- Tuesday, February 3 2009 -
Mississippi State - 66 (Head Coach: Rick Stansbury) - [Unranked]
|Twany Beckham (*)||5||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||2|
Kentucky - 57 (Head Coach: Billy Gillispie) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Mississippi State 37, Kentucky 24
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|South Carolina 77 - 78|||||Florida 68 - 65|
Game Writeup - Written by Darrell Bird; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Cats see losing streak grow to 3
Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury had an interesting theory about his team's 66-57 victory over Kentucky on Tuesday night at Rupp Arena.
"We probably played better than we are and I know Kentucky probably didn't play as good as they are," Stansbury said.
He then cut to the bottom line.
"But tonight our kids found ways to make plays."
Kentucky? Not so much.
Mississippi State drilled 14-of-27 three-pointers and never trailed in handing UK it's third loss in a row, including two straight at Rupp Arena. Kentucky, on the other hand, shot only 36 percent overall as the Bulldogs smothered mainstays Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson.
Meeks, who less than a month ago broke a school record with 54 points in a win at Tennessee, was limited to just 15 points on Tuesday. He shot 6-of-15 and added zero rebounds and zero assists.
Patterson, who had scored 24 and 28 points in the previous two losses, was also held to 15 points. He added nine rebounds, but had six turnovers.
"Defensively we tried to limit those two guys that beat most people," Stansbury said. "Tonight, we found a way for it to work because we let some guys shoot the basketball and tonight they didn't make them.
"Meeks ended with some points, 15, but if you watch the game he was basically no factor in that game," Stansbury said. "Same thing with Patterson. He got 15, but you've never noticed him being a real factor in that game."
That was Kentucky's downfall. With Meeks and Patterson limited no other player was able to fill the void. Darius Miller scored seven points while DeAndre Liggins and Perry Stevenson added six each.
"We can't be scared to create plays," Miller said. "When they're guarding Jodie and Pat as tough as they are we have to create plays to make them guard us and loosen up the pressure. We can't just stand out on the wing and expect them to do everything."
The one scoring option that baffled the crowd was the way Miller and other players not wearing No. 23 bypassed wide open three-point shots.
"There are times where I am wide open but we don't really need that right now," Miller said. "We need to get in the flow of the offense and get good shots. We need to get layups. We need to get Pat and Jodie touches.
"It's not up for us to just come down and shoot every time we're open. We can get that shot anytime we want so we could be shooting it every time we touch it," Miller said. "We really try to work through our offense and get Pat and Jodie touches. They're our main players and we need to get them easy baskets."
Patterson, like everyone else inside Rupp Arena, knew what was coming.
"We knew they were going to pack it in because they felt like we couldn't knock down perimeter shots," the sophomore said. "They were pressuring Jodie and leaving Darius, Michael and DeAndre open on the wings and just challenging them to shoot the ball. Some of the shots didn't fall and I think the players lost confidence in their jump shots and down the stretch, they stopped taking it."
Kentucky, despite having lost two games in a row, was dreadful at the start of Tuesday's game. Mississippi State jumped on top 8-0 and Kentucky played just over six minutes before finally scoring a basket. Prior to Miller's breakaway layup, the Cats missed all 10 shots and had committed four turnovers.
"I was real surprised," Patterson said. "We're just not playing with passion."
Kentucky trailed by 13 at halftime but did manage to cut it to three at 45-42 midway through the second half. But then the Bulldogs rang up four three-pointers as part of a 16-3 run that sent the Rupp Arena crowd fleeing for the exits with 3:01 remaining.
"We will try to get better," UK coach Billy Gillispie said. "We have to get better in every aspect to get back to where we were when we were winning. We have a lot of improvements to make. Hopefully we can make those improvements before the season is over."
Josh Harrellson (#55) and Patrick Patterson double team MSU's Jarvis Varnado
Jarvis Varnado (#32) dunks in front of Perry Stevenson (#21)
Phil Turner streaks by Kevin Galloway (#3) as Galloway attempts to swipe at the ball and misses