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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kavell Bigby-Williams’ tip-in at the buzzer snapped No. 5 Kentucky’s 10-game winning streak in a 73-71 loss to No. 21 LSU on Tuesday.
Kentucky led by as many as nine points early in the second half before LSU clawed back into the game with an 8-0 run, eventually taking the lead with 8:15 left. From there, the two teams traded leads down the stretch.
Sophomore forward PJ Washington, who led UK with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, tied the game at 69 on a hook shot with 1:12 remaining, capping a stretch of seven straight points for the Wildcats. Tremont Waters then gave LSU back the lead with two free throws with 20.5 seconds remaining.
A Reid Travis offensive rebound kept Kentucky’s final possession alive, and Keldon Johnson tied the game at 71 with two free throws with six seconds remaining.
LSU’s Skylar Mays missed the last shot, but Bigby-Williams was able to tip it in despite cries from the crowd that he had touched the ball while it was in the cylinder.
Here’s what we learned from Kentucky’s loss.
► Not according to plan: All eyes were on the matchup between UK freshman point guard Ashton Hagans and Waters entering the game, but Hagans spent all but five minutes of first half on the bench with foul trouble. Even before he picked up his second foul, Hagans was removed from the game after an early defensive miscue. With Hagans on the bench, reserve point guard Immanuel Quickley drew the defensive assignment against Waters. Quickly held his own with three points, four rebounds and one assist in the first half but did turn the ball over three times. Waters had accumulated seven points by halftime with three assists, but was just 1 for 6 from the field and did not record a steal. With Hagans battling inconsistency recently, positive minutes from Quickley are an encouraging development for Kentucky, but the Wildcats need Hagans to return to his best form.
► It’s a good thing the NCAA tournament isn’t at home: Tyler Herro has developed a reputation as Kentucky’s road warrior this season, thriving in front of hostile crowds away from Rupp Arena. His shooting stroke has been far less consistent at home though, a trend that continued Tuesday. In seven true road games, Herro is shooting 52.3 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from 3-point range. In 13 home games entering the night, he was shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from 3-point range. After missing his first four shots against LSU, Herro hit 5 of 9 for the rest of the game. Included in that stretch was a little bit of both the good and the bad from Herro: A key 3-pointer and a terrible pull-up jumper on the fastbreak.
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► Challenge answered: John Calipari surprised some by calling out Washington after the Mississippi State game despite his team-high 23 points because he only grabbed three rebounds. Outside of one early stretch where Calipari sent him to the bench after a poor turnover, Washington appeared to take the challenge to heart, grabbing nine boards. He was particularly key for Kentucky down the stretch despite playing the last five minutes with four fouls.