Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Split-second save for UK

Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins puts up the tying shot after rebounding John Wall’s airball, just before the buzzer. Jarvis Varnado (32) did not go for the rebound, thinking time would run out.

Associated Press

Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins puts up the tying shot after rebounding John Wall’s airball, just before the buzzer. Jarvis Varnado (32) did not go for the rebound, thinking time would run out.

NASHVILLE — John Calipari only had questions once he and his Kentucky Wildcats finished celebrating their SEC tournament championship Sunday.

"How did we win this game? How did we go to overtime? I don't know," Calipari said.

Credit his fantastic freshmen who scored to get them to overtime and then won the game.

John Wall scored seven of his 15 points in overtime, and No. 2 Kentucky rallied from five down with 2:28 left in regulation to beat Mississippi State 75-74. The Wildcats' 26th SEC tournament championship was the first title game decided by one point since 1952.

The Wildcats ran around the arena waving and yelling with their fans, but stayed away from the nets.

"We will cut down nets," Calipari said. "It's just not the SEC tournament nets. Maybe hopefully in the NCAA Tournament somewhere, but I think these guys they have a big picture."

The Wildcats (32-2) blew earlier chances with freshmen Wall and DeMarcus Cousins missing free throws and making youthful mistakes. But they came through over the defending tourney champs as Cousins' layup off Wall's missed 3-pointer from the right corner barely beat the buzzer to force overtime.

Wall thought the Wildcats had won on Cousins' shot and tackled the 6-foot-11, 270-pound forward, celebrating a bit early.

"I was so excited," Wall said. "When I went to the bench, Coach said, 'It's overtime.' I was like, 'Whew.' I was tired."

"So I got kind of beat up at the end thanks to John," Cousins said with a smile.

Mississippi State (23-11) lost for the second time to the Wildcats this season after leading late in regulation. The Bulldogs blew a seven-point lead on Feb. 16, and lost that game 81-75 in overtime.

"The Good Lord willing, He didn't want us to win," Mississippi State point guard Dee Bost said. "He's got a plan for everything.''

The Bulldogs led 62-57 on Ravern Johnson's 3 with 2:28 left. That set up a furious finish to a game that had gone back and forth from the opening tip.

Barry Stewart hit two free throws with 8.2 seconds left to make it 64-61, Bulldogs. Stewart then intentionally fouled Eric Bledsoe to prevent a 3-pointer, fouling out. Bledsoe hit the first free throw, missed the second and Wall's 3-pointer was a short airball. Mississippi State center Jarvis Varnado, saying he thought time would expire, did not try for the rebound and Cousins put it back, just beating the buzzer.

Wall and Cousins celebrated with their teammates piling on as if they had won. They finally went back to the bench while officials reviewed the play that ultimately cost the Bulldogs an NCAA Tournament bid that would have come with an SEC title.

"I thought we'd lost," Kentucky center Daniel Orton said. "I'm not going to lie to you. I was thinking of moving on, getting back and watching the Selection Show."

Kentucky 75

Miss. State 74


Split-second save for UK 03/14/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 14, 2010 10:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 51/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  3. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) takes a moment on the mound in the second inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, August 6, 2017.
  4. Tim Tebow's slump continues, as does fan support


    CLEARWATER — On July 29, playing against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Tim Tebow smacked a mammoth three-run homer, helping the St. Lucie Mets cruise to a 10-3 victory at Charlotte Sports Park.

    St. Lucie’s Tim Tebow, shown Monday at Spectrum Field, struggled at the plate Wednesday against the Threshers.
  5. Rays at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. Thursday

    The Heater

    Today: at Blue Jays

    4:07, Rogers Centre, Toronto

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Rays info: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (8-7, 3.84)

    JAYS: RH Chris Rowley (1-0, 1.69)