They call them "Press Virginia" and it was evident from the get-go that West Virginia was going to make Kentucky's night chaotic. Knox (19 points) and Hamidou Diallo combined to score 30 of Kentucky's 50 second-half points, with the Wildcats taking advantage of the foul line in making their comeback. Leading the way for the Wildcats was PJ Washington who had 22 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and 3 steals.
The Kentucky Wildcats snapped their 2-game losing streak and improved to 15-5 (5-3 SEC) on the season after defeating the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 78-65, this past Tuesday.
The Wildcats are 106th in the nation with 77.1 points per game.
During their last five games, the Mountaineers have scored an average of 70.6 points per game (10.4 below their season average) and allowed an average of 66.0 points per game (0.3 above their season average). The Wildcats have a rebound margin of 5.1 and a turnover margin of -1.7. Jevon Carter led the Mountaineers with 18 first half points, knocking down all four of his three point attempts.
But as was the case in losses to Texas Tech and Kansas, games in which West Virginia held double-digit leads in the second half, the Mountaineers' offense ground to a halt.
With the non-conference loss, No. 7 West Virginia fell to 16-5 overall, while United Kingdom improved to 16-6.
After three weeks of SEC competition, Calipari sees a new challenge in the press-heavy West Virginia squad. They have a shot to get back in it with a showdown against the WEst Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown. The Mountaineers are averaging 8.9 three-pointers per game on 33.1% shooting from beyond the arc. West Virginia is now 16-4 overall and 5-3 in Big 12 play. (13.1), Lamont West (11.4), Esa Ahmad (10.3), Sagaba Konate (9.6) and James Bolden (9.4). The Mountaineers have a rebound margin of 4.8 and a turnover margin of 7.0. The Mountaineers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss and 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 games vs. a team with a winning % above.600.
A week ago, Kentucky coach John Calipari opened up his postgame news conference - following a two-point home loss to Florida which would eventually lead to the Wildcats falling out of the top 25 for the first time in almost four years - by saying, "We're going to be fine".
Kevin Knox II tallied a career-high 34 points as Kentucky erased a 13-point halftime deficit to beat No. 7 West Virginia in Morgantown, 83-76.
And though the Mountaineers punched back - Bolden (17 points) hit back-to-back 3s to regain the lead for West Virginia - the Wildcats counter-punched, attacking the basket, not settling for jumpers. Take Kentucky and the points.