#5 Kentucky Fends Off Pesky Bulldogs For Road Victory

Rex Christensen
February 13, 2019

Not mean, screaming or cussing. "And against a team I have so much respect for, and think they're really talented". "Well, this is real". Then, in the fourth, everything collapsed, and Mississippi State outscored them 30-14.

PJ Washington led the victorious Wildcats with 23 points as Kentucky fended off a Bulldogs second-half rally that whittled the Wildcats lead from 18 to 1. Kentucky is 6-0 ATS in their last six versus the SEC And 9-3 ATS in their last 12 Saturday games.

Mississippi State's senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon is the biggest scoring threat for the Bulldogs, averaging 18 points per game, and will be relied on heavily if Mississippi State has any chance of pulling the upset. So far this season, the Bulldogs have lost just twice at home this season, to rival MS, but being able to split this two-game homestand with LSU and Kentucky will be vital to the Bulldogs' at-large hopes.

"Holly is a great coach and she's going to get them fixed", Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. It was as if State switched to a gear Tennessee did not possess.

"I'm going to keep fighting".

Tennessee won the first 36 games in the series, dropped three straight to the Bulldogs and then won one in Starkville and lost one in Knoxville.

Kentucky's Washington scored at least 20 points for the fifth time in six games. The veteran coach made it clear he has high standards.

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To accomplish that, Schaefer said he and the players have watched plenty of film to gain a better understanding of what works and why it does in an effort to help the offense become even more efficient. "He doesn't go get rebounds, doesn't get loose balls, missed one-footers, missed free throws". Now that we are in February and the Wildcats are playing their best basketball of the season, perhaps those initial perceptions were correct. Come out with great energy.

No. 6 Mississippi State used a 30-point fourth quarter to pull away for a 91-63 win on Sunday.

"(Jordan Danberry) was as good as she has been in any game she has played here. He said part of the credit has to go to the opponents, while another part of it is his team's continued adjustment to life without sophomore Chloe Bibby, who suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury in the opening minute of the game against SC on January 17.

She appeared so fast, I had to ask her if she ever ran track.

Kentucky: The Wildcats' defense has been phenomenal over the past few weeks, but they gave up 42 points in the second half.

Tennessee also is coming off a bye Thursday.

"I'm extremely impressed with how hard they play, how physical they are and how they attack the boards", Schaefer said of Tennessee. Mississippi State still has a legitimate path to the NCAA Tournament thanks to good wins during nonconference play, but the Bulldogs need some conference wins in a hurry. The Wildcats put on an absolute clinic against SC on Tuesday night, rolling to a 76-48 win while playing killer defense. Bookmakers list Kentucky as 3.5-point road favorite, with the Over-Under for total points set at 143.5 in the latest Kentucky vs. Mississippi State odds.

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