Kentucky basketball plays Mississippi State at Rupp Arena at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, January 23. Follow along below for the score, live updates and stats from the game.
Kentucky-Mississippi State score, live updates, stats
FINAL: Kentucky 78, Mississippi State 65
The Wildcats flirted with disaster one more time late when, up nine with 3:15 to go, Quade Green fouled a 3-point shooter and MSU convened a 4-point play. From there, it was a flurry of energy and effort for Kentucky: a big offensive rebound by Knox (who produced 19 points on just 6 field-goal attempts), impressive drive and finish by Washington, who then snared a defensive board and got fouled and swatted a Bulldogs shot into the crowd, and a putback bucket by Gabriel.
Washington set a new career high with 22 points (to go with 6 rebounds) and the Cats (15-5, 5-3 SEC) avoided the first three-game losing streak of the John Calipari era. That might’ve been the best finish UK has produced in conference play. Up next: a huge test at West Virginia. Here’s the final box score:
Kentucky 68, Mississippi State 59, 4:01 2H: The Cats are finally pulling away (maybe) with a nice flurry: Jarred Vanderbilt tip-in off a Gilgeous-Alexander lob, a slick Diallo drive and finish in transition, a slicker in-and-out dribble and finish. Kentucky badly needed that demonstration of some competent offense.
Kentucky 58, Mississippi State 54, 7:54 2H: Not sure why it took so long, but Kevin Knox’s first field-goal attempt of the second half was a deep 3-pointer that swished and got Rupp rocking. He’s 4 of 4 from three and 5 of 6 from the field with 16 points. (Knox had made just 2 of 14 threes in the previous three games.) And the Bulldogs just threw it out of bounds. Here’s your updated box score:
Kentucky 55, Mississippi State 52, 9:58 2H: How about PJ Washington? Now 9 of 12 at the free-throw line and a two-hand cram off an SGA lob to finally wake up Rupp Arena. He’s up to 19 points and 5 rebounds and is carrying the Cats right now.
Mississippi State 52, Kentucky 51, 11:36 2H: This is just a brutal basketball game to watch. Half-hearted defense, awful passes, badly missed shots. It’s an assault on the eyeballs. And the Wildcats are in danger of suffering their first three-game losing streak in Calipari’s nine seasons … at the hands of an MSU team that has lost 4 of 5 SEC games. Kentucky is making Nick Weatherspoon (17 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) look like Magic Johnson. Meanwhile, the Cats have three McDonald’s All-Americans (Green, Richards, Vanderbilt) who have combined for zero points. Here’s the box score if you dare:
Kentucky 47, Mississippi State 46, 15:20 2H: Calipari called a timeout just 36 seconds into the second half after MSU surged ahead on a jumper, UK turnover and layup. Rupp Arena was (and is still for the most part) dead quiet. Wenyen Gabriel, who started the second half in place of ineffective Nick Richards, got a putback bucket and 3-pointer in short succession to give UK a little lift, but after just three first-half turnovers, the Cats have four in the first 4:40 this half. It’s not pretty basketball. Defensively, MSU is running circles around Kentucky to the tune of 5 for 9 shooting.
HALFTIME: Kentucky 38, Mississippi State 36
Kevin Knox is 4 of 5 from the field and 4 of 4 at the free-throw line and leads all scorers with 13 points. PJ Washington is playing pretty well (11 points, 3 boards). Hamidou Diallo and Jarred Vanderbilt each have 5 rebounds. That’s all pretty good, but the defense (and Diallo/Vanderbilt’s 2-of-10 shooting) has been bad. John Calipari has been getting down in defensive stances on the sidelines while howling at his non-compliant young players — and even almost accidentally stripped an MSU ball handler late in the half. Not pretty, but UK leads. Here’s the box score:
Kentucky 34, Mississippi State 27, 4:24 1H: The Cats’ two worst offensive players tonight — Hamidou Diallo (2-5 FG, all 3 of UK’s turnovers) and Jarred Vanderbilt (0-5 FG) — are making it up on the glass. They’ve combined for 9 rebounds. Knox (11 points), Gilgeous-Alexander (8 points, 3 assists) and Washington (9 points, 3 rebounds) are doing the rest of the heavy lifting. Here’s the updated box score:
Kentucky 26, Mississippi State 22, 7:50 1H: Knox is officially on fire after getting a good-luck, banked-in 3-pointer for his third straight make from deep. He added another swished jumper and is now 4 of 5 from the field with 11 points. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (6 points, 3 assists, 0 turnovers) is also playing well. Jarred Vanderbilt, at least offensively, is not. He’s 0 for 5 with several close-range misses tonight.
Mississippi State 18, Kentucky 15: The natives were getting restless as Kentucky trailed 13-7 with 14 minutes to go in the first half, but then Kevin Knox drained 3-pointers from the right and left wings on consecutive possessions and Sacha Killeya-Jones finished a bucket inside through a foul and it was all tied at 15 in a blink. The Bulldogs are back in front, but Knox rediscovering his deep shooting stroke is a significant development for the Wildcats. The 3-point streak won’t be threatened tonight. Here’s the box score so far:
Mississippi State 9, Kentucky 6, 15:21 1H: This is so far not the recipe for avoiding the first three-game losing streak in the John Calipari era. The Cats are just 3 of 11 from the field — with a couple of ugly misses in some early action for Jarred Vanderbilt — while the Bulldogs started 4 of 6, led by Nick Weatherspoon (5 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist).
STARTING FIVE: It’s SGA, Diallo, Knox, Washington and Richards again for the Cats.
There is no Jarred Vanderbilt (or Quade Green) Watch tonight. Both are playing for the second straight game. While you wait for tip-off, here’s Kyle T’ucker’s take on the changing narrative on Vanderbilt — from freeloader who’d never play for UK to hero of the struggling Cats, both of which are probably wrong.
Kentucky-Mississippi State game time, details
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- Date: Tuesday, January 23, 2018
- Location: Rupp Arena (23,000), Lexington, Ky.
- Records: Kentucky 14-5, 4-3 SEC; Mississippi State 14-5, 2-4 SEC
- Favorite: Kentucky by 8 1/2
What TV channel is Kentucky-Mississippi State on?
You can watch Kentucky vs. Mississippi State on ESPN. Joe Tessitore, Sean Farnham and Laura Rutledge will be on the call.
How can I watch Kentucky-Mississippi State online?
Stream Kentucky vs. Mississippi State on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app.
How can I listen to Kentucky-Mississippi State on the radio?
Kentucky and Mississippi State will be broadcast on the UK Sports Network. That’s 630-AM on Lexington radio and can be streamed at iHeart Radio. You can also listen on XM channel 190 and Sirius channel 137.
Kentucky-Mississippi State preview
- The Bulldogs raced out to a 12-1 start this season, but they hadn’t really played anyone. Their strength of schedule ranks 144th nationally. And now they’ve lost four of their last five games in SEC play. Still, Calipari sang MSU and coach Ben Howland’s praises Monday. “They’re capable of beating us,” he said. “They’ve lost some games, but they’ve been in every game. Alabama had them down 20 and they came back and should have won the game. They’re really good.” (The Bulldogs’ only RPI top-100 win in non-conference play was against 10-loss Dayton.)
- Kentucky’s 1,032-game streak of making at least one 3-pointer has been seriously threatened in each of the last two games. The Wildcats are rank 344th out of 351 Division I teams in made 3s this season. “I would say we’ve got to make 6 to 7 3s a game,” Calipari said. “That means [attempt] between 15 and 18 threes and you’ve got to make 6 or 7 3s. Who are the guys making them? We make those, we are fine if you defend and do the stuff we did [against Florida].”
- If you think Calipari isn’t worried about this team’s struggles, well, he’s really not worried about Duke’s recent run of dominance in recruiting. Or at least that was the image he aimed to portray Monday when asked generally: Hey, what’s up with recruiting? Kentucky hasn’t landed a top-5 prospect in the last three classes, while Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils are going to sign the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 players in the 2018 class alone.