Kentucky vs. LSU score: Tigers stun No. 5 Wildcats at the buzzer to enter SEC title race
A buzzer beater lifted LSU over Kentucky in an upset win at Rupp Arena
LSU has entered the SEC title race and taken some of the shine off this weekend's SEC headliner, stunning No. 5 Kentucky 73-71 in Rupp Arena on Tuesday night on a buzzer-beating putback by Kavell Bigby-Williams.
It's fitting that LSU won the back-and-forth game on an offensive rebound because the Tigers did a fantastic job establishing an advantage on the glass during the second half as they closed the gap on Kentucky and eventually took the lead in the final minutes.
"We just got it on the backboard. You get it on the backboard you give yourself a chance," LSU coach Will Wade told ESPN after the game. "That's a great take by [Skyler Mays], and I was just happy to get it on the backboard. Tremendous win for us. I'm so proud of our guys. We were able to hang, hang, hang and we did what we did. We imposed our will in the second half, got on the glass, got some stops, did a great job on the offensive glass."
Check out the big-time basket.
The controversial final basket, with instant replay review showing the ball within in the cylinder as Bigby-Williams made contact on the tip-in, was indeed reviewed by the officials. But officials cannot call a goaltend or basket interference via review, so they could only check to see if the ball left Bigby-Williams' hand before the final buzzer.
Four Tigers finished in double-figures, led by star guard Tremont Waters with 15 points. The team's length and athleticism bothered Kentucky and disrupted the Wildcats' offensive flow, and it helped that PJ Washington was limited by foul trouble most of the night. In the process of the upset, LSU exposed a weakness in Kentucky's offense as Waters sagged way off of Ashton Hagans on the perimeter. If the Wildcats were going to beat LSU, Will Wade's team determined that it would have to be by hitting outside shots.
Kentucky finished the game 5-for-19 on 3-point attempts, a 26.3 percent clip.
It's the best win of the season and arguably the biggest win yet for LSU under Will Wade, now 20-4 here in his second year with the Tigers.
Kentucky fans have been fired up for a week that includes two home games against the other two of the SEC's top three. LSU's arrival was considered a warm-up, and Saturday's clash with No. 1 Tennessee was the heavyweight bout. The energy turned anxious nearly from the start as LSU hung right with Kentucky the whole way establishing a lead in the second half and making Kentucky play catch up in the final minutes.
"We're a good team," Wade said after the game on the broadcast. "Everybody was doubting us coming into this but I told our guys 'We're playing this year's Kentucky team. We're not playing John Wall and Karl-Anthony Towns. We're playing this year's Kentucky team. And I like this year's LSU team.'"
LSU only has one regular-season game against Tennessee -- in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Feb. 23. Kentucky will not only play the Vols on Saturday but have a return visit to Knoxville, Tennessee, next month. The Tigers should be favored in every regular season game left with the exception of the Tennessee showdown, meaning that contest, not this weekend's Vols-Wildcats game in Rupp Arena, could end up decided the SEC regular season champion.
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