SEC college basketball final: LSU 75, Kentucky 74

Fresh from cutting Auburn down to size last Saturday at Neville Arena, Kentucky is back on the road Wednesday for a 9 p.m. ET matchup with the LSU Tigers at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

ESPN has the television coverage with Dave Pasch and the lovable Jay Williams. Or you can tune in the UK Sports Network with Tom Leach and Jack Givens.

Either way, be sure and check in here for updates and observations from yours truly, who will be at the PMAC along with Cameron Drummond and Silas Walker. You can follow us on X/Twitter at @cdrummond97, @sigh_las and @johnclayiv..

You can follow a dedicated Twitter/X list by clicking here.

Final: LSU 75, Kentucky 74

LSU’s Reed scores on a putback just before the buzzer and LSU knocks off Kentucky 75-74.

This one looks to be going to the wire

At the 3:35 media timeout, LSU leads Kentucky 66-64. Remember, UK had a 15-point lead (42-27) early in the second half. The Tigers have roared back since. LSU is 8-for-18 from 3-point land. The Cats are 7-for-18 from 3.

LSU up 61-58 with 7:25 to play

LSU had a 63-58 lead on Kentucky with 7:25 to play. The Tigers have made a living this half driving the ball to the basket. The home team is 11-for-22 from the floor this half for 50%. Kentucky is 5-for-17 for 29.4%. Reeves has 25 points for UK, but no other Cat has more than nine.

LSU leads Kentucky as Reeves sits

LSU leads Kentucky 50-49 with 11:41 left as UK’s Antonio Reeves sits with three fouls. Reeves leads the Cats with 23 points. He picked up his third foul at the 15:14 mark. LSU has outscored UK 23-13 this half.

Kentucky has nearly squandered a 15-point lead

UK opened the second half with back-to-back 3s by Justin Edwards and Antonio Reeves for a 42-27 lead.

Since then, it has been all of LSU. The Tigers have cut UK’s lead to 44-42 with 16:12 left. Jordan Wright buried back-to-back three-pointers which caused John Calipari to call a timeout. LSU is on a 14-2 run.

It has been mentioned before, but the Tigers rallied from 16 points down to win at then No. 11 South Carolina 64-63 last Saturday.

Halftime: Kentucky 36, LSU 27

Kentucky closed the first half on a 10-0 run to take a 36-27 lead over LSU into the locker room.

Antonio Reeves led the Cats with 16 points over the first 20 minutes. The senior was 7-for-10 from the field, including 2-for-2 from 3-point land. He also grabbed three rebounds.

Despite missing nine straight shots in one stretch, UK shot 47.1% in the first half on 16 makes out of 34 field goal attempts. The visitors were 4-for-10 from 3-point land and did not attempt a free throw. Adou Thiero led Kentucky with five rebounds.

After a hot start, LSU cooled considerably to 39.1% from the field in the first half. The Tigers were led by Tyrell Ward with 10 points. Ward was 2-for-2 from 3, but as the team LSU was 4-for-11 from beyond the stripe. The hosts were 5-for-9 from the free-throw stripe.

Kentucky’s defense was lacking at first, but the Cats clamped down of the final 10 minutes of the first half. Reeves and Reed Sheppard each have three steals.

The halftime entertainment here at the PMAC was a guy balancing a ladder on his chin.

First half box

LSU in front at 11:58 mark of first half

LSU leads Kentucky 19-18 at the 11:58 TV timeout in the first half. UK has made eight of its 12 shots, but trails by one. The Tigers have made seven of their 13 shots, including 4 of 7 3-point attempts. Remember, Auburn made just four 3-pointers the entire game against Kentucky on Saturday.

The score was tied at 16-16 at the 13:13 1H TV timeout. Antonio Reeves score nine of UK’s first 13 points. The Tigers were 6-for-10 from the floor, including 3 of 5 from 3-point land. Remember, Auburn made just four 3-pointers against the Cats on Saturday.

Kentucky committed a shot clock violation on first possession, but then after coming up with an LSU turnover, Ugonna Onyenso threw down a fast-break dunk for the game’s first points.

Officials for Kentucky-LSU

Officials for Kentucky at LSU are Terry Oglesby, Keith Kimble and Rob Rorke. Oglesby has worked UK games against Kansas, Saint Joseph’s, at Florida and Gonzaga. Kimble worked the Kansas game and the Florida game at Rupp. Rorke worked the Penn, Georgia and Vanderbilt games.

Kentucky’s Tre Mitchell out again

Cameron Drummond has the details as UK forward Tre Mitchell will miss his second straight game with a shoulder injury. This will be the fourth in five games that the 6-foot-9 forward has missed. A back problem kept him out of the Feb. 6 game at Vanderbilt and the Feb. 10 home game against Gonzaga. He returned Feb. 13 against Ole Miss but left early in the second half with a shoulder injury. He missed UK’s big win at Auburn last Saturday.

Scouting reports

LSU enters the game 13-12 overall, including 5-7 in the SEC. The Tigers are ranked 77th by KenPom, with an 87th ranking in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. They are 88th in the NCAA Net rankings. LSU is 3-7 in Quad 1 games. The game against Kentucky qualifies as a Quad 1 game for the Tigers.

The Tigers don’t quit. They trailed Florida by 20 points in Gainesville before knotting the contest at 78. Florida escaped with an 82-80 win. Last Saturday, Matt McMahon’s team trailed South Carolina 41-25 early in the second half before rallying for a 64-63 victory.

LSU won in Columbia without the services of Jalen Cook, who sat out with a hamstring injury. The 6-foot Cook is averaging 15.6 points. His status is uncertain for the UK game. Vanderbilt transfer Jordan Wright is averaging 15.0 points and 5.1 rebounds. Nevada transfer Will Baker is averaging 12.2 points and 5.0 rebounds.

Kentucky is 18-7 on the season, including 8-4 in the SEC. The Wildcats are No. 22 in kenpom, with a No. 8 adjusted offensive efficiency ranking and No. 82 adjusted defensive ranking. UK is No. 20 in the NCAA NET rankings. The Cats are 3-6 in Quad 1 games. The LSU game qualifies as a Quad 2 game. Kentucky is 3-0 in Quad 2 games.

John Calipari is 15-4 versus LSU as the UK coach. The Wildcats have won two straight over LSU — 71-66 on Feb. 23, 2022, and 74-71 on Jan. 3, 2023 — but both games were at Rupp. The Cats’ last trip to Baton Rouge ended in a 65-60 loss. Will Wade was LSU’s coach then.

UK’s Antonio Reeves has scored 20 or more points in 15 of the Cats’ 25 games. Reeves scored 22 points in the win at Auburn. Reed Sheppard has recorded five steals in each of his last two games. Adou Thiero scored 14 points and grabbed either rebounds at Auburn. Ugonna Onyenso led UK with 11 rebounds in the victory. The 7-foot center played a career-high 36 minutes.

Kentucky sophomore Ugonna Onyenso tied a Rupp Arena record with 10 blocked shots in a win over Ole Miss on Tuesday night, and that total set a new mark for most blocks by a UK player in the building.
Kentucky sophomore Ugonna Onyenso tied a Rupp Arena record with 10 blocked shots in a win over Ole Miss on Tuesday night, and that total set a new mark for most blocks by a UK player in the building.

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College basketball’s regular season is almost over. Where will Kentucky be sent in March?

These Kentucky Wildcats say they play better basketball away from Rupp Arena. Why’s that?

John Calipari talks Auburn win, Tre Mitchell’s health and UK’s NBA All-Star Game presence