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Kentucky’s season likely ends with loss to Mississippi State

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Brutal season ends in a brutal way.

SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament - Kentucky v Mississippi State Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Kentucky opened up postseason play on Thursday against Mississippi State, and it ended just like that, as the Cats fell 74-73.

Bulldogs guard Iverson Molinar hit the game-winning free throws with seven seconds left, and Dontaie Allen’s three-ball as time expired was no good.

In what was maybe the slowest start the team has had all season really set the tone early, as the Bulldogs dominated in the paint in the first half. Scoring at will at the rim, and finding the open man when doubled.

Offensively it was the same story we have been telling all season. There was no identity to what this team is looking to do on offense. After an explosive 92 point game against South Carolina, everyone probably imagined a better performance than what was put on the floor today.

Then the second half happened.

The light switch flipped and the fight needed to control this game came to fruition. Dontaie Allen went off once again. Alongside Olivier Sarr and Davion Mintz Coach Calipari for the response I’m sure he was pleading for in the locker room at the half.

Sadly, it wasn’t enough, as Kentucky’s season is likely now over.

Here are a few things to know about today’s game:

Terrance Clarke returns

The former top-10 recruit appeared in his first game since the Louisville game on Dec. 26th. After that long of a lay off it was a little bit of what we all expected, short burst of minutes with some showing off his skill set and others being a little rough around the edges.

Now the big question remains of will we see Clarke back in Lexington next season?

Davion Mintz shines once again

It’s plain and simple: Davion Mintz is the MVP of this season.

There isn’t much more you can say about it. Shining once again today, and being one of the main offensive weapons against Mississippi state once again today next to Dontaie Allen.

It has been said a ton, but if Mintz wants to return for another run, Coach Cal needs to make the room for him on next year’s roster.

Rebounding

For what wasn’t a huge deal for much of the season came back to bite this team in the last few weeks of the season.

After getting crushed on the glass against Ole Miss a couple of weeks back, the same thing happened today in the first half. If the Cats could have limited those more than they did, it could have been a different story to how close the game played out.

Grab a couple of those in the first half, and it’s almost certainly a different outcome.

Foul trouble

What’s become a common theme far too often this season, Olivier Sarr and Isaiah Jackson struggled to stay on the floor, and that allowed the opposition to get whatever they wanted in the paint.

Without them both on the floor, Abdul Ado and Tolu Smith dominated in the post, using their strength to dominate both scoring and rebounding.

Lance Ware and Keion Brooks did their best, but they couldn’t stop the bleeding enough.

Dontaie Allen

If I’m Dontaie Allen, I’m asking Coach Cal if we can play Mississippi State every game next season as he once again goes off against the Bulldogs.

In what was a diminished role over the last part of the season Allen stayed ready for his moment. When that moment came today he was ready to shine once again.

Allen showed once again he is ready for the big moment, fishing with a game-high 23 points on 8/15 shooting. He’s going to be a bright spot heading into next season if he sticks around. Let’s all hope we get to see him in a Kentucky uniform for the years to come.

This offseason is a big one for this Kentucky program. Now it’s a waiting game to see how it plays out in the coming weeks.

For now, come talk about what was likely Kentucky’s final game of the 2020-21 season.