- Tuesday, January 6 1998 -
Kentucky - 90 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 6th by AP]
Georgia - 79 (Head Coach: Ron Jirsa) - [Unranked]
|G.G. Smith (*)||36||3||9||2||4||0||0||4||1||4||2||0||1||8|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 35, Georgia 26
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Vanderbilt 71 - 62|||||Mississippi State 77 - 71|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 18. (All Rights Reserved)
The "Jirsa Joint" Is No Tub:
Kentucky cruised to a relatively easy 90-79 victory over Georgia, in Coach Tubby Smith's 1st return to his former stomping grounds in Athens. The Wildcats were ranked 6th by AP in this ESPN televised game. According to the NCAA and ESPN, this was the 1st occasion where a Division I men's basketball coach coached a game with 1 son on his team and another on the opposing side. Kentucky never trailed in the contest.
The Wildcats controlled the opening tip, but both sides missed their initial 3 pt shot attempts. Finally Sheppard hit a long 3, and Turner followed with a drive to give the Cats a 5-0 lead. This grew to 9-1 after a Mohammed dunk and a pair of Sheppard FTs. Georgia called a timeout, even though they were only 11 seconds away from a scheduled TV timeout (which did not actually occur until several minutes later, due to no opportunities for stoppages). But a GG Smith 3 and a Chadwick 3 were sandwiched around a Mohammed putback of an Evans miss, and the Dogs had closed to 11-10. UK then maintained a 1-3 pt edge for the next several minutes, until Saul Smith hit a big 3 to make it 18-14 UK. Georgia's Ransom had a putback, then Sheppard hit a long 2 to make it 20-16. Turner later drove to give Kentucky a 24-18 edge, which grew to 28-20 after a Mohammed 12 ft bank shot, and the Cats were clearly in control. Again, Georgia chose to call a timeout rather than wait 11 more seconds for the TV version (several times during the game, because of this, pairs of timeouts were called only a few seconds apart, slowing the game considerably). Nordin hit a hook, Turner drove for a layup, Nordin hit a FG inside, and Mohammed had a putback to make it UK 32-24. Ransom ended the 1st half scoring for the Dogs by hitting a bank shot, then with time expiring, Saul Smith hit a rally-killing 3 to make it 35-26 at the break. The Cats were 48% from the floor in the half (compared to Georgia's 36%), and they held a 20-14 rebounding edge on their opponents. UK's defense was sterling, particularly since the Bulldogs' leading scorers (Ray Harrison and Jumaine Jones) who normally average 28 ppg combined were held without a single pt for the 1st half.
Padgett hit a 3 to start the 2nd half, then Georgia scored the next 5 pts before Mohammed had a dunk to make it 40-33. Magloire fouled underneath, negating a UK 3 pointer [JNB note - Magloire's play to me has been rather too aggressive, sometimes almost recklessly so. He has been guilty of several unnecessary pushing and other overly physical fouls recently]. Turner hit Edwards for a layup to go up 42-33 before another TV timeout. Georgia returned from the timeout and allowed the shot clock to expire (no 1 on their team seemed remotely aware of the clock situation). A small Bulldog rally cut the lead to 44-37, but Turner hit a FT and later made a 16 footer to put Kentucky up 47-39. Dukes had an easy layup following a lucky bounce of the ball for Georgia, and UK led 47-41 at the start of yet another TV timeout. The Cats were guilty of a 3 second violation after this, but Edwards hit a pair of 3s (1 of which bounced high before falling through) to give UK a comfortable 53-41 advantage, and it appeared all over but the shouting. With around 9 minutes remaining, the score was 53-43, and UK would score another 37 pts in the final 9 minutes of the contest, due largely to repeated Georgia fouling. Hall got open for a dunk, then Turner made 1 FT, then Magloire was fouled by Hall while going up for a shot. Magloire and Hall exchanged words under the basket, and the refs whistled a double technical on them. This fouled Hall out of the game, and Jamaal made both of his FTs to put the Cats up 56-45. UK got the ball according to the possession arrow. Minutes later Evans had a 3 to make it 61-46, but Harrison FT tosses and a Ransom dunk closed it to 61-50. Evans hit Edwards for an easy layup, and Mohammed made a layup to go up 66-50. Chadwick scored the next 6 pts for the Dogs (sandwiched around a pair of Edwards FTs) and Georgia had cut the lead to 68-58, but Kentucky, although somewhat sloppy, never panicked. Evans made 2 FTs, then Turner did the same, and it was 72-58. Edwards made 1 of 2 FTs to make it 73-61. At this pt ESPN's Brad Nessler erroneously stated that Kentucky's Tubby Smith was the highest paid SEC coach in either football or basketball (he'd forgotten that within 1 week of the announcement of Tubby's salary, Florida gave their football Coach Steve Spurrier a raise which boosted him well over Tubby's level). Both sides exchanged FTs for the next several minutes, without affecting the margin significantly. Hansom finally made an 8 footer, cutting the UK lead to 76-67, but after Turner and Edwards FGs, the score stood at 80-69 UK. Both sides evenly exchanged FTs and FGs in the final minutes (with Edwards obtaining a career high in pts scored) as Kentucky cruised to a 90-79 victory, their 9th straight game over the Bulldogs.
The Jones/Harrison top scoring combo for the Dogs, which had been averaging 28 pts per contest together, managed only 19 for this game (and 17 of those were Harrison's 2nd half pts). Allen Edwards' 19 pts (a career high) all came in the 2nd half. Wayne Turner's 20 pts were also his career high.
Wayne Turner (#5) drives by Georgia's G.G. Smith
New UK Coach Tubby Smith signs an autograph for a Georgia fan during his return to Athens