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Kentucky knocks off Missouri: 4 things to know and postgame cheers

The Cats move to 2-0 in SEC play.

DJ Wagner Dylan Ballard - A Sea Of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats returned home to Rupp Arena on Tuesday night for a date with the Missouri Tigers and came away with the victory, 90-77.

Coming off the huge win on Saturday, many felt like this game against Mizzou had ‘trap game’ written all over it. Looking at the first half, that is exactly how it felt. After a quick start, the offense slowed down until the under-four timeout in the half before picking up once again.

The only problem Missouri shot a scorching 55% from the field, helping keep the Tigers in the game. Luckily for the Cats though, they took the lead into the locker room at 47-42.

The second half almost was a copy of the first. Kentucky came out early, looking like they were going to run away with this thing, but the Tigers continued to fight, landing several punches of their own to keep this thing a little closer than it should have been.

Kentucky spent much of the second half up by 8-10 points, though the Tigers did pull to within seven with 7:35 left before the Cats got an Aaron Bradshaw dunk and a pair of free throws from Antonio Reeves, and it was mostly free-throw shooting til the end for Kentucky.

Rob Dillingham led the way with a career-high 23 points. Right behind him was Tre Mitchell with 20, followed by DJ Wagner (16) and Antonio Reeves (14).

Sadly, Reeves had his streak of 24 straight games with a made 3-pointer snapped, as he went 0/5 from deep tonight.

Another sour spot was Kentucky committing 13 turnovers to 14 assists.

A bright spot was Kentucky once again locking down the 3-point line after a rough start. Missouri hit 6/15 from deep to start but went 2/15 afterward. The Florida Gators got hot from deep Saturday, going 8/20 from deep in the first half, then hit just one of their final 11 3-point attempts.

Kentucky will now start to prepare for a matchup at Texas A&M this Saturday. In what should be another rowdy road environment, let's see if the Cats can pick up another huge road win in College Station.

Now let's take a look at a few things to know from tonight's win over the Tigers:

Offense stays hot

After a slow first half in Gainesville, Kentucky’s offense started to click in the second half against the Gators. Luckily tonight, the offensive momentum started from the tip.

Led by Tre Mitchell kicking off the game with back-to-back threes, add in Rob Dillingham going nuclear and this high-powered offense was firing on all cylinders against the Tigers this evening.

Kentucky would finish with 90 points on 28/56 shooting, good for a 50% clip, though they only hit 7/23 from deep, a 30.4% rate.

For this team to continue to trend in the National Contender direction, it will take this offense each night. Now, the defense is not as bad as many might think, but when you score 90+ on any given night, it usually doesn't matter.

Going to be fun if the team can keep this going.

Rebounding Continues to Flash

What was once thought to be a weakness of this squad, has now seemingly started to flash as a strength. The Cats put together another solid night on the boards, especially on the offensive side of the floor.

Now, over the last several seasons, the BBN has gotten used to seeing unreal rebounding stats being put up by Oscar Tshiebwe. This squad doesn't feature a player that will likely ever put up numbers in the rebounding column like Oscar did, but the team rebounding is impressive.

That was evidenced tonight by Kentucky dominating the rebounding battle 42-27. Missouri grabbed just six offensive boards compared to nine for the Cats.

We will continue to talk about the defensive side of the floor being a weakness for this team, but the best way to ensure that we won't have to play more possessions on defense...continue to lock down the boards. It helped propel the Cats to a win this evening.

Tre Mitchell continues to shine

Mitchell might not be the flashiest player on the court, but he proved how important he is to this team once again this evening.

He finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds, and three assists.

For such a late pickup this offseason, it would not be fun to think about where this team would be without him. Whether it be his passing, three-level scoring, or even his defense, Mitchell is putting together a solid all-around campaign in his only season in Lexington. If it continues at this pace, you have to like Kentucky’s chances come March.

Just Keep Winning

It doesn’t matter how pretty it is, when it comes to SEC play there is one motto: Just keep winning.

For Kentucky, this evening wasn't exactly how you would draw up a game against a subpar Missouri team. On a good night, this squad is likely 15+ points better than the Tigers.

Tonight they didn't play to their potential, but they will still walk out of Rupp Arena at 2-0 in SEC play. That is important and impressive in itself.

Saying this, Kentucky has to play MUCH better to win Saturday on the road against a much better Texas A&M squad. Play like this, and Kentucky likely takes its first SEC L in College Station.

Now, let’s discuss win No. 12!

Go Cats!!