Kentucky finally stepped on the gas, turning to an up-tempo offense that resulted in a 82-69 win over LSU, a season-high in points, as the Wildcats earned a much-needed victory on Saturday at Rupp Arena.
Coming off three straight losses, Kentucky took advantage of LSU’s full-court press to ramp up the tempo, hitting open shots and finding better rhythm on its way to a commanding 49-36 lead at the half. The Kentucky offense had not cracked the 80 point mark since beating Morehead State 81-45 to open the season.
Offensively, Kentucky shot 42% from the field (27/64) and nailed seven three-pointers. BJ Boston led the Wildcats with 18 points, while Keion Brooks had 15. Graduate transfers Olivier Starr and Davion Mintz added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
In the opening frame, Kentucky went on an early 10-0 run to take a 12-4 lead on a Boston three-pointer and extended the lead to 26-11 on back-to-back treys from Dontaie Allen. Jacob Toppin then scored the next four points and connected with Lance Ware on a traditional three-point play to give the Wildcats a 33-17 advantage, its biggest lead of the game at 16 points.
LSU cut the lead to five on two different occasions in the second half but could not recover from a poor shooting night, hitting just 4-of-23 from behind the three-point arc.
BJ Boston has made a strong case the past two games as the team’s go-to-guy on the offensive end and gets the nod as MVP.
After LSU cut the lead to five at 56-51, Boston connected on a three-pointer, finished off a traditional three-point play with a made free throw and tipped in a Keion Brooks miss from the baseline to push the lead back to 64-51 to help the Wildcats maintain control.
Boston, who returned to the starting lineup, is gaining more confidence with each game and could be a dominant scorer down the stretch as Kentucky hopes to make a late-season run into the SEC Tournament that will most likely be the only path to the NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky, 5-9 (4-3) now travels to face league-leading Alabama on Tuesday night with hopes of avenging a recent 20-point loss at home to the Crimson Tide.