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No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats eke past LSU Tigers 60-51 at SEC tournament

Johnny O’Bryant goes up for a shot for LSU, which trails No. 1 Kentucky just 49-45 with 6:32 left in the game before faltering.

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Johnny O’Bryant goes up for a shot for LSU, which trails No. 1 Kentucky just 49-45 with 6:32 left in the game before faltering.

NEW ORLEANS — Terrence Jones had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 19 points and nine rebounds to lead Kentucky to a 60-51 win over LSU in Friday's opening SEC quarterfinal.

Kentucky is 17-0 in games against conference opponents this season.

"Hats off to (coach Trent Johnson) and LSU," Wildcats coach John Calipari said. "I thought they had a great game plan, played physical, did what they had to do to give them a chance to win.

"It was a two-bucket game with probably five minutes to go, and they had a chance. And that's all you're asking for as a coach. And I thought his kids played extremely hard for having played (Thursday) and never really stopped playing."

Guard Doron Lamb credited the Tigers with turning up the intensity, adding the Wildcats, perhaps, should have anticipated that given they would hardly be guaranteed a postseason tournament berth if they lost.

"It might be their last game of the season. And they just came out with a fight and were hungry," Lamb said. "They punched us in the face in the first half. And in the second half, we fought back and pulled out the win."

LSU (18-14) trailed 25-24 at halftime after leading by five midway through. It pulled to within 49-45 on a fastbreak basket by Andre Stringer with 6:32 remaining. But Kentucky (31-1), whose 18 turnovers were double its season average, outscored LSU 11-6 down the stretch.

Johnson said Jones was key to Kentucky's victory.

"If he's going to play like that, they might as well crown them (national champions) now," he said, "because it's going to take a really, really good basketball team on a good day to beat this group."

Stringer scored 11 for the Tigers, who might have had a real chance to pull off the upset if they could have shot better than 29.4 percent (20-of-68).

Storm Warren scored 14 for LSU, which came in as a 17-point underdog after beating Arkansas in Thursday's opening round.

"I didn't want my season to end," Warren said. "I just pretty much came out and laid it on the line."

Ole miss 77, Tennessee 72 OT: Terrance Henry scored 19 and Jarvis Summers 17 for the Rebels in a matchup of teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Mississippi (20-12) reached the semifinals for the first time since 2007. The No. 2 seed Vols (18-14) shot just 28.1 percent (18-of-64) from the field. But Skylar McBee banked in a 3 with 2.1 seconds left for them to force overtime. The Rebels went ahead 70-63 in overtime on Murphy Holloway's putback. But Tennessee pulled within 74-72 on two free throws by Jarnell Stokes. Henry closed the game by making two free throws with 11 seconds left.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Round 1 Quarterfinals Semifinals Final Semifinals Quarterfinals Round 1
Thursday Friday Today Sunday Today Friday Thursday
1 Kentucky 60 2 Tenn. 72
8 LSU 70 1 Kentucky 7 Ole Miss OT 7 Ole Miss 68
8 LSU 51 7 Ole Miss 77
9 Ark. 54 10 Auburn 54
1, Ch. 28 1, Ch. 28 3:30, Ch. 28
5 'Bama 63 6 Miss. St. 61
5 'Bama 63 11 Georgia
12 S.C. 57 4 Florida Late 11 Georgia 71
4 Florida 66 3 Vanderbilt

No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats eke past LSU Tigers 60-51 at SEC tournament 03/09/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 10, 2012 6:05pm]
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