- Saturday, November 29 1997 -
Premier Classic (at Phoenix, AZ)
Kentucky - 76 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 8th by AP]
Clemson - 61 (Head Coach: Rick Barnes) - [Ranked 13th by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 35, Clemson 34
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Missouri 77 - 55|||||Purdue 89 - 75|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 13. (All Rights Reserved)
Kentucky upheld the honor of the SEC as both UK and Arkansas won their games in the inaugural Premier Classic in Phoenix, Arizona. The Cats defeated the Clemson Tigers (who had won the last 2 games played by the schools) by a 76-61 margin. The Wildcats were ranked #8, and Clemson was #13 for this contest.
Both schools hit their 1st 2 3 pt shots, making it 6-6 before Padgett connected on a backdoor lob to make it 8-6 Kentucky. Clemson went on top 11-10 on a Wideman 3, but Edwards looked smooth putting back a Sheppard miss to make it UK 12-11. Clemson continued hitting its 3 pointers (making it 1st 4) to go up 14-12, and this lead later expanded to 17-12 (5 pts was their largest lead of the night) as Kentucky went cold. But a Turner FT and a Padgett putback kept the Cats in it, and when Turner hit a 3, it was 19-18 Clemson. The Tigers went up 24-20. A series of turnovers on the next several possessions made for a sloppy game, and once again Clemson led by 5 at 27-22. This time, a Turner FT, a Sheppard banked shot, and a Turner banked shot gave UK the lead at 28-27. Clemson went cold, hitting on only 1 of their last 11 FG tries, before Allenspach tipped a shot it to make it 29-28 Clemson. Edwards hit a 3, and the Cats did not trail again in the half, although Clemson closed to 35-34 following a McIntyre 3, to give the Wildcats a 1 pt halftime lead.
Clemson quickly took the lead in the 2nd half thanks to a Buckner 3 and a Jamison FT, but Mohammed answered with a dunk and Edwards hit a long 2 to give Kentucky a 39-38 edge. Turnovers and out-of-control drives on the part of UK allowed the Tigers to go up 47-42, and the Cats looked a bit lethargic. Turner and Magloire scored for the Cats, cutting the lead to 1, then Turner hit a 15 footer to make it 50-49 UK, and Kentucky never trailed again. The lead quickly grew to 55-49 thanks to an Evans 3 and a Turner steal and dunk. UK maintained a 5-7 pt lead for the next several minutes, and after an Edwards hook the score stood at 63-54 Kentucky. A Turner FT and a Padgett 3 made it 67-55, and UK led by double digits afterwards. Clemson appeared tired in the 2nd half (with the TV commentators speculating on jet lag, considering that the Tigers returned to Clemson from Fairbanks, Alaska, then flew to Phoenix, instead of stopping on their way back as Kentucky did from Hawaii). Mohammed continued his fine FT form in hitting 2 to make it 72-57 UK. A pair of FTs gave the Cats a brief 17 pt lead (their largest of the night), but the Tigers scored a final FG to make it 76-61 in the end.
Clemson's Terrell McIntyre drives past Kentucky's Jeff Sheppard (#15)