The Kentucky Wildcats made sure their final game in Rupp Arena this season was a firework show for fans, who were treated to a 96-78 win over the Ole Miss Rebels.
Despite a furious second-half push from the Rebels that cut the score to single digits, the Cats finished the game off in style and ultimately ran Ole Miss right out of the building.
Here are three things to know:
The start of the game was a disaster
It really couldn’t have gone worse for officials and Ole Miss’ Marcanvis Hymon. He picked up a technical, subbed out, subbed back in and picked up another technical, all in the first three minutes and 24 seconds of the game.
For the referees, they spent approximately 15-16 minutes reviewing fouls. The first three minutes and 24 seconds of game time took 24 minutes of real time to be played.
Ten free throws had been shot before the 15 minute mark, and Nick Richards also picked up a technical foul during the whole mess.
Hymon shoved Nick Richards first. pic.twitter.com/yP5OCirbQ5— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) March 1, 2018
Ole Miss’ Justas Furmanavicius also picked up a technical shortly after this mess, and Wenyen Gabriel got hit with one in the second half.
Kentucky had a strong offensive night
The Wildcats put up 50 points in the first half, the most they’ve scored in an SEC game this year. The first half charge was led by Knox with 13 points, Wenyen Gabriel with 12 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with 11 points. In the end, the Wildcats would also put up the most points in a full game in conference play this year.
The offense was good, but not great, although getting 96 points on 62 shots is quite efficient. The Wildcats shot 50 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from deep. The ultimate determinant for the 96 points was the fact that they eventually just outran Ole Miss. Five players finished in double figures, and Hamidou Diallo finished just short of being the sixth as he had nine.
Ole Miss’ horrible 3-point shooting
The Rebels seemed determined to beat the Wildcats with a 3-point barrage, and boy did it backfire. Ole Miss attempted 30 3-pointers, and made just nine of them, good for 30 percent on the night. That really kept the Rebels from making this a closer game down the stretch after they cut UK’s lead to three late.
The Rebels just didn’t seem to be as willing to run the offense and get good shots, though to be fair, they got a ton of open threes they missed, so this is something UK must improve on, or else, better teams will bury them.
Now, let’s celebrate the Cats 21st win of the season.