John Calipari reaches 400 wins with Kentucky basketball

John Calipari reaches 400 wins with Kentucky basketball


LEXINGTON, Ky. — Antonio Reeves scored 27 points and No. 8 Kentucky beat Mississippi State 90-77 on Wednesday night for coach John Calipari’s 400th victory with the Wildcats.

Kentucky (13-3, 3-1 SEC) shot 62% in the second half and 56% overall to provide the milestone victory for the Hall of Famer, who became the third fastest active coach to achieve that with a program, in 516 contests. Bill Self reached 400 wins in 484 games with Kansas, and Mark Few hit 400 in 499 outings at Gonzaga.

Calipari downplayed the achievement and said he wasn’t paying attention to numbers but noted, “You stay long enough and you have enough really good players, a lot of those things happen.”

Calipari is the second coach to win 400 games with the Wildcats, following Adolph Rupp, who won 876. He’s the fourth coach to win 400 games at an SEC school, the others being Rupp, Billy Donovan (467 at Florida) and Dale Brown (448 at LSU).

Mississippi State is 1-18 against Kentucky since Calipari became the Wildcats coach. Wednesday marked the Bulldogs’ ninth straight loss at Rupp Arena.

Rob Dillingham added 16 points for the Wildcats, who made 23 of 31 2-point attempts.

Tolu Smith had 26 points for the Bulldogs (12-5, 1-3). They dropped their third of four SEC games, failing to regroup from a home loss to Alabama. Mississippi State shot 35% in the first half and 53% in the second.

Meanwhile the SEC’s top scoring offense, ranked second nationally, maintained its per-game average against a defense that entered the game allowing just under 65 points per outing to rank second in the league.

Kentucky’s accurate shooting helped it build a 47-29 halftime lead and forge a cushion after the Bulldogs rallied to 49-43 just after the break. Kentucky outscored Mississippi State 12-3 over a 2:51 span for a double-digit lead and stayed ahead to rebound from a 97-92 overtime loss at Texas A&M on Saturday.

Reeves was 8-of-12 from the field with a pair of 3-pointers and made nine free throws without a miss. He scored 16 points in the first half to jump-start the Wildcats, with Dillingham adding 10 by halftime. Tre Mitchell added 15 points and Aaron Bradshaw 11 for Kentucky.

“We’re just headed in the right direction, to be honest, definitely moving forward,” Reeves said after matching his second highest scoring effort this season. “We feel more comfortable about ourselves going out there and just scoring.”

Each team grabbed 33 rebounds, though Kentucky had a 26-19 edge on the defensive glass.

Just when the Wildcats seemed to quell concerns about their defense, they allowed the Bulldogs back in the game with sloppy play on both ends. But they regrouped from that lull and weren’t really threatened despite being outscored 44-38 in the paint. And their defense was pretty effective in the first half, scoring 10 points off eight turnovers and throwing off the Bulldogs.

“We practiced for two days on defense and tried to get better because we all know we are a really good offensive team,” said Bradshaw, who had six rebounds and two blocks. “But we have been kind of slacking on defense, so we knew we had to pick [it] up.”

Kentucky next hosts Georgia on Saturday night.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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