- Saturday, March 5 1994 -
Kentucky - 74 (Head Coach: Rick Pitino) - [Ranked 7th by AP]
South Carolina - 75 (Head Coach: Eddie Fogler) - [Unranked]
|Pete Van Elswyk||0||1||0||0||0||0||3||2||0||0|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 34, South Carolina 25
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Florida 80 - 77|||||Mississippi State 95 - 76|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 3 No. 27. (All Rights Reserved)
Wildcats Gagged Against a Gaggle of Goll-durned Gamecocks:
UK lost a game it could have expected to win, going down 75-74 in Columbia to the Gamecocks of South Carolina. Just about the only part of Kentucky's game which worked reasonably well was its 3 point shooting (Kentucky going 9-25 from beyond the 3 point line). [JNB note - due to lack of time I will omit my customary (and perhaps overly detailed) play-by-play discussion, and just give generalities...]
The Cats appeared listless and lethargic early on (perhaps thinking that merely by showing up they would win the game). USC was highly inspired on this, their Senior's Day (honoring Emmett Hall and Jamie Watson), and they played like it. USC went out to leads of 7-1, 9-3, and finally 17-7 with about 12 minutes left in the half. Kentucky went on a 14-3 spurt to take a 21-20 lead, and later went up 24-20 with 7.5 minutes remaining. The Wildcats appeared in control throughout the remainder of the first half, leading by 9 at intermission. USC had numerous passes over the defense, however, most of which resulted in wide-open layups or dunks. UK went for every fake, and nearly every time, its efforts to double-team the player with the ball allowed the Gamecocks to make passes to the open man for a score.
Kentucky built its biggest lead of the game shortly after halftime, going up 37-25 on a Delk 3. USC cut it back to 8-9 points where it stayed for the next several minutes. Kentucky during this time missed several chances to build larger margins when it blew wide-open layups and relatively easy shots (particularly by Prickett, Rhodes, and Martinez). Travis Ford made a couple of his patented driving layups, scoring in part because his man simply couldn't believe that Travis would try this!
The lead bounced between 6 and 8 points in the middle of the half. Kentucky led by 9 at 57-48 with around 8 minutes left. USC continued to get offensive rebounds and putback baskets to close to within 61-55 with 6 minutes to go, and staged a serious rally. Missed free throws by Rhodes and a poor defensive gamble by Prickett allowed a Matthews 3 and dunk by Watson to come to within 62-60. A Rhodes 2 pointer (his foot just touched the 3 line) put UK up 66-64, but Martinez was called for fouling Hall on a shot [JNB note - it appeared that Gimel was standing straight up and not moving when this happened.] The FT was missed but USC had tied. The Gamecocks went up by 1 a minute later on a FT by Rich. On the following UK possession Martinez threw the ball away in trying to pass inside to Rhodes who couldn't get free of his man. Still, Delk hit some critical FTs and Rhodes hit a 3 to get UK back to a 72-71 lead. Greene hit a high bank shot for USC to go up 73-72.
With 33 seconds remaining and UK trailing by 1, Tony Delk hit on a 10 ft driving layup to put the Cats up 74-73 with about 31 seconds left. USC held the ball for the final shot, then Watson passed to Rich who was driving to the basket, and as Martinez came to double team him, he passed to a wide-open Hall on the right of the basket. Hall put it in with about 2 seconds remaining in the game, to provide the winning margin of 75-74. Martinez passed the ball inbounds, but it was batted around during the game's final moments. Matthews scored all his 14 points for the Gamecocks in the second half, including all 5 of his second half shots. He hit two critical 3 point shots to spark USC rallies. South Carolina hit on 11 of their final 14 field goals to pull off the upset.
This was USC's first win over a ranked team since Dec 8, 1990 when they beat Temple. "We didn't play as well as we were capable of, but still they played great basketball," Travis Ford said after the game. "I just didn't lead this team like I should've."