BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)—LSU’s Glen Davis was too much for Kentucky.
Davis equaled a career high with 28 points and Darrel Mitchell had 13 points and eight assists to lead the 24th-ranked Tigers to a 71-67 win over Kentucky on Saturday.
Davis was 9-of-14 from the field and 9-of-9 at the foul line, and also had 15 rebounds for LSU (20-7, 12-2 Southeastern Conference), which outrebounded the Wildcats 38-26.
“Glen just stepped up and carried us today,” Mitchell said.
Kentucky’s Patrick Sparks made a 3-pointer to tie it at 67 with 27 seconds to play. On the next possession, Ravi Moss fouled Mitchell as he started to drive into the lane. He made two foul shots to put the Tigers ahead 69-67 with 13 seconds left.
On the next possession, Kentucky’s Sheray Thomas missed a short shot along the baseline with 2 seconds to go. Davis got the rebound and made two free throws for the final margin.
“I had a high level of concentration out there today,” said Davis, who recorded his seventh straight double-double. “That’s how I approached it. I made sure I was ready to play. I just wanted to win.”
LSU moved into sole possession of first place in the overall SEC standings ahead of Tennessee, which lost earlier in the day at home to Arkansas.
“We knew Tennessee had lost, but we didn’t dwell on it,” Davis said. “We hadn’t stepped on the court yet. We’re in first now. If it falls in place for us, it falls in place.”
Tasmin Mitchell had nine of his 10 points in the second half for the Tigers. Tyrus Thomas injured an ankle and played just 18 minutes, making Davis’ performance even more important.
“With Tyrus hurt, Tasmin not 100 percent and Darrel not 100 percent, we thought we’d just go to Glen,” LSU coach John Brady said. “I told him before the game, ‘Why don’t you go out and have your best game of the year.’
“At halftime, I told him that Tyrus may not be able to play. We are going to go to you and you just do what you need to do. You know what to do out there. Glen was outstanding.”
Randolph Morris led Kentucky (18-10, 8-6) with 17 points. Sparks added 13 points.
“I can’t say enough about Glen Davis and how big he played today,” Wildcats coach Tubby Smith said. “We were trying to double him and take the ball out of his hands. We didn’t do the job there.”
The Wildcats came back from two four-point deficits in the last 3 minutes to tie the score. Rajon Rondo made a 3 to get Kentucky within 60-59 with 2:58 remaining.
After Tasmin Mitchell made one of two free throws, a basket by Morris tied it at 61 with 2:12 left.
The Tigers then built another four-point advantage as Mitchell and Davis each hit two foul shots. Sparks hit a 3-pointer to cut it to one but Davis scored with 53 seconds left to give LSU a 67-64 lead.