LSU basketball stuns Kentucky 73-71

2 months ago WBRZ 0

LEXINGTON, KY – The LSU Tiger basketball team used a last second tip-in to upset the Kentucky Wildcats 73-71 on Tuesday night in Rupp Arena.

The LSU (20-4, 10-1) victory was just their sixth win in Lexington in 50 tries. 

Tiger forward Kavell Bigby-Williams tipped in a Skylar Mays lay-up with 0.6 seconds left on the clock to hand the Tigers their first road win over a ranked Kentucky team since January 28th, 1980.

LSU trailed by by 8 at the break, 40-32, however a concerted effort to get the ball inside resulted in the Tigers slowly chipping away at the Kentucky lead, eventually taking the lead at 58-56.  The two teams would trade buckets back and forth before the game was tied at 69 with less than a minute to play.

LSU would pull ahead 71-69 with :20 seconds to play as Tremont Waters knocked down two free throws to put the Tigers ahead.

Kentucky then made two free throws of their own to tie the game at 71-71 with six seconds to play.

LSU inbounded the ball to Skylar Mays who drove the length of the court and laid it up off of the glass, the ball bounced long and Bigby-Williams was there with his left hand for the tip and the win.

The Tigers were led in scoring by Tremont Waters with 15 points, Naz Reid and Emitt Williams each had 12 and Skylar mays finished with 11.

LSU is next at Georgia on Saturday. 

LSU Head Coach Will Wade

Opening statement … 
“Obviously a great win for us. Second half we played a lot better. I didn’t think we were ourselves or very aggressive. In the first half, we were on our heels. Second half, we were able to guard them, get our game plan into effect, driving into the lane, get fouled, kind of do what we’ve been doing to win. I think (in the) first half, Kentucky controlled that a lot more. We were fortunate at the end. The ball goes off the rim and we make a play there at the end. Just a good team win for us. Proud of our guys, we hung in there. We’ve been getting down double digits and we were only down eight or nine tonight, so we were able to hang tight and pull out a good win.

On coming back from a deficit …
“We just got some fight. I told our guys at halftime we just have to be ourselves and we weren’t ourselves, and I thought we just stuck with what we did. We were able to slowly be more of ourselves in the second half. Our guys believe. They know we’ve got a good thing if we just stick to our game plan, stick to what we do, and we got the win tonight.

On defensive game plan …
“We did a better job in the second half. We were chasing those curl cuts in the first half and (Keldon) Johnson and (Tyler) Herro were just killing us, tight curling it in there and hitting shots in the paint. We were supposed to mix it up and didn’t mix it up in the first half, so second half we said we were just going to shoot the gaps and at least make them bump it and make the passes a little bit longer, make them not curl into the lane and shoot layups at the front of the rim. We adjusted it a little bit there. We played a different ball-screen coverage that we’ve played most of the year because of (Ashton) Hagans. It kind of threw us off a little in the first half how much (Immanuel) Quickley played. We weren’t able to get our game plan in because Quickley had played quite a bit more in the first half. We were able to help on those monsters down there.”

On the final play …
“I don’t know the rule specifically, but I think the only thing that’s reviewable is the clock. I don’t think the actual play is reviewable. What they called is what stands. I think the clock is reviewable. I haven’t seen it yet, so I don’t know.”

On how this game ranks in the season …
“It was high up there. The escape job at Missouri was good, but to come on the road and beat a top-five team like this in this type of environment was just phenomenal for us. We knew we had a good team, and we wanted to prove it to ourselves in this type of environment, and I think we were able to do that tonight.”

On whether the late-game foul on Keldon Johnson was intentional …
“Oh, goodness, no. Goodness, no, we didn’t foul him intentionally.”

On what the plan was with the Keldon Johnson foul …
“Well, we just wanted to jet the ball up the court. That’s why we play with two point guards. We knew they were going to take Tremont (Waters) out. Skylar (Mays) loves to drive it left, so we’ve got Skylar going up the left side of the court where he loves to drive it. At that point, we had plenty of time. We just wanted to get the ball in the rim. We got the ball in the rim.”

On how this win changes expectations for LSU …
“I don’t know. We haven’t had time to digest all of that, but we think we’ve got a very, very good team. I think we’re able to prove that tonight. We’ve grown as the season has gone along, just like Kentucky has. They have an excellent team. We’ve gotten better, and I think tonight confirmed that for a lot of folks.”

On Tremont Waters …
“I think he played well. He didn’t shoot it as well as he typically does. He had a couple of those threes go three-quarters of the way down and out. They looked like tough shots, but he usually makes those. We were able to withstand it. I thought our guards didn’t shoot great, but Emmitt Williams gave us huge minutes. I thought Kavell Bigby-Williams played great. Naz (Reid) came on in the second. Marlon (Taylor) kept us in it in the first half. They didn’t guard Marlon, which is a little bit different. They had (Keldon) Johnson kind of sagging off in the lane on Marlon. I thought we were able to adjust. Our guys were aggressive. We made enough plays. Skylar (Mays) did a good job driving the ball.”

On what he told the team at halftime …
“This wasn’t quite as “cardiac” as usual for us. We just had to stay with what we were doing. In the first half, we’re down eight and Reid Travis made a three at the top of the key. We just kind of had to stick with what we were doing. He did that in the second half, and he missed one at the top of the key. So, we just had to stick with what we were doing and let the numbers play themselves back out.”

On how he prepared his team to play Kentucky …
“We didn’t talk about that. We just talked about our team this year playing Kentucky’s team this year and what a great opportunity we had. We weren’t going to run from anything, we were going to run to it. You can’t play scared. You can’t play timid. That’s probably what I was most frustrated with in the first half. I thought we were too tentative. We had a great game plan. My assistants had us prepared. Our guys believed they’re really good players. We had a really good shootaround today and a good practice yesterday. I tell our guys all the time, in these situations we’ll be aggressive, confident, and loose. I thought we were aggressive. I thought we were confident. I thought we were loose.”

On how he spreads the court …
“We were trying to put certain guys in ball screens and manipulate the matchups a little bit with what we were doing. It made it a little bit harder because (Darius Days) and (Naz Reid) for us are our stretch fours. They’re the guys who can make threes, but we had to play a lot of the second half with (Emmitt Williams), who can make a three but it’s not his forte, and (Kavell Bigby-Williams). So it changed our matchups a little bit, because we couldn’t spread the court as much. We were able to get downhill and draws some fouls. Emmitt (Williams) did a great job, even though he couldn’t make shots. He did a great job of crashing the offensive glass from the perimeter and making things happen for us. So, we kind of had to recalculate a little bit there.”

#4, Skylar Mays, Jr., G

On what it was like to get such a big win in an environment like Rupp Arena …
“Oh, unbelievable. Especially winning that way in a place with so much prestige. We have a ton of respect for Kentucky. Every team that plays them, you mark that on your calendar. They’re a great team. They gave us all we could handle, and we just happened to come out on top.”

On what this win feels like as a junior on the team …
“This is probably one of the biggest highlights.”

On making adjustments in the second half …
“You know, the goal for us was to get to the rim, but they have a lot of length. A lot of us, we weren’t able to finish as well as we liked, but we just tried to stay the course, stick with our game, and just keep executing.”

On whether they made a statement about being at the top of the SEC alongside Tennessee and Kentucky …
“Yeah, I think you could say that. I don’t think we look at that as much. I think we just look at the next game on the schedule. Obviously, Kentucky is different from a lot of other teams, but we just continue to stay the course. Now, we have to look at film and see what we could have done better this game so we don’t make the same mistakes against Georgia on Saturday.”

#24, Emmitt Williams, Fr., F

On tonight’s win …
“First of all, I want to say shout-out to all the guys on the other team. They played a good game, and I’ve known those guys since high school, and it was amazing to play against them. I know Keldon Johnson, PJ Washington, Nick Richards, all those guys. They played a great game tonight, but LSU came out with the win. Shout-out to (our team), they played hard. It was fun tonight. This was a fun game. No one got hurt, which was the best part of the game. Everyone on my side was happy.”

On emotions from the last play …
“I wasn’t nervous. We’re always in close games. I was thinking, ‘Dang, I hope we don’t go into overtime.’ We’re so used to every game going into overtime, so that’s one thing about us. We’ve got the extra motivation. Our big guy, Kavell Bigby-Williams, we work on (tip-in) drills every day, and as you can see, it finally went through. Everyone came up tonight, and we have a great team.”

On making shots and getting LSU back in the game …
“I try to empty my mind. I try not think about anything but the moment and what we are going through right now, because I shoot almost 100 free throws a day, and there’s no way in heck I should miss two. Every time I go to the (free throw) line, I talk to myself and say, “Emmitt, you shoot 100 of these a day, and you make 100. All you need is to make two.’ I talk to myself, and my teammates come up to me and they help me out, and I just go with the moment.”