NCAA Men's Basketball

Final - OT 1 2 OT Tot
24 48 2 74
37 35 10 82
6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 PM GMT10:00 PM 北京时间7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST, Jan 25, 2022
Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center, Lexington, Kentucky

No. 12 Kentucky enters Mississippi State tilt with banged-up backcourt

Injuries rocked No. 12 Kentucky and Mississippi State over the weekend, and now they will have to regroup as they meet for Southeastern Conference play this week.

The Wildcats (15-4, 5-2) will try to keep their perfect 12-0 home mark spotless Tuesday night when they host the Bulldogs (13-5, 4-2) in Lexington, Ky.

There is a level of uncertainty around head coach John Calipari's Wildcats after their 80-71 defeat at then-No. 2 Auburn, a game the visitors led by 10 points in the first half.

UK star TyTy Washington made a high-floating runner in the lane but landed on a teammate's foot while giving the Wildcats a nine-point advantage with 8:21 left in the opening half against the Tigers.

Washington rolled his left ankle, had to be helped off the court and never returned to the contest, scoring only four points in eight minutes.

But the damage was not completely over.

Down 48-47 in the second half, point guard Sahvir Wheeler ran into a pick set by Auburn seven-footer Walker Kessler, was shaken up and left the game for a spell.

By the time the electrifying Georgia transfer returned, the outcome was decided as the Wildcats suffered their third loss in four tries against opposition ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.

Wheeler was also injured and played only four minutes against then-No. 12 LSU in a 65-60 loss on Jan. 4.

Washington is listed as day-to-day. As for Wheeler, Calipari has advocated for a rule change regarding players running into screens, which also happened to Wheeler at LSU.

"That hurt us. No excuse though," Calipari said of Saturday's backcourt injuries. "We had our chances to win. We had breakdowns defensively.

"Defensively, the lob play, which we just kept telling the guys get off, but they just didn't do it. (Auburn's) done this to a lot of teams, but it was something that we thought we could guard."

Saturday's match snapped the Wildcats' four-game winning streak and propelled Auburn to No. 1 for the first time in school history.

The Bulldogs lost at Florida following a late offensive drought but rebounded to hammer rival Ole Miss 78-60 at home and split the season series.

However, that victory also came at a cost.

Big man Tolu Smith, the SEC's reigning rebound champion, suffered a partially dislocated knee with only 75 seconds left in the blowout. The good news, though, was that Sunday's MRI revealed no structural damage.

In eight games so far, Smith -- who averaged 8.6 rebounds per game last season -- is producing 13.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals.

The conference's third-leading scorer (17.7), Iverson Molinar notched 20 points in MSU's win over Ole Miss to surpass 1,000 for his career.

The Panama native said he is optimistic going to Kentucky after evening the score with the rival Rebels.

"I feel like this win is going to help us get momentum going to Kentucky," said Molinar. "Playing with Kentucky, against Kentucky, at Kentucky is no easy task. This builds our confidence."

The Bulldogs trail 92-19 in the overall series against UK, but they won the most recent meeting, in the SEC Tournament, 74-73 behind Molinar's 21 points last March 11.

Before that, the Wildcats had a 15-game winning streak that dated back to the 2009-10 campaign.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 24, 2022