Every time I go to Rupp Arena, there’s nothing I want more than the game going to overtime (though a stress-free 25-point victory is nice too). Kentucky has played many overtime games under Calipari, and these five stand out as some of the best wins the Cats have gotten past the end of regulation:
5. @ Texas Tech (January 25th, 2020)
This game was flat-out awesome from the get-go and the best of the 2020 SEC/Big 12 Challenge games. You had the Wildcats playing on the road against the national runner-ups in Lubbock in front of a sell-out crowd.
A crucial missed free throw by Texas Tech sent the game to OT with a 64-64 tie. Nick Richards was the hero of the game, scoring 25 points of which several were either near the end of regulation or in overtime.
It was a wild game with a thrilling victory for Kentucky.
4. Ole Miss (January 6th, 2015)
This was one of the 38-0 team’s close calls during the 2015 super season. The Rebels stayed toe-to-toe with Kentucky for most of the game and had a chance to win it in regulation but missed a three with four seconds left.
In overtime the difference-maker was free throws from the Harrison brothers, breaking the 86-86 tie and getting Kentucky win number 14 out of 38.
3. @Texas A&M (January 10th, 2015)
Of course, Ole Miss wasn’t the only scare they got during the 38-0 year.
Just four days after the overtime shootout in Rupp, the Cats nearly took an L again versus Texas A&M. This time it was a Tyler Ulis three in double OT that staved off the opposition.
I’m not sure how they had the energy to turn around and whip Missouri by 39 the next game after those overtimes, but despite the early close calls, they stayed unbeaten until the Final Four.
This was also UK’s first two-overtime game under Calipari, and the only one they’ve played since was their 2OT win at Mississippi State last January.
2. Louisville (December 28th, 2019)
One of my favorite UK regular-season wins. Louisville was ranked 3rd in the country when they came to Rupp Arena after Christmas, and the Cats were coming off losses to Utah and Ohio State.
With the Cardinals being as good as they were and Kentucky determined to defend their home court, this became one of the best games in the history of the rivalry. It almost ended on a Keion Brooks tip-in at the end of regulation, but it rimmed out.
That would have sent Rupp nuts, but instead, we got the first OT game between UK and UofL since 1983.
1. SEC Tournament Title Game: Mississippi State (March 14th, 2010)
Of course, we all know No. 1. The picture above shows it all: In the SEC Tournament Championship Game, UK looked doomed when John Wall missed a three in the final seconds. But wait! Cousins has the rebound!
He tips it in juuust before the buzzer to send it to overtime! What’s so crazy is that in the picture above, his hand is still touching the ball when the clock in the back corner reads 0.2 seconds.
It’s amazing that he got the shot off in time. OT was never really in doubt, as the Bulldogs had almost nothing left by that point. Still, UK only won the game by a single point.
Overtime games are some of the most memorable moments of a college basketball season, and hopefully, Kentucky prevails in the next one that comes their way. To see Final/OT just makes the win more special (unless it was against a horrible team and the fact that it went to OT makes it embarrassing despite the win).