In a tale of two halves, the Kentucky Wildcats jumped out to a commanding lead on Tuesday night at Missouri, before grinding out an ugly 66-58 win in front of a sparse crowd of 10,703 at Mizzou Arena.
PJ Washington and Tyler Herro led Kentucky in scoring with 18 points each. Ashton Hagans, who was scoreless in the first half, finished with 13 points, including two big three-pointers to lift a struggling offense. Defensively, Kentucky held the Tigers to just 37% from the field on 22-of-59 shooting, but were also rebounded for the first time since January 8th against Texas A&M.
In the first half, Missouri led 11-10 at the 12:33 mark before the Wildcats took the lead for good with a 9-0 run that included a Washington dunk and seven straight points from Herro that featured two free throws, a scoop shoot in the lane and a three-pointer for a 19-11 lead with 11:14 left in the half. The Wildcats took a 41-23 lead into the locker room on an Immanuel Quickley lob pass to Nick Richards who finished with a strong dunk and free throw to cap off the traditional three-point play.
Despite a slow start in the second half, Hagans connected on a three-pointer with 15:19 remaining to give the Cats its biggest lead of the game at 48-28. The Wildcats then went on a scoring drought as Missouri double-teamed Washington, who was held to just three second half points. Missouri would cut the lead to 62-55 with 1:02 remaining only to watch Hagans and Herro put the game out of reach by going 4-of-4 from the free throw line to seal the win.
With the victory, Calipari is now tied with Joe B. Hall for second-most wins at Kentucky with 237, behind only Adolph Rupp. In 10 seasons at UK, Calipari is now 297-68.
Kentucky, ranked No. 4 in this week’s AP Poll, is now 22-4 (11-2). The Wildcats host Auburn on Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena.
After the game, UK Coach John Calipari and select players met with the media to discuss another hard-fought SEC win on the road in Columbia. Here is the recap of postgame comments, courtesy of UK Athletics.