The Wildcats got the majority of their star freshmen involved in the game early. Rajon Rondo added seven points and a handful of assists to help complement Patrick Sparks' 5 for 7 3-point barrage from long range.
The Wildcat backcourt looked everything but rusty after a lackluster performance on Wednesday, in which Patrick Sparks and Rondo combined for ...
Freshmen Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley scored 15 points and added some tough minutes in substitution off the bench, proving the Wildcats can go deeper at shooting guard.
"Certainly, LSU is a very good team," Smith said. "We went to that zone there at the end and I thought we kept them at bay some because we had a lot of trouble trying to guard the guys inside. Although, looking at the stats, we did a pretty good job against their front line of Brandon Bass and Glen Davis, which was our biggest concern."
The front line of Kentucky starred throughout as the Wildcats got super production from power forwards Chuck Hayes, Bobby Perry, Shagari Alleyne and freshmen Randolph Morris. The foursome combined for 33 of the 42 front court points for Kentucky, whom did it against a very talented LSU front court that features two of the better big men in the conference in Glen Davis and Brandon Bass.
For the game, the Wildcats dominated the paint, out-scoring LSU 42-20.
"I like the way our guys are starting to come together and playing hard, executing. When you hold a team to 33 percent, you've done a good job."
The most telling stat for the game came off the bench for Kentucky. Coach Smith had been previously criticized for not extending his bench as in years past. With an increased rotation, the Wildcats outscored the undermanned Tigers, 33-9.
Kentucky's bench played 48 minutes in the first half and scored 23 points. The rest enabled the Wildcat starters to blow open the game in the second half. Ahead 64-51 with 9:37 to play, UK closed the game with a 25-7 run, a testament to Coach Smith's ability to substitute.
One thing is for sure, as the season wears on, the more rest the Wildcats can give their starters - the better. After watching a team that struggled to find an identity and a niche on Wednesday, it was good to see the 'Cats respond to the challenge and recover nicely against LSU.