Here in Rupp Arena South, the Wildcats struggled to find the cohesiveness known to this SEC Regular Season Championship team. The LSU Tigers came into the game pumped after a win over Arkansas last night in the first round of the SEC Tournament.
Kentucky started the game with Jones, Kidd-Gilchrist, Lamb, Davis, and Teague on the floor. A sloppy start to the game gave LSU a chance to take the lead more than one time, although Kentucky went to the locker room at the half a point in front of the Tigers. Coach John Calipari fought to keep Davis out of foul trouble, which resulted in Davis taking a seat for the later portion of the first half.
LSU’s defense stopped Kentucky’s normal offense and limited the jump shot. Hamilton played opposite Anthony Davis and halted the Wildcats from driving the lane. Just at 4 minutes to go in the second half, the Wildcats came alive, a seeming end the cat and mouse game with LSU. Anthony Hickey of LSU scrapped and hustled, with 3 steals in the first half.
Coach Cal talked after the game about the tenacity of Terrance Jones and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. “In the first half, it was all Michael and I told them to pass him the ball”, Cal said. When asked about their performance when Jones plays aggressively, Cal responded, “When Terrance plays like that, we will win”. The Cats average 7 turnovers a game, yet turned the ball over 18 times today.
Kentucky will likely face Florida in the SEC Semi-Final tomorrow, although a tough Alabama team is confident as well. Tip-off for the SEC Semi-Final is set for 1:00 pm EST.
Cover photo: Courtesy of University of Kentucky Athletics
Game photos: Courtesy of Ross Lister