Kentucky vs Mississippi State
Feb 27, 2024; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Reed Sheppard (15) scores on the final shot of the game as Mississippi State Bulldogs forward KeShawn Murphy (12) and guard Josh Hubbard (13) defend during the second half at Humphrey Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Kentucky Survives Mississippi State In SEC Clash

The No. 16 ranked Kentucky Wildcats (20-8) defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs (19-9) 91-89 Tuesday night, snapping the Bulldogs’ five-game win streak.

A second-half run and late-game heroics from Reed Sheppard pushed the Wildcats to a huge SEC road win.

Second-Half Run

Heading into half-time, the Mississippi State led Kentucky 43-35. The Bulldogs proceeded to go on a 9-4 run in the first two minutes of the second half to extend their lead to 13.

The trio of Sheppard, Rob Dillingham and Antonio Reeves proceeded to will the Wildcats back into the game. The three of them combined for 46 of Kentucky’s 56 points in the second half.

Reeves finished with 21 points. Dillingham, a prospect for the 2024 NBA draft, scored nine points, all in the second half.

Reed Sheppard Comes Up Clutch

Freshman phenom Reed Sheppard was Kentucky’s player of the game Tuesday night. He led the Wildcats in points (32), rebounds (five) and assists (seven). His 32 points are a career high.

However, none of his shots compare to what he did in the last two minutes of the game. Up 76-75, he sank a mid-range jumper, then proceeded to score an and-one layup the next possession to extend the lead to 81-75. Moments later, he blocked a three-pointer on the defensive end.

Despite some mistakes during the run, including a turnover that cut Kentucky’s lead to two, all would be forgiven after Sheppard hit one of the biggest shots of his young college career.

With the game tied at 89 after a Josh Hubbard three-pointer, Shepperd was called upon. He did not disappoint, as he hit a running floater at the buzzer to win the game and snap the Bulldogs’ five-game win streak.

Josh Hubbard’s Performance Not Enough

Mississippi State guard Josh Hubbard had himself a game against the Wildcats despite the loss. The freshman scored a game-high 34 points Tuesday night after he scored 32 points against LSU on Saturday.

He hit three three-pointers late in the game to help Mississippi State claw back, including the game-tying shot with nine seconds left. It was a massive improvement from his first matchup against Kentucky, in which he scored five points on 1-11 shooting.

While his career game was not enough to pull out a win, the young guard has given optimism for the Bulldogs’ future.

What’s Next

After a huge win on the road, Kentucky will follow up with a game at home against Arkansas this Saturday. Their biggest matchup in this last three-game stretch will be the regular season finale at No. 4 Tennessee on March 9.

For the Bulldogs, they will face off against No. 11 Auburn this Saturday for another matchup against a ranked team. Mississippi will look to end strong in their last three games to make a final push in preparation for March Madness.

About Adrian Carmona

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