That was all it took for LSU to take the fight to the 11th-ranked
Wildcats and pull off an 87-82 upset victory Tuesday night in Baton
Forward Johnny O'Bryant scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds,
and the Tigers blocked 11 shots and forced 13 turnovers. Kentucky's
vaunted young guns didn't quite know what hit them.
Calipari actually blamed himself for possibly sending the wrong
signal to his players early in the game, refusing to double team
O'Bryant when he got the ball in the paint. O'Bryant scored 10 of
LSU's first 18 points, the Tigers raced to a 22-6 lead just 6:34
into the game.
"Us not doubling Johnny early probably got him going," Calipari
said."The rest of it is you can't let another team outwork you for
every ball, possession and free ball to win a game. Teams are too
balanced, especially in our league.
"Johnny O'Bryant killed us. We started the game, and I didn't want
to trap. I wanted to see what would happen. That was probably a
mistake on my part. We should've trapped him from the beginning of
O'Bryant is a skilled offensive player near the basket, and he was
too tough for either freshman forward Julius Randle or center Willie
Cauley-Stein to handle one-on-one.
"We wanted to come out aggressive," O'Bryant said. "I think when I
scored those first couple of baskets, the team really rallied around
me. They just fed off my energy. I really tried to attack them. I
knew that they were young guys, and I had an advantage in experience
and body-wise. I was going at them all night."
Attendance was reported at 6,139. Most were LSU students, who could
walk to the game. Still, LSU coach Johnny Jones said the small crowd
gave his team the energy it needed, and he thanked them after the
"For them to take the time out of their schedule, taking a chance in
leaving home to come out and support our basketball team, means a
great deal to us," Jones said. "I thought it was a great college
O'Bryant controlled the paint, making 12 of 20 shots, and freshman
forward Jordan Mickey blocked five shots in addition to scoring 14
points. Senior guard Shavon Coleman added 14 points for the Tigers,
who improved to 13-6 overall and 4-3 in the Southeast Conference. It
was only the fourth time since 2006 that LSU had defeated a ranked
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Kentucky (15-5, 5-2) had trouble adjusting to LSU's 2-3 zone defense
and shot just 43.8 percent (32 of 73). LSU made 50 percent of its
Calipari said he knew something was up when LSU went to a bigger
lineup to start the game, which probably meant they would play more
zone instead of their normal man-to-man defense.
"Normally, we are better against a zone than we are a man, so it
didn't bother me," Calipari said. "But we weren't ready for the
physical part of the game."
Freshman forward Julius Randle, Kentucky's leading scorer, struggled
when LSU collapsed its zone and tried to force him to pass the ball
out. Randle made just 3 of 11 shots and finished with six points, 10
below his average.
"I was just going at them and for some reason Randle had an off
night," O'Bryant said.
LSU led 42-36 at halftime, and guards Anthony Hickey and Andre
Stringer hit consecutive 3-pointers to extend the Tigers' lead to
62-48 with 12:51 left. The Wildcats got no closer than five points
in the final two minutes.
Kentucky was paced by guard James Young's 23 points and reserve
center Dakari Johnson's 15.
NOTES: LSU public address announcer Dan Borne had some fun with the
icy conditions, using a variation of the theme that it "never rains
in Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night." Borne told the crowd:
"Welcome to the Ice Dome. It's 25 degrees outside, but chance of
snow? Never." ... The LSU student section was about 80 percent
filled, but the rest of the Maravich Assembly Center had plenty of
empty seats. ... LSU had not scored 80 points against Kentucky in 18
seasons. The last time was in a 129-97 loss in 1996, when Kentucky
scored a stunning 86 points in the first half. ... It was Kentucky's
first loss since Dec. 14. The Wildcats never led in the game.
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