- Saturday, November 25 2000 -
Penn State - 73 (Head Coach: Jerry Dunn) - [Unranked]
Kentucky - 68 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 22nd by AP]
|J. P. Blevins||14||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||1||0|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 39, Penn State 37
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Jacksonville State 91 - 48|||||North Carolina 93 - 76|
Game Writeup - Written by and courtesy of Stephen John; Kentucky Sports Report, (All Rights Reserved)
UK upset at home
It was a battle of the big guns in Rupp Arena; Kentucky's big canon Jason Parker and secret weapon Erik Daniels against Penn St.'s long-range missiles, also known as the Crispin brothers. In the end, the long-range bombs of Penn St. were just too much for Kentucky to handle. The backcourt brothers of Joe and Jon Crispin blistered the nets from the outside, combining for 57 points, as Penn St. upset Kentucky 73-68 in Rupp Arena. Kentucky shot just 12-36 from the field in the 2nd half, and the Cats continued to struggle from the free throw line, finishing just 5-15 from the stripe, many of those misses down the stretch. Penn St. senior Joe Crispin entered the game suffering from the flu and reportedly had a fever. But it was his shooting that was burning hot. "What they did (the Crispin brothers) was pretty incredible. I don't think I have ever seen anything like that before," a dejected Kentucky Coach Smith said, "We were hoping to get back to .500 basketball. We had a great crowd behind us. It's really disappointing. We have to play with a lot more heart than we have been doing. This is a bitter one to take."
For Kentucky, this is their worst start since the 1984-85 season, and the Cats saw their 20-game home winning game streak snapped.
Before Saturday night's game with Penn St. began, Coach Tubby Smith described the Nittany Lions and their star brother tandem, the Crispin brothers: "When you think of Penn St., you have to think about Joe Crispin first," Coach Tubby Smith said. "He is just a fantastic player and the leader on this team. You know he's going to give it 100% every night. They're a really good perimeter team, and if they get hot, they can bury you quick. In addition to Joe, his brother Jon can really knock them down."
Those words turned out to be prophetic, as the Crispin brothers proved to be unstoppable, scoring from the outside at will. Kentucky controlled the boards and had numerous opportunities to win the game, but poor shooting from the field and from the free throw line did the Cats in. Kentucky controlled the boards by a 57-36 margin but had a tough time find the basket, finishing 39% from the field.
The opening tip came before a packed house at Rupp Arena. The Cats opened in man-to-man defense, and the Lions struggled with offense in their first three possessions. Titus Ivory missed an open 18-footer and Joe Crispin's runner off the right side of the basket was an air ball. On the other end, Kentucky got 4 second-chance points in the first couple of minutes and Parker and Stone controlled the paint. Joe Crispin hit an off-balanced three point shot but Kentucky would answer with Stone and Parker on the inside. The Cats continued to struggle from the outside but with virtually every long-range miss, Parker, Estill or Stone would rebound the errant shot. Both teams were having difficulty finding the range early.
Two Jon Crispin long-range three's pulled the Lions to within one point, but Stone blocked a Joe Crispin shot and Bogans hit a runner in transition and was fouled, hitting the free throw. Kentucky switched to a zone-defense, which repressed several Nittany Lion opportunities. However, the Cats were making mistakes of their own with rushed three-pointer attempts and careless turnovers. UK held a slim 15-13 lead as Jon Crispin scored his 8th point on a short running jumper. A Gerald Fitch free throw and Jason Parker turnaround jumper extended the lead to 18-13, but the Cats were still struggling from the outside, 2-11 from three point range for the half. But the Lions were only shooting 25% from the field through the first 14 minutes against a stingy UK defense.
Erik Daniels, the Cincinnati freshman who led the Wildcats in scoring in their blowout over Jacksonville St., made his presence felt once again. Daniels hit four of his first five shots, including a three-pointer, "Erik Daniels came in and just did a super job for us," Coach Smith said, "We probably should have gotten him the ball more. We need to find him some more playing time." Joe Crispin began catching fire alongside his brother and, down 34-23, led a Penn St. comeback as the first half wound down. Kentucky would never really recover from the Penn St. run. Committing two costly turnovers down the stretch, UK found its 11-point margin reduced to just two points, 39-37, at half time. Jon Crispin was 6-6 from the field in the first half.
And Joe Crispin did not cool off at bit at the half. The sharpshooter hit three 3-pointers to lead an 11-2 Nittany Lion run to open the half and the Lions led 48-41. Erik Daniels came off the bench and nailed a three point shot and Parker and Stone hit buckets down low to keep the Cats within 6 points. Ivory hit a couple tough shots for Penn St. to keep the cats at bay. Saul Smith would hit a three-pointer and Bogans would feed Estill down low for a dunk. Kentucky was within three at the 13:00 minute mark, 55-52. Then Saul would hit another three at the 11:30 mark to tie the game. But Crispin would answer with his 6th three-pointer. After two missed long-range attempts, Tay Prince would connect. But once again, one of the Crispin brothers would have an answer. Within seconds Jon Crispin nailed his 21st point on a shot from behind the arc and the lead was three again. Kentucky missed a number of easy shots in the paint before Parker would finally connect, tying the game at 61. After a Joe Crispin miss, Jon Crispin claimed the rebound, backed it back out and coolly drained another three as Saul Smith inexplicably failed to follow Crispin out to the arc. After two missed free throws by Hawkins, Joe Crispin nailed yet another three and Penn St. was up again by six points.
Erik Daniels, who led Kentucky for the second game in a row with 16 points, helped to keep Kentucky close, hitting a short-range jumper and then finishing on a fast break. However, on the latter play, Erik fell to the floor hard, rolled his ankle, leaving the game. And when Erik departed, so it seemed, did Kentucky's hopes for victory. His status for Saturday's game against North Carolina in Chapel Hill, is uncertain.
With 23 seconds remaining and Penn St. with a three-point lead, Joe Crispin lost his footing and the ball, giving possession to Kentucky. But Kentucky could not get off a shot and Bogans had his shot blocked after Kentucky ran 11 precious seconds off the clock. The game was over.
"You have to handle it to Penn St.," Coach Smith said, "they came in with a good game plan, and they executed that plan. The Crispin brothers were just knocking their shots down. We tried the 2-3 zone, the 3-2, we tried to switch and double team. We just couldn't come up with an answer. And we just couldn't find the basket. We had a lot of problems tonight. You're not going to win many games shooting like we did tonight. You're are just not."
Jason Parker recorded his first "double-double" for Kentucky, with 15 points and 15 rebounds on 7-15 shooting. "We had a tough time at the end getting some of those close shots to go," Coach Smith said, "it seemed like we went back outside too much when those close shots failed. We have to continue to get the ball to the big guys down low. Marvin (Stone) only had 6 shots. We have to get him more looks."
Tubby Smith seemed exasperated at the effort put forth by the Wildcats, particularly his two leading returning scorers, "I am looking at the people that have to carry us. We are going to be in trouble if we can't get scoring from Keith (Bogans) and Tay (Prince). I am just telling you, we're gonna be in trouble."
Bogans and Prince combined for a mere 4-24 from the field. The Cats shot just 5-26 from beyond the arc. Saul Smith, Bogans and Prince combined for just 2-19 from outside the three-point line.
Kentucky plays its next game this Saturday, against North Carolina, in Chapel Hill.
Jason Parker (#42) shoots over the Penn State defense
Erik Daniels works against Penn State 7-footer Scott Witkowsky
Saul Smith defends Joe Crispin