Kentucky's Balanced Attack Downs LSU
Jan. 15, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky coach John Calipari didn't stick around to do postgame interviews after the 13th-ranked Wildcats crushed LSU 82-44 on Saturday, citing the need to get a head start on a recruiting visit.
The undermanned Tigers appeared to beat Calipari out of Rupp Arena by a good two hours.
Brandon Knight scored 19 points, Terrence Jones added 17 in his second game coming off the bench and the Wildcats (14-3, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) wasted little time putting away the Tigers. Kentucky led by 11 less than eight minutes into the game, was up 29 at the half and kept right on going.
"That was a good, old-fashioned ... whipping," said LSU coach Trent Johnson.
Kind of hard to argue.
Kentucky held the Tigers to a season-low 26 percent shooting, forced 15 turnovers and never let up while extending its home winning streak to 28 straight.
Garrett Green led the Tigers with 13 points but LSU (10-8, 2-1) struggled without leading scorer Ralston Turner. The freshman guard missed his third straight game with a foot injury, but his presence might not have helped. Kentucky swarmed from LSU from the opening tip.
"They definitely lived up to the hype tonight," Green said.
Calipari has been pushing the Wildcats to play with a higher sense of urgency and commitment after what he considered subpar performances in a loss to Georgia last Saturday and a win over Auburn on Tuesday. He saw plenty of both against the Tigers, particularly in the first half.
Running Calipari's dribble-drive offense almost flawlessly, the Wildcats quickly ended LSU's hopes of winning its second straight visit to Rupp.
Knight opened the game knocking down a pair of 3-pointers, all the spark Kentucky would need.
Jones wasn't nearly as dazzling as he was during school freshman-record 35-point effort in a win over Auburn on Tuesday, but the Wildcats didn't need him to be. He shot a woeful 3 of 12 from the floor but did a good job of getting to the free-throw line, where he made 11 of 14 shots.
Liggins, who Calipari had chastised for being too worried about his shot, scored 15 points. So did Miller, who added four rebounds and two steals. Doron Lamb added 10 points and a team-high five assists while Josh Harrellon had 14 rebounds for Kentucky.
As crisp as the Wildcats were a times on offense, they were almost as good defensively, though the Tigers didn't help themselves with shoddy shot selection.
LSU guard Andre Stringer hoisted a deep 3-pointer during one possession while his teammates all stood at least 15 feet away from the basket and plenty of time left on the shot clock, part of a miserable half in which they shot just 18 percent from the floor.
"We wanted to come out with the mindset of being aggressive both offensively and defensively," said Kentucky assistant coach John Robic. "They missed some open shots but I think we made them take tougher shots than they were used to."
Kentucky had no such issues.
Using its defense to push the tempo, the Wildcats even broke out a fullcourt press for one of the few times this season. It resulted in some sloppy ballhandling by LSU and led to one of the prettiest sequences of the day.
Knight stepped in front of an LSU pass at halfcourt and threw the ball to Miller, who sent a touch pass to Lamb in the corner. Lamb's 3-pointer bounced softly off the rim but Knight, racing in from halfcourt, tipped it in to put Kentucky up 35-16.
"We need to be more comfortable with the full-court press because it will build our confidence," Knight said.
The rout was on as Kentucky kept right on going. The Wildcats' advantage grew to 48-19 at the break, their largest halftime lead of the season.
The presence of former LSU coach Dale Brown did little to inspire the Tigers. Kentucky's advantage continued to grow, allowing Calipari to substitute liberally with his little-used bench.
Calipari has made it a point to spend extra time working with reserves Jon Hood, Eloy Vargas and Stacey Poole. The coach is convinced the time will come when the Wildcats will need one of the trio to produce in a clutch situation.