National Basketball Association
Mississippi State 74, Kentucky 73
When: 12:00 PM ET, Thursday, March 11, 2021
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Officials: # Pat Evans, # Chuck Jones, # Joe Lindsay
Attendance: N/A

Iverson Molinar made two free throws with 7.1 seconds left and ninth-seeded Mississippi State hung on for a 74-73 win over Kentucky on Thursday afternoon in the second round of the SEC tournament in Nashville.

The Bulldogs won despite losing a 15-point lead in the second half.

Molinar scored 12 of his team's final 14 points and finished with 21 points. No. 8 seed Kentucky had a chance to win and got an open look from Dontaie Allen, but the 3-point attempt bounced off the back rim and the final buzzer sounded inside Bridgestone Arena.

The Bulldogs (15-13) advance to play top-seeded Alabama in the quarterfinals on Friday. Kentucky finishes 9-16 and will miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2008-2009 season.

The Wildcats trailed 51-36 with 17:44 to play in the game, then caught fire. Kentucky made 51.7 percent of its second-half shots and 7 of 14 from 3-point range. Allen made five 3s in the second half on his way to a team-high 23 points.

Down 62-53 with 10:43 to play, Kentucky proceeded to go on a 9-0 run to tie the game. Davion Mintz knocked down a 3-pointer with 4:30 left, giving Kentucky a 71-66 lead.

But the Bulldogs didn't wilt. Molinar hit back-to-back 3s to put Mississippi State back in front 72-71, then made the two clutch free throws.

Tolu Smith had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs.

Olivier Sarr added 14 for the Wildcats, whose 15-game winning streak against Mississippi State came to an end.

The Bulldogs shot 57.6 percent in the first half on their way to a 44-30 halftime lead, as Kentucky looked headed for an embarrassing early exit. But the Wildcats didn't go away.

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
Mississippi State   Kentucky
Iverson Molinar 21 Scoring Dontaie Allen 23
D.J. Stewart Jr. 10 Assists Davion Mintz 8
Tolu Smith 11 Rebounds Keion Brooks Jr. 5
Iverson Molinar 3 Free Throws Made Keion Brooks Jr. 4
Abdul Ado 1 Steals Dontaie Allen 2
Abdul Ado 1 Blocks Isaiah Jackson 2
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Mississippi State 74 49.2 5-17 9-11 16 41 3 2 13
Kentucky 73 41.3 11-28 10-17 19 27 2 5 5