Kentucky basketball vs Ole Miss: Sahvir Wheeler, in for injured Cason Wallace, exits

OXFORD, Miss. — Kentucky men’s basketball didn't have one of its key players available for Tuesday night’s game at Ole Miss.

Starting guard Cason Wallace was ruled out prior to tipoff at Ole Miss. After the Wildcats' 75-66 victory, coach John Calipari explained the extent of Wallace's injury.

"He had a contusion. There's nothing structurally," Calipari said. "He banged knees. He was good at practice (Monday), and when we went to the shootaround, he kind of stepped funny."

After that, Calipari told Wallace to take a breather against the Rebels.

"I told him, 'Just stay out, man,'" Calipari. "He can't hurt himself, but you don't need to be playing guys if they're 80% or 90% (health). You just don't."

With Wallace sidelined, senior Sahvir Wheeler went back into the lineup. Wheeler provided another scare for UK when he left Tuesday night’s game with an injury of his own, but only briefly.

Wheeler went down at the 3:35 mark of the first half and Kentucky leading 29-25. He had to be helped off the floor but was able to walk to the locker room without assistance.

Kentucky and Ole Miss were tied 32-32 at halftime.

Wheeler returned at the start of the second half.

Tuesday marked the first time since UK’s home loss to South Carolina on Jan. 10 that Wheeler was part of the starting five. He missed the next game — an upset win at then-No. 5 Tennessee — and has come off the bench the past four contests (home games versus Georgia, Texas A&M and Kansas and a road affair versus Vanderbilt).

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In 21 games (all starts) Wallace is averaging 11.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game, making him the only freshman in Division I to achieve those figures during the 2022-23 campaign.

The 6-foot-4, 193-pound Dallas native has scored in double figures on 12 occasions, with a career-high 27 points in a rout of Florida A&M on Dec. 21. He tied a single-game school record with eight steals in Kentucky’s double-overtime loss to Michigan State in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis on Nov. 15. He’s recorded at least one steal in 19 games, and notched multiple-steal efforts 11 times.

Wheeler is averaging 7.8 points and 2.2 rebounds on the season.

Wheeler, who led the SEC in assists per game the past two seasons, once again leads the league with 5.5 dimes per game entering Tuesday.

Reach Kentucky men’s basketball and football reporter Ryan Black at and follow him on Twitter at @RyanABlack.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: John Calipari: Kentucky basketball's Cason Wallace out vs Ole Miss