- Saturday, December 13 1997 -
Georgia Tech - 71 (Head Coach: Bobby Cremins) - [Ranked 24th by AP]
Kentucky - 85 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 4th by AP]
Halftime Score: Georgia Tech 35, Kentucky 34
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Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 15. (All Rights Reserved)
Tooth Fairy Gives Kentucky A Win:
After an extremely slow start, the Cats managed to pull away from the tenacious Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in an 85-71 win in Rupp Arena. Kentucky was ranked #4 by AP, Georgia Tech #24, when this game was played. Jeff Sheppard had part of a tooth knocked out while fighting Allen Edwards for a rebound - apparently the loss of the tooth guaranteed a win for UK. Sheppard visited a dentist shortly after the game.
UK controlled the opening tip, and although Georgia Tech's Dion Glover scored the game's 1st pt, Wayne Turner made an old-fashioned 3 pt play to put the Cats up 3-1. Early play included several turnovers by each side, and a monster rejection by Alvin Jones of a weak Wayne Turner shot. The score was tied 5-5 and 8-8. Kentucky had a rare 5 second violation while inbounding the ball. Both sides missed absolutely wide open layups while throwing over the defense. The crowd cheered wildly as Nazr Mohammed came in for Jamaal Magloire, and Nazr promptly hit a turnaround fadeaway to make it 10-8 UK. Evans put back his own miss to make it 12-8. Following a Maddox 3 pt miss, Edwards and Sheppard were going for the rebound when Allen's hand hit Jeff in the mouth. Edwards had to come out to wipe blood off his hand, and Sheppard lost part of his tooth during the incident. Kentucky appeared a bit stunned as well, because after a Mills layup on a 2-on-1 fast break, making it 14-10 Kentucky, Georgia Tech scored the next 12 pts (on a Glover inside shot, a Harpring 3, a Jones putback of a Maddox miss, a Maddox 16 footer, and a Maddox 3). With GT up 22-14, Magloire made a turnaround move for a basket. Glover nailed a 3, and after a pair of Harpring FTs, Tech had its largest lead of the day at 27-16 with a little under 6 minutes left in the 1st half. The Wildcats appeared slow and lazy, with very little motion in their offense and only occasional defensive luster. Heshimu Evans sparked the Cats with a turnaround basket, a reverse layup, and a layup to cut the Jacket's lead to 30-22. A blitzing layup by Sheppard and an Edwards FT cut it to 30-25 GT before Harpring hit a tough shot during a drive. Then UK outscored the Yellow Jackets 9-5 in the final minutes of the half (on a Magloire putback of a Turner miss, a long Edwards 3, and an Edwards dunk on a 3-on-1 fast break). Floyd hit a 3 in the waning seconds of the game, and Jeff Sheppard barely missed a 3 at the buzzer. The Yellow Jackets led 35-34 at intermission, but already the momentum had begun to swing towards Kentucky. Scott Padgett was held scoreless during the 1st half.
Maddox and Padgett traded layups in the opening moments of the 2nd half, but a Magloire layup and a Turner 15 footer put the Cats up 40-37. Harpring made a putback of a Jones miss, but then Kentucky had an 11-0 run (thanks to Turner, Padgett, Magloire, and Mohammed) to go up 51-39, at which point Georgia Tech called a timeout. Spivey hit some FTs and Glover made a 3, but Evans answered with a layup and Edwards took the ball coast-to-coast for a layup to give the Cats a 55-44 edge. Evans hit a driving shot, Edwards made a FT (which circled the basket at least 3 times before dropping in), Padgett hit some FTs, and Mohammed hit on a jump hook to make it 62-44 Kentucky with around 10 minutes left in the game (18 pts would be UK's largest lead of the day). Thanks to Glover, his steals, and his 3 pt shots, Tech cut the margin to 13, but a Magloire dunk and a Sheppard 3 kept UK solidly on top. Jones hit a FT to make it 74-61, but Sheppard answered with FTs of his own. Sheppard tried to throw a ball onto the court before going out of bounds, and Harpring was right there to pick it off and lay it up to close to 12 pts, but then Turner hit a FT and Edwards had an old-fashioned 3 the hard way (hitting a FT, missing a 2nd, but putting his own miss back in) to make it 82-66 Kentucky. Mohammed hit a FT and Masiello scored a basket to complete scoring for the Cats, while Spivey hit a driving FG in the final seconds to make the final score 85-71.
Steve Masiello scored his 1st pts of the season with a late FG. The Cats once again had difficulty from the FT line, hitting on less than 50% of their attempts.