BATON ROUGE, La. — Kentucky shot a blistering 74 percent from the field and 88 percent from three point range in the 2nd half to pull ahead and beat LSU, 79-76 in a close finish.
There is some concern though because Ashton Hagans suffered a leg injury with under eight minutes to go and with under four to play Nick Richards got a dunk but came down on the ball turning his ankle. Richards returned.
The Wildcats maintain first place in the SEC with the win and are now 11-2 in the league. Kentucky is now a game and a-half up on Auburn who plays Georgia on Wednesday night. LSU loses for the fourth time in the last five games dropping to 9-4 in the Southeastern Conference.
This game was not pretty in the first half and it was close most of the way. Immanuel Quickley hit a lay-up and a three pointer to give Kentucky a 16-12 lead. But a goal tending call on Nick Richards and a three pointer by the Tigers Darius Days would push LSU back in front at 19-18.
At the half, both teams were shooting horribly. UK 12-38 for 32% while LSU was 10-32 for 31% and both teams had double digit offensive rebounds. The WIldcats led the way at the break by one point, 29-28.
All of that changed in the second half. Kentucky was shooting 73% at one point for the second half. UK also hit its first seven three pointers of the half by several different players including Ashton Hagans, Johnny Juzang, Immanuel Quickley and Nate Sestina who hit three alone. Meantime, Tyrese Maxey continued to drive for buckets. He hit one to push the Wildcats in front 58-51.
Kentucky was led by five players in double digits with Immanuel Quickley scoring 21. Maxey chipped in with 14 and Richards with 13 while Sestina and Hagans had 11 each.
The Wildcats improve to 21-5, 11-2 in the SEC. The TIgers fall to 18-8, 9-4.
Kentucky returns to Rupp Arena on Saturday to host Florida for the first of two late season meetings. The game tips off at 6:00 pm on ESPN.