Mississippi State Basketball: Mississippi State 74, Kentucky 73
The season lives on another day for Mississippi State (15-13, 8-10 SEC) after the Bulldogs clipped Kentucky (9-16, 8-9 SEC) on Thursday, 74-73, to advance to the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. It marked the first time Mississippi State has beaten a John Calipari-coached Kentucky team, who had won the previous 15 meetings.
It was a tale of two halves for both teams, with Mississippi State dominating the first 20 minutes and Kentucky the second. The Bulldogs pounded the ball inside in the first half, and Abdul Ado responded with his best scoring half of the season.
Ado had 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting to lead MSU to a 44-30 advantage at halftime. Mississippi State came out of the locker room clicking on all cylinders again. DJ Stewart‘s three with 17:46 left gave State its biggest lead of the game at 51-36.
However, just like in early January, Dontaie Allen came alive for the Wildcats from outside. A three from Allen with 14:25 to play cut Mississippi State’s lead to seven at 55-48. Quinten Post answered with a three of his own, but a 14-4 Kentucky run tied the game at 62 with just over seven minutes on the clock.
Olivier Sarr connected on a jumper to put Kentucky in front, 73-72, with a minute left. After futile possessions for each club, Molinar found the ball in his hands with time winding down. Molinar called his own number and drew a foul on Isaiah Jackson with just 7.1 seconds on the clock.
He calmly knocked down both to give State the late lead. On the other end, Dontaie Allen’s three-point attempt clanked off the back rim, and Bulldog fans breathed a sigh of relief with a trip to the quarterfinals secured.
Mississippi State now moves on to battle top-seeded Alabama on Friday at 11 AM CT. A win would put the Bulldogs just two wins away from an NCAA Tournament bid.