The No. 9 Kentucky Wildcats (4-1) handled business Friday night as they defeated the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers by a final score of 82-62 at Rupp Arena.
Read all about Kentucky’s fourth victory of the season and find out which Wildcats shined with tonight’s game recap.
Kentucky started the game off with a pair of quick slams from Nick Richards to put Kentucky up 4-0 less than a minute in. Then with the score 4-2, it was Khalil Whitney getting in on the dunk action as he threw one down to extend the UK lead to 6-2. The Cats would take a 9-5 lead into the first T.V. timeout of the half after a three from Mount. St. Mary’s forward Nana Opoku and a three-point play from Richards.
After the quick break, the Mountaineers started to get their offense going with a three from Omar Hawbe and a bucket from Chidozie Collin Nnamene to move within one. Up 11-10, EJ Montgomery connected on his first basket in his return to the lineup to give Kentucky a 13-10 lead. From there, Kentucky went on a 4-1 run with lay-ups from Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey to force Mount St. Mary’s to call a timeout down 17-11 with 12:18 left to play in the half.
Out of the timeout Mount St. Mary’s started to get back in the game with a pair of buckets from Damian Chong Qui to cut the Kentucky lead to 17-15. Then the Mountaineers forced a Kentucky timeout with a Nnamene three ball to put them ahead 18-17.
Kentucky would quickly retake the lead after the timeout with a pair of Richards free throws, but it would be short-lived as Mount St. Mary’s regained the lead on a bucket from Brandon Leftwich as the Mountaineers took a 20-19 lead into the third T.V. timeout of the half.
Down three, Kentucky began to find their stride as a pair of baskets from Hagans put the Wildcats back on top 23-22. Kentucky would take a 27-24 lead into the final T.V. timeout of the half as both Hagans and Maxey drilled a pair of free-throws, and Malik Jefferson scored for Mount St. Mary’s.
As the first half winded down, Kentucky’s offense finally started to find it’s stride as they went on a 10-3 run highlighted by a three-ball from Maxey. Kentucky would go onto finish the half with a five-point lead as the Mountaineers cashed in on a pair of trips to the free-throw line.
Halftime Score: Kentucky 39, Mount St. Mary’s 34
The Wildcats opened the second half with another bucket from Richard and a three from Montgomery to extend their lead to 44-36. Kentucky would extend their lead into double-digits soon after as Hagans converted on a three-point play. Then it was again Richards with a big-play as he dunked all over a Mount St. Mary’s defender to extend the Kentucky lead. UK would take a 51-39 lead into the first T.V. timeout of the half after a three from Chong Qui kept Mount St. Mary’s alive.
After the timeout, Kentucky began to pull away as Quickley nailed a three, and both Montgomery and Whitney slammed home dunks to extend the U.K. lead to 59-39 to force a Mount St. Mary’s timeout.
The Wildcats kept up their hot shooting after the timeout as Whitney nailed a three to extend the Kentucky lead to 21. Then it was Nate Sestina getting in on the action as he hit a lay-up and got fouled to give Kentucky a 64-41 lead heading into the second media timeout of the half.
Sestina would indeed complete the three-point play after the timeout to extend Kentucky’s lead further. The Mountaineers would stay in the fight; however, as Jalen Gibbs hit a three-pointer to end the Kentucky run. This would not do Mount St. Mary’s much good, however, as both Whitney and Maxey scored to push Kentucky’s lead to 25. Mount St. Mary’s would soon cut the Kentucky lead to 19 as they went on a mini-run that was highlighted by a highlight reel dunk from Leftwich. The Wildcats would end the run with a Quickley lay-up to put Kentucky up 71-50. Kentucky would enter the half’s third T.V. timeout on top 73-56 after a pair of buckets from the Mountaineers.
Kentucky responded to the Mount St. Mary’s run with a three from Quickley as they took a 76-58 lead into the game’s final media timeout.
The Wildcats went onto close the victory with three more points from Richards and some solid defensive plays as the Wildcats outscored Mount St. Mary’s 43-29 in the second half to clinch a second straight victory.
Final Score: Kentucky 82, Mount St. Mary’s 62
MVP: Ashton Hagans
It was another big-night for the Wildcats point guard as Hagans scored 16 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists as he led the Cats to a second straight win.
HONORABLE MENTION: Nick Richards
Nick Richards outstanding start to year three at Kentucky kept on rolling Friday night as he dropped a game high 19 points and grabbed six rebounds in the victory.
Here’s a look at tonight’s highlights courtesy of the UK Sports Network.