SEC college basketball final: Kentucky 90, Mississippi State 77

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Coming off a tough 97-92 overtime loss at Texas A&M, the Kentucky Wildcats play host to the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Rupp Arena in an SEC college basketball game. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ESPN2 has the television coverage.

Ben Roberts, Mark Story, Cameron Drummond and yours truly will be providing updates from Rupp. You can follow us individually on Twitter/X at @BenRobertsHL, @markcstory, @cdrummond97 and @johnclayiv.

Or you can follow a dedicated Twitter/X list by clicking here.

Final: Kentucky 90, Miss State 77

Kentucky improves to 13-3 overall and 3-1 in the SEC as Antonio Reeves led the way with 27 points. Rob Dillingham chipped in 16 and Tre Mitchell added 15. UK wound up shooting 55.6 for the game.

It was John Calipari’s 400th win as Kentucky’s coach.

Mississippi State dropped to 1-3 in SEC play. Tolu Smith led the Bulldogs with 26 points. State outscored UK 48-43 in the second half.

Kentucky bounces back from Texas A&M loss with double-digit win

Five things you need to know from UK’s win over Mississippi State

Final box

2H - 3:49 - Kentucky 79, Miss State 63

Antonio Reeves leads the way with 22 points and Rob Dillingham has 16 as the Cats appear on their way to going 3-1 in league play. Calipari’s club is shooting 55.1 percent for the game and 62.5 for the second half. Reed Sheppard has six assists.

2H - 7:52 - Kentucky 71, Miss State 57

UK has made 8 of 13 shots this half for 61.5 percent. Cats are just 1-of-5 from behind the three-point arc. Bulldogs are 11-of-21 this half for 52.4 percent. They’re 3-of-7 from three this half.

The “Snackwards Cam” is currently playing on the video board. You may be able to hear the groans in the background.

2H - 11:11 - Kentucky 67, Miss State 55

After State cut the Kentucky lead to six, Cats went on a 6-0 run of their own to push the lead back out to double-digits at 55-43. Tre Mitchell has had a good second half. He’s now up to 12 points. Reeves leads the Cats with 20 points. UK has made seven of its 10 shots from the field at this point. State has made 10 of its 16.

2H - 17:14 - Kentucky 49, Miss State 43

Mississippi State comes roaring out of the locker room for a 14-2 run, causing John Calipari to (finally) call a time out.

Halftime: Kentucky 47, Miss State 29

Antonio Reeves led the way with 16 points, but he got plenty of help in an excellent first half for the home team. Cats shot 51.5 percent and beat the Bulldogs on the boards 21-17.

First half box

1H - 3:50 - Kentucky 40, Miss State 24

Cats opened up an 18-point lead at 40-22. Some good play from Ugonna Onyenso, who has three rebounds and three blocked shots in seven minutes. He continues to get better and better. Ben Roberts wrote about Ugo’s development here.

1H - 7:55 - Kentucky 29, Miss State 20

Rob Dillingham continues to be instant offense. The freshman guard has scored 10 points in eight minutes on the floor. State is 8-of-20 from the floor, including 4-of-9 from three. Cats are 11-of-29 from the field, including 4-of-8 from three.

1H - 11:59 - Kentucky 19, Miss State 14

Antonio Reeves scored 10 of UK’s first 15 points. Cats actually led 15-5 that cause MSU coach Chris Jans to call time at the 14:28 mark. But State’s Shawn Jones buried a pair of three-pointers to cut Kentucky’s lead to 15-11. That caused John Calipari to call time with 13:44 left. UK is 7-of-14 from the floor. State is a 5-of-13.

And a kid just hit a halfcourt shot for $10,000.

1H - 15:55 - Kentucky 8, Miss State 5

Antonio Reeves scored Kentucky’s first five points. D.J. Wagner also hit a three-pointer. State missed four of its first six shots. Aaron Bradshaw making up for lost time. After playing six minutes at Texas A&M because of foul trouble, the 7-foot freshman has already taken two perimeter shots. Missed both. One was a three.

Adou Thiero remains out

UK sophomore forward Adou Thiero is out for the fifth straight game and the sixth game this season.

Kentucky Wildcats guard Rob Dillingham (0) shoots the ball for three points against Mississippi State Bulldogs forward Cameron Matthews (4) during the game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky, Wednesday, January 17, 2024.
Kentucky Wildcats guard Rob Dillingham (0) shoots the ball for three points against Mississippi State Bulldogs forward Cameron Matthews (4) during the game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky, Wednesday, January 17, 2024.

Officials for Kentucky-Mississippi State

Officials for Kentucky-Mississippi State are Doug Shows, Chuck Jones and Lee Cassell. This is the first UK game Shows has worked this season. Jones worked the UK-Penn game in Philadelphia. Cassell worked the Kentucky-Louisville game at the Yum Center.

Kentucky-Mississippi State preview

Kentucky enters Wednesday’s game 12-3 overall and 2-1 in the SEC. The Wildcats defeated Florida (87-85) in Gainesville and Missouri (90-77) at home before the loss in College Station on Saturday.

The Cats are ranked No. 8 in the latest AP Top 25, 19th in the latest Ken Pomeroy efficiency ratings and 18th by the NCAA NET computer. UK is No. 8 in kenpom’s adjusted offensive efficiency rankings and 55th in his adjusted defensive efficiency rankings.

Mississippi State is 12-4 overall and 1-2 in the SEC. The Bulldogs opened league play with a 68-62 loss at South Carolina before upsetting No. 5 ranked Tennessee 77-72 in Starkville. Coach Chris Jans’ team lost 82-74 to visiting Alabama last Saturday when it went 0-for-6 from the foul line over the final 2:05. The Crimson Tide broke a 74-74 tie and outscored State 8-0 over the final 2:20.

Currently unranked, Mississippi State entered the AP Top 25 at No. 25 in Week 3, moved up to No. 21 in Week 4, but then fell out. Pomeroy has the Bulldogs ranked No. 26 in adjusted efficiency, with a No. 71 ranking on offense and a No. 9 ranking on defense. The NCAA NET rankings has MSU at No. 33.

The Bulldogs are happy to have Tolu Smith back. The 6-foot-11 senior center has played in just four games, but is averaging 16.8 points and 6.8 rebounds. Smith has averaged double figures each of the last three seasons, including 15.7 points along with 8.5 rebounds a year ago. He had been out with a foot injury since Oct. 5 before making his 2023-24 debut on Dec. 31. He scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the loss to Alabama.

Kentucky is looking for improvement on the defensive end after giving up a season-high 1.209 points per possession in the loss to Texas A&M. The Aggies also controlled the boards, grabbing 46.3% of their offensive rebound opportunities. Mississippi State is 55th nationally in ORP at 33.8%.

There should be one obvious contrast Wednesday night. Kentucky wants to play fast. UK ranks 13th in adjusted tempo and 14th in average possession length. Mississippi State wants to play slow. The Bulldogs rank 157th in adjusted tempo and 263rd in average possession length.

Kentucky has won 17 of its last 18 meetings with Mississippi State. The lone loss came in the 2021 SEC Tournament when the Bulldogs prevailed 74-73. John Calipari is 1-0 versus Jans thanks to a 71-68 victory over MSU last season in Starkville.

Kentucky plays at Mississippi State on Feb. 27.

Kentucky basketball statistics

Mississippi State basketball statistics

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