When Storm Warren's alley-oop jam lifted a raucous crowd to its feet and brought LSU within a point of Kentucky late in the first half, it looked as though the Tigers might give the top-ranked Wildcats a tough road test.
How quickly things changed after that.
Fans were still standing and howling when Kentucky's Marquis Teague calmly answered with a 3. Darius Miller added another 3 soon after as the Wildcats closed the half on a 10-2 run on their way to a dominant 74-50 victory over the struggling Tigers.
"They beat us every which way," LSU coach Trent Johnson said. "That is a pretty good basketball team. ... The only thing that is disturbing to me is — forget the score — during the course of the second half, we just stopped fighting and competing. That is the first time this season that I have seen that from this group."
Kentucky's Terrence Jones highlighted a season-high 27-point performance with a 13-0 run on his own, scoring the last four points of the first half and the first nine of the second as Kentucky pulled away for good.
"It just happened to be my game," said Jones, who hit 10 of 16 shots overall and seven of eight free throws to go with nine rebounds.
"Different games, guys stepped up and had runs and played real well for us, and I just think today it was my turn."
Anthony Davis finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds despite briefly leaving the game when he hurt his right shoulder in a scramble for a loose ball. Miller added 13 points, including three 3-pointers for Kentucky (21-1 7-0 Southeastern), which has won 13 straight.
Johnny O'Bryant III had 12 points and nine rebounds for LSU (12-9, 2-5), which has lost five of six.
Warren added 11 points for the Tigers.
"We were looking forward to (playing Kentucky) and were hoping it would be a lot closer game," Warren said. "For it to turn out this way, it is pretty devastating for us."
The Wildcats outrebounded the Tigers 39-29, and outshot LSU 47 percent to 40 percent. Kentucky was 7 of 15 from 3-point range, while LSU was 1 of 9.
"You can say this was a bad day at the office, but obviously I was disturbed that we stopped competing for whatever reason," Johnson said. "I don't know if that would have changed the score, but I would have a better feeling" about the game.
Jones came in averaging 11.6 points this season and had not been as consistently productive as Kentucky had hoped since he missed two games with a dislocated left pinky in late December. In his previous outing at Georgia, he scored five points.
Against LSU, he said he sought "to play with the mentality I was playing with before I got hurt and just to be more aggressive."
He scored the last four points of the first half, giving him 10 at that stage. Then he helped Kentucky break the game open by scoring the first nine of the second half on two dunks, a fast-break layup and another basket inside as he was fouled.
His last of 13 straight points in the game gave Kentucky a 44-26 lead. A few minutes later, Jones made his ninth field goal in 11 shots on a short jumper in the lane that gave him 21 points and put the Wildcats up 51-30.
LSU's frustration began to show when Malcolm White prevented a fast-break layup by grabbing Davis from behind by the shoulders and pulling him down. White was ejected for a flagrant foul.
Davis was down momentarily but got back up and kept playing.
LSU missed its first five shots and 11 of its first 15.
Davis went down hard on his back during a scramble for a loose ball in the first half and remained down after the play before getting up grimacing and holding his right shoulder.
While Davis was out of the game, LSU went on an 8-1 run capped when Warren finished a fast break by taking a lob from Anthony Hickey to cut Kentucky's lead to 25-24, only to watch the Wildcats take over.
"That's probably the best we've played all year," Calipari said. "That's as good as we can play. We beat anybody playing this way."