- Wednesday, November 27 2002 -
Maui Classic Invitational (at Lahaina, HI)
Kentucky - 80 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 15th by AP]
Gonzaga - 72 (Head Coach: Mark Few) - [Ranked 20th by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 33, Gonzaga 32
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Virginia 61 - 75|||||High Point 84 - 64|
Game Writeup - Written by Darrell Bird; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Cats go inside to turn back Gonzaga 80-72
LAHAINA, Maui Ð With team leaders Keith Bogans and Gerald Fitch warning teammates not to "live life miserable," the Kentucky Wildcats bounced back from a disappointing loss to defeat Gonzaga 80-72 in the Maui Invitational on Wednesday.
"Losing one game was bad enough, but we couldn't leave Maui having lost two games. That would be miserable for all of us," Fitch said.
"I wish it could've been 3-0," Bogans added. "But the trip home is going to be a whole lot better at 2-1. I don't even want to think about how miserable life would be if we were 1-2 right now."
Two losses in three days was certainly possible with Gonzaga fielding one of the better teams in the tournament, having lost to defending national runner-up Indiana by just one point the previous day. But coach Mark Few was the first to tip his hat to Kentucky.
"Our zone has pretty darn effective over the last four years in a lot of big games and against some very, very good teams so I can tell you that's as good as our zone has ever been attacked," Few said.
After a poor shooting first half, which was an extension of UK's miserable shooting in the loss to Virginia on Tuesday, the Cats spent the second half with a heavy emphasis on scoring inside. The high/low combo on 6-11 Jules Camara at the foul line and 6-10 Marquis Estill under the basket coupled with the emergence of Chuck Hayes carried UK to victory. In the second half, the trio combined for 23 points, nearly half the team total, and 17 rebounds.
"Kentucky got a lot of baskets on us and that's all due to Tubby Smith. He did a great job of explaining how to attack our zone," Few said. "There is a misnomer about how you play against a zone, and that is that you have to jack up a lot of three-pointers. Truth is, you attack a zone inside-out. Kentucky did a great job."
UK's Smith said going inside was a primary goal.
"Playing against Virginia yesterday probably helped us identify some things we needed to work on and one was to get the ball inside," Smith said. "That's something we didn't do against Virginia's zone. We settled for the three-point shot. Today, we cut that almost in half."
Kentucky attempted 12 three-pointers against Gonzaga after firing up 22 in the loss to Virginia. Instead, points came by way of the high/low game.
"Jules is a good shooter and passer from the high post and that's something that we're evolving to," Smith said. "Our focus, our intention was to get the ball inside. I didn't care how it got there."
Kentucky hit 61.5 percent of its shots in the second half while attempting just five three-pointers. As a result, the Cats outscored Gonzaga 47-40 to win.
With Kentucky holding a 50-49 lead, the Cats ripped off a 12-0 run to go up by 13 points with seven minutes to play. Half the points came in the paint.
Gonzaga was able to muster one final push and cut UK's lead to four at 74-70 with less than a minute to play. However, Bogans and Camara each made two free throws and Bogans slammed home a thunderous dunkl to seal the 80-72 victory.
"We now know what type of team we're capable of being," Bogans said. "I think that loss woke us up. We've got our focus now."
Kentucky (2-1) returns to action Tuesday against High Point at Rupp Arena.
Jules Camara (#40) and Chuck Hayes (#44)
Keith Bogans (#10) takes flight
Kelenna Azubuike blocks the shot of Blake Stepp