LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — The weight has been lifted off the shoulders of Kentucky men’s hoops after they won their first NCAA Tournament game since 2019.

The Wildcats beat Providence 61-53 in the NCAA East Region opening round. Kentucky will now face Kansas State on Sunday in the Round of 32.

Oscar Tshiebwe hauled in a 25 rebounds, the most by a Wildcat in then NCAA Tournament since 1956.

“The first game is a hard game for guys, and we missed probably seven straight shots where we could have extended the game or extended the lead, and we missed them,” John Calipari said after the game. “I’ll tell you what we did, we made every free-throw down the stretch we needed to make to keep them at bay.”

Antonio Reeves led Kentucky in the scoring department once again, with a game-high 22 points. Jacob Toppin followed up with 18 points and six rebounds. Toppin drew the assignment of former Wildcat, and held him to seven points on the night.