LEXINGTON, Ky. — Rhyne Howard scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and No. 15 Kentucky closed the game with an 11-2 run to defeat Missouri 61-55 on Sunday.
In the final three minutes, after the Tigers scored nine straight pints to take a 53-50 lead, the Wildcats were 9 of 10 from the foul line while Missouri went 1 of 4 from the field, missed two critical free throws and had a shot clock violation.
Dre’Una Edwards added 10 points and nine rebounds with the first four points in the closing run for the Wildcats (13-4, 6-3 Southeastern Conference). KeKe McKinney had two free throws with 15.7 seconds left to make it a two-possession game.
Ladazhia Williams scored a career-high 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting for Missouri (6-6, 3-5) and Aijha Blackwell had 13 points and a career-high 19 rebounds. Hayley Frank had 10 points.
Both teams struggled on offense with Missouri’s 8-of-12 shooting in the third quarter the only team either team shot above 41%. That helped the Tigers trim a 28-18 halftime deficit to 42-39.
Trailing 50-44 with six minutes to go, Frank made a pair of free throws and then hit Missouri’s first – and only – 3-pointer after 17 misses to cut the deficit to one. Williams then followed with a three-point play and the Tigers’ first lead since 2-0. A Blackwell free throw ended the run with 3:23 to play.
Kentucky, which was in the process of finishing the game 1 for 9 shooting, then started getting to the line as Mizzou went cold.
The Tigers, who lead the SEC in shooting at 50.3% finished at 38% with that 1 of 18 performance beyond the arc. However, Kentucky, a 45% shooting team, only shot 37% and was 3 of 13 from distance.
Missouri is at home against No. 19 Arkansas and Kentucky plays at Mississippi on Thursday.