The game went back and forth early on, but the Cats were able to slowly build a lead to go into the half up 40-32.
It was an ugly game. What looked like it might be a shootout quickly turned into a defensive slugfest. UK couldn’t get a shot to fall in the second half and LSU took control.
There was just no offense being run, especially once PJ Washington got into foul trouble. This was because UK really struggled with LSU’s length. We’ve seen glimpses of this in the past, but LSU had the talent and size to really slow Kentucky down.
Reid Travis was quiet, and he shot two too many threes. But he worked hard all game and came close to putting up a double-double.
EJ Montgomery gave some excellent minutes off the bench. He scored and rebounded well enough to help keep UK in the game. Immanuel Quickley also played well off the bench. He contributed some invaluable defense and effort while Hagans was sidelined with foul trouble.
Keldon Johnson scored several timely buckets and continued to rebound the ball. He worked off the ball, took guys off the dribble, and knocked down a big three. Tyler Herro struggled at times, but he played well offensively.
Up next, the No. 1 ranked Tennessee Volunteers come to town Saturday for College GameDay in Lexington.
This one goes to the Cats’ best player, both tonight and for the year, and that’s PJ Washington.
PJ was in foul trouble for the second straight game tonight, but he’s been so good when he’s on the court. Even though he didn’t knock down a three tonight, he was still able to dominate the paint.
LSU has four solid big men and PJ went right through all of them. That’s part of the reason he was in foul trouble, but he was still excellent.
He finished with 20 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. He also shot 7-13 from the field, including 6-8 from the free throw line.
As hard as this loss is to stomach, Kentucky already gets a chance to attone this Saturday when No. 1 Tennessee comes to Rupp Arena.
And we’ve still got a month until the NCAA Tournament begins, so there’s still plenty of time for the Wildcats to improve and establish themselves as a title contender.