Chris Jackson scored 28 points to lead No. 14 LSU, but a play involving Jackson ended in the coaches almost coming to blows.
With 4:48 left in the first half, Kentucky's Jeff Brassow shoved Jackson, and Jackson retaliated with a forearm to the chin.
Teammates separated the two, but not before Pitino and Brown went to the scorers' table to complain to officials. The coaches exchanged words. Pitino charged Brown and had to be restrained by an official.
Brown prepared to hit Pitino, but assistant coach Craig Carse wrapped his arms around Brown and hustled him away.
Jackson and Brassow were charged with intentional fouls.
Pitino said Brown shook his fist in a Kentucky player's face, then in his. Brown, however, said he believes Pitino staged the scene.
"I think he was just trying to motivate his team," Brown said.
Pitino said: "I'm not going to tolerate anyone making a fist in one of my players' face. And then he got in my face with a fist."
LSU played a diamond-and-one defense, putting Randy Devall on Derrick Miller, Kentucky's leading scorer. Miller, averaging 10 three-point shots, finished with seven points.
LSU is 10-2, 3-1 in conference play. Kentucky is 6-8, 2-3.