Wildcats rally to get past BulldogsFeb 16, 2011 - 4:57 AM Kentucky held on to beat Mississippi State, 85-79, at Rupp Arena.
Terrence Jones ended with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists for the Wildcats (18-7, 6-5 SEC), who rebounded from Saturday's loss at Vanderbilt and extended their home winning streak to 31 games.
Kentucky only did so after recovering from a shaky first half. The Wildcats trailed throughout the opening 20 minutes and were still down shortly into the second half, but used an 11-0 run to take control.
However, Kentucky also had to withstand several Mississippi State (13-12, 5-6) rallies down the stretch before sending the Bulldogs to a second straight loss.
Ravern Johnson scored 21 points to lead Mississippi State, while Jalen Steele had 17, and Dee Bost netted 16. They combined to make 12-of-19 three-pointers.
The Bulldogs were in control in the early parts of the first half, and built a double-digit lead about midway through. Renardo Sidney completed a three-point play to end an eight-point burst and make it a 24-13 game.
Kentucky followed with the next seven, however, and it was a one- or two- possession game for the rest of the period. The Wildcats also benefited from a few foul calls late in the half.
Officials called Mississippi State's Brian Bryant for a shooting foul with 1.1 seconds remaining as Knight appeared to pass from around mid-court. Bulldogs head coach Rick Stansbury earned a technical foul for arguing, and Knight made 4-of-5 free throws to get Kentucky within 40-39 at the break.
Wildcats head coach John Calipari said he had "no idea" how his team was down by one at halftime after a sluggish, passive start, along with good shooting by the Bulldogs.
"This is the thing about coming home and playing," Calipari said. "I told them this. You come home, you think we're going to win because we win at home? Oh, yeah? The other team is not just laying down. They're coming after you. If you play soft, you build their muscles. That's what we did."
The Bulldogs were still making shots early in the second half, and held a 50-47 edge about four minutes in. But defense allowed Kentucky to make its run and turn the tables.
After Jones sank a jumper, he stole the ball from Bost, leading to a fastbreak layup by Knight. Lamb forced a turnover on the Bulldogs' next possession, then netted the transition bucket himself. Darius Miller ended the rally with a three-pointer and a layup facilitated by his own steal.
The effort gave Kentucky a 58-50 lead with a little under 14 minutes to play.
"They hurt us in transition and they really got going in transition," Stansbury said. "One of the things we didn't want to have was for them to get in transition. I think they had one basket in the first half. Second half they got out and got three or four, and made a three."
Then, after the Bulldogs got within two with eight minutes left, the Wildcats went on a 15-4 run. Knight and Lamb drilled back-to-back threes to end the stretch, giving Kentucky an 80-67 advantage with 4:38 to go.
Mississippi State started its final run about a minute later. The Bulldogs scored nine consecutive points as Kentucky's possessions ended in turnovers, missed shots, or missed free throws. But by the time Johnson's dunk ended the run to get the Bulldogs within 83-79, there were only 43 seconds left.
Jones and Lamb both made 1-of-2 foul shots in the remaining time to secure the win.
Kentucky made 12-of-18 free throws, and shot 56 percent from the field...Mississippi State shot 54.5 percent (12-of-22) from three-point range, but only 47 percent overall. The Bulldogs also hit 17-of-19 free throws...Miller ended with 13 points for Kentucky...Sidney had 11 points and eight boards for Mississippi State.
- MISSISSIPPI STATE: 79
Feb 15 9:12 PM
- MISSISSIPPI STATE: 40
Feb 15 7:56 PM
- MISSISSIPPI STATE: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Feb 15 7:07 PM
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