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On Wednesday night, the Cats will enter a hostile arena for a basketball game for the first time this season when they lace ‘em up at the Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The road game for the Cats will not be the only “first” that will occur. Coach Will Wade, in his first year as the head coach of the Bayou Bengals will send one of his teams out to compete against a Coach Calipari Kentucky team for the first time in his five seasons as a D1 head coach.
Coach Wade comes to the LSU job this season after two successful seasons as the head man at VCU where his teams earned berths in the NCAA tournament both years. Last year, his VCU team finished 2 nd in the Atlantic 10 Conference behind Dayton with a 26-9 record and an ANE of 0.141 ppp (#48). In 2015-16, he led his Rams to an Atlantic 10 Conference co-championship with Dayton, finishing with a 25-11 record and an ANE of 0.171 ppp (#31).
LSU has started this season with a 9-3 record and an ANE of 0.121 ppp (#69). In 2017, LSU ended their season 10-21 with an ANE of -0.0002 ppp (#172), thus LSU's decision to part ways with Johnny Jones. The LSU losses have been to #29 Notre Dame by 39 points on a neutral court, to #58 Marquette by 10 on a neutral court, and to #140 Stephen F. Austin by 1 at home. LSU's most impressive wins have been over #31 Michigan by 2 points on a neutral court and over #36 Houston by 3 at home. LSU is currently ranked #69 with an ANE of 0.121 ppp after having played a schedule strength of -0.035 ppp (#296).
The Cats will arrive in Baton Rouge ranked #37 with an ANE of 0.184 ppp after having played a schedule with a schedule strength of 0.033 ppp (#74). The ANE analysis has the Cats favored by 1 point, 77-76 in a game played at a pace of 74 possessions. Pomeroy has the Cats favored by 5, 80-75 with a pace of 70 possessions.
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Coach Calipari will start Quade Green, Nick Richards, Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, and Hamidou Diallo. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Wenyen Gabriel, and Tai Wynyard will provide the primary bench help. Jarred Vanderbilt remains unavailable.
The Cats control the opening tip and score on a bank shot by Hamidou Diallo. After going on top 7-0, the Cats allow LSU to score the next 4 points before the Cats close out the scoring in the opening segment to lead by 5, 9-4, at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, LSU used 2-2 shooting from long range to cut the Kentucky lead to 2 points, 14-12, and LSU will be shooting a pair of free throws after the under 12 media timeout with a chance to erase the early 5 point Kentucky lead. In a prolonged third segment, LSU moved into their first lead, 20-18, and the teams traded baskets to a 27-25 LSU lead, with the ball, at the under 8 media timeout with only 5:23 remaining in the first half.
In the first 15 minutes, the Cats have made 11 of their 22 shots while LSU is 11 for 25 shots, but the Tigers have one more 3 pointer and the game's only free throw to make up the 2 point advantage. The Cats have committed 8 turnovers to LSU's 4. In the short fourth segment, LSU extended their lead to 4, 29-25 at the under 4 media timeout. The Cats trim the lead to 2 points 3 times in the final segment, the last time at 33-31, but LSU closes out the first half with a 3 pointer, their 5 th of the half, to lead by 5, 36-31 at the half.
The Cats scored 31 points on 36 possessions, 0.861 points per possession, and LSU managed their 36 points on 36 possessions, 1.000 ppp. The Cats made 50.0% of their first half shots, including 3-5 from outside the arc. LSU managed to make 46.9% of their first half shots, including 5-11 from outside the arc.
The Cats committed 11 turnovers in the first half while LSU committed 6 turnovers.
The Cats did not attempt a single free throw in the first half and LSU was 1-2 from the line (50.0%).
On the Boards, the Cats controlled the boards with a 16-14 advantage, each team grabbed 3 offensive rebounds that produced 4 second chance points for each team. The Cats secured 21.4% of their misses and allowed LSU to grab 18.8% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
LSU opens the second half with a basket to move on top by 7, to match Kentucky's early 7 point lead at the start of the game. However, the Cats began to scratch back into the game on the strength of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander drives to the basket. At the under 16 media timeout, the Cats lead 43-42 and will have a pair of free throws after the break with a chance to extend their new found lead to 3 points with a pair of made shots. The opening segment was longer than usual, and 14:52 remains in the game.
In the second segment, the Cats extended their lead to 3 points, but LSU regained the lead shortly. The Cats got back to back interior scores by PJ Washington to move on top by 4, 56-52 at the under 12 media timeout with 11:00 remaining in the game. LSU has the ball.
In the third segment, the Cats extended their lead to 6, 60-54, but LSU trimmed it to 4, 60-56, and will have free throws after the under 8 media timeout for a chance to trim the lead back to 2 points with 7:41 remaining in the game. In the fourth segment, the Cats lose their lead to LSU due to a second chance basket after a strong defensive possession and a 3 pointer. Coach Calipari called a timeout with 3:22 remaining and the Cats down 1, 65-64.
After the timeout, the Cats commit their 14 th turnover of the game, but LSU misses from point blank range allowing PJ Washington to get a contested layup at the other end, with a free throw attempt coming after an LSU timeout with 3:06 remaining. PJ Washington completes the 3 point play, and the Cats move back on top by 2, 67-65 with 3:06 remaining. With the Cats leading by 3 points and inside 30 seconds in the game, LSU got another second chance basket following a missed 3 point attempt to trim the lead to 1 point, 72-71 with 23 seconds remaining. LSU used a timeout after the made basket.
LSU fouls Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with 16 seconds left. He converts them both to lift the Cats to a 3 point lead, and Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 16 seconds left. LSU missed a 3 pointer with 1 second left, but UK loses the rebound out of bounds with 0.8 seconds on the clock. LSU used its last timeout to set up the in bounds play, and after Coach Calipari saw how LSU lined up, he burned Kentucky's last timeout.
Cats win 74-71.
UK scored its 74 points on 70 possessions (1.057 ppp) for the game, and LSU scored its 71 points on 71 possessions (1.000 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 35-34, and both teams grabbed 10 offensive rebounds. Kentucky used its 10 second chance possessions to score 6 second chance points, and LSU used its 10 second chance possessions to score 12 second chance points. LSU had an offensive efficiency of 0.831 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.200 ppp for its 10 second chance possessions. UK had 0.971 ppp on its 70 first chance possessions and 0.600 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 29.4% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LSU was able to convert 28.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 7-13 [53.8%]. LSU made 7-9 [77.8%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 31-61 overall [50.8%] and 5-12 from long range [41.7%]. For LSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 23-41 [56.1%] and from long range, LSU hit 6-24 [25.0%].
The Cats committed 14 turnovers, one for every 5.0 possessions. The Cats forced 11 LSU turnovers, one for every 6.5 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday night in Knoxville against Tennessee for the fifteenth regular season game and third SEC game of the 2017-18 season. This will be the Cats' second true road game this season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks