P.J. Washington scored 23 points and No. 5 Kentucky extended its winning streak to 10 games by defeating host Mississippi State 71-67 in an SEC game Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats (20-3, 9-1) continued their roll toward SEC home showdowns against No. 21 LSU on Tuesday, followed by No. 1 Tennessee next Saturday. Keldon Johnson added 13 and Tyler Herro had 12 points for Kentucky.
Lamar Peters scored 16 and Quinndary Weatherspoon added 14 to lead the Bulldogs (16-7, 4-6).
Kentucky led 40-25 after a first half in which Weatherspoon, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, who had matched his season-high with 27 points in each of the last two games, didn’t score after attempting just one shot.
But Weatherspoon heated up in the second half, leading a strong comeback by Mississippi State.
He got his first points on a 3-pointer less than two minutes into the second half to pull the Bulldogs within 13.
The Wildcats scored the next five points before Weatherspoon made another 3-pointer. That started a 9-0 run that cut the deficit to 49-40.
Another 3-pointer by Weatherspoon started a 10-0 run that pulled Mississippi State within 51-50.
Johnson scored six points as Kentucky rebuilt the lead to 63-53 with five minutes remaining.
The Bulldogs twice got within four points before Washington’s jumper gave the Wildcats a 70-64 lead with 1:29 remaining.
Weatherspoon converted a three-point play with 1:17 remaining to get within 70-67, and after Kentucky missed two shots on one possession, Mississippi State had a chance to tie the score the final half-minute.
But Johnson made a steal with 12 seconds left and Ashton Hagans’ free throw completed the scoring.
In the early going, there were four ties and the lead changed hands five times, the last time when Herro’s 3-pointer gave Kentucky an 18-17 lead midway through the first half. That basket started a 7-0 run.
Mississippi State closed within three points on two occasions before Kentucky used a 9-0 run to take a 33-21 lead.
Reid Travis’ jumper with five seconds remaining gave the Wildcats a 40-25 halftime lead, their largest advantage of the first half.
—Field Level Media