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Wildcats hold off Rebels, reward Coach Cal with Mardi Gras milestone down in Oxford

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

Kentucky remains undefeated in bounce-back games this season.

The Wildcats improved to 5-0 in games coming off a loss with an 80-76 win over Mississippi Tuesday night in Oxford. Coming off a 71-52 setback to Tennessee, No. 6 Kentucky (25-5, 14-3 Southeastern Conference) limited the Rebels to just two field goals in the final two minutes to record its 10th consecutive victory over the Rebels.

Kentucky coach John Calipari notched his 300th victory as coach of the Wildcats, who made four free throws — two each by Tyler Herro and Immanuel Quickley — in the final 20 seconds to seal the win. Kentucky closes out the regular-season against Florida Saturday at Rupp Arena.

Keldon Johnson goes up for a shot in Kentucky’s 80-76 win at Ole Miss Tuesday night in Oxford. Johnson finished with 22 points. (Photo from Kentucky Today)

Keldon Johnson placed four players in double figures with 22 points, followed by Tyler Herro with 20. PJ Washington scored 13 points — all in the second half — and Ashton Hagans chipped in with 10 points for Kentucky.

Johnson and Herro combined for 27 points in the first half. Herro made all six of his field-goal attempts, while Johnson tallied 14 in the absence of Washington, who played just seven minutes in the first half because of foul issues.

While Johnson and Herro carried the load for Kentucky in the first half, Washington took over in the final half and was a difference-maker for the Wildcats, who scored 34 points in the paint. Kentucky forced nine turnovers and scored 12 points off those Ole Miss miscues.

For the third straight game, the Wildcats were without senior Reid Travis, who is recovering from a sprained knee. No timetable has been given for Travis’ return to the lineup.

Kentucky collected seven blocks, led by EJ Montgomery with four. Washington added two, while Richards added six points and four rebounds off the bench before fouling out late in the second half. 

Ole Miss hit six of its last eight shots of the first half and led 39-38 at the break. Terence Davis paced Mississippi with 25 points, followed by Breein Tyree with 21. 

ametracker: Florida at Kentucky, 2 p.m. Saturday. TV/Radio: CBS, UK Radio Network

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

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