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Sheppard buzzer-beater leads Kentucky past Mississippi State

Kentucky held off a strong showing from Mississippi State defeating them 91-89 on a buzzer beater from Reed Sheppard.

No. 16 found itself in a tough spot at on Tuesday night. Early in the second half, the Cats trailed 52-39 and appeared to be headed for another road loss in the Southeastern Conference.

Luckily for the Cats, freshman had other ideas. The London, Kentucky, native scored 23 of his career high 32 points in the second half, including the game-winning runner with less than a second remaining, as Kentucky rallied to win 91-89 inside Humphrey Coliseum.

Sheppard did it all for the Cats on Tuesday. In addition to his scoring, he had seven assists, five rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals, including one on MSU's final possession, thwarting any opportunity for a final shot for the Bulldogs.

Kentucky (20-8, 10-5 ) got 21 points from , his 16th 20-point game of the season and his fourth in a row. scored 11 points and had 10 for the Cats.

Mississippi State (19-9, 8-7) started the game hot, jumping out to a 14-3 lead, including 11 consecutive points. got a dunk from Zvonimir Ivisic, then a layup, cutting the deficit to 14-7. A Sheppard three made it 14-10.

MSU stretched the lead to 21-14 before Sheppard hit another three to make it 21-17. After an MSU three-point play, Thiero hit a three from the right corner to cut it to 24-20. MSU added two free throws before a Thiero dunk. After a Tolu Smith bucket for state, Reeves hit a three to get the Cats within three, 28-25.

Another Smith layup made it 30-25 before Sheppard hit his third three of the first half to make it 30-28. The teams would trade baskets before MSU ran off five in a row to lead 37-30 with 2:50 left in the half. A Reeves bucket cut it to 37-32 but D.J. Jeffries and Josh Hubbard hit threes to give the Bulldogs a 43-32 advantage. UK got a Wagner three late in the half but MSU led 43-35 at the break.

MSU scored the first five points of the second half before Kentucky got a Reeves jumper and a Thiero layup to make it 47-39. However, the Bulldogs scored the next five and led 52-39, forcing a UK timeout.

The Cats would answer out of the stoppage in play. hit a pair of free throws, then assisted on a Thiero dunk. A driving basket by Reeves cut the deficit to 52-45 with 16:35 remaining.

Mississippi State scored the next four to extend the lead to 56-45 before Sheppard drove to the basket and made a layup. On the next UK possession, Reeves hit a three, making it 56-50. After an MSU basket, Reeves made a shot and was fouled. He converted the three-point play to make it 58-53.

The Bulldogs would extend the lead to 60-53 before Sheppard drove to the basket, made the shot and was fouled. His three-point play got UK within four, 60-56. A Thiero dunk got the Cats within two, 60-58. But Smith scored for the Bulldogs, making it 62-58 with 10:25 remaining.

After a couple of empty possessions for both teams, Sheppard hit a floater to get the Cats within two, 62-60. MSU answered with another Smith basket but Sheppard hit a three to cut it to one, 64-63 with 7:29 to play.

The Bulldogs scored the next five before Reeves hit a basket and Sheppard got a steal and a layup, making it 69-67. After an MSU basket, the Cats got two free throws from Wagner and a three from Dillingham to lead for the first time, 72-71, with 4:24 remaining. The next time down, Dillingham hit Bradshaw for a dunk, giving UK a 74-71 lead.

Smith would get MSU within one on a putback basket but a Dillingham layup made it 76-73 with 1:56 to play. A pair of free throws got the Bulldogs within one but Sheppard answered with a basket in the lane, then a layup and free throw, giving UK an 81-75 advantage with 1:10 remaining.

Two Dillingham free throws made it 83-75 before a Hubbard three cut it to 83-78 with 50 seconds to play. Reeves hit two free throws before Hubbard hit another three, cutting it to 85-81 with 43 seconds left.

Sheppard hit two free throws to extend the lead to six but MSU scored the next five to make it 87-86 with 20 seconds to play. Sheppard hit two more free throws with 16 seconds to play, making it 89-86. Hubbard tied the game on a three with 10 seconds to play, setting the stage for Sheppard's heroics.

Kentucky returns to action on Saturday, hosting Arkansas at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for 1:30 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on CBS.

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