- Wednesday, February 25 1998 -
Kentucky - 83 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 7th by AP]
Auburn - 58 (Head Coach: Cliff Ellis) - [Unranked]
|Daymeon Fishback (*)||27||2||10||0||5||0||0||3||3||1||0||0||2||4|
|Julius "Doc" Robinson||36||6||12||1||5||2||4||5||0||5||0||0||2||15|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 42, Auburn 26
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Georgia 85 - 74|||||South Carolina 69 - 57|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 26. (All Rights Reserved)
The Kentucky Wildcats clinched their 39th SEC regular season championship (their last previous was in 1996) as the #7 AP ranked Wildcats defeated the Auburn Tigers 83-58 at Auburn. This was made possible by the Ole Miss victory over Arkansas, who had the only chance to tie the Cats prior to Wednesday's games.
Auburn won the tip, but the Tigers and the Cats missed initial shots, then USC had a turnover and UK an offensive foul before Sheppard stole the ball and went in for a dunk to start the scoring. Again, both teams missed shots, and had a foul and turnover, then a missed shot and Mohammed fouled N'Diaye, who made 1 of 2 FT tosses. Padgett answered with a 3 and it was 5-1 Cats. Auburn had a layup, then Sheppard missed a 3 and Turner fouled before the 1st TV timeout. Auburn missed its next shot, then Turner completed an old-fashioned 3. Fishback had an 8 footer to make it 8-5 Kentucky, but after Edwards missed on a lob dunk, Evans stole the ball and dunked it for a 10-5 UK edge. Mills missed a couple of 3s, and Anthony had a couple of quick fouls. After the 2nd foul, N'Diaye made 2 FTs, and it was 10-7 Kentucky. UK made 1 of its patented 5 man substitutions, and Sheppard quickly hit a 3. Auburn had an uncontested layup, then a FT, to make it 13-10. Mohammed had a nice assist for a Padgett basket, and it was 15-10 at the next TV timeout. Magloire missed a shot, but Padgett had an amazingly high tipin off the glass for a basket. Auburn and UK both missed 3s, then Sheppard hit Padgett for a layup and it was 19-10 Kentucky. Brian Smith had a layup, and Mills connected on an 18 footer to make it 21-11. The Tigers closed to 21-15 after a Robinson layup and a N'Diaye putback, but Sheppard answered with a 3, and a Magloire steal ended with a Sheppard 12 footer, and it was 26-15 UK. Padgett made a 3 after Mills missed his try, and it was 29-15. Pohlman hit a 3, and Padgett made a hook shot to produce a 31-18 score at the next TV timeout. Fishback and Turner exchanged shots, and it was 33-20 at the following TV timeout. Sheppard connected afterward on a 15 footer, Evans made 1 of 2 FT attempts on an N'Diaye foul, and Auburn had a couple of FTs. Evans made a long 2 (he must not have known his true position) and Magloire had a dunk after some spectacular passes from Sheppard to Bradley and Bradley to Magloire, to make it 40-22. Robinson hit a 3, then a mad scramble on the floor for the ball eventually led to a UK steal, but Smith palmed the ball while bringing it up. Magloire hit a 15 footer when nobody came out to guard him, and it was 42-25. Unfortunately, Kentucky fouled with only 0.3 seconds left in the 1st half, and Chiliest hit 1 of 2 FT tries to finished the 1st half scoring at 42-26 Kentucky. UK called a timeout after his shot, and tried to set up a long pass to Magloire under the basket, but the length-of-the-court pass was picked off and the half ended.
Jamaal Magloire started in the 2nd half in place of Mohammed. Pohlman knifed through the lane for a layup, Padgett put back his own miss, Auburn hit a 3, and a brief heated exchange of words took place between Magloire and N'Diaye which was quickly broken up by the refs. Fouls were assessed against both, but no FTs were attempted. The ball was given to UK on alternating possession. Mohammed was fouled by Williams, and made his 1st but missed his 2nd, and Evans put it back for an old-fashioned semi-3 (to make the score 47-31 Kentucky). Auburn had a basket, Williams made a FT when Sheppard got his 1st foul, and it was 47-34. Kentucky touched the ball going out of bounds, but it was given to Auburn, who promptly turned it back over, and Sheppard made a driving layup before the next TV timeout. Sheppard then connected on a 3, but an official ruled that Turner had 1st committed an offensive foul, and waived off the score. Auburn and UK missed their next 2 shots, before Sheppard hit on a 3 to make it 52-34 Kentucky. N'Diaye hit a bank shot, and later Robinson hit 1 FT toss. Mills passed up an open shot to pass to an unexpecting Padgett who turned the ball over. Each team missed a couple more shots, then Padgett was somehow called for a rebounding foul despite having a man on his back and no 1 in front of him (the UK contingent at the arena booed unmercifully when this was called). Robinson made 1 FT, and it was 52-38 at the next TV timeout. After play was resumed, Auburn turned up the pressure in their defense, but Turner hit a 12 footer anyway. The Tigers had a couple of misses, then Mills nailed a 3 for a 57-38 edge after some excellent ball movement. Williams hit a 3, then fouled. Mills again passed up an open 3 pt shot and eventually took a poor 2 try, missing. Bradley was fouled and hit both his tosses for a 59-41 UK lead. Brian Smith was fouled by Jeff Sheppard, and connected on both shots. Sheppard answered with a 3, then moments later he put back a Turner miss for a 64-43 Kentucky edge. N'Diaye threw up an airball, and Edwards tossed up what could only be described as a prayer (he must have thought he was fouled, but no call was made). Williams got 2 FTs when fouled by Padgett, Robinson hit a turnaround shot, and Sheppard had yet another 3 for a 70-47 edge. Sheppard was called for a very questionable foul, but Brian Smith made only 1 FT. Edwards had a nice dunk, then N'Diaye launched a brick, and Turner hit on a long 2 for a 74-48 margin as Auburn called for a timeout. Brian Smith had 1 more FT, Padgett hit Turner for a layup, Williams hit a 3, and Padgett hit Mohammed for a layup to make it 78-52 at the next TV timeout. Fishback missed 2 3 pt tries, then Williams was fouled by Bradley and made both shots. Saul Smith hit 1 FT (all night he was greeted with Auburn cheers of "Daddy's boy!"), Ryan Hogan made 1 FT, Pohlman hit a 3, Anthony answered with a 3, Auburn had 1 FT, and the final score was 83-58 Kentucky. Bradley hit a dunk, but the horn had blown a split second beforehand to wipe off that scoring attempt.
Jeff Sheppard's 25 pts were a career high in scoring for him. His 10 baskets were also a career high, and he tied his career high with 5 3 pt shots. The 25 UK victories represent a career high for Coach Tubby Smith in wins as a coach.
Auburn had only 7 scholarship players available for the game, after the indefinite suspensions last week of Randy Hughes and Derek Caldwell for violating team rules. The Tigers started 4 guards and a 7 footer. UK kept fresh legs in the game, as every Wildcat except Ryan Hogan and Steve Masiello played in the 1st half (both played in the 2nd), and Coach Smith made 23 substitutions during the 1st 20 minutes.
The 25 pt loss was the worst at home for the Tigers this season.
Scott Padgett battles Auburn's Adrian Chilliest for a rebound