Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Frontcourt Continues to Struggle but Kentucky Survives Big Mississippi State Comeback

(14) Kentucky 80
Mississippi State 74

Final from Lexington, Kentucky

No. 14 Kentucky survived a big second half run from Mississippi State to earn an 80-74 Southeastern Conference win at Rupp Arena Tuesday night.

Kentucky (13-3, 3-1 SEC) took a 53-33 lead on a Skal Labissiere dunk with 14:29 to go in the game. From there, Mississippi State methodically trimmed the lead and eventually cut it to 74-71 with 1:14 to go.

Alex Poythress and Tyler Ulis scored Kentucky's final 6 points at the free throw line in the final minute to preserve the win.

Jamal Murray led the Wildcats with 22 points. Ulis finished with 21 points and 5 assists. Isaiah Briscoe added 14 points and 5 assists.

Kentucky's big men struggled for the most part. Poythress finished with 6 points and 8 boards. Marcus Lee had 2 points and 9 rebounds. Skal Labissiere managed 5 points and 4 rebounds off the bench.

John Calipari seemed to have a message for a few guys after the game.

"When we have guys no show us, we have to figure how to play and win," Calipari said. "Give them (MSU) credit. They didn't stop playing. If they had not turned the ball over (in the first half), they probably would have beat us."

Craig Sword led Mississippi State (7-8, 0-3) with 20 points. Malik Newman finished with 14.

Kentucky returns to action Saturday with a road game at Auburn.

Box score (click to enlarge):

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