LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team trailed by as many as 16 points before rallying to force overtime, but the Bulldogs ultimately came up short, falling 82-74 Tuesday night inside Rupp Arena.
With the loss, he Bulldogs fall to 13-6 (4-3 SEC), while the Wildcats improve to 16-4 (6-2 SEC). The win marks win No. 800 for Kentucky head coach John Calipari.
Junior guard Iverson Molinar led the Bulldogs with a career-high 30 points, 22 of which came in the second half. Graduate forward Garrison Brooks added 11 points, while sophomore guard Shakeel Moore and junior guard Rocket Watts added nine points apiece.
Redshirt junior forward Tolu Smith, MSU’s leading rebounder, was out with a knee injury and the Bulldogs had no answer for junior forward Oscar Tshiebwe, who finished with 21 points and 22 rebounds. Kentucky outrebounded MSU 44-33.
Graduate guard Kellan Grady scored 18 points, including eight in overtime, while junior guard Sahvir Wheeler added 15 points and six assists. Junior forward Keion Brooks Jr. chipped in with 12 points and six rebounds.
Kentucky made the first two baskets of the game to go up 4-0 and built a double-digit lead at 23-13 with 9:21 left in the first half. The Wildcats continued to hold a comfortable lead on their way to a 37-24 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Wildcats led by 16 at 45-29 with 16:50 to play. MSU then went on a tear and outscored Kentucky 43-27 over the final 16:32 of regulation to even the score at 72-72.
In overtime, Grady hit a layup, which was matched by a layup from Molinar. However, Grady hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Wheeler added two free throws to secure the 82-74 win for the Wildcats.
The Bulldogs will stay on the road to take on No. 13 Texas Tech on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT inside United Supermarkets Arena as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.