The Kentucky Wildcats win a thriller against the LSU Tigers, 74-71, in what was a must-win game for the Wildcats to start the conference home schedule.
Kentucky led anywhere from 5-10 for the majority of the game, but could never quite break through and put their foot on the gas. It didn’t help that the Tigers hit 11 threes, some of which shouldn’t have even gone in, but such is life playing at Rupp Arena.
Another massive night for Jacob Toppin, his second straight 20-point outing, finishing with 21 points, one clutch three, and two massive free-throws to give Kentucky a three point lead on the final possession of the game.
End of game execution is something that still needs to be worked on, however, as Kentucky let the Tigers shoot themselves back into the game in the final four minutes, and a costly Chris Livingston foul on a three got them within one.
Still, the Cats get a big win before heading to Tuscaloosa for a date with the top team in the SEC, Alabama.
Here’s what Twitter had to say:
Got the win.#GoBigBlue pic.twitter.com/d1UwqnDxIo— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 4, 2023
Holidays are over. The bank is open pic.twitter.com/yKu44PdqrG— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 4, 2023
Sahvir Wheeler is 8-15 from 3 in the last five games, 3-5 tonight and I think he called bank there— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) January 4, 2023
Kentucky has had more patience tonight in halfcourt offense, reading things effectively. More purposeful ball movement— Sean Vinsel (@HoopsInsight) January 4, 2023
TOPPIN THREE!!!!— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) January 4, 2023
I can’t believe how terrible these last three possessions were but that was a HUGE shot by Toppin
Back up his 24-point outburst vs Louisville, Jacob Toppin buries a stone-cold trey from the deep left corner to put UK up 70-66 w/ 1:13 left in the game & force a LSU timeout. Toppin has 19 points, 15 in the second half— Mark Story (@markcstory) January 4, 2023
Jacob Toppin BIG SHOT! pic.twitter.com/azLIBEdeYH— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 4, 2023
CASON! OSCAR! KENTUCKY!— morrisoncrying (@morrisoncrying) January 4, 2023
OSCAR JUST TOOK A CHARGE #BBN— Tyty Washington (@tytywashington3) January 4, 2023
This last 6-7 mins of not continuing to run offense, waiting to take a shot until there is 3-4 seconds left on the shot clock, & having Wheeler try to beat his man for shots is why we have lost games late. Cason needs to be go to guy late!! #BBN— tgh3316 (@tgh3316) January 4, 2023
Kentucky is now 9-19 (47.4%) in clutch-time free throws this season.— Cameron Drummond (@cdrummond97) January 4, 2023
These are free throws during a two-possession game (six points or less) with 3 minutes or less to play or in OT.
Ok ok.. This is why we brought Tyler Ulis on staff. Late game stuff.— Big Blue Drew (@BigBlueDrew33) January 4, 2023
Tyler “can y’all just make free throws?”
Jacob Toppin led the way for Kentucky with 21 PTS on 9-13 shooting, highlighted by a clutch corner three and two big free throws to close out the win.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) January 4, 2023
Oscar Tshiebwe added 19 PTS and 16 REB, followed by Cason Wallace with 14 PTS, 4 AST and 3 REB. Sahvir Wheeler with 11-9-6.
Said it this morning: This was essentially a must-win game for Kentucky.— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) January 4, 2023
Don't care how ugly it was, they need a win and they got it.
Now, can they keep Jacob Toppin playing like this going forward? If so, they can play with anyone.
We start to find out Saturday at Alabama.
KENTUCKY WINS!!!— Brandon Ramsey (@BRamseyKSR) January 4, 2023
Here’s the deal, folks. Let’s be critical TOMORROW. Tons still to work on.
However, tonight, we just won a conference game and that is ALWAYS a reason to celebrate. Especially over a 12-1 LSU team.
Accomplished tonight’s goal. WIN!
Oscar Tshiebwe played the entire 40 minutes but had just one rebound and missed both of his shots over the final 9 minutes of the game.— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) January 4, 2023
19 points and 16 rebounds for the game.
Cal wants to shorten bench, but it's gonna be tough to do it to this extent.https://t.co/nKF2NGXHbe
Kentucky able to pull a tough one out.— Terrence Oglesby (@T_Oglesby22) January 4, 2023
Toppin was good and the end of game action by Cason Wallace is why you can still buy Kentucky.
They are going to continue to improve as the season goes on.
Rupp Arena crowd was BIG TIME tonight!!— TJ Beisner (@tjbeisner) January 4, 2023
One of the worst calls in the history of the sport. pic.twitter.com/54IcErozSu— T.J. Walker (@TJWalkerRadio) January 4, 2023
Final | Kentucky 74, LSU 71— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) January 4, 2023
Jacob Toppin: 21 pts, 3 reb, 3 ast
Oscar Tshiebwe: 19 pts, 16 reb
Cason Wallace: 14 pts, 3 reb, 4 ast
Sahvir Wheeler: 11 pts, 6 reb, 9 ast
Chris Livingston: 5 pts
Daimion Collins: 2 pts
Antonio Reeves: 2 pts
You know me and my boy @MrHeisman7 had to! Shoutout @KentuckyMBB on the dub! #BBN https://t.co/yauYe2sfqS— DLeary (@DevinLeary1) January 4, 2023
️ “Great team win. On to the next.” pic.twitter.com/jfb2Bx7PIz— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 4, 2023
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