No. 5 Kentucky escapes with 71-67 win over Mississippi State

The Wildcats let an 18-point lead early in the second half dwindle to just one possession with 1:18 remaining before a defensive stop in the final seconds sealed the win.

Posted: Feb 9, 2019 9:43 PM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Kentucky coach John Calipari said he took a few moments following Saturday's game to praise his team for winning its 10th straight game thanks to some gritty plays in a difficult road environment.

Then the compliments ended. It was time for the truth.

"If you want me to tell you everything's all good, it isn't," Calipari said. "I went right down to each guy. Not mean, screaming or cussing. I wasn't.

"But you're here because you want me to keep it real. Well, this is real."

And the truth is that No. 5 Kentucky was fortunate to escape Humphrey Coliseum with a 71-67 victory over Mississippi State. The Wildcats let an 18-point lead early in the second half dwindle to just one possession with 1:18 remaining before a defensive stop in the final seconds sealed the win.

PJ Washington scored 23 points, Keldon Johnson added 13 and Tyler Herro had 12, including a crucial 3-pointer with three minutes left. Kentucky (20-3, 9-1 Southeastern Conference) hasn't lost since its conference opener against Alabama on Jan. 5.

The Wildcats looked like they might cruise to the win after Washington hit a 3-pointer early in the second half to give them a 49-31 lead. But Mississippi State responded with a huge run to pull within 51-50 on a pair of free throws by Quinndary Weatherspoon with 8:41 left.

Washington and Ashton Hagans hit back-to-back layups to squash the Bulldogs' momentum, but Mississippi State kept fighting and Weatherspoon made a free throw to cut Kentucky's advantage to 70-67 with 1:18 left.

"Once we turned the defense up, I feel like that's when we're better offensively," Mississippi State guard Nick Weatherspoon said. "We got going, started getting points in transition and felt like we got them on their heels."

But Mississippi State came up empty on its final possession when Quinndary Weatherspoon lost possession and Kentucky's Johnson came up with the loose ball.

"Once they made that run, we just had to come together even more, stay focused and stay together," Johnson said.

Lamar Peters led the Bulldogs with 16 points while Quinndary Weatherspoon added 14, all in the second half. The Bulldogs have lost four of their last six.

Kentucky's Washington scored at least 20 points for the fifth time in six games. The 6-foot-8 sophomore shot 9 of 13 from the field, but Calipari wasn't particularly impressed. The veteran coach made it clear he has high standards.

"I think he's the best player in the country, but not like he played today," Calipari said. "He doesn't go get rebounds, doesn't get loose balls, missed one-footers, missed free throws. What? If you're the best, play that way. Come out with great energy. A motor."

"It's not about making shots. It's the way you play."

Mississippi State (16-7, 4-6) led 17-15 midway through the first half, but Herro nailed a contested 3-pointer to give Kentucky the lead. The Wildcats never trailed again, outscoring the Bulldogs 25-8 over the rest of the first half for a 40-25 halftime advantage.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
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