LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team will battle it out with No 12 Kentucky on Tuesday at 8 pm. CT inside Rupp Arena. The contest will air on ESPN.
The Bulldogs (13-5, 4-2 SEC) are coming off a 78-60 win over Ole Miss on Saturday, bouncing back from an 80-72 loss at Florida on Wednesday. Junior guard Iverson Molinar finished with a game-high 20 points, going over 1,000 for his career, and graduate forward Garrison Brooks had 17 points.
Junior forward D.J. Jeffries and redshirt junior forward Tolu Smith scored 11 apiece, while sophomore guard Shakeel Moore added 10 points and seven assists. Smith suffered a partially dislocated knee with only 75 seconds left. Sunday’s MRI revealed no structural damage, though, and Smith is considered week-to-week.
Molinar averages a team-high 17.7 points and 4.3 assists, while Smith has produced 13.1 points, 6.6 rebounds in eight games. Moore (11.2), Brooks (11.2) and Jeffries (10.1) all average double-digit points.
The Wildcats (15-4, 5-2 SEC), who are coming off an 80-71 loss to current No. 1 Auburn on Saturday, lead the Southeastern Conference in points (82.3), scoring margin (plus-18.5), field goal percentage (49.8%), 3-point percentage (35.5%), rebounds (41.5), rebounding margin (plus-12.9), offensive rebounding percentage (39.6%), defensive rebounding percentage (77.6%), assists (17.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.43).
Kentucky is led by junior forward Oscar Tshiebwe, who averages 16.1 points and 14.8 rebounds, and has recorded double-doubles in 14 of 19 games. Freshman guard TyTy Washington Jr. is second on the team in scoring at 13.6 points a game, but he is out for the matchup due to an ankle injury. Graduate guard Kellan Grady (11.7), junior guard Sahvir Wheeler (10.8) and junior forward Keion Brooks Jr. (10.1) also all average double digits.
Tuesday’s meeting will be the 121st meeting between the Bulldogs and Wildcats on the hardwood. Kentucky leads the series 99-21, but MSU ended a 15-game losing streak to Kentucky with last season’s 74-73 win over the Wildcats during the 2021 SEC Tournament.