- Tuesday, January 2 2001 -
Kentucky - 64 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Unranked]
|J. P. Blevins||7||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0|
Louisville - 62 (Head Coach: Denny Crum) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 29, Louisville 27
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|High Point 102 - 49|||||Georgia 67 - 63|
Game Writeup - Written by and courtesy of Jeff Drummond; Kentucky Sports Report, (All Rights Reserved)
UK nips U of L, 64-62
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Kentucky overcame a red-hot shooting night by Louisville's Reece Gaines and held off a late Cardinal rally to escape Freedom Hall with a 64-62 victory Tuesday night.
Gaines was 10-for-14 from the field and hit five 3-pointers on his way to a blistering 27-point night, but it wasn't enough to overcome a balanced scoring effort by the Wildcats. Keith Bogans scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the second half and Tayshaun Prince followed with 13, while Jason Parker and Marvin Stone each added 11 for the winners.
Kentucky (6-5) won its third straight game and moved over the .500 mark for the first time this season. Louisville (4-9) has lost eight of 10 and is off to its worst start in Denny Crum's 30 years on the bench. But it wasn't easy by any stretch for the Cats, who held leads of 12 and 10 points at separate junctures of the second half, but couldn't put away the Cards.
Thanks to a pair of late 3s by Gaines and some sloppy offensive execution by Kentucky, Louisville had two chances to tie or take the lead in the final 25 seconds. Erik Brown missed a challenged 3-pointer from the left wing with under 10 seconds left, but the ball deflected out of bounds off a UK player at the :02.1 mark. The Cards then threw the in-bounds pass away, losing their final opportunity.
"It was a hard-fought game. I thought our kids showed a lot of heart there at the end because we've lost some games like this early in the season," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "But this will help us understand how to finish games. We've just got to find the killer instinct when we've got a chance to put the game away."
Early on, it looked like Louisville was poised for a special performance. The Cards hit their first six shots from the field, including back-to-back treys by Gaines and Marques Maybin, to stun Kentucky with a 14-4 lead. But the Cards soon went cold, missing 10 of their next 11 shots, and the Cats slowly worked their way back into the game. A Prince 3-pointer and a three-point play by Parker narrowed the gap to four, and a 9-0 run featuring a Saul Smith 3-pointer gave Kentucky a 19-16 advantage with 8:46 left in the half.
"They came out ready to play," said Stone of Louisville. "We knew they wouldn't back down, and they wanted to win. We had to play as hard as they did."
"We did a good job overcoming that, of staying patient and working our way back into the game," Smith said.
Kentucky scored the final five points of the first half to take a 29-25 edge into the locker room. The Cats then added a 9-0 run to start the second half, including a 3-pointer by Bogans, inside baskets by Parker and a backdoor lob from Smith to Prince.
A Bogans trey at the 15:44 mark gave UK its largest lead of the game, 41-29. Louisville fought back using midrange jumpers against the Cats' 2-3 extended zone. Gaines had seven points and reserve forward Luke Whitehead added six in a 19-9 spurt that pulled the Cards within 50-48 with 7:47 to play. But back came Kentucky with seven straight points: a three-point play by Stone off a pick-and-roll with Bogans; another Stone inside basket; and a putback by Gerald Fitch to make it 57-48 with 6:25 remaining.
"I want to be in there in crunch time. I want coach to be able to count on me," Stone said.
The Cats reclaimed a double-figure lead on a Bogans 3-pointer at the 4:25 mark before Louisville made its late charge. Gaines had two treys, a short jumper and a pair of free throws to tie the game at 62 with 59 seconds left. Louisivlle appeared to have a defensive stop on UK's last possession before Whitehead, a freshman, fouled Prince with three seconds showing on the shot clock. The Cats' junior forward, who also had eight rebounds and six assists on the night, sank both free throws for the final margin of victory.
Kentucky shot 48 percent from the field (25 of 52) and had only seven turnovers. Louisville was nearly as good on the offensive end, shooting 47 percent (25 of 53) and committing just 11 turnovers.
"Our biggest problem was on the defensive end, giving up those open 3s," Smith said. "But I've got to give it to Reece Gaines. He hit some big-time shots, some of them from way out there."
The Cards also held a 32-27 rebounding advantage over the bigger Cats. "They beat us on the boards, and that should never happen to us," Smith said. "That part was disappointing because I knew the team that controlled the boards and got the loose balls (was key). That kind of concerns me."
Kentucky returns to action on Saturday at Rupp Arena when it opens Southeastern Conference play against Georgia.
Tayshaun Prince beats the Cards down the court for a dunk.
Keith Bogans (#10) slices to the basket
Jason Parker (#42) defends against Louisville's Ellis Myles