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Fans across the state of Kentucky have been asking, “WHERE IS DONTAIE ALLEN”? Sports View America did a special article on Dontaie Allen which can be read HERE. KY Fans also have been wondering where transfer Olivier Sarr has been. Both questions were answered in a big way Saturday as sharp shooting Allen came in and calmly knocked down 7, that’s right, 7 three pointers, while Sarr dropped in 14 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked 2 shots as Kentucky would break their 6 game losing streak. It took double overtime, but Dontaie Allen & Sarrs made sure they would get the win 78-73.
Fans started questioning Coach Cals’ methods in his decision on not letting Allen play. In hindsight, and if the Mississippi State game was any indication, Coach Cals’ decision not to play Allen, may have been a huge mistake for a team that was struggling to score and was in dire need of three point shooting. If UK fails to make the NCAA Tournament, the decision not to play Allen during the teams scoring drought and 6 game losing streak, may loom large. It is not to say Allen would have scored or made a difference in the 6 losses, but it surely could not have been any worse than what happened during their skid.
Kentucky controls their own destiny and must pretty much win the SEC to make it in to the Tournament, so there is no time like the present to go on a roll.
KENTUCKY MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES
KENTUCKY AT MISSISSIPPI STATE / HUMPHREY COLISEUM | STARKVILLE, MISS. / JAN. 2, 2021 / ATTENDANCE: 1,000
Final Score: Kentucky 78, Mississippi State 73 (2OT)
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky improves to 2-6 overall and 1-0 in Southeastern Conference play.
- Mississippi State is now 6-4 overall, 1-1 in the conference.
- UK now leads the series 99-20, including wins in 15 straight vs. the Bulldogs.
- Kentucky leads 37-12 in games played in Starkville, Mississippi.
- The Wildcats have beaten the Bulldogs in every game of the John Calipari era, the only team yet to register a victory vs. UK with Calipari at the helm.
- Next: UK will host Vanderbilt on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center for UK’s SEC home opener. It will be the Wildcats’ first game at home since Dec. 12, a total of 24 days since the last game. The game will be televised by SEC Network.
- Dontaie Allen put on a performance for the ages. After logging just a minute over the previous three games (two DNPs), the redshirt freshman came off the bench to lead the Kentucky comeback with a career-high 23 points.
- Allen played 32 minutes and made 8 of 13 shots and 7 of 11 from 3, plus five rebounds. All were career highs.
- The seven 3-pointers are the most by a Wildcat since Immanuel Quickley made eight at Texas A&M on Feb. 25.
- Trailing 50-41, Allen hit three key 3-pointers to turn the nine-point deficit into a 56-55 UK advantage.
- Allen also hit a 3 with 1:34 left in regulation to tie the game and a 3 in the first overtime that gave Kentucky a three-point lead and eventually sent the game to a second overtime.
- He scored five straight points in the second overtime to extend UK’s 71-70 lead to 76-70.
- Olivier Sarr notched the second double-double as a Kentucky Wildcat and the 13th of his career with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
- Lance Ware played a career-high 35 minutes and grabbed a career-best and game-high 13 boards.
- Brandon Boston Jr. extended his double-figure scoring streak to eight games with 11 points. He’s the only Wildcat to score in double figure in every game.
- Isaiah Jackson had a strong game defensively with four blocks and a career-high three steals in 19 minutes. His four swats were his most since blocking eight vs. Kansas on Dec. 1.
- Devin Askew had another strong game with 11 points, a game-high six assists and four rebounds.
- Terrence Clarke did not play for the first time this season. He’s day-to-day with a right ankle injury.
Coach John Calipari
- Calipari improves to 332-83 at UK.
- He now has a 777-223 all-time on-court record.
- Calipari has a perfect 16-0 record vs. Mississippi State in his career with 15 of the victories coming as head coach at Kentucky.
- UK is 269-48 under Calipari against Associated Press unranked teams.
- Kentucky is 56-18 under Calipari following a loss. Five of those losses occurred during the now-extinct six-game losing streak.
- UK is now won 10 of 12 SEC openers under Calipari and nine of 12 road SEC openers.
- Saturday’s game marked the 1,000th college game of Calipari’s 29-year college head coach career. Calipari is 777-223 in those games. The only coach in NCAA history with at least 189 on-court victories at three different schools, only two coaches (Adolph Rupp with 824 and Roy Williams with 790) have won more games than Calipari through their first 1,000 career games.
- UK snapped a six-game losing streak, its longest since Feb. 5-22, 1989.
- It was tied for the second-longest losing streak in school history. The 1923 team dropped nine in a row.
- UK, which leads the league with 49 regular-season SEC titles, nearly as many as the rest of the league combined, is 68-19 all-time in SEC openers.
- The Wildcats are 10-2 in SEC openers under Calipari.
- Kentucky is 9-3 in their first SEC road game of the season under Calipari.
- The Wildcats have now won three straight games decided in overtime after winning both overtime games last season.
- It was UK’s first double-overtime game since winning at Texas A&M 70-64 in two overtimes on Jan. 10, 2015.
- Kentucky lost the battle of the boards 49-48, only the third time this season UK has been outrebounded.
- The Wildcats dished out 17 assists, their dimes most since the season opener vs. Morehead State when they had 18.
- UK blocked 10 shots, the most the team has totaled since 12 vs. Kansas on Dec. 1.
- Led by Allen’s seven 3-pointers, Kentucky sank a season-high 11 from long range.
- The Wildcats were only 3 of 8 from the charity stripe for a 37.5% clip. The eight attempts are the third fewest of the Calipari era. UK has twice been limited to six attempts during his tenure.
- The three makes tied for the fewest total number of free throws under Calipari. UK also made just three against East Tennessee State on Nov. 17, 2017.
In the First Half
- The starting lineup consisted of Devin Askew, Davion Mintz, Brandon Boston Jr., Isaiah Jackson and Olivier Sarr for the second time this season. UK is 1-1 with the lineup.
- Sarr scored UK’s first points of the game, a 3-pointer from the top of the arc at the 17:19 mark after falling behind 4-0.
- Kentucky’s first three field goals were 3-pointers.
- Lance Ware was UK’s first sub at the 16:07 mark.
- UK’s defense helped charge a 21-16 lead. The Wildcats blocked four shots in the first 12 minutes with two of them from Jackson.
- A near five-minute scoring drought by the Wildcats ceded a 21-16 lead. Ware ended an 8-0 MSU run with a second-chance bucket with 4:27 left in the first half.
- Dontaie Allen hit his first field goal and first 3-pointer since Dec. 1 vs. Kansas.
- Kentucky blocked eight shots in the first half, the most in any half this season.
- The Wildcats trailed 35-30 at the half.
- UK moves to 1-3 this season when trailing at intermission.
In the Second Half
- The starting lineup opened the second half.
- Mississippi State opened up a 50-41 advantage midway through the second half, but UK responded with a tip-back by Sarr off his own miss and an Allen 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 50-46.
- However, moments later, down 52-46 Calipari was assessed two technical fouls and ejected from the game. MSU hit three of four free throws to go up 55-46.
- Similar to Calipari’s ejection at Arkansas last season, this expulsion lit a fire under the Wildcats as well. UK answered with a 10-0 run sparked by two Allen 3-pointers to take a 56-55 lead with 5:08 left.
- It was the Wildcats’ first lead of the second half.
- Kentucky had three attempts to win the game with a final possession but could not connect.
- Mississippi State scored the first three points of overtime, but a tough bucket by Mintz pulled the Cats to within one with 3:02 to play.
- Toppin’s layup tied the score at the 2:25 mark and then Allen gave the Wildcats their first lead of the extra period with a three, but the Bulldogs answered on the ensuing possession to force a second overtime period.
- Sarr drained his second 3-pointer of the game to lift the Wildcats to the lead quickly, an advantage they would not relinquish.
- An Allen 3 followed by an Askew runner lifted Kentucky to its largest lead of the game with 1:33 to play.
Mississippi State Men’s Basketball Postgame Quotes
Kentucky at Mississippi State – January 2, 2021
Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari
Q: How has Dontaie Allen impressed you tonight?
JC: “That’s what you’re supposed to do when you get a chance. I’m so happy for him [Dontaie Allen]. I said before the game, to the staff, ‘I hope he goes big.’ Because we need to win. We needed a win, and he changed us offensively because he spread the court. In the first half, he passed up about four shots. We were all saying, ‘Shoot it.’
“I’ve got a shoutout to [Transylvania University head coach] Brian Lane because they really helped us. Dontaie [Allen], there, was 6 out of 10, but it got him going. He was exactly the same way in the first half. Then, he goes and starts making shots. He makes one after the other which put him a great frame of mind. I’ve already texted Brian and told him to tell his team ‘Thank You.’
Q: What has Dantaie done tonight that you haven’t seen him do yet? How has he gotten to a point of doing something that he wasn’t doing before?
JC: “You guys know about last year and the injuries and stuff that we went through. But at the beginning of this year, there’ve been signs of this. Again, you’re playing behind some guys that you’re proving now, that they should be playing behind me. He changes our team. The reason we couldn’t score, and you guys all know it, guys couldn’t make shots. It doesn’t matter what you run. It bleeds into free-throw shooting.”
“So, him being able to that, I told the team after, he’s earned more minutes. Some guys are going to end up having to play less. The way we finished the game up – I was in the room, I was pacing. I probably put on about three miles in there watching it on ESPN on my phone.”
“I thought they fought. There was a play late where we had fought for a ball that the guy had an easy basket that we just didn’t give up on. How about Olivier [Sarr], and how he played? Unbelievable. Then, all we talked about all week, is 10 rebounds. He got 14 and made the big three that spread the game open after missing two game-winners shows what he is.”
“And Lance, I thought Lance [Ware] fought crazy and did good stuff. These kids deserve something good to happen, and it did. And again, I know you’re going to say ‘You do this on purpose.’ Look, the first one, yes I did. Because there were two or three things that happened, and we weren’t going to have a chance to win if it didn’t change.”
“The second one was, you know, okay. How about my staff? All those guys on the bench, and they stayed in that zone. Everybody’s been telling me we need to play more zone, but I think it’s going to be a game-to-game thing. We’ve had guys that had to wait their turns and then prove themselves. Dontaie’s attitude was so good. It never changed. He’s a great kid, comes in and spends extra time. Now, he has his chance. Now, all of Kentucky, is going crazy.”
Q: Were you thinking about the ejection at Arkansas, and did you think it would happen in this game?
JC: “When I walked off, I said ‘This is either going to be a good thing or a bad thing’. Then when we started making our run, it was a lot of time. So, I knew it wasn’t four minutes, it was nine. So, we watched it.”
“What I did after the game, I snuck in the back of the locker room in the far corner before they came in because I just wanted to enjoy that celebration. I wanted to see it, and I wanted to enjoy it. I wanted to remember why I do what I do – to see that kind of stuff. Them doing it without me is even better.”
Kentucky Forward Olivier Sarr
Q: How good does it feel to win, and what did Dontaie [Allen] do to surprise you out there?
OS: “It feels great to win. We definitely needed that. As far as Dontaie, it was a great game. Without him, we are not in that game at all. I’m just proud to see him play like that, play that way. It was a great feeling.”
Q: What did it mean for your confidence that Coach Calipari has kept saying he believes in you and he has his faith in you even though you had those two games in a row where it wasn’t working very well?
OS: “As a player, you can’t rely on your coach all the time. As a coach, being that confident, means a lot. It definitely helped on the court. It took the pressure off – just going out there, playing for the team and helping anyway I could.”
Q: What did you think when Dontaie banked in the shot from the top of the key?
OS: “We have to keep going to him. He can’t miss right now; the bank was open for him. However, he makes it, and it’s going in. That was impressive.”
Q: Was there anything you guys saw as teammates that lead you to believe that Dontaie could do this on a given night in a game where there is a ton of pressure on you all?
OS: “You guys know about the scrimmage we had and that he made that many shots, he was on fire. Every day at practice, we know that Dontaie is a shooter. We know that he can do that, and we always want him to shoot when he is open.”
Q: What was going through your mind when Coach Calipari got ejected?
OS: “For me and the entire team, we knew that might happen. Knowing the past that coach has had in games like that. For us, it was just with coach not being here, we need to execute. We have a great coaching staff. We are just going to be fighting more. That had the spark for us, and it helped us in a way.”
Q: Are you saying that he initially got ejected?
OS: “No, I’m not saying that. Coach had emotion in the game, and he was frustrated. It happens, he got tossed out. We had to step in – the entire coaching staff had to step in and lead us to that win.”
Q: Why do you think the zone defenses were so effective?
OS: “As far as the zone, it was really effective. That is something that we talked about. We knew that they would have some problems with it and definitely worked for us. We communicated, and it worked for us today.”
Kentucky Guard Dontaie Allen
Q: What have the last few weeks been for like for you as all the fans have been complaining about you not playing more, and what was the pressure like for you today?
DA: “I don’t think it was pressure only because I put in the work. I didn’t know when my opportunity was going to come. Obviously, it could have come today, next week or next month. Nobody knows, so I was just keeping my head down and just working hard. I am thankful for the opportunity I had tonight.”
Q: Did you feel like you were ready to do more before tonight and what did you feel like had to happen for you to get this chance?
DA: “I fall back on my work every time. The reason I said there is no pressure is of you put the work in, and you get your opportunity you know you are going to be ready. A lot of people go down a different path – I was just waiting for my opportunity, and I capitalized on it.”
Q: How was the scrimmage helpful earlier this week?
DA: “It was big on momentum. A lot of guys got really comfortable. It gave us a lot of momentum, and it carried over to today.”
Q: Do you think what you did tonight is something you could do every night?
DA: “I am going to keep working hard. I am going to see what happens. Keep my head down and keep working. Just because this happened doesn’t mean I’m going to change. I’m still going to be that kid that keeps working hard.”
Q: How does it feel to have your moment?
DA: “It feels crazy. If there are kids listening, it comes down to work. If you put in the work, you can do some great things. Just put in the work, put your mind, body and soul into it.”
Q: What has been the message to Olivier [Sarr] to keep him going?
DA: “We were telling him in practice to be dominate. I knew he was good for a good game. He had a great week of practice – fighting and playing hard. He was making a lot of shots. Coaches were saying for him to get 10 rebounds tonight. That is big, I so proud of him and the rest of the guys.”