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Kentucky Falls to Texas A&M in SEC Tournament Quarterfinals

Nashville, TN – March 15, 2024

Rob Dillingham scored 27 points, seven assists and four rebounds, but Kentucky lost to Texas A&M 97-87 on Friday in the Southeastern Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament inside Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Kentucky (23-9) got 14 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals from Reed Sheppard. Antonio Reeves was in foul trouble most of the evening, finishing with 13 points in 18 minutes played.

Texas A&M got started early, making three of its first four shots and taking an 8-1 lead in the process. The Cats were able to get closer on threes from Reeves and Dillingham, making it 11-7.

The Aggies would go up 14-7 before the Cats mounted a run. An Adou Thiero free throw, followed by a Dillingham basket made it 14-10. After A&M made a free throw, UK got a Reeves runner, a Sheppard steal and layup and a Tre Mitchell layup to lead 16-15.

The Kentucky lead lasted just 19 seconds, and A&M would actually score the next seven points to build a 22-16 lead. Sheppard hit a three to cut the deficit to three, then A&M got a putback basket to lead 24-19. Sheppard then hit another three and UK was within two, 24-22, with 10:21 left in the half.

Again, the Aggies would respond, this time with five in a row before a D.J. Wagner three got the Cats within four, 29-25. The teams would trade baskets before the Aggies ran off six in a row to lead 37-27 with 6:45 left in the half.

Kentucky would then have a run of its own. An Ugonna Onyenso dunk, a Sheppard three and a Dillingham layup comprised a 7-0 run to get the Cats within three, 37-34. But A&M had the answer again, scoring the next eight points to lead 45-34. A Wagner layup and free throw cut the deficit to 45-37, but the Cats would trail 48-42 at the half.

In the second half, Reeves got the scoring started with a three to get UK within three. Kentucky would get that close three times, including at 52-49, before A&M scored four in a row. From there, the Aggies would maintain the lead between five and seven points before a Dillingham three got the Cats within four, 61-57.

As they did all night, A&M had the response, this time in the form of an 11-3 run that built the Aggie lead to 12, 72-60. A&M would eventually lead by as many as 16 points, 80-64, before Kentucky made a run.

Dillingham hit a pair of free throws and a three to make it 80-69. After A&M got a Wade Taylor layup, Dillingham hit a three and Justin Edwards converted a dunk to make it 82-74 with 4:36 left.

After the Aggies extended the lead to 84-74, Kentucky got a Mitchell layup and two Reeves free throws to make it 84-78 with 3:46 to play. A&M scored the next four before a Reeves basket cut the deficit to 88-80 with 2:04 remaining. However, the Cats would not get any closer.

Kentucky now awaits its NCAA Tournament opponent, which the Cats will find out at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

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