John Calipari begged for fight from his Kentucky basketball team all season. He got that and more in the Cats' biggest game of the season.
Kentucky erased a 13-point first half deficit, traded body blows down the stretch of regulation and then finished with a flurry, defeating Missouri 90-83 in a wildly entertaining overtime game worthy of the ESPN College GameDay primetime slot it held.
Julius Mays scored 24 points and grabbed six rebounds in 44 minutes, including eight points in overtime. He also helped set up the extra period with a crafty play to draw a foul while shooting a three-pointer with 1:31 left in regulation and then found Willie Cauley-Stein with a drive and dish to tie the game with 40.6 seconds left.
Missouri was nearly as good as Kentucky, refusing to fold as the Cats kept the pressure on during the second half, even after falling behind by seven. Phil Pressey was dominant with the ball in his hands, carving up the UK defense for 27 points and 10 assists, but he couldn't come up with one final play at the end of regulation.
Alex Poythress bothered Pressey's drive at the end of regulation just enough to force a miss that UK corralled, but Julius Mays' runner hit the front of the rim just before the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
Poythress finished with 21 points and seven rebounds, Archie Goodwin scored all 18 of his points after halftime and Cauley-Stein had 12 rebounds and seven blocks. Missouri's Alex Oriakhi finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.