Kentucky faced off against a struggling Ole Miss team in the last home game of the season looking to continue to build off the last three impressive performances. It was an ugly game most of the way, but the Cats pulled away late to get the 96-78 win.
From the tip, it was hard for Kentucky to get into any type of rhythm and the game had no flow and was hard to watch. Within the first four minutes Ole Miss had a player ejected with his second technical and Nick Richards also picked up a T.
Two minutes later another Ole Miss player was given a technical for unsportsmanlike behavior and the Cats took a 15-10 lead. At times in the half the game had flow and Kentucky would build up a lead but some fouls would let the Rebels keep it close.
Kentucky took a 40-30 lead with just under 4 minutes left and was able to keep it around that margin as they headed into the halftime break up 50-42.
Out of the break, Kentucky let Ole Miss hang around and cut into the lead and at the under 16 timeout the Cats were holding onto a narrow 58-54 lead.
Kentucky would start to pull away but a technical foul on Wenyen would give the Rebels some momentum and let them climb back into the game. However, Kentucky would settle down, reclaim the momentum, and pull away on their way to beating the Ole Miss Rebels.
Thoughts on the game
Wenyen Gabriel had a good performance
Kentucky is better when they get good minutes from Gabriel and that is exactly what happened. He scored 15 points on 5/8 shooting and grabbed 6 rebounds. Other than the moment where he gave up a dunk then got a T he had a solid game.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a double-double
We have seen some good performances from Shai this season and tonight was yet another. He had 17 points and 10 assists, he was only three rebounds away from a triple double. He had a few mishaps but played a good game and went 11/13 from the free throw line.
Quade Green was a spark
When Ole Miss went on runs it seemed as if the common denominator for Kentucky building up another lead was Green scoring to give us the momentum. He had 18 points and was very efficient throughout the game.
Kentucky won the rebound battle
Kentucky won the battle on the glass 43-35 and had some big offensive rebounds that led to second chance points and helped the Cats get another SEC win.
The Cats are scoring all around
This is the fourth straight game that Kentucky where they had 5 guys score in double figures. For a team that had a stretch where they seemed like they couldn’t buy a basket, seeing this type of scoring is good especially since the postseason is a week away.
Celebrate this win but it’s a quick turnaround as the Cats have to go on the road to face a streaky Florida Gators team.
Here are the postgame notes and milestones, courtesy of UK Athletics:
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky won its fourth game in a row and is 21-9 overall, 10-7 in the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss is 12-18 overall, 5-12 in league play.
- Kentucky leads the series 106-13 and has won nine in a row against the Rebels.
- UK leads 54-2 in games played in Lexington.
- Next for the Wildcats: Kentucky completes the regular season Saturday at Florida. Game time is noon and it will be televised on CBS.
In the First Half
- Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, Wenyen Gabriel, Kevin Knox and Nick Richards for the sixth time this season. UK is 5-1 with this lineup.
- Kentucky extended its streak of 1,043 consecutive games with a 3-pointer when Gabriel connected with 17:48 on the clock.
- Ahead 31-30, Kentucky went on a 9-0 run for a 40-30 lead.
- UK went to halftime ahead 50-42.
- It was UK’s most first-half points since 54 vs. Monmouth on Dec. 9.
- Knox led the team with 13 points, it was a team-best 11th time this season he’s scored double figures in the first half.
- Gabriel had 12 points, the most he’s had in a half this season.
- Gilgeous-Alexander had 11 points, marking the fifth time this season he’s had double figures in the first half, and the first time since the Vanderbilt game on Jan. 13.
- UK is 14-3 this season when leading at halftime.
In the Second Half
- Ole Miss came out hot with a trio of 3-pointers, cutting the UK lead to 59-57.
- At that point, the teams traded runs, UK 8-0 and Ole Miss 7-0.
- Ahead 75-69, UK put the game away with a 10-0 spurt to make it 85-69 and the Rebels never seriously threatened again.
- Kentucky has scored its highest point total in SEC play in the last three games – 87 at Arkansas, 87 vs. Missouri, 96 vs. Ole Miss.
- UK has made at least eight 3-pointers in each of those games.
- UK has scored at least 80 points in every game of the current four-game winning streak.
- It’s the first time UK tallied at least 80 in four straight games since it was done eight games in a row last season.
- UK posted 19 assists tonight, most in an SEC game this season and three shy of the season high.
- Five Wildcats scored in double figures for the fourth game in a row.
- That’s the first time that’s happened since UK did it five straight times during the 2016-17 season vs. Duquesne, Cleveland, UT Martin, Arizona State and UCLA.
- UK had four players score at least 15 points tonight, first time that has happened since the win over Texas A&M on Jan. 9.
- Kentucky shot 50 percent from the field and is 13-0 this season when shooting at least 46.4 percent from the field.
- UK is 9-0 this season when making at least half its shots.
- UK got to the foul line 35 times tonight and made 26.
- During the current four-game win streak, UK is shooting 76.6 from the foul line.
- UK won the rebounding 43-35. UK is 19-4 this season when outrebounding the opponent.
- Kentucky finished the home schedule with a 16-2 record (.889).
- UK is now 577-68 (.895) all-time in Rupp Arena.
- Tonight marked Coach John Calipari’s 150th win in Rupp (150-8, .949)
- Calipari has five seasons with zero home losses at UK and four seasons with two home defeats.
- UK is 228-5 under Coach John Calipari when the Wildcats lead by at least 10 points during the game.
- Player Notes
- Kevin Knox led the Wildcats with 22 points, his third straight 20-point game and ninth of the season.
- It is his first time as a Wildcat to have three straight 20-point games.
- It is his seventh straight game in double figures.
- Jarred Vanderbilt had five points and led the Cats in rebounds with 11.
- He is averaging 9.5 points and 11 rebounds per game during UK’s current four-game win streak.
- With 104 rebounds in 221 minutes this season, he continues his amazing ratio of one rebound per 2.1 minutes played.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 17 points, a career-high 10 rebounds, tied his career best for rebounds with seven, and had a career-best three blocked shots.
- It is the first double-double of his career.
- After notching eight assists vs. Missouri, he is the first Wildcat with eight assists in consecutive games since De’Aaron Fox last season vs. UT Martin and UCLA.
- Quade Green netted 18 points, his second-highest point total of the season. He had 21 vs. East Tennessee on Nov. 17.
- He is averaging 13.5 points during the current four-game win streak and canned two 3-pointers in all four games.
- He has scored double figures in four straight games, marking the second time this season he has done that.
- PJ Washington scored 10 points, his fifth straight game in double figures, all off the bench.
- He added five rebounds, the sixth straight game he has garnered at least five caroms.
- Wenyen Gabriel had 15 points, one shy of his season high, and his first double-figure game since Jan. 20 vs. Florida. He added six rebounds and two assists.
- Coach John Calipari
- Calipari has a 715-202 all-time on-court record.
- Calipari is now 270-62 at Kentucky.
- Calipari is 150-8 at Rupp Arena.
- Calipari is 14-4 vs. Ole Miss in his career.