UK claims double-digit victory over Mississippi State


Kentucky freshman guard Ashton Hagans drives to the basket during the game against Mississippi State on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

The no. 8 ranked Kentucky Wildcats took on the no. 22 Mississippi State Bulldogs Tuesday night in a game that resulted in UK’s fifth straight win after their 76-55 victory.

After winning the tip, Kentucky sophomore PJ Washington missed a three and the Bulldogs went on to score two straight baskets, giving them an early 4-0 lead. Despite their slow starts in the past few weeks, the Cats didn’t settle and quickly put themselves on the board with a Tyler Herro three-pointer. 

Freshman guard/forward Keldon Johnson alone went on a 7-0 run to spot the Cats a 10-4 lead within the first three minutes of the game. Mississippi State’s Nick Weatherspoon made a basket to end Johnson’s lone run, but between Herro’s first three and the 14-minute mark, the Cats would go on a 17-3 run.

Kentucky’s biggest lead of the first half would be by 13 points after a Nick Richards jumper brought the Cats’ lead to 20-7. The Wildcats maintained a strong lead in the first half, going into the locker room at halftime sporting a 34-26 lead. Freshman Herro was the leading scorer for the Wildcats in the first half with 11 points, while Reid Travis lead with nine rebounds. Freshman Ashton Hagans tied his career-high in assists with seven and broke his personal record in the second half. 

The Wildcats would keep their lead through the entirety of the game, but it didn’t come easy– the Bulldogs closed in on the Cats with 13:39 left in the game after a 7-0 run brought them within two points. UK didn’t let the Bulldogs hang around that close for a while, though, within two minutes their lead was back up to eight. 

In the last five minutes of the contest, the Wildcat lead continued to climb and reached the game-high 21 points by the very end. In the second half, Washington went 5-of-5 from the field and 2-of-2 from the three, totaling 12 points in total. The sophomore finished as UK’s leading scorer with 21. 

Herro was right behind Washington with 18 total points on 5-of-10 shooting, Travis tied his season high 12 rebounds and Hagans led (his career-high) with nine assists. 

The Wildcats return to the court on Saturday, January 26th against the no. 9 ranked Kansas at Rupp Arena.