LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky ended the regular season in convincing fashion, obliterating South Carolina 92-64. Wildcats exploded in the second half, outscoring the Gamecocks 56-36. UK finished with four players in double figures, led by BJ Boston's 21 points and Davion Mintz's 20. Both players became the second duo in school history to finished the game with six three-pointers made, a career-high for both of them. Olivier Sarr contributed 15 points, while Isaiah Jackson recorded his second career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
With the win, Kentucky will open the SEC Tournament Thursday as the No. 8 seed and will play Mississippi State, the No. 9 seed, a team they've beaten 15 consecutive times. Tip-off time is slated for 12 p.m. EST in Nashville and will air on the SEC Network.
UK finishes the regular season 9-15 overall, 8-9 in the SEC, their first losing record in conference since 1989.
After a tolerable first half where Kentucky led 36-28, Davion Mintz came out in the second with his hair on fire. The transfer graduate guard connected on five three pointers in the opening five minutes, knocking down three of them in 46 seconds on three straight possessions! Big Blue Nation would say the performance was "Tayshaun Prince - esque ", reminiscent of the former UK Great's five straight threes back in 2001 in a win over North Carolina. Mintz's run gave Kentucky a 55-36 lead with 14:50 remaining. Mintz also recorded seven assists and five rebounds in 28 minutes of action.
From there, the game was pretty much out of reach. BJ Boston hit a three with 5:30 left to play to give UK a commanding 31-point lead. Cats led by as much as 33 with three minutes remaining.
Coach Cal pulled his starters and unloaded the bench. Fans got to see appearances from walk-on players Riley Welch, Brennan Canada, Zan Payne, and Kareem Watkins. It was a pleasant surprise to see Cam'Ron Fletcher getting some clock towards the end with him being in Cal's "doghouse" after his outburst following the Cats loss to North Carolina in December. With four minutes to go, Fletcher dunked the ball and Kentucky's bench - along with fans at Rupp Arena - went into a frenzy. Fletcher tallied two points, two rebounds and two fouls in six minutes of action. Former Lexington Catholic star, Zan Payne, iced the game with a layup for his first collegiate points.
Wildcats led in every statistical category, except for turnovers. UK made 33 shots on 17 assists, shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor and 48 percent from beyond the arc.
BJ Boston, Olivier Sarr, and Isaiah Jackson led the way for the Wildcats offensively in the first half. Boston came out hot, scoring eight of his 12 first half points - hitting two three pointers back-to-back in 30 seconds - before the first TV timeout.
The UK big men were also a nice addition. Isaiah Jackson did a little bit of everything, tallying eight points, five rebounds, two steals and one block. Most importantly, Jackson did not have a personal foul in the first half of play, something he said he's been watching film on lately with early foul trouble in previous games. Sarr also racked up 11 points, but also had three turnovers and three fouls - two of which he picked up in the final two minutes.