- Sunday, February 22 1998 -
Georgia - 74 (Head Coach: Ron Jirsa) - [Unranked]
|G.G. Smith (*)||38||4||11||3||6||8||9||4||0||3||2||0||1||19|
Kentucky - 85 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 8th by AP]
Halftime Score: Georgia 43, Kentucky 36
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Florida 79 - 54|||||Auburn 83 - 58|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 25. (All Rights Reserved)
Kentucky defeated a determined Georgia Bulldog team 85-74 in Rupp Arena, as UK honored its 3 seniors, guards Jeff Sheppard, Cameron Mills, and forward Allen Edwards. UK was 8th ranked by AP for this contest. The Wildcats struggled a bit for the 1st 30 minutes, but by the middle of the 2nd half they spurted ahead and never looked back. As promised, the 3 seniors started this game, reviving an old UK tradition (see Quotable Quotes section below).
Georgia raced out to a 4-0 lead, then a 7-2 edge (on a Chadwick bank, a Jones 12 footer, and a Harrison 3, all of which countered a Mohammed layup). Sheppard knocked down a 3 to close to within 7-5, only to see Georgia's Jones get a dunk past a slow defense. Edwards took a 3 he didn't appear to really want as the shot clock wound down, and made it to cut the margin to 9-8 Georgia. Both Jones and Sheppard missed shots on the next possession, then Jones walked for a turnover. Edwards missed a 3, but Turner stole the ball after this and Kentucky was up 11-9 when Wayne hit a 3. Mohammed extended the lead to 13-9 when he put back a Sheppard miss, which was where the score stood at the 1st TV timeout. Saul Smith was inserted at this pt, and it soon became clear that he could not handle the defensive duties of guarding his brother. Chadwick and Saul Smith both walked, Edwards made a very difficult layup while surrounded by 3 defenders and was fouled, but missed his FT attempt. Brown (a football player for the Bulldogs, who was to have an excellent day) hit on a hook, then G.G. Smith forced a 5 second call on Saul, and G.G. made a layup to cut the Kentucky margin to 15-13. Sheppard hit Padgett for an easy layup, then Jones made a layup despite good UK defense. Mohammed missed an inside shot, and G.G. hit a 3 to give Georgia the 18-17 edge with around 12.5 minutes left in the half. When G.G. was fouled some minutes later, he hit both FT tosses and the Dogs led 20-17 at the next TV timeout. Brown then hit a tough bank shot, and Edwards refused to shoot an open shot on the next possession, passing instead to Mohammed who missed. Chadwick hit a 3, and suddenly Georgia was up 25-17, which would tie their largest scoring lead of the day. Fox commentator Joe Dean (the son of the JP TV commentator of the 1970s) began to overact the same way his father did, to an embarrassing extent (it amused Dave Neal, the other announcer). Evans was fouled but missed both tries for FTs, then Padgett missed a try for a 3, but he put back his own miss. Brown had an easy layup as Mohammed offered no inside defense, and Georgia was again ahead 27-19. Evans hit a difficult bank shot, and followed this up with a putback of a Padgett miss (earlier in the possession, Padgett had refused an open shot - something which happened quite often in this game, as the UK players looked to pass off at the last minute to teammates who were not in a more open position, and who sometimes did not expect the ball at all). Jones hit 2 FT tosses and it was 29-23 Georgia. Sheppard made a nice slicing move to the goal for a FG, and it was 29-25 at the next TV timeout. Afterwards, Sheppard and G.G. traded 3s, and then Evans banked in a difficult shot to close the lead to 32-30 Georgia. Jones tipped in a Ransom miss, Edwards tipped in an Anthony miss, Ransom made 1 FT, Brown banked in a shot, Turner hit Mohammed for a dunk, then Saul fouled G.G. to make it 39-34 Georgia with about 2 minutes left in the period. Anthony hit a high arching 13 footer, Chadwick nailed a wide open 3, then later added 1 of 2 FT attempts. With 20 seconds left, Turner allowed a 5 second call to be made when guarded by G.G. (the Cats appeared far too casual in their offense), and the Cats trailed 43-36 at the half. G.G. Smith had scored 12 pts to lead all scorers at the break, and UK had 10 1st half turnovers.
The crowd sounded supercharged at the start of the 2nd half. Mills missed a 3, and Oliver after a series of brilliant passes somehow missed a wide open dunk. Mills connected on a 3, then following a block, Edwards hit Mohammed for an inside layup, and it was 43-41 Georgia. Coach Jirsa called a 20 s timeout to try to halt Kentucky's momentum, but it didn't work. Brown and Mohammed both missed shots, and then Sheppard made a FG and was fouled (making the FT) to give the Cats a 44-43 lead. G.G. made 2 FTs, Padgett put back a Sheppard miss, Turner fouled G.G. who made both attempts, and Georgia led 47-46 at the next TV timeout. Dukes bricked a 3, Harrison missed a 3 (Georgia started the 2nd half going 0-6 from the floor), and finally Jones connected on a long 3 to make it 50-46 Bulldogs. Play was rather frantic during the next possession, with a couple of poor UK turnovers and bad passes, with Jones finally making a FG and getting fouled (Jones hit his FT) to make it 53-46 Georgia. Padgett passed up an open 3 (several UK shooters proved cowardly in the 2nd half, passing up good shot opportunities in order to pass to unsuspecting teammates, as they had done in the 1st half). Finally UK got enough control of the ball that Edwards connected on an 18 footer, to cut it to 53-48 with 12 minutes left. Turner turned down a good shot try, and turned the ball over instead. Brown was fouled and nailed 2 FTs. Kentucky was pressing on defense, however, and Edwards hit Bradley for a layup to make it 55-50 Georgia. G.G. missed a 3, Brown missed, and then Edwards hit Mohammed for an inside FG and foul. Nazr missed the FG, but Smith tipped in the miss, and suddenly it was 55-54 Bulldogs with about 9.5 minutes left. Dukes made 1 FT when fouled by Turner, then Turner hit a nice bank shot to tie the game at 56-56. Dukes missed a long 3, and Edwards was fouled on a lob try. He made both FTs, to give Kentucky its 1st lead of the 2nd half at 58-56. Brown quickly tied the game with his own FT shots, but Edwards put back a Saul Smith miss. Jones missed, then Saul was fouled, then Padgett hit a shot to make it 62-58 Kentucky. Dukes missed a 3 (to make Georgia 2-17 from the floor for the 2nd half), Padgett walked, then finally Edwards hit Padgett for a lob layin during inbounding, and the Cats led 64-58. Brown made 1 FT, Mohammed also made 1, then Evans knifed through a crowd for a layup and a 67-59 lead. Jones hit a 3 despite being well guarded. Evans hit Padgett for a bank shot, Chadwick missed a 3, G.G. bricked a 3, and Turner had a layup for a 71-62 UK edge (the crowd was going crazy at this pt). Mohammed made an old-fashioned 3 after the TV timeout, and the Cats were up 74-62. Dukes missed a 3, and Sheppard hit Evans with a pretty pass for a layup. Ransom hit a 3, then Evans made an old-fashioned 3 pt play for an 81-65 UK lead (Kentucky had several 16 pt leads, their largest of the game). Jones hit 2 Fts on an Edwards foul, his 5th (Allen left his last game at Rupp to a standing ovation), Sheppard hit Mohammed for a dunk and it was 83-67. G.G. answered with a 3 (at which pt the Fox announcers slipped by stating that the Bulldogs led). Mills made 2 FT tosses, then Jeff Sheppard was taken out of the game to a standing ovation by the crowd. After his FTs, Mills came out to a standing O. Georgia had 1 more FG and 2 more FT tosses after this, but it only narrowed the final margin to 85-74 at the end of the game.
This game saw Nazr Mohammed's 8th double-double of the season. UK clinched at least a tie for 1st place in the SEC East with the victory. The Wildcats are 63-2 overall in Senior's Day games. Georgia shot an amazingly low 6-32 from the floor in the 2nd half (18.8%), gaining most of their pts from the charity stripe.