UK men’s basketball clears Missouri 66-58


Freshman guard Keldon Johnson, Freshman guard Tyler Herro, and Sophomore forward PJ Washington (left to right) put their arms around each other while being interviewed after the game. No.5 UK men’s basketball team defeated No.1 Tennessee 86-69 at Rupp Arena on Feb. 16, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

After a statement win over the Tennessee Volunteers over the weekend, the Kentucky Wildcats traveled to Columbia, Missouri just a few days later to take on the Mizzou Tigers. The Cats came out on top 66-58 in their 13thSEC game of the season, improving their record to 22-4 (11-2) in a messy matchup.

UK sophomore and National Player of the Week PJ Washington put on another show, especially in the first half when the Dallas native scored six of his team’s first 12 points of the game. Similar to the matchup against Tennessee, Washington got things started for the Cats with a three pointer after the Tigers took to the scoreboard first, followed by a Tyler Herro three-pointer. Herro notched 10 points, a rebound, a steal and an assist in just the first 10 minutes of the game. 

The Wildcats started a comfortable lead early that the Tigers wouldn’t be able to come back from—the closest margin they were able to maintain after the Cats took the lead was one point three minutes in. Three-point shooting was on for Kentucky in the first half as they hit five threes, two each from Herro and Washington and one from freshman Immanuel Quickley. 

Kentucky took its largest lead of the half at the very end, when a three-point play by Nick Richards extended his team’s lead to 18 right before the half, sending the Cats to the locker room ahead 41-23.

After a couple of three-pointers from freshman Ashton Hagans, the Cats quickly took a 20-point lead within the first four minutes of the second half. However, the Tigers would slowly come back and creep up on the Cats, shooting 42 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep. 

UK graduate student Reid Travis went down after trying to grab a rebound alongside Keldon Johnson– he was able to walk back to the locker room and it was reported shortly after that he had suffered a right knee sprain and wouldn’t return for the rest of the game. 

In the last two minutes of the game, the Tigers managed to cut Kentucky’s lead down to just six points, but wouldn’t be able to complete the comeback. Two Herro free throws with 12 seconds left gave Kentucky their final eight-point lead. 

Up next for the Cats is the Auburn Tigers on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 1:30 p.m. in Rupp Arena, which will be broadcast on CBS.