The Cats came out firing and jumped out to a double-digit lead within the first 10 minutes. They looked focused and ready to go.
But they slowed down as both teams started to settle in. UK went into the half with a 34-26 lead.
Keldon Johnson started out fast, but as he slowed down, so did the Cats. Hagans was excellent distributing the ball tonight, dishing out a career high in assists. Even when he isn’t scoring, he finds a way to contribute and that’s what makes him so special.
Tyler Herro was great again tonight. He’s so much more than a shooter and that makes him so tough to defend. If he was on any other team, we’d all hate him. But luckily for us, that isn’t the case.
Reid Travis struggled again with the height of MSU, but he rebounded like crazy. He was all over the glass. Again, great players contribute even when they aren’t scoring.
Nick Richards gave some very good minutes off the bench. Kentucky needed him tonight with State’s length and he answered the call. One thing no one can take away from him is how hard he plays. As frustrating as he’s been at times, I think he’s finally coming into his own.
And finally, EJ Montgomery started to get comfortable. He struggled early on, but he hit a couple shots and that got him going defensively, as well. And what a defensive effort it was.
Overall, it was a great team victory over a solid, veteran team. This win is big for the SEC and the NCAA Tournament resume.
The Cats will look for a third straight top-25 win on Saturday as the Kansas Jayhawks come to town. Go Big Blue!
PJ Washington awoke from hibernation tonight. The Cats needed at least one of their big men to step up and PJ was there.
He was excellent. He showed off his jump shot, knocking down a few threes, and he attacked the basket at will. When he gets in the paint and shoots that jump hook, it’s impossible to guard because he’s so long and jumps so high.
We’ll probably go a handful of games without seeing him again, but he woke up in a big time game and I’ll take it. I just wish we’d see it more often.
Regardless, PJ rebounded and defended well. He had a great all-around performance. It was nice to see.
He finished with 21 points, six rebounds, and four blocks. He shot 9-15 from the floor, including 3-5 from three-point land. And if he didn’t get in foul trouble, he would’ve put up even better stats.
Now, let’s just hope we get a little more consistency.
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