UK stumbles to win at Mississippi State 88-81

Coach Calipari
Coach Calipari

UK looked to be cruising leading Miss. St at the half 46-34 and would lead by as much as 18 points early in the 2nd half. That was before the wheels came off and the Cats nearly gave this game away. Kentucky was outscored 47-42 in the second half.  Kentucky was led by Fox with 21. Monk chipped in 14, Willis & Gabriel had 13. Briscoe had 12 Hawkins & Adebayo 5 each, Humphries had 4 and Wynard rounded out the scoring with 1 point.

Men’s Basketball Postgame Notes – Kentucky at Mississippi State, Humphrey Coliseum, Starkville, Miss. – Jan. 17, 2017 – Attendance: 9,768 – Final Score: No. 5/5 Kentucky 88, Mississippi State 81

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky is 16-2 overall, 6-0 in the Southeastern Conference. Mississippi State is 12-5 (3-2 SEC)
  • This is the third time in Coach John Calipari’s eight seasons at UK that the Wildcats have been spotless through their first six league games.
  • Kentucky leads the series 94-20, including 35-12 in Starkville.

o    Calipari is undefeated against Mississippi State.

  • Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats welcome South Carolina to Rupp Arena on Saturday at 6 p.m. ESPN will air the game.


In the First Half

  • Kentucky started the lineup of Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Wenyen Gabriel and Bam Adebayo for the 12th time this season.  UK is 10-2 with that lineup.
  • Derek Willis made a 3-pointer at the 15:29 mark to extend Kentucky’s streak of 3-pointers to 993 consecutive games.
  • Willis (13) and Fox (10) combined to score half the Wildcats’ points in the first half.
  • Kentucky committed 12 first-half fouls, the second most it has been called for in a first half this season. UK committed 12 first-half fouls in five games. The season-high was 13 at Vanderbilt last Tuesday.

 In the Second Half

  • Ahead by 12 points at half, Kentucky scored the first five points of the second half to open a 17-point-lead at the 19:07 mark.
  • Kentucky led by as many as 18 at the 12:54 mark
  • Mississippi State went on an 8-0 run over 1:04 to cut the UK lead to nine points, 66-57, and forced the Wildcats to take a timeout at the 10:23 mark.
  • The hosts scored the first five points after that timeout to get within four, 66-62, before Dominique Hawkins nailed a 3-pointer to end the run at 13-0.
  • Mississippi State got within three points at 69-66, before Gabriel made a 3.
  • Kentucky stretched the lead to 76-66, forcing a Mississippi State timeout with 6:35 to play.
  • Mississippi State never cut the deficit to fewer than three points.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky shot 50.8 percent from the field. It is the 13th time this season and sixth game in a row that the Wildcats have hit at least half their shots.

o    The last time Kentucky had such a run of consecutive games shooting better than 50 percent was the 1983-84 season.

  • That team made more than half its shots eight straight times from Jan. 28 to Feb. 25.
  • The 1983-84 Wildcats also shot 50 percent or better nine straight times earlier that season.
  • Kentucky’s 16 turnovers were its most since Dec. 7, and second most of the season (17 vs. Valpo).
  • Five Wildcats scored in double figures; and it was the ninth straight game that at least one Wildcat tallied 20 or more points.
  • Calipari has a 678-189 (.782) on-court record, including a 233-49 (.826) mark at UK.

Player Notes  

  • Freshman De’Aaron Fox had 21 points, five assists and five rebounds. It was his fifth straight game scoring in double figures.
  • He scored nine-straight points for the Wildcats from the 3:41 mark to 0:47 remaining.
  • Freshman Wenyen Gabriel scored 13 points, two shy of his career-high
  • He made a career-high three 3-pointers, and has made five over his last two games.
  • He was a perfect five of five from the field.
  • With eight rebounds he led UK in rebounding for the second game in a row.
  • Senior Derek Willis poured in 13 first-half points and added five rebounds.
  • It’s the sixth game this season he has topped 10 points.
  • Freshman Malik Monk had 14 points and four assists
  • He continued his streak of double-figure scoring in every game this season.
  • He’s dished out four or more assists in back-to-back games.
  • Sophomore Isaiah Briscoe had 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
  • Freshman Bam Adebayo had five points in 20 foul-trouble-plagued minutes.
  • He broke a streak of reaching double-figure scoring in 14-straight games.
  • Senior Dominique Hawkins had five points, including a 3-pointer late in the second half to quell a 13-0 spurt by the home team.
  • He’s scored five or more points in consecutive outings for the first time since a five game stretch from Nov. 25- Dec. 11.