No. 14 Kentucky holds off rally by Mississippi State, 80-74
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Jamal Murray scored 22 points to lead No. 14 Kentucky to an 80-74 victory over Mississippi State on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats (13-3, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) have won nine straight over the Bulldogs and 12 consecutive league games at home.
Mississippi State (7-8, 0-3) rallied from a 20-point deficit in the second half and trailed 74-71 with 1:14 remaining, but the Wildcats made six free throws in the final 47 seconds to seal the win.
Murray made two of his first three shots - both 3-pointers - and scored 11 of Kentucky's first 17 points. Murray connected on three 3s and scored 11 points in the first half.
Tyler Ulis had 21 points, 14 in the second half, and Isaiah Briscoe added 14 for the Wildcats.
The Bulldogs got 20 points from Craig Sword, followed by Malik Newman with 14 and Gavin Ware with 11.
Mississippi State closed the first half on a 12-6 run to make 39-31. Derek Willis hit two 3-pointers in the spurt and finished with eight points.
While Murray set the tone for the Wildcats in the first half, Ulis got Kentucky off to a fast start in the second half, scoring seven of the team's first 10 points, pushing the margin to 53-33 with 14 minutes remaining.
Despite the surge by Kentucky to open the second half, the Bulldogs fought back and turned a potential blowout into a nail-biter down the stretch.
Alex Poythress, who scored a career-high 25 points in Kentucky's last outing, a 77-61 win at Alabama, scored just six against the Bulldogs. Poythress has scored double figures in six games this season.
Kentucky junior Dominique Hawkins missed his third straight game after spraining his ankle in Kentucky's win over Ole Miss on Jan. 2 and is listed as day-to-day.
Kentucky: The Wildcats extended their home winning streak to 30 games, the fourth-longest in school history. . Murray has hit a 3-pointer in his first 16 collegiate games, a school record.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs have lost 12 straight and 14 of its last 17 to ranked teams. . The loss marked the second straight season the Bulldogs have opened conference play 0-3.
Kentucky: is at Auburn on Saturday
Mississippi State: hosts Tennessee on Saturday