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LSU BREAKS AWAY FROM CATS 99-80

Date story published: Thursday, February 16, 1989

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Locked in a tense struggle, LSU used a fast-breaking exhibition to beat Kentucky 99-80 last night.

The loss enabled UK to make a dubious entry in the school record book. UK fell to 11-14 overall, the first time the Cats have lost 14 games in a season.

A big underdog, Kentucky led 57-56 with 12 minutes left.

LSU outscored the Cats 43-23 thereafter to continue atop the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers improved to 10-3 in the league and 18-6 overall. UK fell to 6-7 in the SEC.

Chris Jackson led LSU with 34 points, including 11 in the Tigers' breakout. Ricky Blanton, who didn't score a basket in the first 28 minutes, and Wayne Sims added 18 each for the Tigers.

Derrick Miller led UK with 26. LeRon Ellis, who missed Tuesday's practice because of the flu, added 24.

Kentucky held Ricky Blanton scoreless and Chris Jackson within reason (6- of-15 shooting) in the first half.

But the Cats still trailed 45-37 at intermission.

The reasons included UK's continued poor shooting. The Cats had made just 32.8 and 37.3 percent of their shots in the last two games. UK went almost six minutes without a basket in one first-half stretch and made just 44.4 percent of its shots.

LSU capitalized with a 10-0 run that gave the Tigers an early 17-8 edge. Inside play was the key. The Tigers dominated the paint with only one of the five baskets in the run coming outside the lane. Vernel Singleton, LSU's 6-6 freshman center, had two of the baskets. Singleton also had 10 first-half rebounds, including seven offensive rebounds.

As expected, UK put its best defender, Reggie Hanson, on Jackson early. Jackson didn't appear especially bothered. But he did miss five of his first six shots.

Eight points into LSU's 10-0 run, the Cats called time and switched to a zone defense.

LSU power forward Wayne Sims found a hole at the low post. Lyle Mouton hit Sims for two layups and Mouton drilled a three-pointer. Three possessions were enough for the Cats to get back to man-to-man.

Chris Mills guarded Jackson. Eight seconds into the assignment, Mills picked up a blocking foul trying to contain a Jackson drive.

UK made an 11-3 run while Mills guarded Jackson. The run enabled UK to tie the score at 25-25.

Derrick Miller, who had 13 first-half points, got the charge started with a three-pointer.

Mike Scott and Deron Feldhaus came off the bench to help. Scott rebounded a basket and Feldhaus hit two jumpers. The second came after he saved Miller's air ball from the foul line.

Another spark was a defensive play Mills made on Jackson. After Jackson drove around UK's freshman star, Mills recovered to block Jackson's leaner from the side.

Jackson warmed up down the stretch.

He hit three of his final five first-half shots, including two three- pointers, to fuel a 20-12 LSU run in the final 6:14.

Jackson's second three-pointer gave LSU its largest lead of the half, 39-28, with 2:27 left.

Kentucky controlled the inside as the second half began, a trend that allowed the Cats close to within 54-51.

Ellis, Hanson and Mills all had a part in the inside work. Each had inside baskets with a tip-in by Ellis bringing the Cats to within three and prompting an LSU time at the 14:14 mark.

Still, UK continued pounding inside.

An Ellis turnaround countered a Sims basket. Mills' layup, off a nifty pass from Hanson, brought UK to within 56-55.

Another post-up basket by Ellis put Kentucky ahead 57-56, the Cats' first lead since 8-7.

When Jackson missed four straight shots, he went to the bench for a rest.

Momentum changed quickly.

At first, the change was subtle. The Cats pounded the offensive boards for at least five shots. Any would have increased the one-point lead. None fell.

Finally, LSU broke out and Blanton raced to a fast-break layup. The basket, Blanton's first, put LSU ahead for good at 58-57 with 11:40 left.

A ripple became a tidal wave. Singleton stepped in front of a Sutton pass and dribbled awkwardly three-quarters of the court to a layup. Fouled on the play, Singleton hit the free throw to put LSU ahead 61-57.

UK called time with 11:23 left. Nothing changed.

Jackson stole Miller's pass inside and sped to a reverse layup.

After Hanson missed the first of a one-and-one, Mouton threw a three- quarter-court diagonal bounce pass that Jackson took in stride for a layup.

Sutton interrupted LSU's fastbreak clinic with a jumper.

Then Jackson broke free for another layup. Mouton picked off a Sutton pass and fed Jackson for an easy two.

The turnovers coming in bunches, Miller threw a pass away. This time Jackson threw the three-quarter-court diagonal bounce pass. Blanton caught in it stride and laid it in the basket.

That made it 69-59 with 9:06 left.

UK called another timeout at 9:01, but the onslaught continued.

LSU made 10 baskets off the fast-break or offensive rebounds down the stretch. Those easy baskets widened LSU's lead to as much as 97-75.

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