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10 Very Late Takeaways From Kentucky’s Win At LSU

(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

Kentucky extended its lead on LSU in the standings to two games plus a tiebreaker with an impressive win in Baton Rouge late Tuesday night. The Cats were up for most of the game, but nothing came easy.

Shots weren’t falling in the first half, yet the lead went to the visiting locker room at halftime. Then when Kentucky jumped out to a comfortable lead in the second half, LSU’s full court press and some big shots by the Tigers made it a game all over again in the final minutes.

However, in the end, your University of Kentucky Wildcats prevailed, 79-76, in one of the biggest tests on the schedule.

These are my 10 takeaways:

© Derick E. Hingle | USATSI

1. Immanuel Quickley is still really good.

If you thought it was time for Immanuel Quickley to cool off, you, my friend, were wrong. Quickley continued his tear through conference play with another 20 piece, this time at 21 points scored on 7-of-12 shooting from the field. He led all scorers in the game, while setting a new career high in assists with six, and his points-per-game average in the month of February is up to a cool 19.67 (we’ll call it 20) in six games, all but one of them wins.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your time with Quickley in Lexington because it will be coming to an end after this season.

He was money in this one, especially in the second half when he didn’t miss a shot.

2. Nickembe Mutombo Richards took advantage of his size.

Like Quickley, Nick Richards seems to bring it every night and Tuesday night he brought it against the undersized LSU frontcourt. The big fella used that size advantage to block six shots, the most he’s blocked in a game since he swatted seven against Lamar, and altered many others. He also took a charge as momentum was swinging UK’s way in the second half and he fell just a point and a rebound shy of his season averages, so about an average game offensively.

Above all that, the best news is his eyeball is OK after he fouled Emmitt Williams’ finger with it:


3. Ashton Hagans is back! But is he out?

Let’s ignore his early turnovers and give a big “Welcome back!” to Ashton Hagans. UK’s slumping point guard hit a couple of 3s, got back into double-figure scoring with 11 points, dished out four assists, protected the ball after a couple of early goofs, and none of that matters right now because he is out with a left thigh contusion. The prognosis? John Calipari couldn’t (or wouldn’t) say after the game.

It was comforting to see UK close out a second straight game without him. That being said, we should talk about all hell breaking loose against LSU’s full court press.


My goodness, things took a turn for the worse when LSU cranked up the full court press with Hagans on the bench dealing with that thigh injury. UK’s 10-point lead dropped to five in a matter of seconds thanks to two very bad turnovers by Nate Sestina against the press. Sestina threw the ball away on consecutive possessions, which led to instant LSU points and a near miraculous comeback. Kentucky was able to survive because…

5. Nate Sestina’s 3-pointers put it out of reach.

As bad as he was on those two attempts to break the press, Sestina made up for it with three of the biggest shots of the game, all 3-pointers, all in the second half. His back-to-back 3s moved Kentucky’s lead to 12 and then 15 points, the biggest lead in the entire game. He also gave maximum effort defensively and on the glass against the Tigers’ elite athleticism — the exact opposite of what anyone expected. Leave aside the late turnovers and it was a great game. 11 points, eight rebounds and the highest +/ on the team with a +15.

6. Things that could’ve been better: rebounding and second-chance points

There’s no need to complain after a win like this, but we should at least acknowledge LSU won the rebounding battle, 45-33, and scored 26 second-chance points to UK’s 12.

OK that’s enough negativity. Kentucky beat LSU at LSU so who cares about rebounding?

7. Three-point shooting won the game.

This is kind of what I just said under (5) Nate Sestina’s 3-pointers put it out of reach but we need a special section to celebrate the entire team’s success from outside. The Cats hit seven of eight 3-pointers in the second half and five different players hit at least one in the game: Sestina (3), Quickley (2), Hagans (2), Maxey (1), Juzang (1).

The second half was much more fun to watch than the first.

8. Defense also won the game.

Kentucky held one of the country’s best offensive teams to well below its normal efficiency and scoring average. LSU shot only 39.4% from the floor and scored well below its season average of 81 points per game, the ninth-best average in college basketball before Tuesday’s game. 11 blocks will do that.

9. High-stepping referee!

10. The path to the program’s 50th SEC title is wide open.

If Kentucky wants regular season title No. 50 and the first since 2017, it is in complete control of its own destiny. LSU was the frontrunner once upon a time, but the Tigers dropped to a tie for third place with little hope for repeating as champs. Auburn is now alone in second behind Kentucky with a rematch coming up in Rupp Arena later this month. UK is in the driver’s seat and back in action Saturday in Lexington against the Gators. Let’s keep this win streak moving.

Go Cats.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

48 Comments for 10 Very Late Takeaways From Kentucky’s Win At LSU

  1. paulfinebaumsears
    4:04 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    On Tuesday KSR how, Shannon picked exact score 79-76 Cats

  2. paulfinebaumsears
    4:07 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    On TUesday show, Shannon picked exact score 79-76 Cats ????

  3. bigblue2018
    4:17 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    On Tuesdays show Matt Jones said Nate Sestina wouldn’t/couldn’t play in the game because LSU was too athletic. When you look at the box score and the final score was UK winning 79-76 I’m glad Sestina played, his 11 points and 8 rebounds was a big part of the CATS leaving with a win.

  4. kuhlkat
    4:22 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    Matt said Nate wouldn’t even play 10 minutes.
    Arrogant fool won’t admit he was wrong

    • 4everUKBlue
      7:51 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Why does anyone even listen to Matt? I’ve tried a few times and I just can’t torture myself like that.

  5. JT55
    6:03 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    I’ll admit I gave them no chance to win that game. I love being wrong sometimes.

  6. Bluehender
    7:36 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    5 players in double figures again. A winning formula. Not too worried about the end of the game. They made a little run to make the final score look better for them. But we win handily if Hagans is playing at the end. But let’s look at the film and figure out how to break the press, Cal..

    • IrishCat
      7:56 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Get the ball to a big, flash the middle w/ a guard and keep one behind the ball for a reversal if necessary. Pretty there’s not much more to a press breaker. Is the coach supposed to throw the passes?

    • Bluehender
      8:12 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      I’m a Cal guy IrishCat in case you don’t know. He made the proper adjustments but if you ask him he’ll probably say he should have done it two possessions sooner. No one is perfect and I’m sure mental notes were made. I was never worried about the outcome of the game. Go Cats!!

  7. UKLugo
    7:59 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    11. Fire Jay Bilas. He’s gone from bad to worse. No enthusiasm. Just monotone. No excitement. Whining. If I took a drink each time Bilas whined about more fouls needing to be called, I wouldnt be able to stand up by halftime. FS1 ad CBS Sports have left ESPN in the dust with enthusiastic commentators and creative ideas. Did anyone see the Illinois/PennSt Live All Acesss broadcast last night on FS1 before our game. Amazing.

    • 4everUKBlue
      8:09 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Either fire Jay Bias or only let him call duke games, he was so bad last night as usual. He thinks he can jinx free throws so he makes a point talk about how automatic Quickley is every time he goes to the line, sounds silly but listen to him next time….if you can stand it.

    • Bluehender
      8:28 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      He’s terrible. He should only do Duke games. And I noticed that 4ever. Every time IQ steps to the line..

  8. friendsofcoal
    8:46 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    Question…how is Wade still the coach at LSU when they have him on a recording offering money?? Has that whole deal been swept under the rug or is it still in the works?

    Can you imagine if that had been Cal on that recording!!??

    • UKLugo
      9:03 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      And how does any kid want to play for him without being paid to? They don’t defend. They look fragmented. A lot of talent with no teamwork. And he throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. He should dress in diapers and a bib on gamedays.

    • CatsfaninFL
      10:18 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      My guess it’s a legal issue. Technically nothing has been proven. Just him saying they would pay for a player, not that he did. If they fire him, he’ll sue and claim he never paid and grounds for firing weren’t there. HOWEVER, once the NCAA levels some sanctions, the school has a legal ground to stand on and fire him. My guess is they won’t but I could be wrong.

    • ClutchCargo
      2:15 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Didn’t the school already cover their asses (to avoid a buyout and lawsuit) last year when they suspended him until he said he didn’t break any NCAA rules? If/when it all comes out, then they have him for dishonesty, on top of whatever else he did.

  9. Fitz
    9:38 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    In defense of Jay Bilas, who I consider one of the best college basketball analyst, he commonly mentions a players high foul shooting % before he shoots. I seriously doubt he’s trying to jinx the shooter. Bilas may be redundant about too many fouls being called, lengthly video reviews, other issues which disrupt game flow; but he is calling out problems which need to be fixed. I can’t help but believe that the angst of many UK fans have with Bilas has to do with him being a Dukie!

    Personally, give me more of Jay Bilas, none of Dick Vitale, and thank goodness Bill Walton is on tgevWestbCoast.

    • Bluehender
      9:48 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      I’ll take Walton any day over Bilas, Coach K…

    • 4everUKBlue
      9:57 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      I’m with you Bluehender, Jay Bias is awful and yes part of it is he is a dookie, but he’s still awful. I’ll even take Jimmy Dykes over Bias, you can defend Jay all you want Fitz and that’s your opinion but I couldn’t disagree more.

    • UKLugo
      10:04 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      He doesn’t complain about too many fouls. He complains about not enough fouls being called. I mean really Jay???

    • 4everUKBlue
      10:07 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah not sure what game Fitz was listening to.

    • Bluehender
      12:18 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Did you say Jay Bias, 4ever? Lol…

    • VirginiaCat
      12:24 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      I agree, Fitz. Most commentators call attention to free throw shooting proficiency, particularly if the person shooting is in the 90% range. To suggest that he is purposely trying to jinx a Kentucky player is sheer lunacy along with a strong heaping of paranoia.

    • 4everUKBlue
      1:27 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      If anyone would know anything about sheer lunacy it would be you VaginaCat.

    • ClutchCargo
      2:18 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Bias is turning into Billy PACCker. An old, know-it-all curmudgeon who rambles about the same stuff endlessly.

  10. kacat2
    9:48 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    Love IQ and I suppose he will leave like everyone says but I have no idea where he is going to go. As good as he has been this year, he is still a 6’3 shooting guard and there just isn’t a high priority for those guys in in the NBA. He should return, try and prove he can be a PG and then maybe he gets drafted. Right now, he isn’t even on any mock draft boards.

  11. mashburnfan1
    9:53 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    Any win is better than a loss, especially on the road. However East Tennessee State won there by 11, Southern Cal, Utah State also one there. LSU is not a good team, please look at their schedule And you have to wonder why they are even considered for the tournament. Plus we had to shoot 74% in the second half to beat them by three points. How many have do you think we will shoot 74% again? Just being real, Everyone acting like this means the title is fooling themselves and going to be highly disappointed

    • Bluehender
      9:57 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Does that make you feel better Mashburnfan? I know you’re butt hurt after our win. Sorry about your loss..

    • 4everUKBlue
      10:00 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      LOL mashbum finally found a way to negate a tough road win, so predictable. According to mashbum there’s not a good team on our schedule…..ever. Just a total buffoon. Hey mashbum can you predict what would’ve happened if another coach were coaching this game. That’s your specialty isn’t it?

    • 4everUKBlue
      10:02 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      You might want to look around the other teams in D1 that have lost to inferior teams. Fact is any team can beat any team on a given night, not that you jack about facts.

    • KentuckyVSEveryone
      11:35 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Oh how wrong you are…before UK beat them they were 13-1 at home! They lost to USC in Los Angeles and Utah State was in Jamaica! Wow, what amazing research!!…just proves that anything that comes out your mouth is just straight bull****!

  12. 4everUKBlue
    10:20 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    Here’s the number one takeaway from last night’s game….WE WON! A TOUGH ROAD WIN!

    • Bluehender
      12:16 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      I thought I heard someone say they hadn’t lost at home this year? Maybe it was in conference play..

  13. KatFan48
    11:11 am February 19, 2020 Permalink

    I’m with Fitz. Give me Bilas ANY DAY over Walton or Vitale. Know I must sound crazy but I’d rather read mashBUMfan or the Tennessee message boards while hearing fingernails on a chalkboard than ever hear Walton again. At least mash and his choir of Wrongous and BigolBlue aka lilolchicken are predictable with their rendering of The Sky is Falling The Sky is Falling

    • 4everUKBlue
      2:45 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      I like Tom Hart, Andy Kennedy, Dan Dakich (Dakich as a commentator only). Hart and Kennedy together are really good IMO.

    • 4everUKBlue
      2:46 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Also Sean Farnham. Why is he no longer doing our games?

  14. sharpshooter81
    12:26 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

    Hopefully Quickley doesn’t listen to people like this writer and enter into the draft, because he will not get drafted and will be a D leaguer most if not all his career. 6’3″ shooting guards with average handle skills are a dime a dozen in college basketball. That is why Quickley is not even mentioned in any mock drafts!!! IQ, do yourself a favor and don’t listen to people that know nothing about pro basketball tell you to go pro after this season, it will be the biggest mistake you can make.

    • BlueByYou
      1:10 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Another thing. Wade & Pearl. Always screaming at players when things are tough
      Who wouldn’t see that and think….I’d rather play for someone who seems in control and interested in how i grow and get better. Great image of Cal and Hagans esrly in the game having back and forth conversation. Looked constructive.

    • Megan
      4:37 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Cal does his share of showing anger and frustration. But you’re right, I liked seeing his smiling exchange with Ashton. That’s what you see when people talking as friends.

  15. BlueByYou
    1:05 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

    Bilas = ok, better than Vitale…..but Marty Smith? Ain’t seeing the attraction there.

    • VirginiaCat
      3:38 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      Blue, you are obviously disregarding 4everUKBlue’s brilliant observation that Bilas is attempting to undermine our efforts at the foul line. And how is he doing this, you might ask? According to 4everUKBlue, he is employing a scientific method known as “jinxing.” That’s right, a nationally known sports broadcaster is using his position to jinx Kentucky. On national television no less. Next up, 4everUKBlue will be saying that Bilas has a caldron under his desk that is filled with magic potions that he uses to sabotage UK. Perhaps our players should carry chicken bones to ward off the black magic. Thanks 4everUKBlue for discovering the conspiracy.

    • 4everUKBlue
      3:57 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      VaginaCat It makes as much sense as some of the comments you’ve made, acting like you know more about coaching than Cal… you might want to get some Midol for those menstrual cramps. But seriously you should go back and read some of your dumb @ss comments, you’re bordering competing with mashbum who now predicts what would’ve happened if Cal was not the coach. You, mashbum and Righteous1 are three of this site’s biggest buffoons….and it’s to close.

    • 4everUKBlue
      4:00 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      *You, mashbum and Righteous1 are three of this site’s biggest buffoons….and it’s not close.

  16. Fitz
    2:09 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

    “Who’s the goof ball”? My wife asked when she saw a Marty Smith making a comment from the side line. For once, I did OT have an answer.

  17. VirginiaCat
    4:08 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

    4everUKBlue: You honestly believe that Jay Bilas is trying to jinx our free throw shooters and, yet. you say that I am the buffoon. Typical of you to revert to name calling when you can’t defend your assertions.

    • 4everUKBlue
      4:27 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      I only call you a buffoon because of the comments you made on here throughout the season. I guess you didn’t hear the conversation between him and his fellow commentator when that was suggested and he laughed about it and then continued to do it even more after the fact. Do I believe it’s possible? No because if it were I’d jinx you the other two amigos. I do believe, being a dookie he wishes he could. But yes you are the buffoon and it’s not close….or at least one of the top three. I will say you’re in 3rd place behind Righteous1 and mashbum.

  18. Megan
    4:54 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

    The thing that bothers me about Jay Bilas and free throws is that when Dan Shulman ribs him about having jinxed a shooter, Bilas takes it seriously. He gets very defensive and feels the need to explain that “it doesn’t work that way.” Well, of course it doesn’t. So why does he go to such lengths instead of laughing along with the joke? I don’t get that. I guess he takes a lot of criticism from a lot of fans, and not just Kentucky fans. And that criticism seems to have gotten to him. Just play along, Jay!

    I appear to be in the minority here, but I rather like Bilas. Yes, I wish he’d tamp down on his criticisms of the refs (which I used to think was a plus because no one else would take them on) and his criticism of the NCAA. But he’s knowledgeable and generally entertaining, and when he isn’t fixated on the soft-serve ice cream at Rupp, he usually talks about the game. That’s kind of rare. I refuse to listen to Vitale. If my hubby is listening to him, I have to go somewhere else in the house. It’s that bad.
    Talk about buffoons. And I’ll put Walton a close second to Vitale on my worst list. There’s just something wrong with that boy, and I don’t care to expose myself to it.

    • VirginiaCat
      8:04 pm February 19, 2020 Permalink

      I agree, Megan. I think Bilas is knowledgeable and objective. The irony is that Duke fans think he is bias against them. The soft serve bit is excessive, but a small price to pay for his focus on the particulars of the game. I also agree that Walton is a buffoon.