January 18, 2017 10:19:45 AM
STARKVILLE -- With less than a minute remaining in the game, a mild scuffle broke out in front of the Kentucky men's basketball team's bench.
Mississippi State coach Ben Howland and Kentucky coach John Calipari had to help the officials break up the scuffle and pull their respective players back to their bench.
The officials went to the monitor to review the sequence and assessed technical fouls to MSU's Quinndary Weatherspoon (his fifth personal) and Kentucky's Isaiah Briscoe. The fouls were two of 52 called Tuesday night in No. 5 Kentucky's 88-81 victory at Humphrey Coliseum.
"I don't even know how I got the tech because I was just trying to get all of our players back on one side," Weatherspoon said. "Something happened and everybody got crowded up and pushing was going on."
Howland was upset at the outbreak because he felt like it derailed his team in a crucial stretch. He said his team's youth and inability to maintain its composure contributed to the scuffle.
"That's what shocked me that Q would get the tech," Howland said. "I have no idea what took place because that's not him. He would be the last guy on our team I would think to get a T. He's good at keeping his composure in those situations and trying to lead the other guys."
MSU (12-5, 3-2 SEC) was called for 28 fouls, while Kentucky (16-2, 6-0) was called for 28 -- the most assessed against a MSU opponent this season.
MSU's Schnider Herard also fouled out midway through the second half. Aric Holman, Lamar Peters, and Mario Kegler had three fouls.
Isaac Humphries fouled out for Kentucky. Edrice Adebayo and Isaiah Briscoe had four fouls.
"Just make sure they're on both of us," Calipari said. "Don't just make them on our team. Call them on everybody. If you're calling hand checks, call them all. If you're not, let them all go. I don't care what they call, but if you make a call, you better make that same call for my team. That will be my beef."
With whistles being blown early and often, some of the players found it difficult to get in a rhythm. Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox had a team-high 21 points. He said the whistles were distracting, but he felt like it was balanced.
"It's difficult because the game keeps stopping," Fox said. "You've just got to fight through it. They had to go through it, too, so both teams have foul trouble. Even if we lost, I can't give an excuse just because both teams had to go through it."
Peters' big day
After scoring 14 points against Texas A&M, Peters scored a career-high 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting to fuel his team's comeback.
"He's just improving and getting better," Howland said of the freshman point guard. "The talent is there. He's really playing point guard full time for the first time in his career. He didn't even start at the point in high school. He was playing kind of off the ball. He's obviously very talented and is going to be a very special player."
The New Orleans, Louisiana, native scored seven of the Bulldogs' final eight points.
Peter's father, Walter Sterling, passed away at 44 last week. His mother, Lovely, made the drive from Louisiana to see Lamar play.
Like he did against Texas A&M, Peters pushed his personal problems aside and tried to help his team.
"We were down, so I just wanted to stay aggressive and not just take bad shots, take good, quality shots," Peters said. "Layups, they're a good quality shot, so I was just trying to finish or kick it out to the open man.
"It's just coach trusting me and putting the ball in my hands during those critical moments. I just don't want to let my team down."
Another large crowed
The pre-game line for the student section extended down to the Palmeiro Center.
When the students finally filed into the Hump, they filled out their section.
Traffic kept the MSU pep band from arriving until five minutes before tipoff. There were plenty of other fans that were part of a season-high crowd of 9,768 that were late getting to their seats.
"I think this was the largest crowd I've ever played in front of since I've been here," Weatherspoon said. "I enjoyed the crowd, and hopefully they'll come back out next time. It's fun playing with the crowd because we just feed off of them, and it just helps our defense. I enjoyed it."
MSU announced a crowd of 8,588 for its 67-59 victory against Texas A&M on Saturday. Howland appreciated the fans and urged them to come out for the Kentucky game.
He was especially happy as he walked off the court and saw what the fans did after a loss.
"Unbelievable crowd and really heart felt the way they clapped for our kids as they left the floor after the game," Howland said. "That really touched me because I haven't seen that very often. It really makes me feel good that our fanbase appreciates how hard these kids play, how much effort they're giving, and that was really cool to see the love our fans gave our team after that game."
Follow Dispatch sports writer Ben Wait on Twitter @bcwait
Ben Wait reports on Mississippi State University sports for The Dispatch.