Cats survive last road game of the regular season


Sophomore forward PJ Washington being introduced before the game. No. 4 ranked UK men’s basketball team defeated Arkansas 70-66 at Rupp Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Kentucky men’s basketball made its last road trip of the season, heading down to Oxford, Mississippi to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. It didn’t come easy, but the Cats ended up on top 80-76, improving their record to 25-5. 

After Tennessee dominated UK in almost all aspects of the game on Saturday, the Cats somewhat bounced back in their win over the Rebels. Freshmen Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro were the stars, especially in the first half, getting things going for Kentucky and leading several runs. 

The Rebels started out by dropping a three-pointer within the first 20 seconds of the game, followed by a Johnson tip-in to put the Cats on the board. Ole Miss went on a 7-0 run before Herro would interrupt it with a three-pointer of his own, his first points of the game. 

Down 21-17 halfway through the first half, UK guard Jemarl Baker hit a three to begin an 8-0 to give the Cats a 25-21 edge. 

Kentucky’s biggest lead of the first half came with six minutes left when a steal and dunk from Johnson propelled the Wildcats ahead by eight. That lead wouldn’t last long, though, due to an 11-1 run by Ole Miss to take the lead.

By halftime, the Cats hadn’t regained the lead and trailed 39-38 heading into the locker room, despite Johnson and Herro’s combined 27 points. In the 19 minutes he played in the first half, Herro went 6-for-6 from the field and hit 1-of-1 threes. 

It was still a back-and-forth game for much of the second half– there were seven ties in last 20 minutes of the game. Kentucky’s biggest lead was at the 5:21 mark when a pair of Nick Richards free throws gave the Cats a seven-point lead.They would go on to hold a lead the rest of the game, but Ole Miss would cut it as close to 78-76 with 6.7 seconds left to go. Two Immanuel Quickley free throws six seconds left gave the Cats the four-point lead they needed to seal the deal at 80-76.

Johnson led the Wildcats with 22 points and seven rebounds, while freshman EJ Montgomery also came up big for the Cats with a total of two points, six rebounds and four blocks. 

Kentucky will take on the Florida Gators for the second time this season in their very last game of the regular season. Tip-off is at 2:00 p.m. in Rupp Arena and will be broadcast on CBS.