It was a hard-fought affair that came right down to the final seconds of regulation before Keldon Johnson hit a pair of free throws to seemingly send it to overtime. However, a layup by Kavell Bigby-Williams (looked like goaltending) as time expired sunk the Wildcats.
While the final play was questionable at best, LSU deserved to win. It’s just a painful way for the Wildcats to lose and end their 10-game winning streak.
Here are three things you need to know from the game:
Ashton Hagans has been the spark plug behind the resurgence of this Kentucky team for the season, and going into this match-up everyone knew how important his play would be. But when he picked up two quick fouls in the first half, he had to go to the bench.
When Hagans was out of the game, Immanuel Quickley stepped up in a big way, especially on the defensive end. He helped to hold LSU’s leading scorer, Tremont Waters, to just one for six shooting for seven first half points.
Having that kind of depth is always important, especially at the point guard position. We know Quickley can play and be an asset on offense, but it was nice to see him defending so well when he was needed the most on Tuesday.
It should also be said that EJ Montgomery put in some solid minutes in relief for PJ Washington, scoring six points and pulling down six boards.
PJ Washington Continues to be Strong
Washington has looked the part of an All-American in the last three weeks. He eclipsed the 20 point mark for the sixth time in seven games, and he came to play in this big match-up against LSU making huge plays down the stretch.
If it was not for foul trouble, he would have put up monster numbers. But after picking up his fourth foul near the eight minute mark, he missed almost five minutes of crucial game time. He finished the game with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Unfortunately, it was not enough on Tuesday.
Second Half Scoring Drought
For the second consecutive game, the Wildcats had an extended scoring drought in the second half that really put them in a bind. After watching an 18 point lead dissipate to one at Mississippi State on Saturday, Kentucky did not score for nearly five minutes on Tuesday to see their nine point lead disappear.
Cold streaks happen and there will be times when it is tough to get a bucket, but that cannot become a trademark of your team if you hope to be dominant in tournament play. If teams know that there is always a chance for them to get back into a game, that makes them dangerous.
The Wildcats need to find a few “go-to” sets that they can utilize when finding a bucket gets tough. The long drought really drowned them against the Tigers on Tuesday.
Now, Kentucky turns its attention to the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday night.