- Wednesday, March 3 1993 -
Kentucky - 98 (Head Coach: Rick Pitino) - [Ranked 5th by AP]
Mississippi - 66 (Head Coach: Rob Evans) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 49, Mississippi 32
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Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 2 No. 31. (All Rights Reserved)
Return of Glory:
Kentucky returned to its big winning ways last night (it helped to be playing the worst team in the conference, even if it was on the road) in defeating Ole Miss 98-66. The final score truly should have been 100-66, as Roderick Rhodes hit a last second shot, but after indicating it was good, then waving it off, and then reversing themselves five times, the refs came into each team's locker room to tell them that the final was 98-66 [JNB note - the game was not televised in Atlanta, and so I followed it on WHAS. Going solely by the description from the announcers, it seemed that the shot was well before the final horn. Also, regrettably, because I was interrupted by a couple of phone calls during the second half, I don't have quite as much information on the game as I usually do. So sorry...]
A sellout crowd was achieved at Tad Smith Coliseum, although only 6355 fans attended. According to WHAS radio commentators, about half the crowd appeared to be Kentucky fans who had driven down from the western part of the Commonwealth. This game is frequently their only chance to see the Cats play, since tickets to Rupp are hard to come by. They certainly contributed their fair share of noise.
Ole Miss went out to a lead of 5-2, but when Roderick Rhodes came off the bench, he sparked the Wildcats to a 12-0 spurt and the Kentuckians never looked back. UK lept out to a 14-7 lead. Rodney Dent had a shot blocked by the 7'1" center David Dean, and it seemed to make Rodney mad, because he played very aggressively afterwards, scoring well and grabbing several rebounds. Ole Miss closed it a little, to be down 19-18, but from that point on, Kentucky sailed. Dale Brown missed his first 5 three point shots, but made his next 3 threes. Dale played backup point for Travis Ford - apparently Chris Harrison was slightly injured during a practice on Tuesday, when he strained some ligaments. Harrison did not make the trip - no word yet on his condition [JNB note - your man on the scene, Wes Morgan, reported that Harrison's condition was not thought to require surgery.]
UK's lead varied from 5 to 9 points for much of the first half, until another spurt from nice drives by Jared Prickett (who is playing real well here at the end of the year) and slams by Andre Riddick boosted the Cats to a 15 point lead, which grew to 17, then 19 points. Ole Miss's Kevin Watkins had 18 points in the first half, but he didn't have enough support from the rest of the team to stop the UK offense.
Special mention will have to be made of a rather unique event. Andre Riddick (are you sitting down?) hit *3* (that's T-H-R-E-E) free throws in a row!!! The first was on an old-fashioned three point play, and the other two were from a foul. Will wonder's never cease (the cheering from the Kentucky bench and UK fans can well be imagined)? In addition, Riddick had a goodly number of blocks in the game. Even Aminu Timberlake saw some action in the first half.
By the half, UK led 47-28. It was more of the same in the second half, with Ole Miss unable to withstand the Kentucky press, and not terribly efficient offensively. UK experienced rather a larger number of walking calls against it than is usual, but other than that, they played well on both ends of the floor. Crowd favorite Todd Svoboda saw limited action as well.
Ole Miss got as close as 12 points in the second half, but UK finally edged out to a 30+ point margin, and it was all over but the shouting. Kentucky's bench players saw a good amount of playing time and they did very well.
Riddick was officially credited with 6 blocks in this game, and UK only had 14 turnovers, and made 12 steals. Although the UK opponent was not of the highest caliber, the large margin of victory had to be a confidence builder for the Cats as they move towards SEC tournament time. An ESPN clip of the game showed the Cats cheering fiercely from the bench on big plays, so it looks like they are getting excited about their play (Pitino in his post-game radio show said he was trying especially hard to get the players to feel particularly good about themselves, their abilities, and their achievements).
The game saw the return of an ex-Wildcat. Sean Sutton is now a graduate assistant at Ole Miss under Rob Evans.
The line score for the game which appeared in the Atlanta papers was truly pathetic - they had the player's lines appearing in random order, and they misspelled Svoboda's and Prickett's names.
Rodney Dent (#12) dunks the ball as Rodrick Rhodes (#12) looks on