Kentucky Loses In Final Seconds, 73-70

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Tasmin Mitchell scored 21 - including the
game-winning 3-pointer with 9.8 seconds remaining - to lead No. 18
LSU to a 73-70 victory over Kentucky on Saturday and give the
Tigers the Southeastern Conference regular season title.
Marcus Thornton led LSU with 23 points and nine rebounds and Bo
Spencer added 16 points as the Tigers (25-4, 13-1) overcame a
10-point second half deficit to win at Rupp Arena for the first
time in 20 years.
Patrick Patterson had 28 points and nine rebounds and Jodie
Meeks scored 24 points for Kentucky (19-10, 8-6), but the SEC's
leading scorer badly missed a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds to go as
the Wildcats lost their second straight to put their NCAA
tournament hopes in jeopardy.
Thornton secured the inbounds pass following Meeks' miss and ran
out the clock, throwing the ball in the air as the buzzer sounded
as the Tigers celebrated.
The win capped a remarkable turnaround season for the Tigers
under first-year head coach Trent Johnson. LSU limped to a 13-18
record last season, including a 6-10 mark in the SEC.
Those days seem long gone now, thanks in part to the steady play
of Thornton.
The senior shook off a horrific first half in which he missed
all but two of his 10 shots, taking over in the second half after
Kentucky rallied from a 12-point hole to take a 54-44 lead with
11:03 remaining.
Mitchell started the comeback with a hook shot before Thornton
got going. He scored 15 points over the final 10 minutes, including
an acrobatic putback while getting fouled with 1:48 to go. He made
the free throw to give the Tigers a 66-64 lead, setting up a
dramatic final 90 seconds in which one team would hit a shot then
the other would respond.
LSU seemed to have things in hand after Spencer hit a 3-pointer
from the corner then forced Meeks to miss a 3 of his own. Thornton
got fouled and split the free throws to put the Tigers up 70-66
with 42 seconds left.
Kevin Galloway made one free throw then missed the second for
Kentucky. Patterson tipped the ball out to Meeks, who fed freshman
Darius Miller for a 3-pointer that tied it at 70 with 27 seconds
No biggie. Thornton calmly walked up the floor then ran a
pick-and-pop with Mitchell. Kentucky's A.J. Stewart moved over to
help Galloway on Thornton long enough to leave Mitchell open at the
top of the key. He calmly knocked down his 10th 3-pointer of the
year to put the Tigers back in front.
Kentucky had one last chance and ran Meeks off a pick at the top
of the key. Two Tigers jumped out on him and the shot missed badly
and the Tigers had their 10th straight win and the outright SEC
The loss put a severe dent in Kentucky's NCAA tournament resume.
The Wildcats looked like the league favorite a five weeks ago after
winning their first five SEC games but have now lost six of their
last nine. Kentucky probably needs to win its final two regular
season games against Georgia on Wednesday and Florida next Saturday
to assure itself of an 18th straight NCAA tournament berth.
The Tigers have no such worries. Picked to finish behind Alabama
in the SEC West before the season started, LSU has stormed through
the conference by taking care of the ball and relying on the play
of its upperclassmen like Mitchell and Thornton when things get

No. 18 LSU 73, KENTUCKY 70
LSU (25-4)
Mitchell 9-13 2-2 21, Johnson 1-3 0-0 2, M.Thornton 8-23 5-6 23, Spencer 6-12 0-0 16, Temple 0-3 1-2 1, Martin 3-4 0-0 8, Warren 0-1 0-0 0, Farrer 0-0 0-0 0, Q.Thornton 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 28-60 8-10 73.
KENTUCKY (19-10)
Harris 0-0 0-0 0, Porter 0-2 0-0 0, Stevenson 3-6 1-2 7, Meeks 10-22 3-4 24, Patterson 12-17 4-6 28, Miller 3-4 0-0 8, Galloway 0-0 3-4 3, Krebs 0-0 0-0 0, Stewart 0-1 0-0 0, Liggins 0-0 0-0 0, Harrellson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-52 11-16 70.
Halftime-LSU 36-28. 3-Point Goals-LSU 9-20 (Spencer 4-7, Martin 2-3, M.Thornton 2-7, Mitchell 1-2, Temple 0-1), Kentucky 3-14 (Miller 2-2, Meeks 1-9, Stewart 0-1, Porter 0-2). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-LSU 29 (M.Thornton 9), Kentucky 32 (Patterson 9). Assists-LSU 12 (M.Thornton 4), Kentucky 18 (Meeks 4). Total Fouls-LSU 17, Kentucky 14. A-24,411.

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  • by stacy Location: georgetown ky on Mar 4, 2009 at 06:37 AM
    guys it is senior day go cats
  • by GO CATS on Mar 4, 2009 at 05:36 AM
    Who is the worse Tubby or Billy? I think Billy is the worse. Ky was never this bad under Tubby. People just did not like Tubby because of his skin color well get over it because diversity is on the rise and will continue. I am glad Billy is there and I hope he stays forever. Half of you that are haters cannot even count the digits on their paychecks and you will never see that amount of money in your life.
  • by Derek Location: Lex on Mar 4, 2009 at 03:24 AM
    Tubby was replaced for Billy G? I support UK, and root for the blue. But Tubby's worst year here at UK was still much much better then Billy G's. And on top of it losses to VMI and Gardner Webb? Ah well Tubby bashers sit back and enjoy the mess
  • by Lonnie Location: Lexington on Mar 3, 2009 at 08:05 PM
    A "For Sale" sign would look so good in Gillispie's front yard of his mansion that he doesn't deserve.
  • by Amos Location: Lexington on Mar 3, 2009 at 04:29 PM
    ninja, after TRYING to make sense of your post, the only things I can conclude are: 1. You shouldn't refer to ANYBODY as an idiot, 2. Ignore conclusion 1 if you are looking in a mirror.
  • by Jim Location: lex on Mar 3, 2009 at 02:24 PM
    Glad Tubby and "Sally" are both gone.
  • by Terri on Mar 3, 2009 at 02:23 PM
    The entire SEC sucks this year,just glad Tubby is gone,Im happy with that.
  • by stacy Location: georgetown ky on Mar 3, 2009 at 11:59 AM
    john in stupidville 6 more months till you get beat in louisville
  • by GOOD FOR UK FANS on Mar 3, 2009 at 08:46 AM
    This is good for all of you die hard UK fans. You did not like what Tubby did but look who turned out to be a worse coach Billy G. Tubby teams never were this bad. Thank Goodness Tubby has moved on to bigger and brighter things. I hope Billy stays forever. By the way, U of L is doing just fine and plus Rick has players that are willing to work hard and achieve. KY does not have this. Good Luck Billy trying to please the rednecks here in KY.
  • by UK fan in louisville on Mar 3, 2009 at 07:45 AM
    The only thing wrong with this team is all the turnovers. That is the biggest problem. They hit the free throws, good defense,and shooting % is not bad. this team has the same stats as the 1995 team except for the turnovers. Cut them in half this team would be 25-4 maybe. Young team correct this in off season and they will be in the top 5 next year. watch and see


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