Hot Shooting Propels Kentucky To Dominant 87-66 Victory Over Missouri

Josiah Schueneman, 23 Sports Reporter

The Missouri men’s basketball team traveled to Lexington, KY., on Saturday night in search of a rare season sweep over the Kentucky Wildcats. This would prove to be a lot easier said and done. Behind a 21-point night from Kevin Knox, and six players in double-figures, Kentucky used hot shooting from the field and was able to drop Missouri by a score 87-66.

Knox managed to bounce back against the Tigers after scoring just five points in their last meeting. He led the Wildcats in scoring while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put up 14 points, eight assists, and five rebounds. Hamidou Diallo recorded 11 points while knocking down three triples. The bench was sensational as they accounted for 38 of Kentucky’s 87 points. Jarred Vanderbilt led the bench unit with a spectacular showing, posting 11 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks. The Wildcats came into the game as the worst three-point shooting team in the SEC, but were incredibly efficient as they drilled 10 threes out of 16 attempts and shot 54.9 percent from field goal range.

Kassius Robertson led the Tigers in scoring with 26 points, along with eight boards and six treys. Jordan Barnett was the only other double-figure scorer in the contest with 11, while Kevin Puryear added nine of his own. Jeremiah Tilmon and Jontay Porter were mostly non-factors in this ballgame. Tilmon was in foul trouble throughout and ended the game with just five points while Porter had just four points, due largely to the freshman shooting one of eight from the field. Despite being cleared to play, Michael Porter Jr. did not dress for the contest.

Kentucky got off to a great start going on an 8-0 run at one point to take a 13-5 lead less than six minutes into the game. Although the Tigers went on a run of their own and tied it up at 16 after back-to-back threes by Kassius Robertson, Kentucky caught fire offensively and regained the lead, stretching it out to 10 late in the first half. Missouri failed to counter the attack, and the Wildcats led 44-32 at the half.

The second half got worse for the Tigers as stagnant offense and poor shot selection doomed them. Kentucky continued to impose their will offensively and led by as many as 25 to preserve the win.

With this victory, the Wildcats have won three straight SEC games over top-50 teams by double digits.

Missouri has lost three in a row, and hope to get off the schneid as they face Vanderbilt on the road Tuesday, then Arkansas at home on Saturday. When all that wraps up, the SEC Tournament will start in St. Louis on March 7. Head coach Cuonzo Martin still has no timetable for when Michael Porter Jr. will play.