No. 10 Kentucky wins at LSU, 79-76

Kentucky made seven of eight 3s in the second half to build a lead

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BATON ROUGE, La. (UK Athletics) – Immanuel Quickley scored 21 points and No. 10 Kentucky made a timely string of 3-pointers in a 79-76 victory over LSU on Tuesday night.

Kentucky made seven of eight 3s in the second half, when graduate transfer Nate Sestina hit three, including two during an 8-0 run that widened the Wildcats’ lead to 15 points with 5:14 to go.

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Nick Richards scored 13 points and blocked six shots for Kentucky (21-5, 11-2 SEC), which has won five straight and nine of 10. Richards’ basket inside with 49 seconds left helped slow a furious Tigers rally that had trimmed Kentucky’s lead to 75-70 on Marlon Talyor’s 3 with 1:30 to go.

LSU (18-8, 9-4) pulled to 78-74 on Charles Manning Jr.’s driving floater off the glass with 19 seconds left. But Quickley made a free throw with 11 seconds remaining and the Tigers weren’t able to put home their final basket until less than a second remained, ensuring their fourth loss in five games.

Freshman Tyrese Maxey scored 14 points for Kentucky, while Sestina and Ashton Hagans each scored 11.

Skylar Mays scored 17 points and Darius Days had 13 points and 11 rebounds for LSU. Taylor added 13 points and Manning 11.

Kentucky made just 31.6% of its shots in the first half, but its length and athleticism was evident on the defensive end. The Wildcats blocked eight shots during the opening 20 minutes, with Richards swatting away five.

Early on, LSU’s Emmitt Williams energized the crowd when he took a no-look bounce-pass from Javonte Smart and went up strong for a right-handed, roundhouse dunk over Richards. But Richards, who entered the game with a team-high 54 blocks this season, responded by rejecting two of Williams’ shots – in addition to shots by Smart and Days – later in the half.

LSU finished the first half shooting marginally worse than Kentucky at 31.3% and the Wildcats took a 29-28 lead into halftime on Hagans’ 3 a half-minute before the horn.

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: The SEC-leading Wildcats continue to demonstrate they can stay in games even during stretches in which they don’t shoot well. They never trailed by more than four points, even while struggling to shoot better than 30% in the first half and missing eight of their first 10 3s. They took command when they shot 73.9% in the second half.

LSU: The Tigers outrebounded Kentucky 45-33, thanks in large part to 23 offensive rebounds. But a number of LSU’s second-chance attempts were missed put-backs than appeared to be rushed in an effort to avoid having even more shots rejected by the tall and athletic Wildcats. LSU also missed 13 of 20 3-point shots.

UP NEXT

Kentucky: Hosts Florida on Saturday night.

LSU: Visits South Carolina on Saturday night.

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com