WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Kentucky Gets Dog Bitten, Lose Third Straight

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Phil Turner scored a career-high 18 points
to lead four Mississippi State players in double figures as the
Bulldogs handed Kentucky its third straight loss, 66-57, on
Tuesday.
Ravern Johnson added 17 points, Barry Stewart scored 13 and Dee
Bost had 10 points and four assists as the Bulldogs (15-7, 5-2
Southeastern Conference) won at Rupp Arena for the first time in 14
years.
Jodie Meeks scored 15 points and Patrick Patterson added 15
points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats (16-7, 5-3), who never
led and struggled to find offensive rhythm against Mississippi
State's quick four-guard lineup and center Jarvis Varnado.
The reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year shook off foul
trouble to finish with six points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks as
the Bulldogs held Kentucky to 36 percent shooting from the floor.
The victory was Mississippi State's third straight over
Kentucky, but its first at Rupp Arena since 1995.
Kentucky trailed by 13 points early in the second half before
closing to 45-42 on a dunk by Perry Stevenson with more than 10
minutes left. Varnado responded with a dunk off a nifty feed from
Bost. The teams exchanged 3s before Bost hit a layup and followed
with a deep 3-pointer to push the lead to 55-45 with 5:45
remaining.
The Wildcats came up empty on their next two possessions, and
Turner and Johnson drilled two more 3-pointers to push the lead to
61-45 with 3:05 to play to send the fans streaming into the chilly
February night.
Mississippi State reserve forwards Brian Johnson and Elgin
Bailey returned from a one-game suspension for curfew violations,
but did little to give Varnado any help, combining for one rebound
and three missed shots.
Not that Varnado needed help patrolling the lane. Using his
massive wingspan to get his hands on seven shots while altering
several others, Varnado was all the inside presence the Bulldogs
needed.
Mississippi State's four guards took care of the rest. The
Bulldogs made 14-of-27 3-pointers (51 percent), needing little room
to get free. Whenever they were matched up with a taller defender,
Turner and company simply took a step back and knocked it down.
The Bulldogs scored the game's first eight points and took a
37-24 halftime lead despite playing the last 7:20 without Varnado,
who made his way to the end of the bench after picking up his
second foul.
No biggie. If anything, Varnado's absence made the Bulldogs play
even faster. Mississippi State finished the half with a 14-5 run
punctuated by four 3-pointers, including back-to-back 3s by
Johnson.
Despite giving up significant size inside, the Bulldogs hung
tough in the lane. Coach Rick Stansbury's gameplan was simple:
collapse on whoever set up in the post and give every Wildcat not
named Meeks plenty of room to shoot.
It worked. Some of the Wildcats were left so wide open, it
almost became a distraction. Whether it was Michael Porter, Darius
Miller or Kevin Galloway, the crowd would growl when they decided
to pass the ball rather than take the shot.
Maybe Porter and company knew what they were doing. When they
opted to put it up, they struggled, making just 1-of-7 3s in the
half and were booed off the court as they headed into the locker
room, well on their way to their third straight loss.

MISSISSIPPI ST. 66, KENTUCKY 57
MISSISSIPPI ST. (15-7)
Varnado 2-6 2-4 6, R.Johnson 6-9 0-0 17, Bost 4-10 0-1 10, Stewart 4-10 2-2 13, Turner 6-13 2-3 18, Beckham 1-1 0-0 2, Osby 0-0 0-0 0, Benock 0-0 0-0 0, Bolen 0-0 0-0 0, B.Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Bailey 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-52 6-10 66.
KENTUCKY (16-7)
Harris 0-2 0-0 0, Porter 2-7 0-0 5, Stevenson 2-6 2-2 6, Meeks 6-15 2-3 15, Patterson 6-12 3-3 15, Miller 3-7 1-2 7, Galloway 0-1 1-2 1, Slone 0-1 2-2 2, Liggins 2-6 0-0 6, Harrellson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-59 11-14 57.
Halftime-Mississippi St. 37-24. 3-Point Goals-Mississippi St. 14-27 (R.Johnson 5-8, Turner 4-9, Stewart 3-4, Bost 2-6), Kentucky 4-14 (Liggins 2-2, Meeks 1-4, Porter 1-5, Miller 0-1, Slone 0-1, Galloway 0-1). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Mississippi St. 33 (Varnado 12), Kentucky 38 (Patterson 9). Assists-Mississippi St. 9 (Bost 4), Kentucky 9 (Miller 5). Total Fouls-Mississippi St. 12, Kentucky 14. A-21,940.


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