Three more things from Kentucky’s win at Miss. State

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STARKVILLE, Miss. — Having written my column on Trey Lyles, here are three more things from Kentucky’s 74-56 win over Mississippi State:

1. Thanks to Kentucky’s sluggish start to the second half, Mississippi State was able to cut the deficit to four points, 41-37, with 15:10 left, and with 13:10 remaining, the top-ranked Cats held just an eight-point lead (47-39) on the host Bulldogs. Then all of a sudden, Kentucky was up 60-40.

“In a matter of about three minutes, an eight-point game went to a 20-point game,” Mississippi State coach Rick Ray said.

What happened?

“A lot of blocked shots,” MSU guard Gavin Ware said.

“A blocked shot is just like a turnover,” Ray said. “It ignites their fast break.”

Indeed, Kentucky blocked nine shots, its highest total since Jan. 20, when the Cats blocked 11 shots in a home win over Vanderbilt.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Marcus Lee and Willie Cauley-Stein each blocked two shots. Trey Lyles, Andrew Harrison and Tyler Ulis also were credited with blocks. For the 5-foot-9 Ulis, it was his second blocked shot of the season.

2. Kentucky averaged 1.135 points per possession compared to 0.864 for Mississippi State. The Cats shot 49.1 percent to 37.3 for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs shot just 32.1 percent the second half.

State also made just 16 of 27 free throws for 59.3 percent, while UK was 12 of 13 from the line. It’s unusual for an opponent to shoot more free throws than the Cats.

“They took us out of everything we wanted to do,” Calipari said.

“We didn’t take them out of everything they wanted to do because we didn’t win,” Ray said, smiling, when told of Calipari’s comment.

3. It was Kentucky’s 28th straight win, which is a school record for a single season. The previous mark was 27, set by the 1995-96 national title team.

It also passed John Calipari’s previous personal winning streak. His 2008-09 Memphis team won 27 straight games.

The Cats are now three games away from a perfect regular season. They play No. 18 Arkansas at home on Saturday, then travel to Georgia on March 3 before returning home to face Florida in the regular season finale on March 7.

Related links

Herald-Leader photo gallery from Kentucky-Mississippi State

Herald-Leader fan gallery from Kentucky-Mississippi State

Kentucky basketball game-by-game results in Excel

Kentucky basketball game-by-game team stats in Excel

Kentucky basketball individual game-by-game stats in Excel

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Liveblog: Kentucky-Mississippi State basketball

Live Blog Liveblog: Kentucky-Mississippi State basketball
 

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Video: Kentucky, Mississippi State fans brave the snow

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Kentucky and Mississippi State fans came through the snow to see the No. 1-ranked Cats play the host Bulldogs on Wednesday night. Here’s the scene approximately two hours before tipoff.

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College basketball on television: Feb. 25

Dave Neal, Jon Sundvold and Kaylee Hartung comprise the SEC Network crew for Kentucky-Mississippi State at 7 p.m.

Here’s the list of the college basketball games on television Wednesday night:

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Bud Dupree helps his draft stock

ESPN’s Edward Aschoff has put together a list of former SEC players who helped their draft stock at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis over the weekend. Former UK defensive end Bud Dupree made the five-man list.

Aschoff wrote of Dupree: “Talk about someone’s draft stock shooting through the roof. Dupree came in as a possible first-round draft pick and left Indy solidifying that projection. He blew scouts away with his blazing 4.56 40 time, a broad jump of 11 feet, 5 inches and a 42-inch vertical jump. A groin injury kept him from participating in combine drills, but his athleticism was certainly showcased.”

Dupree ran a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash.  Click to watch Dupree’s 40 and hear NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock talk about the former UK star.

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College basketball on television: Feb. 24

College basketball games on television Tuesday:

Tuesday, Feb. 24

  • 7:00 – Texas at West Virginia (ESPN2)
  • 7:00 – Providence at Villanova (Fox Sports 1)
  • 7:00 – Wisconsin at Maryland (ESPN)
  • 7:00 – South Carolina at Alabama (SEC)
  • 9:00 – Boston College at Pittsburgh (ESPNU)
  • 9:00 – Creighton at DePaul (Fox Sports 1)
  • 9:00 – Florida at Missouri (SEC)
  • 9:00 – Texas A&M at Arkansas (ESPN)
  • 9:30 – UNLV at Utah State (CBS Sports)
  • 11:00 – New Mexico at Boise State (ESPNU)

How Top 25 teams fared Monday

  • No. 8 Kansas lost 70-63 at Kansas State
  • No. 17 Louisville won 52-51 at Georgia Tech
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Big Blue Links: Kentucky women reeling

Big Blue Links for Tuesday:

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College basketball on television: Feb. 23

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Three interesting college basketball games with state ties are the tube Monday night.

Let’s start with the Kentucky women, who will be attempting to snap a two-game losing streak when they travel to Ole Miss for a 7 p.m. game on the SEC Network.

Matthew Mitchell’s club had to rally from a 27-25 halftime deficit to beat Ole Miss 64-58 at Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 4. The Rebels are now 5-8 in the league and 15-11 overall under former Kentucky assistant Matt Insell. UK is 8-5 in the conference and 19-7 overall.

Also at 7 p.m., but on ESPN, Louisville will be playing its first game without Chris Jones, or at leas the first game with Jones no longer on the team (for good/we think). The senior guard was abruptly dismissed Sunday, just three days after he had been re-instated and one day after his 17 points helped Louisville beat visiting Miami 55-53.

Jones’ status wasn’t the only Louisville basketball controversy over the weekend. There are still lingering repercussions from Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell firing a basketball off the head of Miami’s Tonye Jekiri in what was a totally unnecessary play.

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Tracking Kentucky’s overwhelming game starts

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Kentucky’s jackrabbit start against Auburn on Saturday — the Cats led by 26 points just barely over the halfway point of the first half — was not an isolated incident in this thus-far perfect UK basketball season.

Here’s a look at some other dominant Kentucky starts:

Nov. 14 vs. Grand Canyon - The tone was set for the season when John Calipari’s club led 19-6 at 12:12 mark and 26-9 with 8:38 left in first half. Cats were up 43-16 at intermission and won, 85-45.

Nov. 18 vs. Kansas - UK led 24-9 with 9:25 left in first half of the Champions Classic in Indianapolis. Kansas cut the lead to 38-28 at the half, but Kentucky held the Jayhawks to just a dozen points in the second half. The Cats cruised, 72-40.

Nov. 23 vs. Montana State - Kentucky led 20-4 at the 7:54 mark and 39-11 at the first half. At the final horn, UK had overwhelmed the poor visitors, 86-28.

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Virginia and Kentucky back and forth in defensive effiency

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Update: Pomeroy’s numbers now have Kentucky at 84.4 and Virginia at 84.5.

The jockeying back and forth continues.

Virginia kept up its stingy ways on Sunday night, strangling visiting Florida State 51-41, and the Cavaliers moved ahead of Kentucky in Ken Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency ratings.

According to Pomeroy’s adjusted calculations, Virginia is allowing 84.3 points per 100 possessions. Kentucky is allowing 84.5 points per 100 possessions. Arizona is now third in that category, allowing 87.2 points per 100 possessions, meaning there is a bit of a gap between the top two and the third defensively.

As for offense, Pomeroy has Kentucky ranked eighth in adjusted offensive efficiency. Virginia ranks 31st in offensive efficiency, so the Cats remain No. 1 overall in the Pomeory ratings, followed by Virginia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Villanova, Utah, Duke, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Defensively, it’s not as if Kentucky is lagging. True, Auburn did shoot 51.6 percent Saturday in the Tigers’ 110-75 loss at Rupp. But Kentucky held Bruce Pearl’s team to 0.933 points per possession, the third straight team that the Cats have held to less than 1.0. (South Carolina averaged 0.693; Tennessee 0.846.)

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