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PJ Washington, Tyler Herro lead UK over Mississippi State

P.J. Washington (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky used an 18-2 run early in the first half to built a 14-point lead and then basically did what it needed the rest of the way to beat No. 22 Mississippi State 76-55 Tuesday night for its fifth straight Southeastern Conference victory.

Sophomore PJ Washington overcame his own shaky offensive start — including a missed two-handed dunk — to lead UK with 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting (indulging 3-for-5 on 3-pointers), six rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots in 27 minutes. It was his third 20-point game of the season.

“He had a great game and … he had a great game,” State’s Robert Woodard, who had 13 rebounds, said and smiled. “You have to be ready for anybody on a given night. Now you have guys his size attack the rim and shoot. Do whatever it takes to help a team win and that’s what he did tonight.”

“They did a good job attacking us in the post,” State coach Ben Howland said. “PJ Washington had a great game. Really hurt us. Looked like an all-SEC player to me. I think he is a heck of a player.”

Tyler Herro was a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range and had 18 points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal. He now has six games with three or more 3-pointers and UK is 6-0 in those games.

Reid Travis pulled off 12 rebounds to lead UK on the boards and Ashton Hagans was — well Ashton Hagans.  He had five points, career-high nine assists and two rebounds. His streak of games with three or more steals ended — barring another review that would up that total like it did after UK’s previous two games— but he did have two steals.

State had a 7-0 run to cut the UK lead to 41-39 with 13:36 to play before Hagans got a key basket and then Herro got fouled on a 3-point try and made all three foul shots to push the lead to 49-41 during a 16-4 run and basically settled everything but the final margin.

“They kind of took us out of our offense with their pressure defense. We struggled shooting and couldn’t make no shots,” State guard Tyson Carter, who had 11 points, said.

Mississippi State shot just 31 percent (19 of 61) and missed 17 of the 20 3-point shots it took. Kentucky was 8-for-16 from 3-point range and 26-for-59 (44 percent overall).

“We were rushed offensively and they did a good job speeding us up. Credit their defense,” Howland said.

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Kentucky will seek its third straight win over a ranked team when it hosts Kansas at 6 p.m. Saturday.

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  1. It was a very good win!!…and some of you were starting to give up on Cal. .that is shameful..LOL. It would have a great win if we could pass efficiently, hit shots in close and at rim, get to foul line like we normally do, have Reid get his normal points, and have a full 5 player buy-in for at least 35 mins., and have Nick be a difference. Great game for PJ and Herro. Hagans and Quicks need to get back to offensive production.

  2. All in all, a good win even though they could not pull away in the first half and came out lethargic the first 8 minutes of the second half. Good to see PJ have a good game but it seems that means Keldon backs off. Reid worked the boards but obviously has trouble scoring against taller and longer opponets. Herro had a solid game but Hagans needs to continue to score so teams won’t play him to pass first. PJ should have a monster game against Kansas playing 4 guards, but the need to be ready for the drive as that is all KU does. If the Cats can shut down the lane, they should be ok. Nick may have to play more minutes to keep Lawson in check. Quickley will play more too and needs to take advantage of the PT. Ole Miss and Auburn lost tonight, so it looks like it will come down to the Cats and the Vols. The game on the 16th will put the winner in the drivers seat for the SEC title.

  3. Great win, no complaints.

  4. IMPEACH DICK VITALE

  5. Same here Pup!!

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