Kentucky wins a nail-biter in Starkville

Kentucky Basketball
Kentucky Basketball(WYMT)
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 10:59 PM EST
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - The Cats took a large lead midway through the second and held off a run from Mississippi State to win 71-68.

Mississippi State came back from a 13-point deficit to keep things at a one-possession game. The loss ends a five-game win streak for the Bulldogs.

Freshman Chris Livingston had a game to remember with 13 points.

Here are the full statistics from the game:

Full stats from Kentucky's win against Mississippi State on Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Full stats from Kentucky's win against Mississippi State on Wednesday, February 15, 2023(StatBroadcast)

Kentucky returns home to face No. 10 Tennessee on Saturday, February 18 at 1 p.m. on WYMT.

Q: Is the rebounding in this game the grit you’ve been talking about?

JC: “Yeah, we talked about it. Mississippi State, what they’ve done in this winning streak and what they’ve done to good teams, they’ve dominated offensive rebounds. They’ve outhustled, been tougher and turned people over. We had one guy [Cason Wallace] go 1-for-13, and we won the game … He had 11 assists though. He defended and the biggest rebounds, Cason [Wallace] came up with. Oscar [Tshiebwe] is beginning to be himself, not quite there yet. They had a small man on Chris [Livingston]. So, we posted him up four or five straight times. It’s stuff that we have. So, we didn’t have to do something new. We just wanted to get him the ball on the cuts.”

Q: How did the nothing to lose mentality help your team?

JC: “The biggest thing I’ve been talking about to them is ‘Refuse to Lose.” You may run out of time, but refuse to lose. Just keep fighting. Today, we missed that one free throw. Then, we miss a couple of three’s. Whatever we do to teams, it feels like they shoot 90 percent from the free throw line. It doesn’t matter if you usually shoot 50 percent. If you go against us, you shoot 90 percent. We made the plays at the end. The play at halftime made me mad because we were going to let them catch it. Adou [Thiero] tried to go get it, and that kid [Cameron Matthews] makes the three. I thought it was a hard-fought game for both teams.”

Q: How does the good free throw shooting at the end effect your team?

JC: “It’s how you win games. I’ve had some of the worst free throw shooting teams ever, but they made shots in the last four or five minutes. Hopefully that’s what this team is. Cason [Wallace] knocked his down, Oscar [Tshiebwe] went 3-for-4 and Chris [Livingston] made his.”

Q: What did you think of the environment at Humphrey Coliseum?

JC: “It’s always crazy here. It’s been nuts every time we’ve played here. To get out of here against a team who is on fire right now was a big deal for us.”