Larry Vaught

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Kentucky just “too tough” for No. 6 Mississippi State

Kentucky had reason to smile after beating No. 6 Mississippi State Sunday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Mississippi State coach Vic Schaeffer didn’t need a stat sheet to know when Kentucky upset his No. 6 Bulldogs 73-62 Sunday night in Memorial Coliseum.

Nothing against the 23 points and 10 rebounds Rhyne Howard had or the late game heroics by Jaida Roper that produced 14 points and five assists or the first-half production from Christy Patterson that gave her 15 points in the game.

No, Schaeffer knew UK won for one other reason that normally does not happen to the Bulldogs (22-4, 10-2 SEC).

Kentucky-Mississippi State Photo Gallery by Vicky Graff

Cats first in SEC, maybe poised to go into top 10

Johnny Juzang (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON — A shakeup atop of the Southeastern Conference standings took place Saturday after co-league leaders LSU and Auburn suffered losses on the road.

The 11th-ranked Tigers dropped a shocking 85-73 setback at Missouri that ended the team’s seven-game winning streak.

“Missouri played really well,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “They were really good offensively. We weren’t good defensively. Missouri averages in the high 60s. They scored 85 tonight. That was a real issue for us. We had a hard time guarding them.”

How can you not love The Firecrackers (Photos by Vicky Graff)

Bruce Pearl: “I have great respect for John Calipari”

Bruce Pearl

By LARRY VAUGHT

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl, not a favorite of some UK basketball fans, recently joined Paul Finebaum’s show on the SEC Network and the host asked Pearl about his relationship with Kentucky head coach John Calipari. The two went head to head when Pearl was at Tennessee and Calipari at Memphis and now in the SEC.

“I can’t control whether anyone likes me or not,” Pearl said. “For me, I have great respect for John Calipari, and the job he does. I hope he has respect for the job I do. He’s a great ambassador for our league. If you listen to him, he’s always giving the other team credit. He takes the high road.

Vince Marrow: “I know what we have here, and I know I didn’t want to leave it.”

Vince Marrow explained Saturday why he didn’t leave UK. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Very few times in my 45 years covering Kentucky athletics has there been a football press opportunity during a UK basketball game.

Yet that’s what happened Saturday with recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow one day after he announced he had turned down a lucrative offer from Michigan State to accept a reported long-term offer that includes a substantial raise at Kentucky.

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops returned to Lexington a day earlier than he planned to talk with Marrow — who has been with Stoops since day one at UK.

John Calipari: “Ashton (Hagans) is my point guard.”

Ashton Hagans missed all five 3-pointers he took Saturday and had four turnovers but John Calipari is not worried about his play. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Mississippi coach Kermit Davis believes Ashton Hagans is the nation’s best on-ball defender — and he might be.

However, he’s not the nation’s best 3-point shooting point guard. He was 0-for-5 from 3-point range in Saturday’s 67-62 win over Mississippi and is now shooting just 26 percent (13 of 49) from long range this season and more teams are going to dare him to shoot from 3-point range like the Rebels did.

Bam Adebayo Wins Skills Challenge; Devin Booker Second in 3-Point Contest

By UK ATHLETICS

CHICAGO – With six former Kentucky men’s basketball players at NBA All-Star weekend, it shouldn’t come as a major surprise that the Wildcats are among the headliners in Chicago.

But when a 6-foot-9, 255-pound forward wins the NBA Skills Challenge, that raises a few eyebrows.

Those measurements belong to former UK star Bam Adebayo, who dominated all three rounds of the NBA Skills Challenge on Saturday night to beat a star-studded field. He beat another big man, Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, in the championship round to underscore what’s already been a breakthrough All-Star season.

Cats win “rock fight” that is perfect preparation for NCAA play

Nick Richards (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON — Ole Miss gave Kentucky its best shot. In the end, Kentucky had a will to win.

The 12th-ranked Wildcats weren’t at their best in their first Saturday home game in more than a month but made six free throws down the stretch and escaped with a 67-62 win over the Rebels for their fourth consecutive victory.

“This was like a rock fight,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “(It) ended up being a great win.”

Kentucky-Mississippi photo gallery by Vicky Graff