The Kentucky Wildcats came out firing against the LSU Tigers on Saturday, hitting shot after shot to build an early double-digit lead. The Cats were able to put and end to their three-game losing streak and take down the Tigers 82-69.
Kentucky was led in points by BJ Boston with 18 and the team took much better care of the ball than the last few outings. Isaiah Jackson dominated the glass with 15 rebounds in only 16 minutes. The Wildcats improve to 5-9 on the season and 4-3 in the SEC.
Before looking ahead to Tuesday’s rematch with Alabama, here is what you need to know from Saturday’s game.
After week’s of struggling, BJ Boston has now had back-to-back solid games. He scored early and often against LSU, hitting two of his first three from deep and contributing six rebounds to go with his 18 points. He did not force he shots, or he likely would have had a lot more. Finishing with 18 points and having an overall plus-minus of +15 is exactly who this team has needed Boston to be all season. It is nice to see him finding his way a bit.
Early Hot Shooting
The Cats came out shooting on Saturday like they were playing in Gainesville. They shot over 35% from behind the three-point line in the first half and built a double-digit lead just six minutes into the game. The offensive production came back to earth some in the second half, but this team lacks confidence on offensive end in a big way. Any time the Wildcats can come out hot will pay off for them and boost their self-esteem for the rest of the game.
Turnovers have been the biggest thorn in Kentucky’s side this season, in my opinion. You cannot score consistently when you give the ball away, and it is difficult to play solid defense if the other team is always on a fast break.
On Saturday, though, the Wildcats took much better care of the ball. They had 15 assists (13 in the first half) and only nine turnovers. That ratio is certainly one this team can live with and win, especially when looking back on the struggles for the rest of the season.
It is great to have stars. And even when Kentucky has some of the best players in the country, their best teams have come with a balanced box score. BJ Boston obviously had a strong game. Keion Brooks would also very productive with 15 points and nine rebounds. And the Wildcats finished with four players in double figures and four others with more than six points. Kentucky is now 5-0 when scoring over 65 points and 0-9 when scoring under that.
That is a sign that they are coming together as a team and sharing the basketball, both of which had been problems up to this point in the season. If this team has plans to find any postseason success, relying on each other and feeding the hot hand have to be key parts of the equation.