Men's Basketball
Dillingham, Mitchell Lead No. 6 Kentucky Past Missouri

Dillingham, Mitchell Lead No. 6 Kentucky Past Missouri

by Tim Letcher

Kentucky freshman Rob Dillingham did not play a bunch of minutes in Tuesday’s game against Missouri, but he made the most of his time in the game.

Dillingham scored a season-high 23 points in just 19 minutes of action as the sixth-ranked Wildcats topped the Tigers 90-77 at Rupp Arena. The freshman from Hickory, North Carolina, hit 6 of 7 from the floor, including all three of his three-point attempts, and 8 of 10 from the line on his way to the 23 points.

Kentucky (12-2, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) got a double-double from Tre Mitchell, who scored 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. D.J. Wagner had 16 points, Antonio Reeves scored 14 and Aaron Bradshaw added 10 for the Cats.

UK head coach John Calipari is glad to have Dillingham on his team, although he continues to look for more.

“The whole thing that I said to him after the game was, I love coaching you,” Calipari said. “You can really play and I love coaching guys who can really play. He can really play but we had to get him to make easier plays. The other things he has to continue to work on – your body language. But when you’re the young team that we are, body language is that next thing. He knows I love him. I love coaching him. He’s as good as it gets to go get baskets and get fouled.”

Both teams came out hot, with each hitting four of their first five shots from the field. Kentucky would make six of its first seven shots to take an early 14-12 advantage. And by the time the Cats made their seventh field goal on just nine attempts, UK led 22-14.

Kentucky would go up by 14 points, 35-21, after five consecutive points from Dillingham. But Missouri responded by scoring the next seven, prompting a timeout from the Kentucky bench. The run would continue as the Tigers got within four before a Bradshaw basket stopped a 10-0 run.

From there, the Cats would be able to lead by as many as seven points, on three occasions, before settling for a 47-42 halftime lead. Wagner and Dillingham each had 11 points in the first half to lead the Cats. Dillingham’s 11 came in his first four minutes of action.

Unlike the first half, the teams were unable to find the range early in the second half, with each team missing its first three shots from the field. After Missouri hit a pair of free throws, UK got on the board with a Justin Edwards layup.

Kentucky would stretch the lead to as many as 15 in the second half before settling for the 13-point win.

The Cats are back in action on Saturday, visiting Texas A&M in College Station. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on ESPN.

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