- Friday, March 13 1998 -
NCAA South Regional First Round (at Atlanta, GA)
Kentucky - 82 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Final Rank 5th by AP]
South Carolina State - 67 (Head Coach: Cy Alexander) - [Unranked]
|Roderick "Moo Moo" Blakney||40||8||16||2||8||5||5||6||1||10||3||0||5||23|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 43, South Carolina State 28
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|South Carolina 86 - 56|||||St. Louis 88 - 61|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 28. (All Rights Reserved)
Kentucky Wins Again in Catlanta:
Kentucky continued its winning ways in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, defeating the South Carolina State Bulldogs 82-67 in the NCAA South Regional 1st round on March 13, 1998. UK was ranked #5 by AP for this game, and was the #2 seed in the South Regional. South Carolina State was the 15th seed. The victory was the 76th for the Wildcats in NCAA Tournaments, the most of any school (this record excludes games forfeited in the 1988 NCAA Tournament because of the 1989 probation).
The Cats raced out to leads of 6-0 and 11-3 thanks to the efforts of Turner (an early layup), Mohammed (layup from a Padgett assist), Evans (tip-in), and Edwards (3 pt shot). Blakney closed the gap somewhat with a 3 pointer, and the Bulldogs actually closed to within 15-13 thanks to a Jones drive, a Blakney running jumper and later layup and FT. But UK coolly replied with a Padgett dunk. A Brown 3 closed to within 17-16, then Padgett hit a 3, Blakney hit a driving layup, and Padgett and Turner scored the next 5 pts for a 25-18 margin. After 2 Jones FTs, the Wildcats scored 13 unanswered pts to go up 33-20 (the Bulldogs were held scoreless for just over 6.5 minutes). Johnson finally broke the drought with a single FT, Mohammed had a dunk, Blakney connected on a running jumper, Mohammed made a pair of FTs, Johnson hit a 4 footer, Sheppard answered with a 15 footer, Mohammed made another FT pair and added a 10 foot jumper, and Brown ended the scoring for the 1st half by connecting on a 23 foot 3 pt shot with around 30 seconds remaining. The Cats led solidly 43-28 at intermission. UK had a 21-11 rebounding edge at the break, and had held SC State to 34.5% FG shooting while hitting 57.1% themselves. Even better, the Cats were a sizzling 88.9% at the FT line.
The Wildcats scored on their 1st 7 possessions of the 2nd half while holding South Carolina State to a Brown 18 footer and a Blakney 3, to take a commanding 57-33 lead (their largest of the day) after Bradley made a layup with 15 minutes left in the game. Brown and Blakney each had 3s, then Bradley and Blakney exchanged layups. Magloire made a turnaround 5 footer to make it 61-41, then SC State scored the next 5 pts. Padgett broke the drought with a layup, and Mohammed made 2 more FTs, to make it 65-51 with 9 minutes remaining. Edwards made a pair of FT tosses, then Brown hit a 24 ft 3 pointer. Evans made 1 FT then a layup, then Edwards had a layup, and the Cats were up 73-56. After a pair of Blakney FT tosses and a Waller layup, it was 77-60 with less than 2 minutes to go. The 2 sides basically traded baskets from this pt on, with Anthony and Jones making the final pts for each team on 3 pt shots, and Kentucky emerged with a 82-67 victory. Ryan Hogan and Steve Masiello both entered the game late but neither scored.
The win produced Kentucky's 10th 30 win season (the most in NCAA history) and its 3rd straight 30 win season. Kentucky was 30-9 in NCAA Tournament 1st round games after the victory, and has won its last 7 consecutive 1st rounders. 3 South Carolina State players (Blakney, Brown, and Jones) scored 59 of their team's 67 pts - UK's centers and forwards outscored their counterparts by 54-8. Jeff Sheppard, having scored 4 pts, was 4 pts shy of reaching 1000 career pts at Kentucky.
Jeff Sheppard drives around two South Carolina State defenders