The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
Humphrey Coliseum - Starkville, MS

UK wins in Starkville to stay undefeated

1986 days ago
Associated Press

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Top-ranked Kentucky fought off a slow start but still cruised to a 74-56 victory over Mississippi State on Wednesday night to keep its undefeated season on track.

Freshman Trey Lyles scored a career-high 18 points and Aaron Harrison added 16 for Kentucky (28-0, 15-0 Southeastern Conference), which is the last remaining undefeated team in the country.

Kentucky's 28-game winning streak is the second longest in school history, trailing only a 32-game run that stretched from 1953 to 1955. It's the longest in a single season for the program.

The Wildcats had to work a little for this one, leading just 41-37 with 15:10 remaining. But they responded with an avalanche of points down the stretch -- punctuated by a thunderous dunk by Karl-Anthony Towns -- to turn the contest into another convincing blowout.

Mississippi State (12-16, 5-10) has lost eight in a row to the Wildcats. Fred Thomas led the Bulldogs with 14 points.

The 6-foot-10 Lyles made 7 of 12 shots from the field and also had six rebounds.

Kentucky has appeared unstoppable of late, especially during a 110-75 rout of Auburn on Saturday.

And the Wildcats had some more spectacular moments on Wednesday, including two alley-oop dunks finished by Lyles in the opening four minutes.

But Kentucky looked slightly mortal for most of the first half, letting a 14-point lead evaporate to 33-27. Tyler Ulis hit a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to push the Wildcats' advantage to 36-27.

The Wildcats had a few more careless defensive moments early in the second half, which helped Mississippi State briefly make things interesting. Sword's pass to a wide-open Roquez Johnson led to an easy layup, pulling the Bulldogs within 41-37 with 15 minutes remaining.

Kentucky responded with the next six points by pounding the ball into the paint and using its significant size advantage to pull away for the win.

TIP-INS

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs haven't beaten the No. 1 team in the country since 1996, when they topped Kentucky 84-73. That win ended Kentucky's 27-game winning streak, which until Wednesday was the longest in a single season. ... A rare snowstorm in Mississippi caused Humphrey Coliseum to be only about half full. Many were Mississippi State students who could walk to the on-campus arena.

Kentucky: The 28-game streak is also a personal best for coach John Calipari. He won 27 in a row while coaching Memphis during the 2008-09 season. ... The Wildcats have won 50 of their last 52 games as the nation's top-ranked team.

UP NEXT

Mississippi State: At South Carolina on Saturday.

Kentucky: Hosts No. 18 Arkansas on Saturday.