- Sunday, February 13 2000 -
Kentucky - 57 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 11th by AP]
|J. P. Blevins||15||2||4||1||2||0||0||1||0||1||0||3||3||0||0||5|
Louisiana State - 70 (Head Coach: John Brady) - [Ranked 25th by AP]
|Collis Temple III||18||2||6||1||3||2||2||1||4||5||3||1||3||0||2||7|
Halftime Score: Louisiana State 28, Kentucky 18
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Florida 73 - 90|||||Alabama 66 - 54|
Game Writeup - Written by and courtesy of Jeff Drummond; Kentucky Sports Report, (All Rights Reserved)
LSU whips Cats
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Playing the first half as if they had been affected by Mardi Gras spirits, the Kentucky Wildcats suffered their second straight conference loss on "Phat Sunday" at LSU.
The 11th-ranked Wildcats shot a frigid 30 percent from the field and committed 14 turnovers in digging a 10-point halftime deficit. LSU eventually pushed its lead to 20 and held off a late charge by Kentucky to post a 70-57 victory at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Kentucky's 18 points at halftime was one of the lowest totals in modern school history.
"They took it to us, and we really didn't respond in the first half," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "I thought all the turnovers just killed us today."
"We let the game get away from us," said Kentucky point guard Saul Smith. "We didn't have any concentration in the first half."
The Wildcats dropped to 17-7 overall and 7-3 in Southeastern Conference play. It marked the fourth win over a ranked opponent for No. 25 LSU (19-4 overall, 6-4 SEC). The Tigers also own eye-opening victories over Oklahoma State, Arizona and Auburn.
"When I was younger I always watched Kentucky," said sophomore forward Stromile Swift, who burned the Cats for a game-high 26 points and eight rebounds. "That's what makes this win so big because of their tradition."
"These last two wins give us confidence that we can play with anybody in the country," added LSU center Jabari Smith, who contributed 10 points and eight rebounds. "Now people across the country are saying that LSU is for real."
The Tigers made that clear from the start.
Swift came out gunning with seven points in the first five minutes as LSU established a 7-3 lead. Kentucky showed signs of things to come with a 1-for-8 shooting start and three turnovers in the early going.
LSU's lead fluctuated between four and six points until a Desmond Allison jumper at the 1:50 mark pulled the Cats within 20-18. What followed, however, was a disastrous spurt that turned momentum back over to the Tigers. Collis Temple started the late run with a drive to the basket and Swift added a free throw. Swift's second free throw attempt was off the mark, but Brian Beshara was there to grab the rebound and put the ball in the basket to make it 25-18 with 23 seconds left.
Kentucky's J.P. Blevins then rushed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left, giving the Tigers another possession. LSU capitalized as Smith drained an open 3-pointer from the left wing to send his team into the locker room with a 28-18 advantage.
"J.P. shoould have never taken that shot so early," Tubby Smith said. "They come down and take a 10-point lead versus us getting it down to four or five points."
LSU kept the momentum rolling in the second half, outscoring the Cats 13-3 during the first six minutes as the lead swelled to 20. Temple, a reserve forward, scored five points in the run to spark the Tigers.
The Cats hit six of eight free throws near the eight minute mark to slice the deficit to 47-33, and moments later got back-to-back 3-pointers by Smith and Blevins to make it 51-39 with 6:50 remaining.
Two more 3s and a layup by Smith, followed by a Keith Bogans drive and Tayshaun Prince trey whittled the lead to 59-54 at the 4:15 mark.
"You knew Kentucky had too much inside of them to let the game get away, and they came back like coach Smith has taught them," Brady said. "They didn't quit and played with a tremendous amount of pride. They made some baskets on us and they had us going the other way. But we showed what we had."
LSU did just that, erasing any thought of another "Mardi Gras Miracle" by the Cats. Point guard Torris Bright hit two free throws and Beshara drained a 3-pointer to spark an 11-3 run to close the game.
Kentucky had few answers for Swift and Beshara, who added 20 points for the Tigers.
"I was really impressed, especially with Stromile," he said. "Their front line just kind of wore our front line out. I thought Brian Beshara really hit some clutch baskets whenever we tried to make a run."
The Cats were led by Smith, who scored all 15 of his points in the second half. It matched the season high for the coach's son. Jamaal Magloire added 11 points and 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season. Prince and Allison each added nine for Kentucky, while Keith Bogans (8) saw his string of three straight games over 20 points come to an end.
Kentucky shot only 36 percent (21 of 57) from the field and committed a season-high 23 turnovers, 17 of which came via LSU steals.
The Tigers shot 39 percent (24 of 61) from the field, but had six fewer turnovers and stayed even (41-41) on the boards with the Cats.
Kentucky returns to action Wednesday at Rupp Arena against Alabama. The Crimson Tide are coming off a 77-63 win over No. 22 Vanderbilt. Tipoff for the JP Sports regional broadcast is slated for 8 p.m. ET.
Jamaal Magloire (#42) secures a rebound
LSU's Collis Temple III (#41) knocks the ball away from Tayshaun Prince (#21)