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Cats hang on, defeat Missouri 64-62 in SEC home opener


Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

Dwindling Kentucky’s 13 point lead in the fourth quarter, Missouri stretched the Cats SEC home opener to the last minute.

In the final 33 seconds of Thursday’s game, the Tigers rattled off six points to keep the Cats on their toes. Capitalizing off a turnover from Maci Morris, Missouri hit a layup with 25 seconds left to cut Kentucky’s lead to 63-58. On the Cats next trip down the court Taylor Murray committed the Cats ninth turnover of the night, leading to another Missouri layup to bring the game within three at 63-60.

With seven-seconds left to play, Missouri sent Morris to the line for two. Missing the first, the sophomore knocked down the second to stretch the Cats lead to 64-60, making it a two-possession game. Beating out the clock, Missouri would knock down a layup with one-second left on the clock to end the game at 64-62, Kentucky bringing home their first SEC victory of the season.

The first and fourth quarters were definitely not the Cats best quarters of the season. Kentucky only scored eight points in the first to trail the Tigers 15-8 to end the period. In the fourth quarter, the Cats lost a 13 point lead and were three of 12 from the field, seven of their points coming from free throws.

Rallying in the second quarter, Kentucky held the Tigers to just six points, while they took the lead at 34-21. Continuing to pour it on in the third, Kentucky allowed Missouri to get some shots up but still retained their lead at 51-40 to enter the last quarter of play.

Overall, the Cats were 39% from the field, going 22 of 56, and 47% from behind the line, making nine of 19 attempted three-pointers. Missouri did managed to win the battle of the boards, out rebounding Kentucky 37 to 30.

Makayla Epps bounced back from several rough games for 17 points, five rebounds and five assists.

“I felt like I struggled against Duke and Tennessee and I wanted to come out here and have some fun again,” Epps said after the game.

Evelyn Akhator made some solid contributions tonight, raking in 14 points and eight rebounds. Morris also went 2-3 from three-point land to help out her 11 points. However, Murray, who has been a star over the last several weeks only brought in seven points of her own with three rebounds and two assists.

Kentucky will be back in action on Sunday against Texas A&M in Memorial Coliseum at 2 p.m.

Article written by Haley Simpson

I'm from Bullitt County but I'm not a 6'9 power forward with a solid outside shot. Follow me on Twitter: @haleysimpKSR