Bolstered by what John Calipari called "as good a crowd and as impactful a crowd as he's ever coached (in front of) in a building" UK got the signature win it needed Saturday night in Lexington. Julius Mays scored 24 points, including 8 in the overtime period, to lead four Cats in double figures. Alex Poythress played his best game of the year; scoring 24 points on 8-10 shooting and grabbing 7 rebounds. Archie Goodwin added 18, and Ryan Harrow 16 with 6 assists. Willie Cauley-Stein continued to fill in admirably for the injured Nerlens Noel with 7 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 blocks. The Cats won despite a monster game from Missouri point guard Phil Pressey, who shot 12-24 and scored 27 points along with 10 assists.
In fact, it was Pressey's play down the stretch that got the Tigers to overtime. After trailing 35-31 at half, the Cats took the lead early in the 2nd half and led by 64-57 with just over 7 minutes to play. Pressey scored or assisted on 15 of Missouri's final 18 points, including a steal and assist to tie the game at 71, and a steal and layup to take a 75-73 lead with under a minute left. After Willie Cauley-Stein tied the game with 40 seconds left, Pressey's layup attempt was blocked Alex Poythress. That block loomed large as UK seemed to regroup in the overtime and Julius Mays scored the first 4 points, and then hit four free throws inside the final minute to ice the game.
Now the Cats have to stay focused against Miss. St at home, before traveling to play an Arkansas team that has lost only once at home all season.
Photo: Flickr/Triple Tri
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