Kentucky defeats LSU 79-76 in Baton Rouge


Kentucky sophomore guard Ashton Hagans celebrates a Nate Sestina three pointer during the UK vs. Vanderbilt University men’s basketball game on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 71-62. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

The No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats traveled to Baton Rouge, La. to take on the LSU Tigers Tuesday night, earning their fifth consecutive win after a 79-76 victory in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, improving UK’s record to 21-5 overall and 11-2 in the Southeastern Conference. Here are the most important takeaways from the Cats win: 

Ashton Hagans suffers injury

With 7:16 to go as Kentucky led by seven, UK sophomore guard Hagans dove for a loose ball, came up and was in some pretty clear pain. He was helped off to the locker room and not long after, Kentucky basketball tweeted out an update saying Hagans had suffered a left thigh contusion and would not return. 

Before his injury, Hagans had 11 points on 4-of-8 field goal shooting and two made threes, four assists, three rebounds, three turnovers and a block.  Six of his points came in the second half as he went perfect from the field and from the three, and went 1-of-2 from the free throw line.

Kentucky also had an injury scare with forward Nick Richards, who appeared to roll his ankle on the basketball after a slam dunk. He was assisted off the court, but quickly returned to the game. Richards finished with 13 points, six rebounds and six blocks. 

Nate Sestina reaches 1,000

It was a long time coming, but graduate transfer from Bucknell Nate Sestina reached a milestone against the Tigers. A layup in the first half gave the forward 1,000 career points—he needed just one point heading into the game to reach the accomplishment. The Emporium, Pa. product went on to play his best game since he dropped 17 against Ohio State, going a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the three-point arc in the second half alone. He finished with 11 points and added a team-high eight rebounds, an assist, a block, and a steal with three turnovers. If you’re into analytics, Sestina was +15 against LSU, also a team-high.

Immanuel Quickley continues to shine

For the 15th straight game, the sophomore guard scored in double figures, this time finishing with 21 points for the Cats in Baton Rouge, making it the sixth time in that stretch that the guard has scored 20 or more points. Quickley, who is averaging 18 points over the last 15 games, went 7-for-12 from the field, 5-of-6 from the free throw line and reached career highs in both steals and assists with six and three, respectively.  

The Cats will return to the floor on Saturday, Feb. 22 in Lexington against the Florida Gators.