Going into Starkville, MS, to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Kentucky had struggled on offense to get any rhythm for almost the whole season. They’re 3-point percentage, for instance, was the worst in school history (25.2%).
Due to that horrific statistic and many more, most of BBN clamored for Kentucky-native and long-range sharpshooter Dontaie Allen to finally get his shot. He had just played 19 minutes up to that game, not enough to really give him a chance to flourish.
All of a sudden, with the a chance to snag a much-need second victory of the season, Allen’s number was called — and he thrived. In 32 minutes off the bench, Allen shot a blistering 8/13 from the field (7/11 from three) and finished with 23 points. He was the main reason for the Cats’ comeback and 78-73 win in double overtime.
“That’s what you’re supposed to do when you get a chance. I’m so happy for him [Dontaie Allen],” UK Head Coach John Calipari said. “I said before the game, to the staff, ‘I hope he goes big.’ Because we need to win. We needed a win, and he changed us offensively because he spread the court.”
For Dontaie Allen himself, he attributed his explosive performance to a constant work ethic, and vowed to continue that way.
“I am going to keep working hard. I am going to see what happens,” Allen said. “Keep my head down and keep working. Just because this happened doesn’t mean I’m going to change. I’m still going to be that kid that keeps working hard.”
What makes this moment even more special is the amount of pressure he was under considering the whole UK fanbase had their eyes on him every step. Being from Kentucky, he knew how much the state cared about his performance on the court, and hopes to be an inspiration for future basketball players from here.
“It feels crazy. If there are kids listening, it comes down to work. If you put in the work, you can do some great things. Just put in the work, put your mind, body and soul into it,” Allen said.
Whether or not Dontaie Allen just rejuvenated a now 2-6 team will be told in the next few weeks, but man, UK needed that.