The major underdog LSU Tigers defeated No. 9 Kentucky by a score of 85-67 in Baton Rouge to become the third unranked team this season to knock off the Wildcats in an epic fashion. Freshman sensation Ben Simmons shook off early foul trouble to score 14 points and grab 10 rebounds, and junior Tim Quarterman led with 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
LSU practically ran the table from start to finish in this one, shooting 49 percent from the field and 42 percent from long range while also playing great on-ball defense. Kentucky had 14 turnovers and was out-rebounded 46-32 while committing 25 team fouls. To add insult to injury, coach John Calipari’s squad made just 41 percent of its attempts from the floor and only 52 percent of its shots from the charity stripe. To twist the knife just a bit more, the only time Kentucky led at all was early in the game, when two free throws by Tyler Ulis made the score 2-0. From that point on, the Wildcats were simply outplayed.
And the rest of the season does not bode well for Kentucky at this point, especially when tournament time comes around. Lose to one unranked team during the season and it’s just bad luck. Everyone has a bad game.
Lose to two and you got outplayed, plus made too many mental mistakes.
Lose to three, and there’s something seriously wrong with the team that needs fixing fast.
In Kentucky’s case, that’s been rebounding. Five-star freshman center Skal Labissiere has been such a complete and utter bust to the tune of 9.2 points and a mere 3.5 rebounds per game despite having the size for dominance at 6-foot-11, 225 pounds, and the saddest part is that he only played 16 minutes tonight, and off the bench!
LSU, on the other hand, looked like a well-oiled machine despite a rough start to its season. The Tigers, though 9-5 on the season, are now 2-0 in SEC play and also have a win against Vanderbilt to their name. In beating Kentucky, they join Ohio State and UCLA as the unranked teams to beat Kentucky.
And the Tigers will ride their momentum into the weekend when they take on Florida in Gainesville on Saturday, while Kentucky will look to right the ship with a trip to Tuscaloosa to take on another much improved SEC squad in Alabama on the same day.
Hopefully, tonight’s loss isn’t the start of an unfortunate trend for the Wildcats this season.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports