- Tuesday, January 13 1998 -
South Carolina - 70 (Head Coach: Eddie Fogler) - [Ranked 14th by AP]
Kentucky - 91 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 6th by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 43, South Carolina 30
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Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 19. (All Rights Reserved)
Back and Forth, Back and Forth:The University of Kentucky became the 1st college basketball team to acquire 1700 all-time victories as they defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 91-70 in an ESPN nationally televised game. Kentucky was ranked #6, USC #14 by AP when the game was played. South Carolina staged a couple of strong rallies, but each time the Wildcats met the challenge.
South Carolina's only lead in the game came with their initial basket (by Stack) for a 2-0 margin. Padgett quickly hit a long 2 to tie, then the Cats galloped to a 7-2 lead thanks to a long Turner FG and a long 3 by Edwards. Gallman made an old-fashioned 3 to close to 7-5 UK, but then the Cats scored the next 10 straight (on a Turner 3, a Sheppard 3, a Turner 18 footer, and a Padgett layup on a 4-on-1 break). But just before the 1st TV timeout, with the Cats leading 17-5, Jeff Sheppard fouled USC's McKie. A replay clearly showed that while falling down, McKie held on to Sheppard to bring him down (which doesn't make Sheppard's earlier contact any less a foul). Sheppard protested too strongly to the ref, who added to Sheppard's woes by whistling a technical on him (Sheppard was held out the remainder of the half, having picked up 2 quick fouls). Afterwards, Sheppard said he was not vulgar to the official, but he acknowledged that he got "in his face" and deserved the T. At any rate, McKie made both FTs, and the Gamecocks began to shift the momentum slightly back to their team. Leron Williams hit a tough leaner, Davis hit a 12 footer on a slashing drive, Davis hit a 3, and Watson hit a driving shot to close to within 17-16. Magloire continued his outside shooting ways of late by connecting on an 8 footer, but Davis hit a super high arching shot to make it 19-18. Mills nailed a 3, but McKie made a FG just as time expired to make it 22-20 UK. Evans and Gallman made single FT tosses, then Mohammed had a putback of an Evans miss to make it 25-21. Nazr added a quick 7 footer, Edwards was fouled on a 3 (and made all his FTs), Turner hit a pair of FTs, and Evans hit a 3 before USC scored again (Watson hit on a drive) to make it 35-23 Kentucky. Evans and Stack traded 3s, then Turner hit Evans for a dunk past the defense for UK to go up 40-26. USC closed somewhat when Watson and McKie hit baskets, but Smith came in, and just has he has done in past games, he quickly launched a 3 to make it 43-30 UK. Neither team could score after this, and the halftime score remained 43-30. Kentucky had only 3 1st half turnovers, and had hit on 7 of 11 3 pt attempts for the half. South Carolina had no steals in the 1st 20 minutes, compared to 5 for Kentucky. UK hit 50% of their FGs in the 1st half (after starting off 7 for 7 before a Mohammed miss).
Watson opened the 2nd half with a reverse layup, but Sheppard (who appeared pumped after having missed most of the 1st half) hit a 3. Next he added an 18 footer, and after McKie nailed a 3, Jeff hit another 18 footer. Mohammed kicked in a 10 ft hook, and the score stood at 52-35 Kentucky. A few minutes later, McKie hit Davis for a lob dunk, but the Cats returned the favor as Mohammed connected on a lob layup to make the score 56-38 UK. Then Turner nailed another 3, and Davis made a 14 footer. UK led 58-42 at the next TV timeout. After this, Magloire hit a hook, Stack and Davis made single FTs, Evans hit a single FT, and Sheppard hit yet another 3 to give the Cats a 66-46 lead. McKie made an old-fashioned 3, and Smith made his 2nd 3 pt shot with about 7 minutes left in the game. McKie hit a very long 3, then a pair of FTs, and the Gamecocks began to rally a bit. McKie, Williams, and Watson combined to cut the Cat lead to 74-61, after Sheppard gave the Cats their largest lead of the night following a 3 pointer to make the score 72-49 UK. The Cats worked hard on 3 pt defense (in which they are the bottom ranked team SEC stats) to prevent a Carolina comeback, and they were successful. When Turner and Watson scrambled to the floor for a loose ball, and Turner bounced it off Watson for a Kentucky possession, USC Coach Eddie Fogler (who was within inches of the players rolling on the floor) became so angry he slammed the ball hard on the floor, picking up a technical foul. Seconds later he cooled off and began to smile, and even played to the crowd and signaled a T on himself [JNB note - for which he could very easily have been assessed a 2nd technical and been ejected. Coaches and players are expressly forbidden by NCAA rules to taunt the crowd, for any reason. The refs messed up here by not calling the 2nd T. The UK crowd behind the USC bench went ballistic with rage after Fogler did this] Padgett hit both FT tosses. USC closed for the last time to within 12 after a Stack putback of a Watson miss, but Edward FTs, a Padgett 3, and a Turner layup on a 3-on-1 break made it 87-66. UK substituted liberally at this pt, and Masiello got an assist when he passed to a breaking Smith for a layup. Gallman had a final layup for South Carolina, then Hogan hit a long 2 (which was initially signaled a 3, but 1 of the refs correctly saw that Hogan did in fact touch the line). The final score of 91-70 Kentucky represented the Cats' 1700th all-time win.
UK now stands at 1700-527-1 for an all-time winning percentage of 76.5%. Kentucky's 12 3 pt baskets represent a team high this season. Allen Edwards' 12 assists doubled his previous career high. The Cats placed 5 men in double figure scoring. Edwards' effort is all the more remarkable because he said after the game he is still experiencing back pain, to which he attributed his tendency to look for the pass and an assist rather than trying too many shots. The 25 assists dished out by the Cats was a season high, and the 7 turnovers was a season low. UK maintained its trend of outrebounding every opponent so far this season, although against USC the edge was a mere 35-33.
South Carolina's Antonio Grant drives past Allen Edwards (#3)
Wayne Turner (#5) makes a move to get by USC's Melvin Watson