Kentucky defeated Ole Miss 96-78 in the last home game in Rupp Arena for this season.
From UK Sports Video
From UK Athletics
Final Score: #23/25 Kentucky 96, Ole Miss 78
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky won its fourth game in a row and is 21-9 overall, 10-7 in the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss is 12-18 overall, 5-12 in league play.
- Kentucky leads the series 106-13 and has won nine in a row against the Rebels.
- UK leads 54-2 in games played in Lexington.
- Next for the Wildcats: Kentucky completes the regular season Saturday at Florida. Game time is noon and it will be televised on CBS.
In the First Half
- Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, Wenyen Gabriel, Kevin Knox and Nick Richards for the sixth time this season. UK is 5-1 with this lineup.
- Kentucky extended its streak of 1,043 consecutive games with a 3-pointer when Gabriel connected with 17:48 on the clock.
- Ahead 31-30, Kentucky went on a 9-0 run for a 40-30 lead.
- UK went to halftime ahead 50-42.
- It was UK’s most first-half points since 54 vs. Monmouth on Dec. 9.
- Knox led the team with 13 points, it was a team-best 11th time this season he’s scored double figures in the first half.
- Gabriel had 12 points, the most he’s had in a half this season.
- Gilgeous-Alexander had 11 points, marking the fifth time this season he’s had double figures in the first half, and the first time since the Vanderbilt game on Jan. 13.
- UK is 14-3 this season when leading at halftime.
In the Second Half
- Ole Miss came out hot with a trio of 3-pointers, cutting the UK lead to 59-57.
- At that point, the teams traded runs, UK 8-0 and Ole Miss 7-0.
- Ahead 75-69, UK put the game away with a 10-0 spurt to make it 85-69 and the Rebels never seriously threatened again.
- Kentucky has scored its highest point total in SEC play in the last three games – 87 at Arkansas, 87 vs. Missouri, 96 vs. Ole Miss.
- UK has made at least eight 3-pointers in each of those games.
- UK has scored at least 80 points in every game of the current four-game winning streak.
- It’s the first time UK tallied at least 80 in four straight games since it was done eight games in a row last season.
- UK posted 19 assists tonight, most in an SEC game this season and three shy of the season high.
- Five Wildcats scored in double figures for the fourth game in a row.
- That’s the first time that’s happened since UK did it five straight times during the 2016-17 season vs. Duquesne, Cleveland, UT Martin, Arizona State and UCLA.
- UK had four players score at least 15 points tonight, first time that has happened since the win over Texas A&M on Jan. 9.
- Kentucky shot 50 percent from the field and is 13-0 this season when shooting at least 46.4 percent from the field.
- UK is 9-0 this season when making at least half its shots.
- UK got to the foul line 35 times tonight and made 26.
- During the current four-game win streak, UK is shooting 76.6 from the foul line.
- UK won the rebounding 43-35. UK is 19-4 this season when outrebounding the opponent.
- Kentucky finished the home schedule with a 16-2 record (.889).
- UK is now 577-68 (.895) all-time in Rupp Arena.
- Tonight marked Coach John Calipari’s 150th win in Rupp (150-8, .949)
- Calipari has five seasons with zero home losses at UK and four seasons with two home defeats.
- UK is 228-5 under Coach John Calipari when the Wildcats lead by at least 10 points during the game.
- Kevin Knox led the Wildcats with 22 points, his third straight 20-point game and ninth of the season.
- It is his first time as a Wildcat to have three straight 20-point games.
- It is his seventh straight game in double figures.
- Jarred Vanderbilt had five points and led the Cats in rebounds with 11.
- He is averaging 9.5 points and 11 rebounds per game during UK’s current four-game win streak.
- With 104 rebounds in 221 minutes this season, he continues his amazing ratio of one rebound per 2.1 minutes played.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 17 points, a career-high 10 rebounds, tied his career best for rebounds with seven, and had a career-best three blocked shots.
- It is the first double-double of his career.
- After notching eight assists vs. Missouri, he is the first Wildcat with eight assists in consecutive games since De’Aaron Fox last season vs. UT Martin and UCLA.
- Quade Green netted 18 points, his second-highest point total of the season. He had 21 vs. East Tennessee on Nov. 17.
- He is averaging 13.5 points during the current four-game win streak and canned two 3-pointers in all four games.
- He has scored double figures in four straight games, marking the second time this season he has done that.
- PJ Washington scored 10 points, his fifth straight game in double figures, all off the bench.
- He added five rebounds, the sixth straight game he has garnered at least five caroms.
- Wenyen Gabriel had 15 points, one shy of his season high, and his first double-figure game since Jan. 20 vs. Florida. He added six rebounds and two assists.
Coach John Calipari
- Calipari has a 715-202 all-time on-court record.
- Calipari is now 270-62 at Kentucky.
- Calipari is 150-8 at Rupp Arena.
- Calipari is 14-4 vs. Ole Miss in his career.
Ole Miss Interim Head Coach Tony Madlock
Men’s Media Conference
Q. How were you able to calm your team down after those first three minutes saw three technical fouls?
JOHN CALIPARI: I got lovers, I don’t have fighters. They were fine.
Q. Does it say anything about your team though that they were able to withstand that physicality and what Ole Miss was doing early?
JOHN CALIPARI: They showed some maturity. We had a couple guys that didn’t play well in the first half and then we played well enough offensively to get 50 points, but they get 42. We couldn’t really get away from them, even the start of the second half. But I thought Quade did well, I thought Shai and P.J. in the second half. I didn’t think Jarrod played well, and he had 11 rebounds. That’s like a bad game for him. I didn’t think he did all the stuff he needed to do, he just didn’t play as well. Hami, I was happy to see him make some shots. Quade, like I said, Quade was good. Quade again away from the ball, one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three. When he’s got it and they’ve got their defense synced in, he’s not that guy. But away from the ball, killer. Absolute killer. And makes basket, he’s a scorer. He makes great decisions. He was great today.
Q. Did they learn that “lover not fighter” philosophy from their coach?
JOHN CALIPARI: I’m a fighter, not a lover. You guys know me. You hit one of mine, I kill two of yours. Come on. You know how I am.
Q. Then you talked yesterday you were worried about they might revert back a little bit. Today did you see that?
JOHN CALIPARI: They didn’t revert back but we didn’t play with the kind of intensity and passion we had been playing with. And I thought that Ole Miss outhustled us, beat us to 50/50 balls. And until the last 15 minutes, I thought then we got after it a little bit. But short of that, I thought and Tony (Madlock) did a great job. It’s a hard position to be in and Tony’s in there, those kids didn’t give up, they fought their guards, they missed some threes down the stretch there that could have made it close, they just missed them and we rebounded them. It was a win we had to have and I told them after the game, I didn’t want to tell them that, this was like the biggest game of the year for us. This was it. We had to win this game. If I had approached it that way, you all know they would have peed themself, yeah. And so I’m just saying to them, look, let’s just be the best we can be and don’t worry about. Now we got a tough one. We got to go to Florida, senior night, they’re waiting in the weeds, blue out, orange out, whatever it’s going to be, it’s going to be a hard, hard game for us. But we’re in the position we want to be in to see if we can go do something special. But it will be hard. They’re a good team, they just went to Alabama and won by 25 or whatever they did, so they’re good.
Q. Why is Quade (Green) better away from the ball?
JOHN CALIPARI: Size. Size. His size, it’s an open, more open court for him, he can see more. They have five guys back in there, it’s a little tougher for him to see the court. But he was good in pick and roll today too. We put him in some high pick and rolls, but he did what I wanted him to do, he came off and shot it. But it’s nice that we’re making shots. Again, we had six guys in double figures, I’m putting Hami in double figure, he had nine. But we had six guys like and that’s what’s happening because we’re passing the ball. Again, 17 assists, last couple games we’re being willing passers and part of it was we had to play a little different. I told you play a little bit more like UMass. Those days, those were in the 90s. Shows you, it still works.
Q. Earlier in the game was it ever communicated to you what No. 2 was so upset about by your players or by anybody else?
JOHN CALIPARI: I can’t remember.
Q. Why would you determine that today was the biggest game of the year, the most important?
JOHN CALIPARI: Because it took everything off this next one, so we can just go play a basketball game. I don’t know if we’re good enough to win or not, but we didn’t need anything else on our plate. Less just go play this game. And I knew that the next game and it’s the very last game of the season and it’s all that was, it was going to be, and we have gone down here now and gotten smashed a couple times, like smashed. So just, I know how hard it will be and I’ll try to relay to these guys that this is going to be a hard game. Good team, good players, well-coached, in that environment. Would you want it any other way though? You’re at Kentucky, let’s go, see what happens.
Q. What did you think of Wenyen’s performance tonight?
JOHN CALIPARI: It was good. He did some good stuff. I thought again that there was a rebound late that he got caught up with a guy versus just go get the ball. But he made shots and made drives and we were dying and he went and made plays. Look, I look at this right now and we’re getting that, a good solid rotation. I’m still, we’re talking and working with Nick (Richards) and Sacha (Killeya-Jones) because they’re going to be important for our game and there’s going to be games as we go forward that they have to be in the game. They got to be out there. And they’ve got to be in a positive way. They got to get rebounds. You got to go block a shot, you can’t just say, well I tried. You got to go do it and we’re going to stick with them and they’re both great kids. But right now that other seven guys have kind of stepped up and are playing a little bit better.
Q. When you guys were in the losing streak you said you had a meeting and defined everyone’s roles. I’m assuming you didn’t come out and say, you’re going to score points, but yet in all four games that you won you had five players in double figures. At least.
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, what I did was defined how we would play as a team and then how each individual would play. And that who we would go through. In other words, we’re not just running offense to run offense, we’re playing through a player. And we’re going to play through this guy and this guy, if you have a problem with that, come and see me, I’ll just, you’re sitting the bench. And we will count on them to make plays for us. And occasionally we’re going to play through this guy, because he’s a beast. And if he gets it going, we’ll play through him. The rest of you, we’re not playing through you. And what happens is we score more, less turnovers, more assists, five guys in double figures. I think we’re scoring what? 12 or 15 more a game. What is it? Averaged 87? So it’s probably 17, 16, 15 more than we have been scoring. But, and again Quade (Green), you are going to be away from the ball and you’re going to make plays and you’re going to shoot jump shots. I don’t want you to go driving in on 6′-9″ guys unless the court is wide open and you have something easy. Short of that, shoot balls. Defined Hami’s game more. Here’s how we need you to play. I asked, can everybody commit to what I’m asking you to do? They all said yes. Anybody have any issues? Look, guys, I’ve done this 35 years, I know you look at me and it looks like I’ve done it 60 years, but I’ve done it 35 years. I’ve been through all the stuff, I know when a team is getting better. My team was getting better. We got better when we played Auburn. I mean we were getting better. We needed a break through, we needed to build their confidence, they had to go win a game. One of you guys said to me don’t you think at some point they got to win and I’m like, yes. For all of us. So I can can sleep at night. But I haven’t lost any faith in this team, I never had. And some of the guys were fighting me and they were hurting themselves and when they finally decided and I told them, you’re will is not stronger than my will. Nope. Now I had to sleep more, I had to take my naps, I had to go home after practice and take a nap. But I knew I was in a dog fight the next day and I would win. And my will would be stronger. And now all of a sudden, like you’re looking at a team full of guys all playing well. And they’re playing together. And they’re helping each other.
Now we broke down some defensively today, but we were behind the eight ball because Ole Miss played harder than us. They did. Which was a little disappointing.
Q. Why do you think you guys are on a roll now shooting from the perimeter when it was such a struggle for a good while?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well part of it is that we’re putting certain combinations on the court. But the other part is like the scout came in and said, I don’t get it, I’m in 10 practices, you’re one of the best shooting teams I’ve seen and you get in the game and go 0-8. A guy shoots two air balls. I just saw him make 18 in a row. How does he shoot an air ball? And I told the guys, most of this stuff is in your mind. It’s mental. And again, miss a shot, can’t lead to three more misses. Miss a shot, expect to make the next one. Why? Because you made 67 in five minutes, that’s why. You’re capable of doing it. So I always said this is — it’s not one of my best shooting teams, but it’s far from being my worst. I would say right now it’s in the top-three of my shooting teams.
Q. I wanted to know a little bit more about what you had said about Jarred Vanderbilt. What do you want to see from him. You had said that you didn’t like or you weren’t as pleased with his play today.
JOHN CALIPARI: He didn’t have the passion, he didn’t have the energy he had had those other games. The guy he went against played harder than him and that’s unusual for him. But I would want him playing exactly how he is. Secondary offensive player, unbelievable passer, he had two assists. So here’s a guy that can be away from the ball, we’re trying to make a play, it comes to him, he drives and makes that extra pass or the lob or the finish. And then rebound, he’s a great screener, he may be our best screener. So when you come off of him, you’re getting open. So he’s doing all that and playing basketball and rebounding. He’s like last game he could have had 20 rebounds. This game he had 11 and I didn’t even think he really got after it.
Q. Why didn’t you think Jarred played well?
JOHN CALIPARI: He’ll be fine. He’s not man, he’s not a robot. They don’t play great every night out. But we won. Which was big in this game.
Question from moderator. As most of you all know, it’s Alan Cutler’s last game at Rupp Arena. He is retiring. Since it’s his last game, we’re going to put him on the spot and give him the last question.
JOHN CALIPARI: Last question and since you never chased me, I’m giving you a pair of shoes that you can chase me at any point I’ll let you come to practice, there’s no way you can run me down, but here, give those to him.
Q. First practice next year I own you.
JOHN CALIPARI: Yeah, you better train for a year, my man.
Q. A year might not be long enough. Thank you.
JOHN CALIPARI: You’re welcome. Last question? I’ve never seen this before. Put all the cameras on him, please. I mean you don’t have something to say?
Q. No, I’m not going to ask what I really want. Thank you, man.
JOHN CALIPARI: Thanks. Thanks, folks.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Guard, Fr.
On the start of the game…
“Yeah, it was really chippy, but, we knew they were going to be aggressive and get a little out of hand. I think they’re at the bottom of the league. They played like they have nothing to lose. So, they were going to play a little aggressive and wild and we just had to keep our composure and keep ahead.”
On how hard was it to get up for Ole Miss when you Florida is Saturday…
“It wasn’t too difficult. We attack every game the same way. We try to beat our opponent. So, not too difficult.”
On how much has the team changed since you last played Florida…
“A lot across the board completely. We have contributions from a bunch of guys. Jarred (Vanderbilt) has helped us out a lot. He adds a different dynamic and I think we’re a completely different team because of him.”
#0, Quade Green, G, Fr.
On how he’s made himself special playing away from the ball…
“Just being aggressive, really. When I’ve got the ball just be aggressive, make the right plays. Score when I have to score. Shoot when I have to shoot. Pass when I have to pass.”
On the team looking relaxed tonight…
“We was a little bit. We practice, really. In practice make it difficult for the games to be easier.”
On keeping emotions under control…
“That’s everyday life where we come from. This is normal for us. Everybody was just playing how we was playing.”
On if he likes playing off the ball…
“Honestly, a lot. I’ve been playing off the ball in high school, too. I was real used to it, real familiar with it. Nothing changed for me.”
On how that role frees him up offensively…
“I’m a scoring threat. I can score in all three ways, it doesn’t matter. They help and I’m right there to shoot the ball, make shots. If they know I can shoot they even help my teammates get to the lane because they try to not miss, too.”
#32, Wenyen Gabriel, Sophomore, F
On what he thought about how physical the game started and the two technical fouls…
“It was kind of expected. Anytime you play against a team like that that has nothing to lose at this point, you know they are going to play well and come out and play physical. We were just thinking, don’t let them get under your skin and just play our game.”
On why he thinks the three point shots are starting to fall now…
“I mean, we haven’t always shot well in the games but we have always been a good group of shooters. In practice we always make a lot of shots. I think it was really just a mental thing that was a part of why we were losing and in that slump but that’s something you have to experience. I feel like in those moments it’s when you really when you find out who you are and we broke out of that and now we are just moving forward.”
On… how this streak has come about…
“We decided to start playing our game through a couple guys. We started running our offense through a couple guys and everybody else was just going to eat off of that. We all figured out our roll – as time came on, you don’t have to think as much cause you know what kind of shots you’re going to get and where you’re going to get it. Guys are just more confident out there when they know what they’re going to do and what they’re going to get. Now we just go out there and play hard.”
Ole Miss Interim Head Coach Tony Madlock
On the difference in the pressure in the last ten minutes of the game…
“They really turned up the pressure. They made some really good stops and we were not able to make some of the plays that we need to make when you’re able to cut it to four and you’re right in the middle of what you want to do. Just not able to make the plays late.”
On the physicality of the game…
“Well, just kind of got caught in the moment from some of the guys. I mean, we have good guys on the team. So, it was just one of those things. Got caught up in the moment and we will learn from it.”