Kentucky coach John Calipari went into Tuesday's game at LSU feeling good about the growth of his young players but wanting to see consistency and a full 40-minute effort.
He left disappointed after a 87-82 loss in which his team never held a lead.
Unranked LSU outplayed the No. 11 Wildcats and beat Calipari's team inside behind a season-high point total from forward Johnny O'Bryant III, who scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Freshman forward Jordan Mickey blocked five Kentucky shots.
Meanwhile, Kentucky's starting forwards Willie Cauley-Stein and Julius Randle combined to score nine points and grab 11 rebounds.
The Harrison twins, Aaron and Andrew, couldn't compensate in the Kentucky backcourt. They combined to make seven of 20 shots with five turnovers and two assists. They didn't get to the foul line much and neither came up with a steal.
Calipari did get a solid outing off the bench from center Dakari Johnson, who made seven of eight shots and finished with 15 points, but it was more of the same in a season in which Calipari never knows who might play well and who won't on a game-to-game basis.
Calipari said doesn't feel he needs Poythress/Dakari in starting lineup, but they will play more minutes if no effort elsewhere #BBN
— Steve Andress (@steveandress) January 29, 2014
LSU was a popular pick early in the year as an emerging team in the SEC, but it hasn't fully earned that label at any point. The Tigers had lost once in overtime and three other games by four points or less. Perhaps Tuesday's victory over the talented-but-young Wildcats will start a long winning streak.
It certainly should give O'Bryant and his teammates a big a dose of confidence.
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