- Wednesday, November 30 1994 -
Ohio - 74 (Head Coach: Larry Hunter) - [Ranked 14th by AP]
Kentucky - 79 (Head Coach: Rick Pitino) - [Ranked 3rd by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 41, Ohio 32
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|Tennessee-Martin 124 - 50|||||UCLA 81 - 82|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 4 No. 23. (All Rights Reserved)
It surely wasn't pretty, but Kentucky gutted out a 79-74 win over a very determined and talented Ohio team which wouldn't quit. The Bobcats had been ranked 14th by AP, 15th by CNN. Kentucky had been ranked #3 by both.
Kentucky started off shooting very poorly from the floor, beginning 1-14 before settling down. Both teams appeared nervous, missing easy lay up opportunities, and turning the ball over a great deal or permitting pass deflections. The Cats were ice cold from 3 point distance as well, although this picked up as the game wore on. Kentucky came close to stellar play on several occasions, getting good penetration but throwing the ball away on the kick-out pass, nearly getting several good lobs inside to Pope, and making a handful of steals which should have resulted in baskets, but poor execution intervened early to deny scoring opportunities to the Wildcats. The defense blew hot and cold (mostly hot, but there were some breakdowns), which allowed Ohio to move out to a 17-10 early lead. Officiating seemed just as unreliable as the Cats were called for numerous bogus fouls. Gary Trent picked up 2 fouls relatively early in the half, and spent a fair amount of time on the bench.
Instead of panicking, Kentucky continued patiently with its press and allowed its shots to fall, and after shots by Epps and a 3 pointer by Rhodes, UK had its first lead at 27-25 with 3.5 minutes left in the 1st half. At this point, after starting 3-20, Kentucky had hit 6 of its last 10 shots. More outside shots by Epps and inside putbacks by Prickett allowed UK to take a 41-32 halftime lead. The Cats registered 31 1st half deflections (under Pitino's system where at least 35 are desired per game). Ohio University towards the end of the half began to get itself into a little foul trouble. Gary Trent of OU scored 12 1st half points, and Epps had 13.
Free throws by Pope and a Prickett basket allowed the Cats to move ahead 45-33 to start the second half, and it appeared that OU might be tiring even more. The lead bounced between 8 and 12 points for much of the half, with UK moving out by as much as 14, but they could not pull away from the Bobcats. The Wildcat press picked up after completed baskets, and started to bother OU. There was a lot of rough play under the OU basket between McCarty and Trent, but nothing was called either way. At one point, Prickett was pushed away from the basket by Trent, yet somehow Jared was called for the foul. Shortly after, as perhaps a makeup call, Kentucky clearly touched a ball as it went out of bounds, yet UK was given possession.
With Kentucky leading 53-42, Antoine Walker found himself guarding Gene Ford, and as he moved into a defensive stance, he slapped both palms on the Rupp Arena floor [JNB note - as if to say, "show me what you got". Note that Ford is only 5'8" on a good day.] As a response, Ford drove right around Walker, and leaned into him as he hit his shot. Walker picked up the foul, and was yanked shortly afterwards (Ford hit the free throw to make the score 53-45). Delk experienced some cramping again in his legs, but Edwards led the team effectively while Tony was out.
After Kentucky managed a 64-54 lead, its offense stagnated, and OU eventually closed to 66-65 on a 3 pointer by Reese, with about 3 minutes left in the game. Rhodes quickly scored on 1 FT and a basket to push the lead back to 69-65, whereupon Mark Pope took over the game. He hit clutch FTs to put the Cats up 71-65, then 74-67, and he dominated defensive rebounding while doing so. Kentucky made a mistake and fouled Johnson on a 3 point shot, and OU closed to 74-70. McCarty then hit 2 FTs, but OU made another 3 to close to within 76-73. Final FTs by Epps and Rhodes finished the scoring (and OU added a FT) to create the 79-74 final margin.
Trent was held to only 2 second half field goals. Jeff Sheppard looked good in this game although scoring only 2 points - he played solid defense and contributed on the press. Anthony Epps, unfortunately, did not have a single assist! Rhodes is quickly becoming the leader in that area. Kentucky's inside game is developing, but several times Wildcat centers received the ball in the lane, and make too many faking or juking moves, which allowed plenty of time for the defense to collapse (quicker shooting should be the order of the day).
Walter McCarty (#40) scores inside
Rodrick Rhodes (#12) scores inside while defended by Ohio's Jason Terry (#52)
Ohio's Gary Trent shoots over Andre Riddick