LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Third-ranked Kentucky inherited the longest current win streak in college basketball on Thursday and extended it to 14 games with a methodical 68-57 Southeastern Conference victory over Louisiana State.
Keith Bogans scored 20 points and Gerald Fitch 15 for the Wildcats, who took over the longest run in the nation after Louisville and Manhattan lost earlier this week.
Kentucky had been dominant in its recent run, taking its last eight games by an average of 17.6 points and none by less than 15 points. But the Wildcats had trouble putting away their struggling SEC rivals, who cut a 20-point deficit to five points with 36 seconds remaining.
"A game like this really humbles us a lot," Fitch said. "I think we got a little too comfortable."
Kentucky (20-3, 10-0 SEC East) put the game away with two free throws each by Erik Daniels, Fitch and Cliff Hawkins.
"This was a tough game. We convinced our players that this would be a battle and we would have to raise our intensity," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said.
Daniels had 10 rebounds and Chuck Hayes had 10 and six blocks for Kentucky, who had a 46-30 edge on the boards.
The 14-game streak is the best single-season run under sixth-year coach Smith. The Wildcats have not lost since an 81-63 setback to Louisville on December 28 and Smith realizes the Wildcats are now a marked team.
"I was worried that we might be complacent, with so much hype surrounding the game, this being our 14th in a row," Smith said. "And that hype will continue to grow. We have got to learn how to handle this prosperity. But I'm proud of the way we fought today."
Kentucky posted its 13th straight 20-win season and 38th in school history. The Wildcats are off to their best conference start since the 1995-96 team went 16-0.
Jaime Lloreda scored 18 points and Collis Temple III 13 for LSU (14-9, 3-8 West), which fell to 0-6 on the road. Ronald Dupree, LSU's leading scorer, was limited to 10 points and had just four in the first 35 minutes.
"They get into passing lanes effectively enough to cause turnovers and make a team timid," Dupree said. "They're just great at getting into passing lanes. They always seem to run their hands up and tip balls."
Kentucky has won 12 of the last 13 meetings with LSU and has not lost to the Tigers at home since 1989.
"Based on what other teams have done here in the past, our team definitely showed up," LSU coach John Brady said. "In the second half, we played well. We missed some quality shots. We were having some inconsistent play from the perimeter. In the second half, we were able to stabilize the game."
LSU moved within 34-30 on a 3-pointer by Temple with 14:40 remaining, but the Wildcats awoke with a 23-7 run that gave them a 57-37 advantage with 5:54 left. A pair of 3-pointers by Fitch sparked the run, which ended with a layup by Daniels.
"We made a lot of defensive mistakes, but we came out with a win and you can't ask for more than that," Fitch said.
The Tigers did not quit as Dupree scored the final five points of a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 57-46. LSU later cut it to 62-57 on a 3-pointer by Torris Bright with 40 seconds left, but the Wildcats scored the game's last six points.
The Wildcats shot just 32 percent in the first half, but used a 9-2 run to take a 25-17 lead with 1:25 remaining. They shot just 40 percent overall.
Two free throws by Fitch with 29 seconds left in the first half gave the Wildcats a 27-21 lead at intermission.