Vic Schaefer and the #2 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs are still perfect on the season after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats for the first time under Schaefer’s leadership in Starkville. The Bulldogs advanced to 26-0 overall and 12-0 in SEC play with the 74-55 win.
In the game, Mississippi State jumped out to an impressive 22-8 lead through the first quarter. Kentucky bounced back in the second quarter a bit, only being outscored by a margin of 4 points, 18-14, to bring a halftime score of 40 to 22 in the Bulldogs’ favor.
At the half, Mississippi State’s Roshunda Johnson put up 15 points to lead all scorers, with all of her points being scored from behind the arc. Behind Johnson were Victoria Vivians with 9 points, as well as 4 rebounds, and Teaira McCowan with 8 points and 6 rebounds.
UK continued their surge, and would go on to outscore State 21-16 in the third, cutting the lead to 13 points heading into the final frame with a score of 56-43. That is ultimately as close as they would get to cutting MSU’s lead away at any significant moment as State finished strong, holding Kentucky to 12 points in the 4th while scoring 18, bringing the final score of 74-55.
The game featured 4 scorers in the double digits. Maci Morris was the only such scorer for Kentucky while the aforementioned Johnson, Vivians, and McCowan round out the group. Vivians set the pace for all scorers with 23 points and 7 rebounds. McCowan earned a double double with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Morris scored 21 points for the Wildcats. And while Johnson ultimately had a stellar first half where she scored 15, she was slowed a bit ing the second half and scored 2 more, bringing her total to 17 points.
With the win, MSU is currently 3 games ahead of the trio of Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina for first place in the SEC standings. In the national picture, Mississippi State is one of two undefeated teams. The other being UConn who is 24-0.
Kentucky fell to 9th in the SEC with the loss. The Wildcats are now 12-14 on the year and 4-8 in SEC play. The 19 point loss in Starkville is brings Kentucky’s losing streak to three games now.
Mississippi State’s next game is this Thursday against Vanderbilt in Nashville. Kentucky will host Arkansas on Thursday.