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Kentucky Basketball beats Mississippi State: 3 things to know and postgame cheers

The Cats got the feel-good win they badly needed.

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky can breathe a sigh of relief after this one. For much of the game it looked as though the Wildcats may be headed for a home court losing streak, but they eventually flexed their muscle and overwhelmed the Mississippi State Bulldogs to get a much-needed “R-E-L-A-X” type of win.

Here are three things to know from the 78-65 win:

A rough start...but with a turnaround

Kentucky missed its first eight jump shot attempts, which brings emphasis to the fact that they missed 18 straight against Florida. It didn’t help that Jarred Vanderbilt looked nervous as could be, clanging shots off the glass and bobbling boards. But after eight straight missed jumpers, Kevin Knox sprung to life with three straight 3-pointers with a Sacha Killeya-Jones tip-in and-one between the second and third makes from deep. The follow-up to the slow start allowed Kentucky to take a two-point lead into the locker room.

PJ Washington was a spark

Washington continues to emerge as one of Kentucky’s better players. He led the team in points with 22 points on an efficient 60 percent shooting. He also went 10-of-14 from the free throw line. He also made his impact felt in other ways with six rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

Ever since losing weight, Washington has taken his game to another level and Kentucky will need him at his best if this team is going to quiet the national criticism it’s getting. He’s a star in the making, and he’s becoming a force that can carry the young Cats.

The bucket looked like an ocean to Kevin Knox

Kevin Knox could not miss. Knox hit three straight 3-pointers in the first half to pull Kentucky out of a rough start, and dropped a fourth in four attempts with about eight minutes in the game. That fourth 3-pointer was a big part of a 13-2 run that helped the Wildcats pull away from the Bulldogs. Knox went 5-of-6 from the field and 4-of-4 from 3-point range. He also made five free throws on six attempts.

Knox also had six rebounds, an assist and two steals.

Now, let’s discuss the win!