Offense — an art that has not been consistent for Kentucky basketball this season. Tonight, however, the Cats were clicking on many cylinders unlike a lot of games before on that side of the ball.
It all started with flipping the terrible assist/turnover ratio in which has been a rough issue for UK virtually all season. They had 13 assists by halftime, already two more than their game average, and finished with just nine turnovers. Kentucky was also efficient from the free throw line (21/26) and shot 42% overall from the field. By the end, their 82 points was the most of the season.
“Everybody was playing for each other instead of themselves,” UK Head Coach John Calipari said after the game.
In terms of individual performances, freshman forward BJ Boston was a highlight as he once again showed improvement on the floor. He had a team-high 18 points on 7/17 shooting from the floor and added six rebounds along with three assists. When LSU had a 15-7 run to start the second half and cut the lead to 56-51, Boston nailed a key three which stretched the lead out to eight and kept UK comfortable throughout.
“I’ve just been working hard day-by-day,” Boston said when asked about his growing comfort in the game.
Despite LSU forward Trendon Watford pouring in 26 points on 10/20 shooting, Kentucky was able to hold an otherwise explosive Tiger offense to just 38% shooting from the field including 4/23 from the three-point line. In fact, Watford and freshman guard Cameron Thomas combined to score 42 of LSU’s 69 points, as nobody else had six or more. It’s the fifth straight game in which UK has held an opponent in the sixties.
“There’s a lot of people that don’t wanna see us get going because of how long we are and how well we’re defending,” UK coach John Calipari said.
Kentucky also had a dominant outing on the boards. Freshman forward Isaiah Jackson had 15 to snag a career-high, and Keion Brooks Jr. nearly had a double-double with 15 points on 5/8 shooting and nine rebounds. Altogether, UK outrebounded the Tigers 46-31.
This game was a step forward for the Cats, and without a doubt a must-win as the schedule only gets tougher in the coming weeks.