- Thursday, December 23 1999 -
Michigan State - 58 (Head Coach: Tom Izzo) - [Ranked 5th by AP]
Kentucky - 60 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Unranked]
|J. P. Blevins||25||3||6||3||4||0||1||0||4||4||0||0||2||0||1||9|
Halftime Score: Michigan State 28, Kentucky 27
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Louisville 76 - 46|||||Alaska Anchorage 62 - 42|
Game Writeup - Written by and courtesy of Stephen John; Kentucky Sports Report, (All Rights Reserved)
UK whips 5th ranked MSU
Jamaal Magloire had his eighth career double-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and J.P. Blevins had his best game in a Kentucky uniform, hitting 3-4 from 3-point range, as the unranked Kentucky Wildcats (6-4) overcame a 15 point first half deficit to beat the 5th ranked Michigan St. Spartans 60-58. Tay Prince added 17 points for the Wildcats, who avenged their NCAA final eight loss from last year. The young Kentucky Wildcats showed some incredible intestinal fortitude in the first half. After falling behind 26-11, many teams would have withered up and died on the vine. Instead, Tubby Smith's club rallied to within a single point over a 5 minute span to end the first half.
Both teams opened the game playing tightly. Kentucky scored the first bucket of the contest on a short hook off a missed shot. Michigan St. scored their first bucket near the 17:00 mark but then got into the flow of the game. The first critical moment came early in the game off Jamaal Magloire's 7th career technical foul (a Kentucky record) and MSU used the momentum to build an early 15-6 lead. Poor free throw shooting plagued the Cats in the early going but Prince and Magloire temporarily stopped the bleeding with buckets and UK pulled to within 15-11 at the 11:00 mark. Tubby then inserted a very small lineup that included guards Tackett, Blevins and Bogans and MSU took advantage of the lineup, ripping off eight straight points in route to a 11-0 run, building a 26-11 lead at the 5:50 mark of the first half. The second critical moment of the first half came as Spartans team leader Charlie Bell picked up his third foul and had to sit down. The Wildcats then went on a 11-0 run of their own behind a basket by Allison, a 3-pointer by Blevins and a pair of free throws by Bogans and four free throws by Magloire. The Cats were within 4 at 26-22 with two minutes to go in the half. Blevins provided a great deal of spark in the Wildcats' run, not only with the three pointer but with two key steals. Peterson finally hit two free throws to break the Wildcats' run with 1:52 remaining in the half. Play got physical but UK hung in there and after a Magloire bucket and 2 Prince FT's, Kentucky was within 2 points at 28-26 with a minute to go. Saul Smith then took the first of two charges in the final two minutes and the Cats had a chance to tie the game, but turned the ball over. However, Saul Smith canned one of two FT's to pull the Cats to within one at 28-27. And that is how the half ended. Michigan State went the last 7:00 without a field goal. Peterson and Bell were both hot for the Spartans in the early going. Peterson led the Spartans with 13 first half points.
Granger opened the scoring in the second half with a jumper from the FT line. Then Thomas broke away for a dunk, then Peterson hit a jumper off a UK turnover and MSU rebuilt a cushion to 34-27. Saul hit UK's first basket of the half, a three, and Kentucky was within four. After Thomas and Prince traded baskets, Granger hit a three point shot extending MSU's lead back to seven points at 39-32 at the 15:03 mark. The the Kentucky defense began to make a difference in the game. Bogans made a steal at the 14:08 mark but Camara created an offensive foul and UK could not cut into the lead. However, on the next possession MSU threw the ball away and Prince hit a three to bring the Cats to within four again. UK pressure caused MSU to turn the ball over again on the next possession and Magloire hit a short jumper to bring the Cats to within two points at the 12:20 mark. By this point Agonye and Hutson had picked up their fourth fouls and Bell was playing with the three fouls he had picked up in the first half. Prince then hit a three ball at the 10:50 mark to bring the Cats to within a single point at 43-42. Then Peterson and Blevins traded three pointers. But Chappell answered one more time and the Spartans were up again by four.
Magloire picked up his double-double at the 9:00 minute mark. Mags made a short hook at the 8:00 mark to cut the Spartan lead to two. On the next possession the Cats caused another MSU turnover. Blevins canned his third three of the night to give UK its first lead at the 7:18 mark.
Kentucky would never give up that lead.
Prince then followed a Bogans miss to give the Cats a 3-point lead. MSU then crashed the offensive boards and made a bucket. After the Magloire committed an offensive foul, the Cats' full court pressure created another MSU turnover. The Cats had the ball and a one point lead with 5:35 to go. Bogans took Bell of the dribble and scored a lay-up giving UK another 3 point lead at the 5:00 mark. After several unsuccessful trips by both teams Saul Smith was fouled at the 3:40 mark. He made to give UK a 56-51 lead. Saul came through again on MSU's next possession with a great steal. Magloire was fouled on the next play at the 2:56 mark and Mags went to the line. He canned both free throws and the Cats led by seven. Bell scored his first basket of the 2nd half to bring MSU to within five. After a Prince miss, Granger canned a three pointer to pull MSU back to within a deuce at the 1:27 mark. Granger fouled Prince on the next play and Prince calmly nailed both free throws and UK took a four point lead with 1:09 to go. Bell then hit a short jumper off a Granger miss and MSU was alive at 60-58 with :49 remaining. Saul Smith then passed up an open three pointer to Bogans who missed the shot and MSU had the ball, down two with 9 seconds remaining. MSU had some good looks at the basket but could not get the shots to fall and Kentucky came away with an impressive win over the 5th ranked team in the nation.
Michigan St. Coach Izzo said that Kentucky was better prepared than any team the Spartans had faced this year, "No other team we have played implemented and executed a better game plan against us".
Jamaal Magloire scores over MSU's Mike Chappell
Keith Bogans (#10) puts up a shot while surrounded by Michigan State's A.J. Granger (#43), Andre Hutson (#34) and David Thomas (#11)
Referee Jim Burr whistles Jamaal Magloire for a technical foul after Magloire threw Charlie Bell to the floor