LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Keion Brooks Jr. had 13 of his season-high 15 points in the first half, Brandon Boston Jr. added 13 of his 18 points in the second half, and Kentucky trailed for just 15 seconds in its 82-69 win over LSU 82-69 on Saturday night to snap a three-game skid.
Kentucky (5-9, 4-3 Southeastern Conference), which had a six-game losing streak earlier this season, got a much-needed win in the first of a five-game stretch against Top-40 teams. The Wildcats avoided their third four-game slide under coach John Calipari.
Olivier Sarr made a layup and Brooks made two free throws to give Kentucky the lead for good before Davion Mintz and Boston hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 12-4. The Wildcats set season highs for a half with 13 assists, six 3-pointers, and 49 points while taking a 13-point lead into the break.
Trendon Watford tied his career best with 26 points and added a season-high tying 10 rebounds, and freshman Cameron Thomas scored 18 for LSU (10-4, 5-3). Thomas, who went into the game averaging 22.0 points (No. 8 nationally), made 1 of 8 from 3-point range as the Tigers made just 4 of 23.
Watford made a layup to trim LSU’s deficit to 56-51 with 15:29 left to play but the Tigers got no closer. Boston answered with a 3 and then converted a three-point play before his tip-in of a miss by Brooks gave the Wildcats a 13-point lead with 10 minutes remaining.
Sarr finished with 13 points and Mintz 11. Freshman Isaiah Jackson grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds for Kentucky.
LSU received 20 votes in the latest AP poll but followed it up with a 105-75 home loss to No. 18 Alabama before getting outworked by the Wildcats on Saturday. Kentucky picked apart the Tigers’ full-court press — finishing with as many alley-oops (four) as turnovers and hitting six 3s — in the first half.
Kentucky, which committed at least 16 turnovers in each of its last three games, had just nine against the Tigers.
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