- Wednesday, February 24 1993 -
Kentucky - 77 (Head Coach: Rick Pitino) - [Ranked 2nd by AP]
Tennessee - 78 (Head Coach: Wade Houston) - [Unranked]
|Allan Houston (*)||35||8||15||2||3||9||10||6||2||3||27|
|Jermaine Brown (*)||5||1||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||0||2|
Halftime Score: Tennessee 41, Kentucky 32
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Georgia 86 - 70|||||Auburn 80 - 78|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 2 No. 30. (All Rights Reserved)
The title of this article is appropriate because Kentucky really did it to themselves last Wednesday. Facing the doormat of the SEC East, a team which was 3-9 in the SEC and 11-13 overall, Kentucky needed to win to keep pace with Vandy, to continue their overall momentum, and to maintain their chances for an NCAA #1 seeding. By losing 78-77 in the game's final seconds, the Wildcats jeopardized all three situations.
There were apparently a pretty fair number of Big Blue fans in attendance, based on the noise and UK chants one could hear during the telecast. Tennessee jumped out to an early lead on the Cats, and the Big Blue looked sluggish throughout the first half. The Vols were absolutely dominating on the boards, particularly in gaining offensive rebounds. UT started with a rebounding edge of 12-3 (with 5 offensive), which grew to 19-8, then 26-13 at the half.
Rodrick Rhodes looked terrible in the first half, taking dumb shots, making bad passes, and Martinez didn't look much better. Neither player (nor Dent nor Riddick nor Mashburn) spent much time blocking out or trying to rebound, and Tennessee exploited this to the fullest. The Vols swiped at the ball on every encounter, and made numerous steals. UK players were faked out of their shoes on nearly every Tennessee shot - Kentucky has done this a lot this season, but they were *never* so well faked as they were in this game. The Cats trailed by as many as many as 12 points before ending the first half down by 9 (they had a mini-run in the game's final minutes).
The second half saw a much better Kentucky performance, with much tighter defense and better UK shot selection (and better shooting of the 3s). The lead was narrowed and finally the game was tied on several occasions. A TV timeout with 7:48 remaining seemed to stall Kentucky's comeback a little, unfortunately. Corey Allen had a good first and second half for the Vols, with a good offensive efficiency and some nice defense.
A great UK run at about the 6 minute mark got UK back and even gave them brief 1 point leads. UK moved out by 6 at one point late in the game, but they couldn't hold it - UT came right back to tie. UK had *no* turnovers (that's ZERO) in the second half at the 3.5 minute mark, and they didn't appear to have one after that [JNB note - that I observed, anyway]. The players appeared highly psyched up after they got the lead, and it seemed for a while there was no way they could lose as Tennessee began to look tentative.
The Cats found a way - making huge mental errors. With UK up by 3 and about 12 seconds left, Brown fouled Allan Houston before he could set up for a 3 point shot (he was inside the line and appeared to be driving to the basket). Although the TV commentators thought this was a good move since it denied UT a 3 point shot, it instead allowed the Vols to close to within 1 with some time remaining. It might have been better (and safer) to allow Allan to try a 3 with a hand in his face, since UK could do no worse than go into overtime.
After Houston made his FTs, Jared Prickett inexplicably called a time out. Perhaps he thought that Tennessee had tied it, or that UK was not set up to handle UT's press. If the former, it was his mistake, if the latter, it was Ford's call to make, not Prickett's. UK players appeared to be moving to inbounds the ball against pressure, so Prickett's reason for calling the timeout is not clear. Had the ball been cleanly inbounded, enough time would have been spent that UT's final play could not have occurred.
The final play deserves special mention. UK appeared to almost intentionally foul Houston with about 5-6 seconds remaining, since they knew UT needed 3 points. Kentucky was ahead by 3 at this point of the game. Houston hit his first, but deliberately missed to second to allow for a UT recovery and tap-in to tie it. Everyone in the gym knew this was going to occur, but still the UK players did not block out properly, and after a couple of taps by both sides, UT's Corey Allen ended up getting the ball and making a nice shot, during which he was fouled [JNB note - by Mashburn I believe but I'll have to review the tape. There was a *lot* of contact in the game's final seconds.] He hit his free throw with 1.5 seconds remaining to give UT a 1 point lead. The Cats tried a length of the court pass which was picked off, and UK lost a game it should have held on to.
UK is now 4-21 in Thompson Boling, and UT improved its overall record against UK to 58-115. The loss gave Vandy the lead in the SEC East with only a few games remaining, and may have seriously jeopardized Kentucky's chance for a #1 NCAA seed unless they win the SEC tournament.