LEXINGTON, Ky. – Wenyen Gabriel scored a career-high 23 points, Malik Monk also had 23 and No. 15 Kentucky withstood a late LSU rally for a 92-85 victory Tuesday night.
The Wildcats (19-5, 9-2 Southeastern Conference) won for just the second time in five games and had to withstand the Tigers’ late rally that got them within 91-85 with 14 seconds remaining. Monk’s free throw with 8 seconds left sealed a win that followed Kentucky’s 22-point loss at No. 17 Florida on Saturday.
Gabriel provided the initial offensive boost and finished 7 of 11 from the field including three 3-pointers to beat his previous career best of 15. He also grabbed eight rebounds, including three offensive, as Kentucky controlled the boards 40-26.
Monk bounced back from an 11-point outing to make 8 of 15 from the field with four 3s. De’Aaron Fox had 16 points and Isaiah Briscoe 14 for Kentucky.
Antonio Blakeney had a season-high 31 points and Brandon Sampson added 17 for the Tigers (9-14, 1-10), who have lost 10 straight for the first time since 2011.
LSU: The Tigers made several runs at the Wildcats thanks to Blakeney and Sampson, including one furious charge late when the game seemed in hand for Kentucky. But they didn’t get scoring help elsewhere and the Tigers were no match on the glass against Kentucky, allowing 14 offensive rebounds alone.
Kentucky: The so-called “reboot” coach John Calipari hinted at during Monday night’s radio show will be a work in progress for the Wildcats. They committed just four turnovers and outrebounded the Tigers 24-15 through 20 minutes before recent bad habits resurfaced to allow several leads to dwindle.
LSU: Hosts Arkansas on Saturday night, seeking its third series win in four meetings.
Kentucky: Visits Alabama on Saturday. The Wildcats have won the last six against the Crimson Tide.