Kentucky fans took over New Orleans in LSU's back yard, but the team was not as ready. LSU took advantage of poor shooting and careless ball handling by UK to take a 12-7 lead. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went to work inside, scoring eight straight for UK. Meanwhile Anthony Hickey — Kentucky's Mr. Basketball — scored eight early points and had three steals to spark an 18-15 Tigers lead. Doron Lamb picked it up and UK led 25-24 at the half. LSU's quickness bothered UK and it opened the second half with an 11-5 run and led 35-30. Terrence Jones then outscored LSU 9-0. Kentucky never did look sharp, but Anthony Davis got into the act, and UK slowly pulled away.
■ Leading 4-2, UK went more than seven minutes with only three free throws.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
■ On fast-break points, LSU outscored UK 14-2.
■ UK made 31.8 percent of its shots in the first half and scored a season-low 25 points. LSU made 25 percent and led most of the half.
■ Davis, Marquis Teague and Darius Miller combined for no field goals and two points in the first half.
■ No wonder it was close. LSU took 26 more shots than UK.
■ UK was 1-for-8 on three-pointers.
■ There were 10 lead changes and eight ties.
■ Jones answered big when UK fell behind 35-30. He turned this one around by himself.
■ You can always count on Kidd-Gilchrist to come to play.
■ Kentuckian Hickey gave Kentucky fits.
■ UK was careless with the ball. Maybe it was first-tournament-game jitters, but this kind of sloppiness could knock UK out of the Big Dance.
■ Darius Miller — last year's SEC tourney MVP — struggled all day.
■ John Calipari says you never know how a young team will react once tournament play starts. He has to hope this was not a sign.
■ UK will not win a national title without better play from Teague.