Rob Dillingham scores 17 points as No. 16 Kentucky beats New Mexico State 86-46
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Rob Dillingham scored 17 points, D.J. Wagner had 13 and No. 16 Kentucky shot 59% in the second half to rout New Mexico State 86-46 on Monday night in the season opener for both teams.
Picking up where they left off from winning the GLOBL Jam this summer, the Wildcats' touted freshmen took charge after four minutes and helped the team pull away. Wagner and Justin Edwards (12 points) set the tone, and Kentucky native Reed Sheppard finished with 12 points. Dillingham heated up late and went 6 of 11 from the field.
Fifth-year senior Antonio Reeves, one of Kentucky's few holdovers, and West Virginia transfer Tre Mitchell also were part of the mix. Reeves had 11 points, and Mitchell finished with nine points, nine rebounds and five assists.
The Wildcats closed with a 17-0 run over the final six minutes and 21-2 over the last seven.
Jaylin Jackson-Posey and Christian Cook each had 10 points for New Mexico State, which began with first-year coach Jason Hooten and a revamped roster after a tumultuous spring.
NMSU resumed competition for the first time since the university canceled the remainder of last season on Feb. 12 after the filing of a police report alleging gruesome locker-room hazing. Coach Greg Heiar was fired soon after. A former player, Mike Peake, was suspended in connection with a fatal shooting of a student in Albuquerque last Nov. 19 in an unrelated incident but was not charged.
New Mexico State: As might be expected of a reconstructed roster, the Aggies struggled to establish a flow in their first official game together. Stringing together baskets was harder, as they had two stretches with seven consecutive misses and only a few times making shots in a row in shooting 32%.
Kentucky: The Wildcats not only played fast, but they committed just six turnovers. They forced NMSU into 18 turnovers and converted them into 24 points.