- Wednesday, January 21 1998 -
(at Louisville, KY)
Kentucky - 70 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 7th by AP]
Alabama - 67 (Head Coach: David Hobbs) - [Unranked]
|Terrance "Doc" Martin||8||0||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
Halftime Score: Alabama 35, Kentucky 33
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Arkansas 80 - 77 OT|||||Tennessee 85 - 67|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 21. (All Rights Reserved)
Red Elephants Refuse to Go Quietly Into the Night:
In a game that was anything but easy, UK eked out a 70-67 win over an Alabama team which had just been defeated 94-40 at Auburn. UK was 7th ranked AP for this game, which was the 1st SEC contest played in Louisville's Freedom Hall since a 1994 game against Ole Miss. Prior to this game, Alabama was last in the SEC in 3 pt shooting, but they hit an astonishing 53.8% in this game (and in many cases, made the shot despite very good defense).
When the Cats breezed to a 5-0 lead (thanks to Mohammed, Edwards, and Padgett), many in attendance may have thought another blowout was about to transpire, but Alabama scored 11 straight (on 3 3s by Bacote and an Alexander layup). A continuance of selfish (mostly 1-on-1) play by the Cats made matters worse, as fewer and fewer passes were seen by the Wildcats. Edwards made 2 FTs, but Bacote hit yet another 3 (giving him 4 before the 1st TV timeout), and Jones hit a 3 which was pretty well defended, and the Tide led 17-7. UK scored the next 6 (on a Padgett bank, an Evans dunk, and an Evans putback of a Magloire miss) to make it 17-13. [JNB note - at this point the FoxSportSouth broadcast broke down, they cut to a commercial, then rejoined the game with the Crimson Tide leading 24-15. During this time, Alabama gained its largest lead of game, at 11] UK tied the game at 24-24 thanks to consecutive scoring by Padgett (a 3), Mohammed (FTs), Evans (a tough turnaround bank), and Mohammed (a FG inside). But Williams nailed a 3 to put UA back up. Mohammed scored on a drive (a rather rare sight for the big guy), then Alexander barely beat the shot clock in making a FG. Padgett moved UK to within 29-28 on an inside shot, and Williams made 1 of 2 FT attempts. [JNB note - again here TV problems transpired, and the game was rejoined with the Tide leading by 32-30 after a pair of Mohammed FTs]. Thrasher hit a 3 (his only pts for the night), and Edwards added a FT while Mohammed made a dunk to conclude 1st half scoring at 35-33 Alabama. Mohammed actually had a successful dunk after this, which should have given the Cats a tie (Williams missed a 3 following this), but his basket was waved off by referee Rusty Herring. TV replays clearly showed the ball was not on the rim when Mohammed slammed it through.
Alexander hit a FG to start the second half, but the Cats answered with a Turner bank and a Mohammed dunk to tie the game at 37-37. But Williams made a layup - the Wildcats could not pull ahead or even stay tied for very long. Bad ballhandling by Turner allowed the Tide to steal an easy basket, and then they hit 2 successive 3s to make it 44-37 Alabama. Evans had a bank, and Padgett had a putback to pull within 47-41. Following a missed Smith 3, Padgett connected on 1 of only 2 Kentucky 3 pt shots for the night, and when Sheppard made a dunk off a lob, UK had cut the margin to 49-46 Alabama. Alexander's inside FG was countered by a pair of Padgett FTs. Next Kentucky actually cut the lead to 1, at 51-50, but Hays hit a 3 to put the Tide up 54-50. The Cats only then seemed to remember that Mohammed had been leading them in scoring, and they gave him the ball for an inside FG, and on the next possession he banked the ball to tie the game at 54-54. Williams and Padgett both missed 3s, Edwards missed, and then Jones made a layup on a 2-on-1 break to make it 56-54 UA. After a TV timeout, Sheppard tied the score at 56-56. UK got its first lead since around 2 minutes into the game when Mohammed made an inside basket (UK 58-56, with around 6 minutes left in the contest). Jones walked, and Sheppard hit a 12 footer to make it 60-56 Kentucky. UA called a timeout, but missed their next 2 tries (which included taking the ball away from Sheppard on an obvious trip which the referees chose not to call. UK Radio Network announcers said that the uncalled trip almost certainly would be reported to the SEC Officiating Office). Alexander nailed a pair of FT tosses with 4 minutes left to cut it to 60-58 UK. Padgett completed an old-fashioned 3 pt play as Hays fouled out, and the 63-58 margin was the largest lead of the game for the Cats (along with the initial 5-0 lead). But after a couple of incomplete possessions, Jones hit a 3 with 2 minutes left to give the Crimson Tide its final lead of the game at 64-63, and Mohammed soon answered with a layup. After a Jones miss, Nazr was fouled, but missed a 1 and 1 FT try. Fortunately, Mazique was called for a rebounding foul after the miss, and Sheppard made 1 of 2 FT tosses to put the Cats up 66-64 with around 1 minute left. Both schools called 20 second timeouts, then Mazique had a turnover. From this, Padgett nailed a 12 footer to make it 68-64 UK, but the Tide still wouldn't quit, hitting a 3, and Kentucky looked to protect its 1 pt lead as the shot clock was turned off. Padgett was fouled upon inbounding the ball, hit both his FTs, making it 70-67 Kentucky with 12.7 seconds left. The Cats called a 20 s timeout, then Bacote shot an airball 3 as time expired to give the University of Kentucky a perfect 6-0 record in league play.
Scott Padgett's 24 pts were a career high. Nazr Mohammed had a double double with 22 pts and 10 rebounds, and his pts scored were also a career high.
Nazr Mohammed lays the ball in over Alabama's M.C. Mazique
Allen Edwards tries to score around Alabama's Jeremy Hays (#52)
Saul Smith gets his hand in to disrupt the dribble of Alabama's Chauncey Jones