The Kentucky Wildcats traveled to Starkville for a late-night date with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. In what was the ultimate bubble game of the night, the Cats outlasted the Bulldogs for a narrow 71-68 victory!
Despite some questionable lineups, the first half for Kentucky was solid overall. Playing what was the best basketball we have seen from this team in the last few games, John Calipari had his squad ready to fight on both ends of the floor.
With a big half from Jacob Toppin, Antonio Reeves, and Oscar Tshiebwe, the Cats were able to head to the locker room with a 36-35 lead.
After a quick run from Mississippi State to start the half, Kentucky was able to weather the storm to push ahead midway through the second half.
Then we saw the tides turn back in favor of the Bulldogs late in the half, as the classic Kentucky stall-ball commenced. Luckily for the Cats, they were able to put together enough buckets to pull out the win with some late free throws from Chris Livingston and Oscar Tshiebwe.
After another huge first half from Antonio Reeves, I thought he would once again claim the Game MVP. But it is Jacob Toppin, who put the team on his back when the Cats needed it most.
He finished the night with 16 points on 7/9 shooting and was 1/1 from three. He also added three rebounds, two steals, and two assists while committing just two turnovers in 37 minutes.
Doing a little bit of everything on the floor, Toppin is starting to flash his NBA potential. Including a pretty solid three-point shot. If that shot continues to fall it opens up a lot more for this team.
Also need to give a shoutout to Chris Livingston. With some big moments coming in the second half for the freshman forward, Livingston answered the call to help the Cats stay ahead and pull away from the Bulldogs.