COLUMBIA, Mo. – Bam Adebayo’s fourth double-double of the season helped No. 11 Kentucky avoid a late-season upset, as the freshman scored 22 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds in the Wildcats’ 72-62 victory over Missouri on Tuesday night.
Terrence Phillips led Missouri with a career-high 22 points, shooting 4 for 8 from 3-point range while the rest of the Tigers shot a combined 0 for 14.
Neither team led by more than two possessions in a low-scoring first half. Missouri (7-20, 2-13 Southeastern Conference) took a 28-24 lead with 4:27 remaining in the half following a 7-0 run. John Calipari called a time out after a layup by Jordan Barnett capped the Tigers’ run, and the Wildcats held a 31-30 halftime lead despite shooting 1 for 8 from the field to close the half. Barnett finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Kentucky (23-5, 13-2) dominated the glass in the second half, outrebounding the Tigers 26-12 led by Adebayo, who had 10 second-half rebounds.
Missouri was in foul trouble all game as its frontcourt struggled with Kentucky’s size and athleticism. The Wildcats made 19 of 28 free throws, while Missouri converted on 14 of 23 attempts. Missouri forwards Reed Nikko and Russell Woods had both fouled out with 4:30 remaining, forcing the Tigers to go small. Woods and Nikko were limited to 24 combined minutes due to foul trouble.
De’Aaron Fox scored 13 points and Malik Monk added 11 despite shooting 4 for 12 from the field. Monk entered the game averaging a team-high 21.4 points per game.
Kentucky: The Wildcats remain tied with No. 13 Florida for first place in the SEC. The Gators defeated South Carolina 81-66 Wednesday in Gainesville. Kentucky improves to 6-2 on the road, tying the Gators for the most conference road victories.
Missouri: The Tigers have never beaten the Wildcats in 10 attempts. Missouri has not beaten a ranked opponent since an 80-71 home win against then-No. 18 UCLA on Dec. 7, 2013.
Kentucky: Hosts Florida on Saturday. The Gators defeated the Wildcats 88-66 on Feb. 4 in Gainesville.
Missouri: Visits Ole Miss on Saturday. The Rebels defeated Missouri 75-71 Jan. 21 in Columbia.