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USATSI

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari came to the defense of Wildcats big man Oscar Tshiebwe after Friday's victory vs. Ohio, responding to a petty jab from his former coach, West Virginia's Bob Huggins, who earlier suggested that Tshiebwe did not work hard when he was on the Mountaineers. 

Calipari took issue with the implication with a smile and a whisper in his postgame press conference after UK's 77-59 win over Ohio

"He's averaging 20 rebounds per game," Calipari said. "It's hard to say he doesn't work hard. He works hard."

After the Mountaineers' win over Elon, Huggins did not mention Tshiebwe by name discussing roster turnover. Instead, he called Tshiebwe -- a McDonald's All-American in high school -- an "alleged McDonald's All-American" and said they lost him because Tshiebwe "didn't like the fact that we were making him do things that were hard."

Tshiebwe had 10 rebounds -- all in the second half -- in the win Friday over the Bobcats. He's averaging 13.8 points and 16.5 rebounds per game for Kentucky on the season after transferring from West Virginia a year ago.

It's pretty clear Huggins, even a year removed from the transfer, is salty about how things transpired. Tshiebwe got off to a slow start last season and big man Derek Culver emerged as the best frontcourt player. But with Culver gone, West Virginia this season is getting crushed on the boards as Tshiebwe is crushing the boards for UK, with West Virginia currently ranking last among all Big 12 teams in rebounds per game.