POSTGAME NOTES: Wildcats Edge Mississippi State 71-67; UK Now 20-3
UK Athletics Photo by Chet White
Postgame Notes compiled by Tony Neely, UK Athletics
Final Score: No. 5 Kentucky 71, RV/21 Mississippi State 67
Team Records and Series Notes
Kentucky is now 20-3 overall and 9-1 in the Southeastern Conference.
Kentucky has won 10 in a row, its longest streak since a 14-game win streak in 2016-17.
UK has won nine consecutive SEC games, its longest since sweeping the 18-game league schedule in 2014-15.
Kentucky has won five straight road games, the longest road streak since sweeping the 10-game away schedule in 2014-15.
This is UK’s 11th straight 20-win season, including all 10 years under Coach John Calipari.
Mississippi State is 16-7, 4-6 in the SEC.
Kentucky leads the series 97-20 and has won 13 in a row vs. the Bulldogs, UK’s longest current winning streak against an SEC opponent. UK leads 36-12 in games played in Starkville.
Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats return home to host LSU on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.
In the First Half
Kentucky started Ashton Hagans (pictured), Tyler Herro (pictured), Keldon Johnson, PJ Washington and Reid Travis for the 16th time this season. UK is now 13-3 with that lineup.
Washington got off to a good start, scoring UK’s first eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Trailing 17-15, a 7-0 spurt over two minutes – including five points from Herro – put the Cats on a 22-17 cushion. UK never trailed again, but the drama was far from over.
A few minutes later, a 9-0 run put UK up 33-21. Hagans played in a role on all four baskets with assists on the first three, followed by two offensive rebounds that set up the final bucket.
All totaled, UK closed the first half with a 25-8 run for a 40-25 advantage at intermission.
Washington led the Cats with 10 points while Hagans directed traffic with seven assists.
UK made 5 of 11 from 3-point range while holding the home team to 0 of 4.
In the Second Half
Kentucky began the second half with the same starting lineup.
UK pushed out to 49-31, its largest lead of the game, before the Bulldogs warmed to the task.
MSU put together a 19-2 run to close the score to 51-50 with 8:41 remaining.
Washington responded with a post-up basket. Hagans followed with a driving basket and two free throws to give the Wildcats some breathing room at 57-50.
After a Bulldog 3-pointer, Johnson scored six straight to push the lead back to 10 at 63-53.
The Bulldogs lived up to their nickname, eventually pulling back within three points at 70-67.
MSU got the ball back with a chance to tie but Johnson stuffed a shot by Quinndary Weatherspoon (officially credited with a steal) and recovered the ball with 10 seconds left.
Hagans made 1 of 2 free throws as UK held on for the final margin.
Kentucky was strong around the basket today, leading the rebounding 35-28 and points in the paint 34-24.
UK is 18-1 this season when winning/tying the rebounding and 17-2 when prevailing in the paint.
During the current 10-game win streak UK has …
Held the opponents to 58.9 points per game
Limited the opponents to 37.9 percent from the field
Limited the opponents to 32.1 percent from 3-point range
UK improved to 253-5 (.981) under Calipari when leading by at least 10 points at any point in the game.
The Wildcats are now 239-40 vs. opponents not ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.
PJ Washington led the charge with 23 points.
He made 9 of 13 from the field and made all three tries from 3-point land.
It is his seventh 20-point game of the season and his fifth in the last six games.
He has eight straight games in double figures.
Tyler Herro had 12 points. He made two 3-pointers, including a crucial long-ranger – as the shot clock expired – with three minutes to go that helped keep Mississippi State at bay.
Reid Travis totaled eight points, a game-high rebounds and two blocked shots.
Ashton Hagans had four points and his nine assists tied his career high set on Jan. 22 vs. Mississippi State.
Hagans has 17 consecutive games with at least three assists. He’s led the team in assists 18 times this season.
UK is 5-0 this season when Hagans has seven or more assists.
Keldon Johnson had 13 points, seven rebounds and the crucial steal late in the game that preserved the victory.
This is the 19th time in John Calipari’s career with a 10-game winning streak.
It’s Calipari’s 25th consecutive on-court 20-win season. He leads all active coaches with that streak.
Calipari is now 295-67 at UK.
He is now two wins away from tying Joe B. Hall for the second-most victories by a UK head coach in program history.
Calipari has a 740-207 all-time on-court record.