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Nick Richards, EJ Montgomery Propel Kentucky Past Mississippi State 80-72

An excellent performance by E.J. Montgomery and a 25-point second half surge by Nick Richards helped hold off a late comeback bid by Mississippi State. John Calipari’s record against the Bulldogs from Starkville improved to 15-0 following the 80-72 victory at Rupp Arena.

Kentucky was not sleepy for the 9 p.m. ET tip-off. The Wildcats surged to a 7-0 lead to start the game and began the second half with a 7-2 run to build a comfortable lead against the Bulldogs.

Ben Howland’s team used a late run to cut the deficit to six with 4:36 on the clock. After playing most of the game outside of a double digits, Miss. State hung around into the final minute thanks to a late technical foul on Coach Cal. Try as they may, the Bulldogs did not have enough to overcome the effort by UK’s bigs.

E.J. Montgomery scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds, but his best work may have been on the defensive end. The sophomore power forward forced four turnovers and kept Reggie Perry in check with the help of Nick Richards. After struggling against Auburn, Richards had a career-high 27 points and 10 rebounds to record another double-double.

UK’s post players outscored Miss. State 38-28 in the paint, yet they were out-rebounded (38-37) by the Bulldogs and gave up 22 second chance points. Another box score oddity: Immanuel Quickley scored 21 points on only three made field goals.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

29 Comments for Nick Richards, EJ Montgomery Propel Kentucky Past Mississippi State 80-72

  1. nocode96
    11:19 pm February 4, 2020 Permalink

    Good win. State had won five in a row and I’ll always maintain that the sec is better than we get credit for, but damn….I just wanna win one by 20! Lol. Go Big Blue!

    • Bluehender
      11:24 pm February 4, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah that would be nice nocode, but I don’t think this team has it in them. Good to see EJ play better. We need him to do that consistently…Go Cats!!

    • lexattorney
      11:40 pm February 4, 2020 Permalink

      “No Code” as in the Pearl Jam album? It’s my favorite of all time.

  2. ColoradoCatFan88
    11:25 pm February 4, 2020 Permalink

    Everything was good tonight other than outside shooting. Gotta hit more than one 3 pointer out of ten attempts. That’s the only reason this game stayed somewhat close

    • CrystalBall
      11:38 pm February 4, 2020 Permalink

      Right about that Colorado. Won tonight, but not going to win many more this year on
      1 for 10 3’s.

    • lexattorney
      11:40 pm February 4, 2020 Permalink

      If you call getting outrebounded “good” then I guess you’re right.

    • ColoradoCatFan88
      1:13 pm February 5, 2020 Permalink

      They had 3 more total rebounds. Although we did give up way too many offensive boards to them. That has got to stop because it will get us beat in a tight tourney game. Our guards have to be better perimeter rebounders or at least block their men out. But we had more assists, more steals, & less turnovers. I’m happy when this teams keeps the turnovers under 10. Let’s go get a win down in Knoxville Saturday, it’s been a while.. lol

    • Bluehender
      6:48 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      We led the rebounds at halftime counselor, they played a little harder, a little more desparately second half. Last time I checked the final score is what counts. So it was a good night CCF88

    • 4everUKBlue
      8:59 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Amen Bluehender

  3. dcforuk
    11:48 pm February 4, 2020 Permalink

    If skill sets and abilities are the fire then belief and confidence are the gasoline that can help that fire roar. Belief and confidence in self can be fueled by others’ belief and confidence in you. That is one of the primary jobs of a coach……to treat a player like he/she can be and not as they are. If you waited until your kids became adults to treat them like adults, then they would never get there! Same concept!

    • RealCatsFan
      11:51 pm February 4, 2020 Permalink

      And effort is the oxygen, dc.

    • dcforuk
      12:35 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      In the same way that thinking is required to create creative space in your brain to think right?

  4. Lip Man 1
    11:50 pm February 4, 2020 Permalink

    Free throw shooting saved them tonight, outside shooting was non-existent, they couldn’t drop it in the ocean if they were standing on the beach. And giving up 22 second chance points? Wow.

    These guys just don’t seem to have a nose for rebounding. Maybe Cal is right, maybe they simply are soft. I’d say try some other combinations but Cal doesn’t have any. He prefers having two, three, four walk-on’s who will never see meaningful time but sure helps the team GPA on his roster which is insane.

    • RealCatsFan
      11:54 pm February 4, 2020 Permalink

      It’s hard to keep a quality 4 star player around if he thinks he will be recruited over every year. Everyone wants PT. Guys like that would rather play for a mid major.

    • dcforuk
      12:42 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Mastering conflict is one of the keys to unlocking organizational potential. Creating conflict unnecessarily is narcissistic! Did I spell that correctly?

    • CJKAssassin123
      10:47 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      That’s why call should dedicate one days practice every week to rebounding drills and another day to outside shoot drills. Everyone from each angle of the 3-point shooting contest until they make five 3 point shoots from all 6 spots in the 3point shooting contest. I think this is the best FT shooting team Cal has ever had which is very hard to fathom. I would love for them to improve the FT shooting even more. Especially the guys on the team who aren’t good FT shooters and you make those guys shoot FT’s as long as it takes to hit 10 in a row without missing once and if they miss just one FT they start all over. I guarantee that’s how did that everybody on this team would be a deadeye FT shooter. Hell and every team Cal has had at UK in the past several years was as good of a FT shooting team as this team is we would have a few more Final 4 and championship banners hanging from the rafters.

  5. Righteous1
    11:57 pm February 4, 2020 Permalink

    I am amazed at the Cal Lovers Wolfpack! You have the opportunity to praise your hero coach and the comments do not fit the narrative!

    • ClutchCargo
      12:07 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      The refs get a lot of well-deserved bashing, but that door swings both ways. This was one of the best managed games by the officials that I can remember.

    • Bluehender
      6:51 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Lol it’s president of the Cal Haters Club. That all you got tonight?

  6. FatDaddyCat
    11:59 pm February 4, 2020 Permalink

    I like this team. I have been critical of Hagans on this site, multiple times. Heard some stuff on a podcast regarding the Whitney exit, no idea if it’s accurate, but if it is Cats are in great shape. You get Richards, Montgomery playing that way and the guards get in sync? That’s a tough matchup come March. GO CATS!

    • CJKAssassin123
      11:01 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Especially if we become very consistent 3point shooting team and become consistent behemoths on the offensive and defensive glass.

  7. Righteous1
    12:06 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

    The good news is that the Cal Lovers Wolfpack had their hunger to praise their hero coach tonight satisfied! The bad news is that an early Calentine’s Day present on Saturday will be difficult! Your hero coach has not won in Knoxville since 2015 and Rick Barnes is 5-3 against UK! I hope that the starvation of the Cal Lovers Wolfpack will have the opportunity to cleanse that hunger this Saturday!

    • Bobbum Man
      12:10 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Ur weird

    • ClutchCargo
      12:13 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Seriously Righteous1? Go phuck yourself.

    • 4everUKBlue
      12:59 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Clutch Righteous1 is no doubt Slater, that should explain a lot.

    • StillBP
      7:10 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      your life must be so sad. Thoughts and prayers for you, Righteous.

  8. michaelb
    12:11 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

    What did the spread wind up being?

    • ColoradoCatFan88
      1:16 pm February 5, 2020 Permalink

      I believe it was 6.5 so we covered

    • CJKAssassin123
      3:02 pm February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Now if we can win on Saturday and get some help from Auburn. We should be right in the thick of it for the SEC regular season Title. We will have to win out and need LSU to get 4 or so SEC losses including UK and we need Auburn to pick up two or more SEC losses to really have a strong chance at that.