out because of “general soreness” in his back and is listed as day-to-day. Freshman center Zvonomir Ivisic, awaiting clearance from the NCAA on his eligibility, returned to Croatia during the Christmas break and was granted extra time to spend with his family.

Myles Foster led Illinois State (8-5) with 20 points. Malachi Poindexter and Darius Burford each had 13 and Dalton Banks finished with 11.


Kentucky: Since dropping an 80-73 decision to UNC-Wilmington on Dec. 2, the Wildcats have reeled off four straight victories and will open the Southeastern Conference schedule at Florida on Jan. 6. Calipari moved to within three wins of clinching his 400th victory as coach of the Wildcats.

Illinois State: The Redbirds will shift focus to the Missouri Valley Conference schedule. They won their first two league contests with wins over Northern Kentucky and Murray State. Illinois State fell to 0-2 in games played against the Wildcats.


Kentucky at Florida on Jan. 6.

Illinois State at Drake on Tuesday.


AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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