STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - John Wall scored 18 points, including
five in overtime, and came within two assists of a triple-double to
lead No. 2 Kentucky to an 81-75 victory over Mississippi State on
Wall's three-point play opened the scoring in overtime, then he
added two free throws and blocked Dee Bost's layup attempt with 36
seconds left to push the Wildcats (25-1, 10-1 Southeastern
Conference) to their sixth straight win and snap a three-game
losing streak to the Bulldogs (18-8, 6-5).
DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson both scored 19 points.
Wall had 10 rebounds and eight assists. Cousins had 14 rebounds.
Kentucky trailed 67-60 with 3 minutes left, but scored the final
seven points of regulation, the last two on Patterson's 15-foot
jumper that tied it at 72.
Bost scored 22 points for Mississippi State, which was without
suspended leading scorer Ravern Johnson.
The final minute of the game was marred when fans in the student
section of a the record crowd of 10,788 threw bottles onto the
court, almost hitting official Mike Kitts and coming close to Wall
as he stood near the Kentucky bench.
"We made plays. We made shots. We made blocks. We did enough to
win the game and now we're going to get out of here," Kentucky
coach John Calipari said.
Mississippi State used a 13-2 run to take its biggest lead,
67-60, with 3 minutes left. Jarvis Varnado, one of the nation's
leading shot blockers, fouled out midway through the run at 5:08,
but that didn't seem to slow down the Bulldogs. They outscored the
Wildcats 6-2 over the next 2 minutes before Kentucky clamped down.
DeAndre Liggins hit a 3-pointer, then converted Cousins' block
of Romero Osby into a layup in transition before Patterson tied it
Mississippi State's Barry Stewart missed the rim on a 3-point
attempt as the shot clock expired with 6.2 seconds left and
Liggins' jump shot from the baseline as time expired bounced off
Cousins, playing with four fouls, grabbed one of his seven
offensive rebounds and hit a putback to give Kentucky a 72-70 lead
with 3:02 left, but Osby answered with a leaning layup.
From there Wall took over. He wasn't a huge factor in the second
half, but he was the difference in overtime. He beat Stewart for
the three-point play, then hit one of two free throws in two trips
to the line to give the Wildcats a 78-75 lead and just enough
cushion for the win.
Bost had a chance at a layup to cut the lead to one, but he lost
the ball in traffic.
"We made the plays we had to make," Calipari said. "It's hard
to win on the road anywhere in college basketball."
Mississippi State dropped to 0-7 against No. 2-ranked teams and
2-15 against top five teams under coach Rick Stansbury, who was
denied his 250th career victory.
The Bulldogs were vulnerable without Varnado, who picked up his
third and fourth fouls in a 5-second span early in the second half.
That left Stansbury with no option to but to go with a smaller
Cousins thrived with Varnado out, scoring 12 points and grabbing
nine rebounds after halftime. He pushed his SEC-leading
double-double mark to 16, snapping a tie with Varnado, who had just
five points, three rebounds and two blocks.
No. 2 KENTUCKY 81, MISSISSIPPI ST. 75, OT
Cousins 7-11 5-8 19, Patterson 7-12 4-4 19, Dodson 0-3 1-2 1, Wall 6-16 6-8 18, Bledsoe 3-8 0-2 7, Miller 3-6 2-2 9, Harris 0-1 0-0 0, Orton 1-4 0-1 2, Liggins 1-5 3-4 6. Totals 28-66 21-31 81.
MISSISSIPPI ST. (18-8)
Osby 2-6 1-2 5, Augustus 5-10 3-4 17, Varnado 4-8 2-3 10, Bost 9-21 2-4 22, Stewart 5-16 3-3 16, Benock 0-2 0-0 0, Turner 2-6 0-0 5, Lewis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-70 11-16 75.
Halftime-Kentucky 32-29. End Of Regulation-Tied 67. 3-Point Goals-Kentucky 4-24 (Patterson 1-2, Miller 1-4, Liggins 1-5, Bledsoe 1-5, Cousins 0-1, Harris 0-1, Dodson 0-3, Wall 0-3), Mississippi St. 10-35 (Augustus 4-7, Stewart 3-11, Bost 2-10, Turner 1-3, Osby 0-2, Benock 0-2). Fouled Out-Stewart, Varnado. Rebounds-Kentucky 52 (Cousins 14), Mississippi St. 35 (Augustus, Benock, Bost, Varnado 5). Assists-Kentucky 14 (Wall 8), Mississippi St. 15 (Osby 4). Total Fouls-Kentucky 17, Mississippi St. 28. A-10,788.
-- Kentucky improves to 25-1, 10-1 SEC on the season. Mississippi State falls to 18-8, 6-5.
-- UK is 85-20 against the Bulldogs and 31-12 in Starkville.
-- Kentucky played its second overtime game this season. The Wildcats are 2-0 in two overtime
games this season.
-- The last time UK played an overtime game against SEC opponent was in the 2008 SEC
Tournament against Georgia.
-- The Wildcats ended a three-game losing streak to Mississippi State.
-- Kentucky will be in action again Saturday, traveling to Vanderbilt. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00
p.m. with the game being televised on ESPN.
Team game notes
-- The Wildcats used the starting combination of Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Darnell Dodson,
Patrick Patterson and John Wall for the fifth straight game. Kentucky is 5-0 with that starting five.
-- DeAndre Liggins was the first sub off the bench for Kentucky. It was Liggins’ sixth time this
season to be the first Wildcat off the bench.
-- Kentucky extended its streak of game with a three-pointer to 737 games, the third longest streak
in the country.
-- The Wildcats led 32-29 at the half. UK is 21-1, 9-1 when leading or tied at the half.
-- UK turned the ball over just six times in the first half, the fewest since six first half miscues
-- Kentucky finished with just 12 turnovers, the fewest since 10 against Florida.
Individual game notes
#1 Darius Miller
-- Made his first trip to the free throw line since going 3-of-5 against Georgia.
-- Hit his first three since connecting against Ole Miss.
#3 Darnell Dodson
-- Started his sixth straight game.
#11 John Wall
-- Moved to fourth on UK’s all-time freshman scoring list with 424points.
-- With 11 first half points, has scored in double-digits in the first half 10 times this season and the
second time in the last three games.
-- Has pulled down 24 rebounds in last three games.
-- Finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
-- Recorded his fourth double-double this season, his second in points and rebounds in three
#15 DeMarcus Cousins
-- Moved to fifth on UK’s all-time freshman scoring list with 417 points.
-- Has nine straight double-digit rebounding games.
-- Recorded his 16th double-double this season, the sixth most in a season and the most since Jim
Andrews recorded 21 in the 1973 season.
-- Scored in double-figures for the 17th time in 18 games.
#24 Eric Bledsoe
-- After going three-straight games without a three-pointer, has hit connected on four in the last two
#34 DeAndre Liggins
-- Has hit a three-pointer in six straight games
#54 Patrick Patterson
-- Has hit a three-pointer in six-straight games.
-- Moved to 21st on UK’s all-time scoring list with 1,406 points.
-- Has hit 14-16 from the free throw line over the last six games.
-- Recorded his seventh double-double this season and first since against Long Beach State.