By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky got what it needed from different players at the right times to get a needed 80-76 win at Mississippi Tuesday night.
Kentucky was coming off a disappointing loss where it was never in the game the final 25 minutes at Tennessee and improved its Southeastern Conference record to 14-3 going into Saturday’s final regular season game at home with Florida.
“This win on the road against Ole Miss against a team that everyone assumes will be in the NCAA (Tournament) is one you just add to the good side of the ledger,” UK Radio Network analyst Mike Pratt said.
Just look at what it took for Kentucky to win.
— Keldon Johnson had 14 of his team-high 22 points in the first half. He finished the game 9-for-18 from the field and had seven rebounds, three assists and one steal.
— Tyler Herro had 13 of his 20 points in the first half and finished 8-for-12 from the field with five rebounds and three assists. He hit two free throws in the final 20 seconds — which was no surprise considering he’s now 54 of 55 at the line in SEC play.
— PJ Washington got in early foul trouble, played just seven minutes the first half and did not score. The second half he had 13 points and in one stretch where UK took control of the game had 11 of UK’s 13 points. He was 6-for-11 from the field and got four assists by making passes when he was double teamed. He also blocked two shots.
“You are not going to stop PJ with one man. He’s a monster,” ESPN analyst Jimmy Dykes said.
— Ashton Hagans had 10 points, two rebounds and two assists.
— Immanuel Quickley had five points, two rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes. He hit the two free throws with 5.9 seconds to play to secure the win. “I like those moments (at the end),” Quickley said. “Ole Miss is a really good team. We played a little bit better in the second half. Credit Ole Miss. They are a really good team.”
— EJ Montgomery had only two points in 26 minutes but he blocked four shots, including two late in the game, and six rebounds.
— Nick Richards had six points, four rebounds and one block in 18 minutes.
That’s why even though Ole Miss went 20-for-22 at the foul line and outrebounded UK 37-29 it will could not beat the Cats. Kentucky went 31 for 56 from the field, including a blistering 14 for 25 (56 percent) in the second half. Kentucky also had just seven turnover, including only two the second half.