Tyler Ulis helps No. 10 Kentucky beat Mississippi 83-61

0 Comments

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis made an impression on Andy Kennedy.

The Mississippi coach heaped praise on Ulis after he had 20 points and 10 assists to help No. 10 Kentucky beat Mississippi 83-61 on Saturday night in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.

“I think he is best point guard in college basketball,” Kennedy said. “He just kind of skates through. When he is making shots, he is very difficult (to stop).”

Ulis set the tone for the blowout, scoring seven of Kentucky’s first nine points. He pounded his chest after connecting on a layup igniting those in attendance, including his parents.

“There was just a lot of energy,” Ulis said. “The crowd was going crazy. I was actually looking for my parents but they had changed seats. I finally found them.”

Kentucky coach John Calipari was pleased with the way Ulis performed on both ends of the court.

“He is a good player and also took on a challenge (of facing Ole Miss scoring leader Stefan Moody),” Calipari said. “He is out to prove who he is. I just want a team full of guys that want that.”

Sparked by Ulis, Kentucky (11-2) ended the Rebels’ seven-game winning streak and limited Moody to eight points in the first half, hindering the Rebels’ hopes for an upset.

Jamal Murray made four of Kentucky’s seven 3-pointers and had 18 points. Marcus Lee added 13.

Despite a slow start, Moody led the Rebels (10-3) with 23 points. Sebastian Saiz followed with 12.

The Wildcats held a 14-11 advantage with 10:29 remaining in the first half and put the game away with a 23-3 run, pushing it to 37-14 with 3:40 remaining in the first half.

Murray made two 3-pointers during the decisive spurt and finished with 11 points in the opening half.

Kentucky led 46-22 at the break and didn’t let up in the second half.

Ole Miss struggled from the field, especially in the first half, shooting 23 percent (6 for 26). The Rebels fared better in the second half and finished 20 of 50 from the floor for 40 percent.

A year ago, Ole Miss took the Wildcats to the wire before losing 89-86 in overtime, but failed to duplicate the performance.

“We lost a lot of guys that were part of that run,” Kennedy said. “I thought the moment might have been a little big for them early.”

HAWKINS HURT

Kentucky junior guard Dominique Hawkins left with 13:55 remaining and didn’t return after tweaking his ankle while going up for a rebound. Hawkins scored a career-high 13 points against No. 18 Louisville in his last outing. Hawkins played three minutes and didn’t score.

“They say he will be fine,” Calipari said. “I didn’t see it but it was ugly. But he is a tough kid.”

SMITH WOWS CROWD

Jordan Smith, the latest winner in NBC’s “The Voice,” drew a rousing applause after performing the national anthem prior to tipoff. Smith, a native of Harlan County, is a senior at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, and has already signed a contract with Republic Records.

TIP-INS

Kentucky: Briscoe returned to the lineup after tweaking his ankle during pregame warmups prior to Kentucky’s win over Louisville. He finished with six points. … Murray has hit a 3-pointer in his first 13 games, a school record. … After playing 10 of their first 13 games at home, the Wildcats play their next two conference games on the road, starting Tuesday at LSU. … Kentucky has won nine of its last 10 games against the Rebels. … Calipari improved to 8-1 against Ole Miss as coach of the Wildcats.

Ole Miss: The Rebels fell to 53-2 in games played against the Wildcats in Lexington. Their last victory over Kentucky at Rupp Arena came when they posted a 73-64 win in 1998. … Moody has made a 3-pointer in 27 straight games, the fourth-longest in school history. … The Rebels play their first game at The Pavilion at Ole Miss on Thursday. The facility will seat 8,867 fans.

NEXT UP

Kentucky is at LSU on Tuesday night.

Ole Miss hosts Alabama on Thursday night.

Tennessee center Tamari Key out for season with blood clots

Saul Young/News Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK
2 Comments

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee senior center Tamari Key will miss the rest of this season because of blood clots in her lungs, coach Kellie Harper said.

Doctors found the issue during testing. Key is expected to make a full recovery after treatment from University of Tennessee doctors, Harper said, adding that her sole concern is Key getting the medical care she needs to heal and return to full strength.

Key missed the first game of her career in a win Tuesday night over Chattanooga after playing her first 99.

“This is much bigger than basketball. We are so grateful that this medical condition was caught,” Harper said in a statement. “Our entire program will be right beside Tamari during this process and welcomes prayers and positive thoughts from Lady Vol Nation and beyond.”

The Lady Vols opened the season ranked fifth but currently are 5-5.

The 6-foot-6 Key from Cary, North Carolina, currently is Tennessee’s third-leading scorer averaging 8.4 points a game and averaged 4.2 rebounds per game. She started all 34 games as the Lady Vols reached their first Sweet 16 since 2016 last season and set the school record with 119 blocked shots.

Key had 18 blocks this season and 295 for her career, five away from becoming the eighth woman to reach that mark in Southeastern Conference history.

No. 7 Tennessee beats Eastern Kentucky, win streak hits 7

tennessee basketball
Saul Young/USA TODAY NETWORK
1 Comment

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tyreke Key scored 10 of the first 12 points of the second half and finished with 17, and No. 7 Tennessee overcame a sluggish first half and beat Eastern Kentucky 84-49 on Wednesday night.

“Tyreke is handling the ball now,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “That’s all new to him. He keeps getting better.”

The Volunteers (8-1) struggled in the first half but still built an 11-point lead over Eastern Kentucky (4-5) on the way to their seventh straight victory.

Key led Tennessee in scoring before leaving with a cramp in his right leg with 6:15 left in the game. Julian Phillips had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Zakai Zeigler and Uros Plavsic added 13 points apiece. Olivier Nkamhoua scored 10.

“I’m still settling in,” said Key, a transfer from Indiana State who didn’t play last year while recovering from an injury. “This is a new role. I’m taking steps every day and keep learning.”

Eastern Kentucky, which came into the game averaging 83.5 points, was held well below that total due to 17% (6 for 35) shooting from long range and 22% (15 for 68) overall. Leland Walker led the Colonels with 13 points.

It was the seventh time this season Tennessee has held its opponent to 50 or fewer points.

“(Tennessee) is the best defensive team in the country,” Eastern Kentucky coach A.W. Hamilton said. “I think they’re the best team in the country.”

At one point in the first half, Tennessee was shooting 20% and still leading by 10 points. The teams combined to shoot 4 of 32 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes. The Vols, who shot 24% (8 of 34), led 32-21 at the break.

“If we can’t make shots, can you find a way to win the game?” Barnes said. “When the shot’s not going in, find a way to play. The first thing we talk about is our defense.”

Tennessee shot 41 free throws. Phillips, a true freshman, was 7 of 10.

“(Phillips) has learned the pace of the game,” Barnes said. “I’m not sure there’s been a more effective freshman in the country (this season).”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Since its early season slip against Colorado, Tennessee has had a steady ascent in the rankings. The Vols’ next two games – neutral site (Brooklyn) against No, 13 Maryland (Dec. 11) and at No. 10 Arizona (Dec. 17) – will go a long way toward justifying the No. 7 ranking.

BIG PICTURE

Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels’ run-and-gun style of offense had them averaging 83.5 points through their first eight games. They ran into a defensive buzz saw in Tennessee, which was yielding just over 51 points.

Tennessee: Santiago Vescovi sat out his second straight game with a shoulder problem. He is expected to be ready to play Sunday against Maryland. . The Vols have won seven in a row since their loss to Colorado.

UP NEXT

Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels host Boyce College on Saturday.

Tennessee: Take on No. 13 Maryland on Sunday at the Hall of Fame Invitational in New York.

Hoggard scores career-high 23, Michigan State snaps 2-game skid

michigan state basketball
Matthew OHaren/USA TODAY Sports
3 Comments

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A.J. Hoggard scored a career-high 23 points, Joey Hauser had 12 points and 15 rebounds and Michigan State beat Penn State 67-58 on Wednesday night to snap a two-game losing streak.

Michigan State (6-4, 1-1 Big Ten) avoided going .500 or worse after 10 games for the first time in 18 seasons.

Hoggard blocked an open layup with less than a minute to play and Hauser grabbed the rebound before being fouled and making two free throws at the other end for a 66-58 lead.

Hoggard, Hauser and Tyson Walker combined for 31 of Michigan State’s 32 second-half points.

The Michigan State defense allowed only one made field goal in the final five minutes. Penn State was just 1 of 9 from 3-point range in the second half after 7 of 18 before halftime.

Walker scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half for Michigan State. Hoggard, who entered third in the conference in assists at 6.3, had six rebounds, two assists and one key block.

Hoggard gave Michigan State 35-33 lead – its first since 4-2 – after back-to-back three-point plays with 59.3 seconds left in the first half. It was tied at 35-all at the break.

Seth Lundy scored 16 points and Jalen Pickett had 13 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists for Penn State (6-3, 0-1)

Michigan State hosts Brown on Saturday. Penn State, which hadn’t played since a double-overtime loss to Clemson on Nov. 29, plays at No. 17 Illinois on Saturday.

No. 7 Virginia Tech posts 9th straight win, beats Boston College 73-58

virginia tech basketball
Erica Denhoff/Getty Images
2 Comments

BOSTON — Reigning Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year Elizabeth Kitley had 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Cayla King scored 16 on Wednesday night to lead No. 7 Virginia Tech to a 73-58 victory over Boston College, the Hokies’ ninth straight win.

Taylor Soule, one of two BC transfers on the roster for Virginia Tech (9-0, 1-0 ACC), added nine points and five rebounds. Soule scored more than 1,500 points and grabbed almost 700 rebounds in four seasons at BC, earning All-ACC honors three times.

Andrea Daley scored 15 points and Maria Gakdeng scored 14 for BC (7-4, 0-1). They each grabbed six rebounds.

Virginia Tech scored 17 of the game’s first 21 points and led by as many as 19 in the third quarter before BC cut the deficit to 10 in the fourth. Leading 64-54 with under three minutes left and the shot clock expiring, Kayana Traylor hit a 3-pointer for the Hokies.

Gakdeng missed two free throws for BC, and then Kitley scored from inside to make it a 15-point game.

Clara Ford, who also played four years in Chestnut Hill, pitched in 2 points in 2 minutes against her former team.

BIG PICTURE

At No. 7, the Hokies have the highest ranking in the program’s history. With the victory over BC, a 10th straight win against North Carolina-Asheville on Sunday would leave Virginia Tech in position to move up even higher should a top five team falter.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech: Hosts North Carolina-Asheville on Sunday.

Boston College: Hosts Albany on Saturday.

Michigan’s Jaelin Llewellyn out for season with knee injury

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan point guard Jaelin Llewellyn is out for the rest of the season with an injured left knee and is expected to have surgery next month.

Wolverines coach Juwan Howard made the announcement three days after Llewellyn was hurt in a loss to Kentucky in London.

Llewellyn transferred to Michigan from Princeton last spring and that seemed to lead to Frankie Collins transferring to Arizona State after a solid freshman season for the Wolverines.

Llewellyn averaged seven points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in eight games at Michigan. He was an All-Ivy League player last season and averaged nearly 16 points over three seasons at Princeton.