UK-Mississippi State postgame notes, numbers

Matthew Mitchell (Vicky Graff Photo)

No. 22 Kentucky vs. No. 3 Mississippi State
Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky.
Feb. 23, 2017
Attendance: 5,244

FINAL SCORE (OT): #22 Kentucky 78, #3 Mississippi State 75

Team Records and Series Notes

Kentucky has now won five in a row and is 20-8 overall, 11-4 in the Southeastern Conference.

Mississippi State is 27-2, 13-2 in league play.

The Wildcats have now had seven straight 20-win seasons.

This is the first season UK has had more than 10 conference wins since the 2012-13 season when Kentucky went 13-3 in league play.

UK is now 3-4 this season against ranked opponents.

In eight straight seasons, the Wildcats have won on Senior Night.

UK has now won 12 of its last 14 games on Senior Night.

The Wildcats are 32-10 overall in regular-season home finales.

This was Kentucky’s first overtime win of the season.

The Wildcats are 1-2 in overtime games this season.

Matthew Mitchell is in his 10th season with Kentucky. Mitchell is now 269-126 overall as a head coach, and 239-97 during his tenure at Kentucky. He is 102-52 in regular-season SEC games.

Kentucky extended its lead in the overall series to 27-17.

The Wildcats have now won 11 straight contests against the Bulldogs.

UK is 12-8 in games played in Memorial against MSU.

The Wildcats will wrap up the 2016-17 regular season on the road Sunday against No. 7 South Carolina at 2 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU and will also be broadcast live on the UK Sports Network with Neil Price on the call.

Team Notes

Kentucky used the starting five of Makayla Epps, Evelyn Akhator, Maci Morris, Alyssa Rice and Taylor Murray.

UK is now 17-6 this season with that starting-five combination.

It was Kentucky’s highest ranked win since the Wildcats downed No. 2 South Carolina 67-56 in Memorial Coliseum (03/01/2015), which was also on Senior Night.

It was UK’s first win over a top-10 opponent since the same contest.

The victory marked the second win over a third-ranked opponent all-time (vs. Louisville, 12/01/13).

Despite a slow start, UK scored 17 of its 19 first-quarter points in the last 4:55 of the quarter to trail by just one (19-18) leading into the second.

Mississippi State started the game on a 7-0 run.

Both teams were scoreless in the second quarter until Jaida Roper’s jumper fell with 7:11 to go in the first half.

The teams then went shot for shot, as each team scored 12 in the stanza.

Fueled by Makayla Epps’ hot shooting, Kentucky opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run, but MSU answered back and each team again posted matching 13-point quarters.

Kentucky led by as many as seven in the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats were able to score one more point than the Bulldogs, taking the game to overtime.

It was UK’s third overtime game of the season, and its first overtime victory this year.

It was Kentucky’s first overtime win since Nov. 15, 2015 when the Wildcats defeated No. 15 Arizona State 68-64.

With eight seconds left in overtime, Epps had a put back to put the Wildcats up two. Maci Morris would then make a free throw, putting Kentucky up three and Mississippi State would not be able to answer.

On their Senior Night, Epps and Evelyn Akhator combined for 49 points, 18 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Both seniors played 44 of 45 minutes in tonight’s game.

Kentucky forced 22 turnovers from MSU, a team that was only committing 13.2 turnovers per game before tonight’s game.

Kentucky scored 16 points off those 22 turnovers.

UK committed just 9 turnovers in the game.

The Wildcats won the battle on the offensive boards, 12-8.

UK outscored the Bulldogs in the paint, 42-28.

Individual Notes

Evelyn Akhator led the way with a game-high 27 points and 16 rebounds for a double-double. It was her 15th double-double of the season and the 29th of her career – both marks ranking fourth in the UK record book. The performance was her 9th time leading the team in scoring this season and 15th overall.

Makayla Epps added 22 points, five assists, two rebounds and two steals. The game marked her 11th this season with 20 or more points. Her 1,686 career points rank fifth in school history. Her 394 assists rank eighth in school history.

Taylor Murray was the third Wildcat in double-digit scoring with 14 points, two boards, two assists and two steals. It was her 16th game with double-figure scoring this season and the 26th of her career.

Maci Morris had eight points, two rebounds and one block. Morris got in foul trouble early, but still added important minutes including a free throw that put UK up three in the final seconds.

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