- Saturday, February 3 2001 -
Kentucky - 94 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Unranked]
|J. P. Blevins||10||1||2||0||1||0||0||0||1||1||2||0||0||0||0||2|
South Carolina - 61 (Head Coach: Eddie Fogler) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 38, South Carolina 33
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Georgia 85 - 70|||||Florida 71 - 70|
Game Writeup - Written by and courtesy of Jeff Drummond; Kentucky Sports Report, (All Rights Reserved)
Prince shines in win
COLUMBIA, S.C. --- Kentucky is catching fire, and that could spell trouble for the rest of the Southeastern Conference.
Tayshaun Prince scored a career-high 29 points and Keith Bogans added 21 as the Wildcats --- looking nothing like the team that limped out to a 3-5 start this season --- crushed South Carolina 94-61 on Saturday at McGuire Arena.
Kentucky shot 65 percent (40 of 62) from the field and at one point made 15 consecutive baskets spanning the final 5:29 of the first half and the first 6:35 of the second period. The Cats went on to hit 26 of 31 attempts during an amazing 50-18 run that turned a typically close SEC matchup into a romp.
"Now that we're starting to make the extra pass and looking for one another, the team is coming together," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "And especially with Keith and Tayshaun making shots, we're a very dangerous team."
Prince was 12-for-15 from the field and hit all five of his 3-point attempts. Bogans was 8-for-11 and drained five of seven from long range. As a team, the Cats hit 13 of 21 from beyond the arc.
"First we got the ball inside to Jason, and he did a lot of damage," said Bogans of freshman center Jason Parker, who scored all of his 12 points in the first half to help give Kentucky a 38-33 advantage at the break. "When they had to collapse on him inside, we started to knock the open shots down from the outside."
Kentucky recorded a season-high 25 assists, including three or more by five players. Saul Smith dished out six, Prince, Bogans and Cliff Hawkins each had four, and Gerald Fitch added three.
"I've watched a lot of film, and in the past I've seen two or three guys collapsing on me where they're looking for me to take the shot," Bogans added. "When I was out there playing, I really couldn't tell that, but I can see it now after watching the film. So I'm trying to find the open guy, and we're getting great looks... Coach has us watch a lot of film, and we're seeing that just one extra pass can get us an even better shot."
"We've started to come together as a basketball team," Prince said. "Unfortunately, out of the losses that we had, we weren't really making the extra pass. Now we're making the extra pass, and good things are starting to happen. Things are falling into place for us."
Kentucky (13-7, 6-2 SEC) moved into a tie for first place in the league's Eastern Division with Georgia, who the Cats defeated 85-70 on Wednesday and swept the season series. The Bulldogs will try to retain the top spot Saturday night at home against Florida.
South Carolina (11-8, 3-5 SEC) dropped its ninth consecutive game to the Cats. It also marked the Gamecocks' worst margin of defeat at the Carolina Coliseum, eclipsing Kentucky's 98-67 triumph on Dec. 13, 1976.
While Kentucky found it difficult to miss, South Carolina struggled royally after jumping out to a 10-2 lead. The Cats' matchup zones invited the SEC's worst shooting team to take one perimeter shot after another. The Gamecocks finished at 33 percent (23 of 71) from the field and 22 percent (6 of 27) from behind the arc.
"Defensively, we're stepping it up a notch, and if that continues to happen our offense is going to pick up too," Prince said.
"Our zone was tough for them to handle," Smith said. "Eddie Fogler and his staff, their team did a good job of attacking us and overloading us, so we kept mixing and matching up our defense trying to keep them off balance and trying to contain Aaron Lucas. He's the key to their team. If he can break you down off penetration, they can find open people."
Lucas played a very minor role in the game, hitting only three of seven from the field for six points. South Carolina was also hurt by the absence of swingman Chuck Eidson, who is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, and a sprained ankle suffered by center Rolando Howell early in the game.
The Gamecocks were paced by Marius Petravicius with 17 points and nine rebounds.
In addition to the big games from Prince, Bogans and Parker, the Cats got eight points apiece from Erik Daniels and Saul Smith. Marvin Stone came off the bench after Marquis Estill (knee) and Parker (back) sustained injuries to record six points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Cats scored 93 of their 94 points from the field. They attempted only two free throws in the game -- Fitch hitting one of two with 24 seconds left.
Kentucky returns to action Tuesday at Rupp Arena against the Florida Gators.
Jason Parker snags a rebound