WATCH: When LSU Tigers Sophomore Shaquille O’Neal Destroyed Kentucky Wildcats

Published 05/16/2021, 5:00 PM EDT

Follow Us

via Getty

Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal is regarded as one of the most dominant players in NBA history. There were very few players who could stop him, especially during his Laker days. But Shaq’s dominance started way before, right from when he played NCAA basketball for the LSU Tigers.

In his first season, Shaq was not the first-choice scorer as he played behind Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. But when he got the keys to their offense in his sophomore season, he tore defenses apart. In his second season with the Tigers, he averaged 27.6 points, 14.7 rebounds, and a ridiculous five blocks per game.

His best performance from that season came on February 5, 1991, against the Kentucky Wildcats. The Tigers played hosts at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and were on a two-game losing streak. They had lost against the Wildcats at the Rupp Arena, so they were eager for revenge this time.


Article continues below this ad

In the previous loss, Shaq had had an outstanding game, but he faced a lack of support from his teammates. However, this time, he was ready for revenge.

There was no stopping Shaquille O’Neal at his monstrous best

After arriving into the game with previous losses in mind, Shaq was ready to unleash carnage on the Wildcats defenders right from the tip-off. In the first half, the game was still competitive, with LSU having a slender four-point lead.


Article continues below this ad

In the second half, Shaq put the game to bed. His heroics helped the Tigers thrash the Wildcats 107-88 in an emphatic 19 point win. Shaq dominated the paint and left the Wildcats defense helpless. He finished with a then-career-high of 33 points and 16 rebounds while scoring an incredibly efficient 14-17 from the field. He was also a defensive monster as he recorded seven blocks in that game.


Get instantly notified of the hottest stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

Shaq annihilated the Wildcats on both ends to help his Tigers beat the 10th best team in the country. During the post-game interview, Wildcats’ Jamal Mashburn revealed they had planned to counter Shaq, but it all failed. “Our game plan was to get him in foul trouble, but he had a career night,” Mashburn said.


Article continues below this ad

O’Neal finished that season as the National Player of the Year and had other personal accolades too. He played another season at Louisiana before he declared for the NBA to continue his dominant career.

NBA Basketball News: ‘Had Some Tough Battles’ – Shaquille O’Neal Reveals Patrick Ewing Was His Favorite NBA Player


Written by:

Aaron Mathew


One take at a time

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.
Show More>