It had been reported LSU forward Jaime Lloreda would miss the game with a bruised heel…. Sure enough, Lloreda courtside in street clothes, word is he might be out for the rest of the season….. HOLY COW!!!!! Mike the Tiger is just lowered down from the ceiling, thunderous applause… Light's out, Tiger introductions….. The building is filling up, but still not full… Loads of Kentucky fans, roaring from the cheap seats…. Brandon Bass' shoes are gold, looks like hiking boots.
Xavier Whipple battles Kenutcky defenders. (MJBrown)
Tigers control the tip…. Problem with the clock, play is stopped, neither game or shot clock is working…. While play is stopped, examining Kentucky's squad, very small and unathletic looking, but still very good…. Kentucky scores first, easy basket in the paint by Chuck Hayes, UK 2-0…. Oh, this is great, LSU drew John Clougherty as an official, one crusty cantankerous old man, who has some not so blissful history with John Brady….. Another driving bucket in the lane by Wildcats, Cliff Hawkins layup, 4-0….. Thunderous dunk by Kelenna Azubike, 6-0, Kentucky fans roar…. LSU dents the scoreboard, nice turnaround by Bass, 6-2…. Where is Darnell Lazare? Erik Daniels scores with ease, IN THE PAINT, 8-2…. Whipple for THREEE!! 8-5…. Bass called for traveling on a nice move in the paint… First official timeout, LSU remembered for 95-94 win over No. 1 Kentucky in 1978, Wow! The PMAC hasn't changed much since then…. Hayes fouled under the goal by Lazare, bucket good though…. Mitchell hits a THREEE!!! 10-8, UK…. Ironically Ross Neltner, a Kentucky native, checks into the game…. Neltner beaten badly to the goal for a UK layup…. Antonio Hudson for three, LSU trails by a deuce…. Tack Minor nice moves, horrible shot, turnover to Kentucky… Wildcats answers with a Gerald Fitch trey, 16-11…..Neltner's first shot, brick-city!!! Bass fouled though, nice inside presence…. We have a Koundjia sighting, but he comes in for Darrel Mitchell?? Whipple, Regis Koundjia and Neltner, three guys on the floor who can't score!!! Hudson comes out of official TO with a finger roll, nice move, LSU trails by one 16-15…. Bass goes glass, 18-17 UK….Clougherty needs to check his eyes, horrible blocking foul, called a charge on Hudson, get this old man some Ginko….. Lazare on a runner in transition, Tigers lead 19-18… only for a moment, Fitch for three, UK 21-19…. Koundjia just threw Hayes' offering into the fifth row, OMIGOSH!!! What a block!!!!! Bass called for a traveling violation in the lane, he might have walked, but Wildcats getting away with a ton of illegal contact in the paint…. Koundjia AIRBALL from the corner, not an offensive threat…. LSU needs points, entering a scoreless drought, this has been killer in the last three games…. Mitchell launches one from Metairie to avoid shot clock violation, misses badly…. BASSS with a monster ally-ooop, no way he just went over three people!!!!… Hudson with an NBA range three-pointer, LSU clawing back now 27-24….. UK turnover turns into a transition bucket for Whipple, Tigers down two, 28-26, 4:25 left in the first half….. Mitchell for three, 3:12, LSU leads again 29-28… Crowds grows loud, DEAF DOME?? Kentucky turns it over, LSU with the ball, 2:47….. Goal tending on Bass, Kentucky gets the points, leads 32-29 again… The Tigers are playing outstanding attacking defense…. LSU really milking the shot clock, have blown two possessions on forced shots at the SC buzzer, this time Hudson tagged with a charging foul, :35.6…. Clougherty with another critical call in a key time, the "old man" calls Hudson on a foul with :1.7 left on the clock… Brady is livid. Fitch makes one and that's the half, Kentucky leads 33-29.
Halftime activites assembling on the floor, several of coach Dale Brown's former players on the floor… A message from coach John Brady on the big screen, very classy…. A highlight film of Brown's career follows, to the tune of Frank Sinatra's "My Way"…. Rudy Macklin, Ricky Blanton and Skip Bertman each give a brief talk, very poignant words…. The banner is uncovered in the west end of the Maravich Center, DALE BROWN – LSU's all-time winningest coach…. As for the game, LSU trailing by four, but shot 50-percent from the floor, unfortunately so did the Wildcats.
Darrel Mitchell dribbles through the Wildcats' defense. (MJBrown)
Kentucky controls the ball, but turns it over, Bass fouled on the drive, bucket good…. And 1!!! UK 33, LSU 32…. Wildcats answer with a three by Fitch 36-32…. Turnover, UK's Hawkins hits a 10-footer, 38-32… Bass knocks down a pair of free throws, 38-34…. Fitch another three from top of the key, now 41-34…. Horrible call on a charge by Mitchell, replay revealed that Doug Shows blew the call, makes the call right in front of Brady, who voices his obvious disapproval…. Good Lord!!! The rules must have changed because you can travel now in basketball, Cliff Hawkins took six steps before dishing to Hayes for a monster dunk and a 43-34 UK lead….. The scoreless drought continues as Hudson bricks a jumper, but draws a charging foul on the other end, with these guys, if you can flop, you can draw a charge, it's bad on both ends, goodness gracious…. Hudson with a jumper from the free throw line, 43-36, UK….. Mitchell goes out of control, traveling called, just too hasty, Kentucky with the ball 13:05 to go, 43-36…. NOOOOOO WAYYYY, Neltner with a layup in the paint, take that TUBBY…. UK, 43, LSU 38 at the 12:36 mark, it's only his second field goal of the season…… Harris a big dunk on the inbound pass, 45-38, seven again…… Hudson's three-point offering rims out, heck that thing was halfway in the cylinder…. Mitchell a trey in transition, crowd goes nuts, 45-41…. Azubuike fouled on a layup by Bass, converts plus free throw, 48-41 UK…. During a timeout, the Tiger Girls do an uninspiring dance to "Shake That Thing," then flashed the crowd wearing a bright yellow (not gold) tube top, is this necessary?…. 11:08 left to play….. While Minor is doing some fancy dribbling, gets tagged with a five second violation, Brady disgusted….. Kentucky gets a lucky shooters roll, now a 9-point deficit 50-41, it's getting away from them (LSU)…. Thomas a tip-in in transition, it's 11 now, 52-41, the deficit continues to widen, uh-oh…… During an LSU timeout, some guy with a Mohawk across the floor sitting courtside giving Shows more than he wants, Shows smiles arrogantly and looks away…… Mitchell fouled at 9:30 mark, a 1-and-1 situation, knocks ‘em both down, it's a 9-point game again….Bass on the bench, LSU very small right now…. Minor running with numbers, keeps it himself for a layup, 52-45…..Barbour with a momentum killing jumper, 54-45…. Minor with a BRICK…. Neltner lofts an AIRBALL, redeems himself a bit though, gets the ball inside, draws a foul and makes the layup…. AND 1… 54-48 at the 7:18 mark, official timeout…. Neltner gets a steal, he's actually playing pretty well…. Hey Tack get a hand in someone's face… Koundjia just hits an off balance jump shot, he and Neltner both scoring….. Wildcats answer with a Fitch deuce, 56-50, UK….. Koundjia headed to the line, breaths are held tightly, makes them both, 56:52 with 5:05 left…. Hawkins nails a wide open three, nobody near him, 59-52, seven points again…. Blocking foul on Erik Daniels, very displeased, Minor to the line, sinks both of them, its five again, 59-54…. Minor trying too much, but handling ball better than usual, back to the line, this time for two shots…. The first in with a swish….the second follows suit…. 59-56 at the 3:16 mark….This crowd is cheering wildly, L-S-U chants echoes through the building….. Shows blows an obvious traveling call, instead tags Bass with a foul, Shows should be in theatre, so melodramatic on every call, a Ted Valentine wannabe …. In the meantime, Fitch buries a three from the corner, 62-56 Kentucky….. Foul called on Minor, instead of Bass, who really committed the athletic foul on a Azubuike dunk attempt… Azubuike makes them both…. Now an 8-point game with 1:41 left and LSU's running the offense??? Minor gets tied up and calls Tigers' final timeout….. And the fans, although they cheered loudly, begin to move toward the exits….. LSU has fought valiantly, but it appears this one is going to be their four straight loss, unless they get a miracle…. Fans unhappy with Brady's idea of running the offense with very little time left on the clock… Whipple fouled and makes them both… 64-58, Kentucky misses a shot, but Hudson's three-point attempt blocked, Wildcats get it back, Hawkins fouled and at the line with 49 ticks remaining… OMIGOSH!!!!!! Mitchell buries a prayer THREE-POINTER and is fouled… Timeout Kentucky, :37.2 seconds left in regulation, Kentucky 64, LSU 61, two second difference on the shot clock….. Mitchell sinks the free throw, now a two-point game with the four-point play, is this the MIRACLE???…. 64-62, Kentucky has the ball, LSU will press….. Hawkins fouled immediately, at the line, this place is deafening…. Hawkins makes them both, it's 66-62 Cats at the :35.6 mark, Tubby Smith calls timeout… How about another four-point play?……. Whipple on a turnaround jump shot, 66-64 with 17 ticks left….. Fitch fouled and sent to the line…. Fitch gets a shooter's bounce for a 67-64 lead…. The second is good and the game looks to be headed to a final…. Whipple rattles a three-point attempt out of the cylinder, Kentucky controls the ball with :3.7 left on the clock… Bass heaves one the length of the floor, but clangs off the backboard as the buzzer sounds….. It's a final, Kentucky 70, LSU 64.