Kellan Grady erupts in overtime to help UK defeat Mississippi State 82-74


Kentucky Wildcats guard Kellan Grady (31) shoots a 3-point shot during the UK vs. Mississippi State basketball game on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 82-74. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Cole Parke

Kellan Grady played a pivotal role in No. 12 Kentucky’s (16-4) 82-74 overtime win over Mississippi State (13-6) in Rupp Arena on Tuesday night.

The graduate-student transfer from Davidson scored eight of Kentucky’s 10 overtime points, finishing the night with 18 points and 43 minutes on the court.

Grady started his overtime scoring run by securing the first points of the extra period with a drive-in layup for two points after a series of misses by both teams. 

Mississippi State tied the game, but the veteran guard caught fire, knocking down back-to-back 3-point shots to put Kentucky up 80-74, its largest lead of the game since around the 13 minute mark of the second half.

“I think this team does an awesome job of recognizing when I’m hot and finding me,” Grady said. “Credit to our guys, this game was good for us and shows we can execute down the stretch. There’s a lot to take away from tonight.”

Grady’s eight points ultimately proved to be the dagger, as Kentucky would never relinquish the lead, hanging on for the win after a few free throws from point guard Sahvir Wheeler.

With his six points from 3-pointers in overtime, Grady finished the game with 12 of his 18 points coming from beyond the arch, knocking down a pair of treys in regulation as well.

While Grady shot 4-11 from beyond the arch on the night, his teammates encouraged the Boston native to keep shooting despite the overall percentage. 

“I told [Kellan], after he missed four wide open shots, I said ‘Keep shooting’ because he passed one up,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. “The play we ran was for him to shoot the three. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him, he’s shown that he can miss some shots and come back to make shots.”

Though his final tally was just four made 3-pointers, all seemed to come at impactful moments in the game, garnering a thunderous roar from the crowd with every swish of the net.

“When you’re hot from three, obviously it gives you more confidence [to get shooting],” Grady said. “But sometimes it can be crucial to get to the line so you just have to trust yourself.”