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RECAP: Montgomery, Richards outshine Perry in UK win over Mississippi State

The late start time didn’t affect your University of Kentucky Wildcats in Tuesday night’s home contest against red hot Mississippi State. The Cats jumped out early on the visiting Bulldogs and never looked back, winning the game by a final score of 80 points to 72 points. There were no lead changes in the game as Kentucky controlled the scoreboard for 38 minutes and 40 seconds after the first made basket.

The win is Kentucky’s 17th on the year and the seventh in conference play. It keeps the chase for the league’s regular season crown alive, and puts a dangerous opponent in the rearview mirror.

This is what happened:


EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards outshined Mississippi State’s SEC Player of the Year candidate.

We’ll start with Montgomery, who had one of the best games of his career. The sophomore scored 12 points, grabbed eight rebounds and played solid defense on the other end to help guide his team to the W. He scored in a variety of ways and never shied away from the physicality of the game. He was good, the kind of good many expected of him all year.

Richards was also great (real great) scoring a CAREER-HIGH 27 points (25 in the second half) with 11 rebounds. Richards’ double-double count is now up to 10 on the year and it marked the fifth time he went for 20+ points and 10+ rebounds this season.

Give this man his SEC Player of the Year trophy.

There was a clear emphasis on rebounding.

After getting owned on the boards at Auburn last weekend, Kentucky made a point to crash the glass against Mississippi State, one of the better rebounding teams in the entire country. (Third in the nation in offensive rebounds going into this game.) Mississippi State won the final count, 40-37, but the Cats were on top for much of the game, including at halftime.

The guards did a good job of rebounding — Maxey and Quickley each had four — and UK pushed the tempo off Mississippi State misses to keep the opposing backcourt backpedaling the other way, away from the boards. It helped that Montgomery and Richards combined for 19 rebounds, while holding Perry beneath his SEC-leading average.

Photo of the Night: John Short and Maria Montgomery

Big Blue Nation’s favorite radio show caller got to meet Rupp Arena emcee and former Miss Kentucky, Maria Montgomery.

You can see our entire photo gallery on Facebook:

Immanuel Quickley is chasing history at the foul line.

Quickley went a casual 14-for-14 at the stripe tonight, giving him a share of the school record for most attempts without a miss, while bringing his average on the season to an insane 92.3 percent. He wasn’t as hot from the field (3-of-11), but who can complain about a guy who hits 14 free throws without a miss? Quickley’s scoring was crucial, especially as Mississippi State tried to mount a late comeback. He hit eight free throws in the final 50 seconds, which put him up to 21 points.

He’s scored 20+ in three of the last four games.

If you need a good reason to like UK in the tournament…

With Mississippi State trying to claw back into the game, Kentucky iced it with 16 consecutive made free throws in the final three minutes. Say what you will about the team’s weaknesses, and there are many, but you aren’t going to give away many games going 16-of-16 from the foul line in crunch time. Heck they went 31-of-36 for the entire game.

Hagans didn’t do anything to silence his critics on the offensive end.

If we’re going to point out all of the positives, it’s only fair that we at least acknowledge that Hagans’ offense is not improving. He kept his turnovers down — two in the first half, none in the second, which is nice — and dished out six assists in the game, but he still can’t put the ball in the basket. There was another missed routine layup and four more misses on his seven shot attempts for only six points, his fourth straight game beneath his per-game average.

Can’t be mad about six assists and two turnovers though, not after 11 turnovers in his last two games.

A couple more stats that weren’t awesome:

— Only six points from the bench, all from Nate Sestina. Johnny Juzang and Keion Brooks went scoreless in five minutes apiece.

— Only four second chance points in the entire game. That’s with nine offensive rebounds.

— 1-of-10 from outside. Immanuel Quickley made one to keep them from missing every three-point try.

Still a win so eat it, you stats that weren’t awesome.

The officials let them play!!!!

Finally, an enjoyable basketball game! There were only 39 fouls in the game and we made it through the first half without either team finding the bonus or foul trouble! Until Mississippi State implemented its foul strategy late in the game, we were on pace to finish within two hours and I don’t think I heard more than one or two Boooooooooos in Rupp Arena.

Coach Cal even said, “This group tonight did a good job on this game,” after a stretch of games that had him pulling his hair out.

As for the late technical, Cal admitted he deserved it.

John Calipari remains undefeated against Mississippi State.

Make it 14-0 for John Calipari against Mississippi State. He’s had the Bulldogs’ number over the last decade and the dominance continued Tuesday night. UK got back in the win column with a very important victory against a bubble team hungry for a marquee win. Let’s all give a loud Go Cats to that.


Tennessee, you’re next.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

21 Comments for RECAP: Montgomery, Richards outshine Perry in UK win over Mississippi State

  1. Rob
    12:34 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

    A win is a win, but good Lord! Zero offensive rebounds from the guards? 22-4 in second chance points? C’mon now.

    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      11:42 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      If Allen does play he was known for his shooting and rebounding.

  2. Righteous1
    12:56 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

    The Cal Lovers Wolfpack will be on you for that comment Rob if you even think about criticizing their hero coach!

    • dcforuk
      1:27 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      “Even if I was right, even if he knew it was right, he was going to argue with me about it just to see how strong I was about it,” Masiello recalled. “? I learned what he was really challenging was how much you believe in yourself, the work you’ve done.” …

      Wouldn’t you rather be a lover than a hater?

    • Rob
      2:14 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Ok Righteous. It’s time to let the adult talk. By the way….does your mom know your up this late?

    • dcforuk
      5:54 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Exactly. I am being juvenile because I argue for arguing sake, too!

    • StillBP
      6:54 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      the thing you don’t seem to get, Righteous, is that no one minds criticism. What we mind is criticism with denigrating the players and/or coach. No one would care if you said “Cal needs to do a better job with coaching EJ (insert rest of sentence). But your comments are like “The ten million dollar waste of money who can’t coach needs to do a better job with that waste of a scholarship EJ who is trash.” You said you’re retired, you should know how to communicate without sounding like a petulant ten year old.

    • 4everUKBlue
      8:53 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      It’s Slater and he just wants attention, loves to get reactions.

    • 4everUKBlue
      8:54 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      No way this child is retired, fired is more likely.

    • runningunnin.454
      9:00 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Yep, there’s a difference between retiring and getting retired.

  3. JT55
    1:43 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

    Look, we all know this team is flawed. If they make it to the second weekend of the tourney, then great. I’ve learned to just enjoy the games and take it for what it is.

  4. Rob
    2:08 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

    I was criticizing coach. I was just pointing out that between three guards they had zero offensive rebounds. As a coach it just bothered me when I saw that on the stat sheet. I wasn’t trying to sound over critical. There’s always things teams can work on to get better at. Rebounding just happens to be a pet peeve of mine. Of course, having OCD only makes matters worse. ?

    • StillBP
      6:56 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      pay no mind to Righteous, he’s irrational.

    • StillBP
      7:10 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      and he’s old, he’s probably senile.

    • Bluehender
      7:27 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Of course you weren’t criticizing the coach Rob. No one read it that way except the old juvenile thinker, Slater. Arguing just to be arguing…

    • runningunnin.454
      9:03 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      Yep, Righty is just another one-string banjo out of tune.

  5. BigJohnC
    7:39 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

    This guy nick Tesla Richards the electric man. Rippin rims off in a city near you

  6. makeitstop
    9:22 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

    BP ur comments above right on. Drew’s summary was solid – I’d add the gap in second chance points is very concerning. It’s not just that we only had 4 – it’s they had 22. In the second half I recall a couple of second chance 3’s. That would’ve cost us but for the excellent FT shooting and ample chances. We out scored them by 17 at the line they got us by 18 on 2d Chance. I saw 2 things – EJ did great til he got tired, then he got beat and Keion is going to hv to develop to fill that 15 minutes of relief w energy and attitude and grab everything in site. Nate is going to hv to hit those open 3’s to make up for the defense. They shot poorly for 30 minutes bc we played great D for 30 minutes. They heated up when we got tired, went zone, backed off. Gotta hv those bench guys develop now. The shooting woes still worry me, bc 10% from 3 bounces u in the tourney. But hey it was way better and we played way harder which we will need to w 2 straight in TN.

    • Bluehender
      9:56 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

      I agree makeitstop..Cats played well until they got tired. Liked what I saw from EJ. It’s what we need from him.

  7. CJKAssassin123
    10:27 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

    Watch Perry will still win the Award.

  8. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    11:27 am February 5, 2020 Permalink

    I just noticed a WIEERRDDDD trend. When the refs call the game fair our bigs do well. That is so strange. No one in the wide world of sports could have seen that coming.