SHANE SHACKLEFORD: Wildcats Dominate Gamecocks 76-48
The No. 5 Kentucky Wildcats rode a dominant performance on the glass and forward EJ Montgomery to defeat the South Carolina Gamecocks 76-48 Tuesday night, Feb. 5 in Rupp Arena.
The Cats (19-3) outrebounded USC 50-27 and made life difficult for the Cocks in the lane, either blocking or changing many shots in the paint.
UK’s dominance was never in question. The Cats were able to inflict their will upon USC on both ends of the floor, especially on the defensive end, holding the Gamecocks to 35.8 percent shooting from the field. Also, the plus 23-rebound margin the Cats enjoyed is the largest they have had in SEC play and the third largest margin of the season.
While Kentucky enjoyed a dominant performance as a team, it was EJ Montgomery who had the individual performance of the night, scoring 11 points and grabbing a team-high 13 rebounds. The freshman forward from Florida used his length and athleticism to be a force on both ends all night long.
UK coach John Calipari praised Montgomery.
"EJ was really good. Double-double, active, playing hard, blocking shots," said Calipari. "He's starting to come around. This was a great game for him to prove it against a really physical team, that they're going to get body-to-body on you. He was able to still get it done."
Other notable Wildcat performances included:
PJ Washington finishing with 20 points and five rebounds. It is his sixth 20-point game of the season and seven straight games in double figures.
Tyler Herro had 11 points and added three rebounds.
Reid Travis nearing a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds. He also had a season-high three steals.
Ashton Hagans talling two points, four assists and three steals. Hagans has 16 consecutive games with at least three assists. He’s led the team in assists 17 times this season.
Nick Richards had four points, four rebounds and a steals in 11 minutes. UK is 9-0 this season when Richards scores at least four points.
Next up for the Wildcats; a date in Starkville with Mississippi State on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT in Starkville). The game will be televised on CBS.
Shane Shackleford is a regional sports columnist from Speedwell, Tenn. You can contact him on Twitter, Facebook, or email at email@example.com.