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Kentucky's Julius Randle (30) looks for an opening on LSU's Jordan Mickey (25) and Jarell Martin during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 77-76. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Kentucky’s Julius Randle (30) looks for an opening on LSU’s Jordan Mickey (25) and Jarell Martin during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 77-76. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

GARY B. GRAVES, AP Sports Writer

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Julius Randle scored in the lane with 3.9 seconds remaining in overtime to give No. 15 Kentucky a hard-earned 77-76 victory over LSU on Saturday.

After Andre Stringer’s jumper with 12 seconds left gave LSU a 76-75 lead, James Young’s shot on the other end was blocked. Randle was able to grab the loose ball and hit the game-winning short jumper, sparking a delirious celebration with his Wildcats teammates piling on top of him on LSU’s end of the court.

Randle’s shot provided a fitting end to a tight, tense game symbolized by the back-and-forth overtime period before Kentucky (21-6, 11-3 Southeastern Conference) made good use of its last possession for an emotional win that earned a season split with LSU (16-10, 7-7).

Randle finished with eight points and 15 rebounds for Kentucky, which got 21 points from Aaron Harrison and 20 from Young.

Johnny O’Bryant III and Anthony Hickey both had 20 points for LSU.

Kentucky once again won the rebounding battle (43-40) along with dominating the paint (50-28), but this time the Wildcats won after squandering those advantages in last month’s loss in Baton Rouge when the Tigers shot nearly 52 percent.

LSU shot just 40 percent this time, slightly worse than Kentucky’s 42 percent. The Tigers were 7 of 17 from 3-point range with Hickey making four.

And while Kentucky struggled to keep up with the physical O’Bryant — who had 12 rebounds — and Hickey, the Wildcats gave themselves chances to go ahead and eventually win by denying both players the ball at key moments.

Kentucky forced Stringer into a turnover as the seconds ran out, much to the delight of a sellout Rupp Arena crowd that endured more than its share of nervous moments.

Here’s why: the game featured 11 ties and 11 lead changes and even when either team seemed on the verge of making it a two-possession game, the momentum and score quickly swung the other way.

No. 18 KENTUCKY 77, LSU 76, OT

LSU (16-10): Hickey 8-17 0-0 20, O’Bryant III 8-25 4-5 20, Coleman 1-3 1-1 4, Martin 4-7 1-2 9, Mickey 2-9 7-8 11, Stringer 3-5 2-4 10, Hammink 0-0 0-0 0, Odo 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 27-67 15-20 76.

KENTUCKY (21-6): Young 7-17 5-9 20, Aa. Harrison 7-15 7-7 21, An. Harrison 3-13 3-4 9, Randle 3-8 2-2 8, Johnson 1-2 2-2 4, Lee 1-1 0-0 2, Polson 0-0 0-0 0, Cauley-Stein 3-5 1-2 7, Poythress 3-5 0-0 6, Hawkins 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-67 20-26 77.

Halftime_Kentucky 35-32. End Of Regulation_Tied 65. 3-Point Goals_LSU 7-17 (Hickey 4-9, Stringer 2-4, Coleman 1-2, Martin 0-2), Kentucky 1-9 (Young 1-4, Hawkins 0-1, Poythress 0-1, Aa. Harrison 0-1, An. Harrison 0-2). Fouled Out_Hickey. Rebounds_LSU 40 (O’Bryant III 12), Kentucky 43 (Randle 15). Assists_LSU 12 (Hickey 8), Kentucky 5 (An. Harrison 4). Total Fouls_LSU 20, Kentucky 15. A_24,244.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

2 Responses to No. 15 Kentucky edges LSU 77-76 in OT

  • Andy says:

    LSU is a good team but they sure have some head scratching losses. I hope they get a berth in the tournament. This was an excellent game that will only make this team better in that they found a way to win and didn’t fold.

  • Rod says:

    Agreed Andy

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