This wasn't the finish to an LSU game that most have been used to in this season. This one featured LSU outscoring the mighty Kentucky Wildcats 26-11 in the final 6:25 played at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.
Lead by guard Antonio Blakeney's 31 points and Brandon Sampson's 16 points, the Tigers managed to hang around with the home team, but didn't have enough time to complete what would have been a shocking comeback.
It was the 10th straight loss for the Tigers, who fell to 1-10 in SEC play.
LSU went down 18-4 in the first 6:44 of the first half behind 11 of Wenyen Gabriel's 23 points in that stretch. Gabriel fouled out late in the game and added eight rebounds.
In that final 6:25 of the game, Blakeney went off for 13 of his 31 points to make a push to close the gap. LSU's defense tightened up during that time, allowing just three field goals, but once the team had to get into fouling situations, the Wildcats made a few free throws and shut the door on the Tigers.
From 43 seconds left to 14 seconds left, Blakeney scored 10 points and the Tigers sent Monk to the line with eight seconds left and a 6-point lead. Monk made the first free throw and missed the second on purpose. LSU tried to push for a quick shot, but the ball was deflected out of bounds, burning too much time off.
Sampson missed a late 3-point attempt and Kentucky ran out the clock.
LSU's first stretch of the game doomed their chances to come back as the team had five turnovers in the first six minutes and the Tigers finished with 14 turnovers, which is impressive given the rough start. Kentucky scored 14 points off turnovers while LSU added 23 points off 14 Kentucky turnovers.
Tigers coach Johnny Jones went deep into his bench in the first half, playing reserves like Brandon Eddlestone and Brian Bridgewater, who combined for 14 minutes, zero points and were -9 and -4 respectively in scoring differential. That was brought on by forwards Duop Reath, Aaron Epps, Wayde Sims and Elbert Robinson each having two fouls.
LSU sent Kentucky to the line 26 times during the game, compared to just 15 free throws for the Tigers. LSU finished going 73 percent from the line while the Wildcats went 81 percent from the line.
The Tigers return to Baton Rouge and host Arkansas on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network.
LSU-Kentucky By The Numbers
- After a 16-point and 16-rebound effort against Texas A&M, Duop Reath finished with eight points and a rebound in 24 minutes. Reath was in foul trouble for much of the game.
- Outside of Sampson and Blakeney, not one Tiger had more than eight points on the night.
- Jones played 13 players tonight in Lexington including walk-on Marshall Graves, who was on for two minutes and had a turnover.
- LSU finished by hitting 6 of their last 7 field goals of the game.