- Sunday, February 1 1998 -
Florida - 86 (Head Coach: Billy Donovan) - [Unranked]
Kentucky - 78 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 7th by AP]
Halftime Score: Florida 40, Kentucky 34
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|Vanderbilt 63 - 61|||||Louisiana State 63 - 61|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 22. (All Rights Reserved)
A Pitino Clone Finally Beats Kentucky:
Playing insipid, uninspired basketball, UK lost its 2nd home game of the 1997-98 season as the AP 7th ranked Cats fell 86-78 to the Gators in Rupp Arena. Despite the knowledge that Florida led the nation in 3 pt shots/game, the Wildcats constantly permitted 3 pt shots (as they did against Louisville in December), and Florida took full advantage, hitting on 12-21 from beyond the 3 pt line. Kentucky had the perfect opportunity to advance in the polls, as both Utah and Stanford lost (twice for the Cardinal) over the weekend, but despite being favored by around 14 pts, UK was never in danger of winning the game. The Gators placed 5 men in double figures (compared to 2 for Kentucky), with Kenyan Weaks and Jason Williams both managing 24 pts. The game was televised by ABC.
Although UK scored 1st on a Mohammed dunk (after Florida had 4 deflections on Kentucky's opening possession), Florida scored the next 7 consecutive pts (on a long Jason Williams 3, a Weaks layup on a break, and a Weaks putback) to go up 7-2. Mohammed hit 1 of 2 FT attempts, then Shannon hit a nice reverse layup for the Gators. Edwards had a solid driving shot, but then J Williams easily drove the lane for a layup to make it 11-5 at the 1st TV timeout. The Gators zoomed to a 15-7 lead, following a long J Williams 3 and a Shannon FT. Magloire had a dunk past the press for Kentucky to make it 15-9, but Wright hit a 3 to make it 18-9. Sheppard had a layup and Wright made a pair of FTs to make it 20-11 Florida at the next TV timeout. The lead expanded to 27-14 when the Cats could not even complete easy, wide open layups on breaks, and Florida continued to pump in 3 pt shots. Padgett and Weaks each hit their FTs and then J Williams had a driving shots to give the Gators a 31-16 edge (their largest lead of the game), and the crowd grew restless. Padgett hit 1 FT, but Mills missed a 3. Cameron finally made a shot from inside the arc (at around 18 ft), banking it in to close to 31-19. Florida's Nnaji made a layup, Padgett made a layup, and then Nnaji hit a very high arching shot in the lane to make it 35-21 UF. Mills completed an old-fashioned 3, and then made a long 3, to close to within 35-27 Florida. After the TV timeout, Cameron hit yet another 3, and the crowd got excited, but Weaks made an 8 footer, Mohammed hit only 1 of 2 FT attempts, and J Williams nailed yet another long 3 to put Florida up 40-31. Each side started missing 3s at this pt, until Mills hit 1 towards the end of the half to conclude first half scoring. Florida led 40-34 at halftime, and the Gators had a 14-13 edge on the boards during that period.
Florida began the 2nd half with a 3, Evans had a putback of his own miss, and J Williams rolled a shot in from 16 ft. Mohammed hit only 1 of 2 FT tosses, then both sides missed a couple of 3s before Weaks finally made a tipin, and Florida led 47-39. Sheppard made an old-fashioned 3, and Turner hit a 3 to make it 47-45, but that was as close as the Cats could get. No sooner had they achieved this than Weaks rolled in a 14 ft shot, Wright had a layup past the defense, and Padgett made a turnover. After the next TV timeout, Padgett hit Sheppard for an easy layup and it was 51-47 Gators. Florida surged again by hitting 3s, this time by Weaks who made 2 and Stolt who made 1, while Padgett had a putback and Magloire missed an easy layup but later had a dunk, to make it 62-51 UF. Mills and Stolt traded 3s, then Mills added a FT pair to close to 65-56 at the next TV timeout. With around 9 minutes left in the game, Mills nailed another 3, but Shannon answered with his own, and later added 1 FT to make it 69-59 at the 8 minute TV timeout. Mills hit a 3 in the next possession, but Florida's J Williams answered with his own, and Shannon had a superb spin move for a layup which left Padgett nailed to the floor. Evans was hit in the face by an elbow, but he was somehow called for a foul. On the next possession, after a steal, Evans missed an open dunk, which seemed to show the luck the Cats were having that afternoon. Williams made 1 of 2 FTs, then Mills hit a 3 to make it 75-65 Florida. Wright and Turner traded a pair of FT tosses, then Padgett hit a 3 with about 2 minutes left to close to 78-70. Jeff Sheppard got a layup when the Florida inbounds pass was deflected by Edwards, to make it 78-72, but that was as close as UK could get during its rally. Weaks hit 2 FTs, Mills hit a long 3, then Shannon stepped on the sideline and UK had the ball. But Kentucky missed an easy layup, then missed a tip, and Edwards fouled out going for the rebound. Dan Williams made a FT, Turner missed, but Shannon committed an offensive foul. Mills missed 2 3 pt attempts, then Weaks was fouled and made both shots to make it 85-75 Florida. J Williams was fouled, and made 1 shot, then Anthony hit a long 3, which ended the scoring for the game as Kentucky lost 86-78.
Cameron Mills had a career high 31 pts on 8-14 3 pt shooting, but the Gators also had a season high for their team, making 12-21 3s. UK was outrebounded for the 2nd game this season, by 40-30 margin. Florida set a single game 3 pt shot record by a Kentucky opponent in Rupp Arena, with its 12 3 pt shots [JNB note - amazingly enough, I cannot find the record for 3 pt shots by an opponent in Kentucky's basketball media guide. You'd think this would be a common enough record]. Mohammed's 2 FG attempts were a season low, even though he made them both. This was only Florida's 6th win ever in Lexington against the Cats, and only their 4th win at Rupp Arena. Last time the Gators won at Rupp was during Sutton's final, horrible 13-19 season in 1988-89.
Myron Anthony squares for a shot