- Sunday, February 8 1998 -
Kentucky - 79 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 8th by AP]
Villanova - 63 (Head Coach: Steve Lappas) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 40, Villanova 34
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|Louisiana State 63 - 61|||||Tennessee 80 - 74|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 23. (All Rights Reserved)
Wildcats Versus Wildcats - the Wildcats Win:
Kentucky blasted the pseudo- Wildcats of Villanova 79-63 in Philadelphia, in a made-for-TV game broadcast by CBS. Kentucky was 8th ranked by AP when the game was played.
CBS joined the game in progress, with the score tied 5-5. Prior to the television coverage, Scott Padgett had experienced a hip injury that would limit him to only 3 ineffective minutes of playing time, and Cameron Mills didn't play at all due to a back injury aggravated by the LSU game (Mills hadn't practiced since the LSU contest). Brown hit a FT, then Magloire made a basket, and Medley had a steal and dunk to make it 9-8 UK. Anthony hit Sheppard for a layup, but Lynch hit a backdoor shot. Anthony made a nice move for a basket, then Anthony Nailed a 3 to make it 16-10 Kentucky by the next TV timeout. Next, Sheppard got a steal and a dunk, Medley nailed a 3, Sheppard hit Bradley for a nice layup, and Penn hit a pair of FTs to make it 20-15 at the following TV timeout. Sheppard hit a 3, Mohammed made a gorgeous spin move on the baseline, and the Cats led 25-15 as another TV timeout came and went. Padgett was reinserted briefly, but Brown blew past him for a layup, and shortly afterwards Scott was taken out of the game permanently. Evans nailed 2 FT tosses, Brown hit a 3, and Anthony got an assist for a Mohammed inside move to make it 29-20 UK. Medley heaved up a brick attempt at a 3, but Allen had a putback basket and Mohammed fouled him. He missed the FT, then Evans put back a Mohammed miss to make it 31-22. Celestand had a layup on a 4-on-1 drive, and Mohammed hit a dunk during which he held the rim down before his shot went through (and thus could have been called for basket interference). CBS commentator Billy Packer harped on and on about how it could have been a technical foul as well, since no one was under Mohammed (Bigus was right next to him, however, and Mohammed could have justifiably feared contact. Plenty of dunks in many other games this season have had equally bad rim touchings without resulting in technical fouls, which Packer knows full well). Further, Evans did walk while making the assist to Mohammed, but walks were missed both ways by these refs. The Cats led 32-24 at this pt. Smith hit a guarded long 2 (he probably meant to shoot a 3) to give the Cats their longest lead of the half at 35-24), Bigus hit a turnaround shot, Evans was called for a 3 second violation, and Brown hit a long 2 to make it 35-29 UK. Penn hit a shot which bounced up before going in, Sheppard made 1 of 2 FT attempts, Bigus connected on an inside move, and it was 37-22 at the next commercial break. In a mad scramble near the end of the half, Turner missed a shot as he was fouled but no call was made, Villanova stole the ball, UK stole it back, and Sheppard at the buzzer nailed a 30 ft 3 pt shot to make it 40-32 at halftime. The Villanova Wildcat had experienced 12 turnovers by halftime, and Jeff Sheppard led Kentucky in scoring with 11 at the break.
Evans started during the 2nd half as a replacement for Scott Padgett. Mohammed put back an Evans miss, Turner rolled in a shot, and Evans drove past the defense to give Kentucky a comfortable 46-32 lead, causing Villanova to call a 20 second TO. Villanova went on a 7-0 spurt after this, thanks to a Brown 3, a Brown dunk, and a Bigus hook. Edwards hit Evans for a layup, Evans nailed a 3, and Edwards made a basket and was fouled (but missed the FT) for UK's own 7-0 counterrun, to make it 52-39 Kentucky. Then Bigus made 1 FT, Mohammed had a dunk, Evans put back a Turner missed 3, and Celestand made a 3 to make it 57-43 at the next TV timeout. Mohammed countered with a hook, then a very sloppy series commenced. Each side missed 3 FG tries and FT attempts before Penn made 2 FTs. After this Evans made a FT and Sheppard made a layup, to give UK a 62-45 lead which would be their largest of the game (also reached once later in the contest). Minutes later, the officials said Evans was fouled, although replays showed a jump ball situation, and he made only 1 of 2 charity tosses. Medley had a layup, Turner hit a long 2, Allen made 1 FT, Sheppard hit a jumper, Celestand banked in a shot, and Caouette made a 3. He later hit 1 FT and Medley made a layup off a Smith turnover to close to 66-56 UK. After this Smith hit 2 FTs, Mohammed was called for offensive goaltending, Sheppard hit 1 FT, and Evans hit 1 FT to make it 70-56 Kentucky. Mohammed had his shot blocked, but Smith followed with a 6 footer, and Medley hit a long 3, then called timeout with Kentucky ahead 72-59. Upon resumption Lynch fouled Smith hard (he made both FT shots), Mohammed also made a pair and it was 76-59 Kentucky. Celestand banked in a shot, Sheppard slammed a dunk past the defense, Brown hit a pretty reverse, and Mohammed made 1 FT to complete the scoring and give UK a 79-63 victory.