Cats hold off Rebels, 85-75

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - John Wall shook off a recent slump to
score 17 points to go with seven assists while leading No. 4
Kentucky to an 85-75 win over No. 25 Mississippi on Tuesday night.
DeMarcus Cousins added 18 points and 13 rebounds for the
Wildcats (21-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference), who built an early
double-digit lead then held off a couple of second-half rallies by
the Rebels.
Even better for the Wildcats was the steady play of Wall, who
was all smiles following a meeting with coach John Calipari to
clear the air after both expressed frustration over the freshman's
recent play.
Terrico White led Mississippi (16-6, 4-4) with 19 points and
Chris Warren added 15 but Mississippi missed freshman big man
Reginald Buckner, who sat out his second straight game with a
sprained ankle.
Ole Miss certainly could have used Buckner's presence. Kentucky
shot 50 percent from the field and outscored the Rebels 44-30 in
the paint.
With more than 20 NBA scouts and a handful of general managers
on hand, all eyes were on Wall's play. The rest of the packed house
at Rupp Arena was a little more focused on his demeanor.
He created a small furor over the weekend when he told reporters
he "wasn't having any fun" after the Wildcats beat Vanderbilt.
The freshman expressed frustration with Calipari and his own
inability to live up to the sky-high expectations he's built for
During a private chat, Calipari reminded Wall that even the best
freshmen struggle at times, including his former Memphis stars
Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose. Calipari urged Wall to stop worrying
about trying to compete with his own hype and try to focus on
simply enjoying himself.
His mood appeared to be corresponding with his play. After a
scintillating start to the season in which he became a media
darling, Wall's numbers have tailed off recently.
He came in averaging 16.2 points on 39 percent shooting in SEC
play, hardly terrible but not exactly up to the ridiculously high
standards Wall had set for himself.
Wall said Monday he and Calipari were "cool" and that
"everything is OK."
It certainly appeared the good times were back against the
Wall dunked on a runout less than 2 minutes in to give the
Wildcats a quick 7-0 lead. He screamed as he landed, perhaps
letting two weeks of frustration out in the process.
He then drilled a 3-pointer moments later and Kentucky appeared
to be ready to bury the Rebels.
Mississippi hung around, however, behind the play of White and
Eniel Polynice as the game turned into a tennis match. One team
would go on a run, and the other would answer.
Kentucky put together a 15-0 burst to go up 27-9 but the Rebels
rallied with an 11-2 surge. The Wildcats managed to take a 46-37
halftime lead, an advantage that could have been larger if not for
11 turnovers.
Darnell Dodson hit two 3-pointers early in the second half to
help Kentucky extend the lead to 58-41, but Mississippi kept
The Rebels pulled within 60-57 on a basket by White with 13:55
to play before the Wildcats did something it's been unable to do at
times this season: finish strong.
Cousins, collecting his fifth straight double-double, started
Kentucky's game-clinching 11-2 run with a putback. Darius Miller
then knocked down a 3-pointer before Cousins took a charge. Patrick
Patterson, who had 12 points, nailed a 3-pointer then added a
three-point play as the Wildcats went back in front 71-59.
Mississippi never got back within single digits, and Wall capped
his night with a 3-pointer to put Kentucky up 80-62 with 4:05
He walked off the court to a standing ovation, and received
another one when he came back onto the court for a postgame radio
appearance as the crowd exhaled with Kentucky's star apparently
back in his coach's good graces.

Holloway 3-8 3-3 9, Cranston 2-4 0-1 5, Warren 5-12 1-2 15, Polynice 6-12 2-2 14, White 7-13 3-4 19, Henry 3-4 0-0 7, Gaskins 2-5 0-0 4, Graham 0-3 0-0 0, Riley 1-5 0-1 2. Totals 29-66 9-13 75.
Cousins 6-14 6-10 18, Patterson 4-9 3-3 12, Dodson 4-5 2-2 14, Wall 6-10 3-3 17, Bledsoe 4-10 0-0 8, Miller 2-5 0-0 5, Harris 0-1 0-0 0, Stevenson 1-1 0-0 2, Orton 2-2 0-1 4, Liggins 2-5 0-0 5. Totals 31-62 14-19 85.
Halftime-Kentucky 46-37. 3-Point Goals-Mississippi 8-20 (Warren 4-8, White 2-5, Cranston 1-2, Henry 1-2, Gaskins 0-1, Graham 0-1, Polynice 0-1), Kentucky 9-19 (Dodson 4-5, Wall 2-3, Liggins 1-1, Patterson 1-2, Miller 1-4, Harris 0-1, Bledsoe 0-3). Fouled Out-Cranston. Rebounds-Mississippi 33 (White 7), Kentucky 38 (Cousins 13). Assists-Mississippi 10 (Gaskins, Polynice, Warren 3), Kentucky 21 (Bledsoe 8). Total Fouls-Mississippi 20, Kentucky 15. A-24,341.

Team Records and Series Notes

• Kentucky is 21-1, 6-1 in the Southeastern Conference while Ole Miss is 16-6 overall, 4-4 in league action.
• Kentucky leads the series, 97-12, including 49-2 in Lexington.
• Kentucky returns to action on Saturday at LSU at 4 p.m. EST. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

First-Half Notes

• Kentucky used the starting lineup of John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Darnell Dodson, Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins for the first time this season.
• UK jumped out to a 7-0 lead, including Darnell Dodson’s three-point shot that extended the Wildcats’ streak of 733 consecutive games with at least one three-pointer.
• After Ole Miss closed within 12-9, UK reeled off 15 straight points for a 27-11 lead, the Cats’ largest advantage of the half.
• Capitalizing on UK turnovers, the Rebels rallied to within 46-37 at halftime.
• Cousins notched 11 points and eight rebounds in the first half, the fourth-straight game he has hit double-figure scoring in the opening frame.

Second-Half Notes

• Kentucky had another strong start, scoring 12 points in the first three minutes of the half for a 58-43 lead.
• Unfazed, Ole Miss stormed back with a 14-2 run over the next three minutes, cutting the margin to 60-57 with 13:57 remaining.
• UK responded with its own 8-0 run, including threes by Darius Miller and Patterson, for a little breathing room at 68-57.
• Ahead 73-63, the Wildcats put the game away with a 7-0 spurt for an 80-63 advantage with 4:05 to play.

Team Notes

• Kentucky shot 50 percent from the field, the 12th time this season the Wildcats have made at least half their shots.
• Kentucky dominated points in the paint, 44-30.
• Kentucky drew six charges tonight on defense.
Individual Notes

• DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points and 13 rebounds.
o It’s his 13th double-double of the season.
o Cousins has five-straight double-doubles. The last Cat to achieve the feat was Jim Andrews, who had six straight in 1973.
• Patrick Patterson had 12 points.
o Patterson moved past Frank Ramsey for 26th place on the UK career scoring list. Patterson now has 1,352 points as a Wildcat.
• John Wall had 17 points, his eighth-straight game in double figures. He also had seven assists.
• Darnell Dodson had 14 points tonight. In his last two games as a starter, he has tallied 16 and 14 points.
• DeAndre Liggins turned in five points and a season-best five rebounds.
• Eric Bledsoe had a career-high eight assists to go along with eight points.

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