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At the buzzer: No. 16 Kentucky claws back, takes down Mississippi State

Samuel Colmar
Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard (15) runs down the court with the ball during the Kentucky vs Vanderbilt mens basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tennessee. Kentucky won 109-77. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff

No. 16 Kentucky men’s basketball came from behind to defeat the Mississippi State Bulldogs inside Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi, on Tuesday, winning 91-89 after trailing for nearly the entire game.

Reed Sheppard was the highlight player of the game, dropping 32 points — a career-high with a buzzer beater to top it off — in the winning effort, while Antonio Reeves also added 21.

The Wildcats entered the game on the back of a statement 117-95 win over then No. 13 Alabama at home following a stunning defeat at LSU that saw Tigers fans storm the court.

Looking to return to their winning ways on the road, the Cats brought out a starting lineup of Justin Edwards, Reeves, D.J. Wagner, Adou Thiero and Ugonna Onyenso, once again being without veteran Tre Mitchell.

Kentucky started the game abysmally, quickly finding itself trailing 12-3 by the first timeout with the only basket coming from a Wagner 3-pointer.

Out of the timeout Kentucky battled back, cracking double digits with Sheppard and Rob Dillingham on the floor.

Kentucky would then continue to remain just within arms’ reach of the lead, but were never able to climb over that hump.

Unfortunately for the Cats, things would get worse before they’d get better as it took another 3-pointer to ensure they didn’t enter the halftime break trailing by double digits.

Back out in the second half, things once again got worse for UK with Mississippi State thundering ahead by 13 points under two minutes into the half.

Against all odds, Kentucky once again battled back and got back within the same arms’ length it had been at before.

It wasn’t until four minutes remained on the clock that Kentucky finally took its first lead of the ballgame, with Sheppard surpassing 20 points in the contest.

While the Bulldogs refused to go away, putting the pressure on the Cats late, Kentucky, and more specifically Sheppard, refused to back down, holding on to earn an important road win.

Kentucky will return to action on Saturday, March 2, when it hosts the Arkansas Razorbacks inside Rupp Arena. Tip-off against the Hogs is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET and will air live on CBS Sports.

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About the Contributors
Cole Parke, Sports Editor
Samuel Colmar, Assistant Photo Editor

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