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February 22, 2014

Basketball rewind: Kentucky 77, LSU 76

Julius Randle made a field goal with three seconds remaining in overtime to give Kentucky a 77-76 Southeastern Conference victory against LSU at Rupp Arena in Lexington on Saturday afternoon.

DECISIVE STRETCH
Just under the two-minute mark in overtime, Anthony Hickey made a layup to put LSU in front 74-71. However, the Tigers did not score on their next two possessions as Johnny O'Bryant committed a turnover and missed a jumper. Meanwhile, Randle made two foul shots with 1:41 remaining to pull the Wildcats within one point at 74-73. After the two empty LSU possessions, Kentucky went on top on two free throws by James Young with 23 seconds remaining. The Tigers took a 76-75 when Andre Stringer made a short jumper with 12 seconds to play. The Wildcats answered with Randle's game-winning basket after Jordan Mickey blocked a James Young shot. Young then stole the ball from Stringer to stop LSU from getting off a potential game-winning shot.

KEY PERIOD IN FIRST HALF
LSU got off to a quick start by scoring the game's first six points on three baskets by O'Bryant. However, the Tigers then went four minutes without scoring. Kentucky scored 13 consecutive points. The Harrison twins did most of the damage for the Wildcats. Andrew made two field goals, while Aaron made two free throws and one basket. A jumper by Willie Cauley-Stein gave Kentucky a 13-6 lead with 14:12 remaining before halftime. During its scoring drought, LSU missed seven field goal attempts and committed two turnovers. O'Bryant missed three shots and was guilty of one turnover. The Wildcats built an eight-point lead on three occasions in the first half. The Tigers closed the half on a 6-1 run to trail 35-32 at the break. Shavon Coleman had a four-point play to end the first-half scoring.

KEY PERIOD IN SECOND HALF
Kentucky, which fell behind LSU by five points early in the second half, found itself on top 53-47 with 10:48 remaining. A fast-break layup by Andrew Harrison gave the Wildcats the six-point advantage. However, the Tigers stayed in the game by holding Kentucky to one basket over the next 3 minutes. The Wildcats missed five of their next six shots with the only field goal being a dunk by Alex Poythress following an offensive rebound. A layup by Hickey and two free throws by Mickey reduced LSU's deficit to two points at 53-51. Stringer put the Tigers within one with a 3-pointer with 7:40 remaining. On the Tigers' next possession, Stringer sank one of two foul shots to tie the score at 55-55. Neither team led by more than two points over the final seven minutes of regulation. Two free throws by Andrew Harrison tied the score at 65-65 with ten seconds left. Hickey missed a 3-point shot at the buzzer.

LSU'S TOP STARTER
Returning to his home state, Hickey had the best game of his career in a losing effort. Hickey scored 20 points and handed out eight assists with just one turnover before he fouled out in overtime. The 20 points matched his season-high, while the eight assists were a career-best. Hickey was 8-of-17 from the field, including 4-of-9 on 3-pointers. The native of Hopkinsville, Ky. also had five rebounds and two steals.

LSU'S TOP RESERVE
Stringer was the only Tigers bench player to log more than five minutes. Stringer accounted for ten points as he was 3-of-5 from the field, including 2-of-4 on 3-pointers. Stringer now has 1,275 points in his career which puts him No. 28 on LSU's all-time list. Stringer moved past Antonio Hudson on Saturday. John Odo played five minutes and scored two points. Shane Hammink played less than 30 seconds.

LSU'S UNSUNG HERO
O'Bryant was the main focus of the Kentucky defense. The Wildcats rarely doubled O'Bryant when LSU won the game at the PMAC last month. Such a strategy didn't exist in the rematch. O'Bryant registered another double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. However, it took O'Bryant 25 field goal attempts to score those 20 points. He also committed five turnovers. O'Bryant now has 1,036 points in his career. He moved past Glenn Hansen into 39th place on the school's all-time rankings.

KEY STATISTICS
The statistics were as close as the final score. Kentucky shot slightly better from the field than LSU. The Wildcats made 42 percent of their field goal attempts (28-of-67), while the Tigers shot 40 percent from the field (27-of-67). Kentucky shot a few more foul shots. The Wildcats were 20-of-26 at the foul line, while LSU made 15 of its 20 free throw attempts. Kentucky had a 43-40 rebounding edge. The Tigers committed 13 turnovers - two more than the Wildcats. Kentucky did have a sizeable margin in points in the paint, 50-28.

NOTES
LSU utilized the same lineup of O'Bryant and Mickey in the post, Jarell Martin and Coleman on the wings and Hickey at point guard. . .Mickey and Martin combined for 20 points and 12 rebounds. Mickey, who had nine rebounds, missed seven of his nine field goal attempts. He did make seven of eight foul shots. Mickey was credited with just one shot. Martin, who was 4-of-7 from the field, had nine points and three rebounds. . .Coleman was not much of a factor as his only points came on the four-point play late in the first half. He only took three shots. . .Aaron Harrison, who was averaging 14 points per game, led Kentucky with 21. Young had 20 points. . .Randle made the game-winning shot, but he scored just eight points. In two games against LSU, Randle scored just 14 points. He did grab 15 rebounds, including seven off the offensive board, Saturday. . .The Tigers have lost six of their last seven games against Kentucky. . .LSU is 16-10 overall, 7-7 in the SEC. The Tigers are one of seven teams with a 7-7 conference mark. The other six teams are Arkansas, Ole Miss, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. . .Kentucky is 21-6 overall, 11-3 in the SEC. The Wildcats are second in the conference standings - three games behind Florida. Kentucky had lost five of its previous six games decided by six points or less this season.

FROM THE LOCKER ROOM

Coach Johnny Jones
"You have to give Kentucky credit at the end. It came down to a loose-ball war. They were able to get that big loose ball at the end. They had a big tip-in to win it."


NEXT UP
LSU will play host to Texas A&M at the PMAC on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Aggies (16-11, 7-7) defeated Tennessee in overtime 68-65 on Saturday afternoon. The LSU-Texas A&M game will be broadcast on SECTV.


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