Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari wanted to “choke” star Reed Sheppard after a bone-headed turnover helped keep Mississippi State alive in Tuesday's thriller. But Sheppard made up for his late gaffe with two clutch free throws and then a game-winner right before the buzzer after the Bulldogs had tied the game seconds earlier.

With the Wildcats up three with under 30 seconds left, Sheppard tried to make a long pass under pressure that resulted in a turnover and two Mississippi State free throws. Calipari almost lost it, per On3's Andrew Graham.

“Well, I was about to choke him when he threw the ball deep and they get to the foul line,” Calipari said after the 91-89 victory. “And I’m looking like, ‘Why would you do that? You’ve got two foul shooters, either one will make free throws and you throw one deep.’ He was trying to do the high school, I’m going to dribble it and dribble it and dribble it and all of a sudden he’s like, ‘Oh no.'”

Reed Sheppard redeems himself

The Bulldogs made it a one-point game with two free throws after the Reed Sheppard turnover. The Kentucky star then knocked down a pair of free throw of his own, only to see Mississippi State tie the game with a 3-pointer. Then came his game-winner:

The buzzer-beater gave Sheppard 32 points on the night, capping off a career-high performance.

“But, told the team after, he had — he plays to win,” Calipari said. “He’s not playing not to lose. There will be some ‘Why didn’t you call a timeout?’ Because of what just happened. They can’t set up their defense. They had no timeouts. And you look at DJ and say ‘Make something happen.’ And the ball ends up in Reed’s hand and he goes and makes it and we win the game. So I always have done that. I’m not calling a timeout in those situations. It was too early to foul a 3-point shooter. Can’t foul them with 16, 17 seconds to go. ‘You should’ve fouled anyway.’ Stop.

“Let me coach the team, you enjoy these games. It’s too early. He makes the 3, but we got eight seconds. So now we come down and end up winning the game.”

Reed Sheppard's heroics moved Kentucky basketball to 20-8 on the season and 10-5 in the SEC. The Wildcats are ranked No. 16 in the country. The guard is averaging 12.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting nearly 54% from the field and 52% from 3-point range after his monster road effort at Mississippi State.