- Friday, March 9 2001 -
SEC Tournament (at Nashville, TN)
Kentucky - 78 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 15th by AP]
|J. P. Blevins||14||0||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0|
South Carolina - 65 (Head Coach: Eddie Fogler) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 34, South Carolina 25
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Florida 86 - 94|||||Arkansas 87 - 78|
Game Writeup - Written by and courtesy of Jeff Drummond; Kentucky Sports Report, (All Rights Reserved)
Bogans pours in 23 to lead UK over Gamecocks
NASHVILLE, Tenn.. --- The hot hand of Keith Bogans and an impressive stretch by Kentucky's youngsters carried the Wildcats to a 78-65 victory over South Carolina in Friday's quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Bogans, a sophomore guard, hit five of nine 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 23 points. He hit three treys early in the game to stake Kentucky to a lead, then opened the second half with two more as the Cats started to pull away.
"We got off to a great start today," Bogans said of the Cats' 8-of-12 shooting to begin the game, including five 3-pointers. "We established the inside game right off the bat, then our outside shots were wide open. We had no choice but to knock them down."
The Gamecocks hovered around the 10-point margin until Kentucky put the game away with a 27-13 spurt midway through the second half. During that stretch, the Cats got 23 straight points from first-year players Jason Parker, Cliff Hawkins, Marquis Estill and Gerald Fitch. Parker and Fitch joined Bogans in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
"I feel like I'm playing at the top of my game," Parker said. "I felt good coming into the tournament."
Kentucky (20-9) also got 12 points and seven rebounds from junior forward Tayshaun Prince in notching its 10th consecutive victory over South Carolina. The Cats advance to face the winner of Friday night's Arkansas-LSU matchup while the Gamecocks (15-14) now wait in hope of an NIT berth.
"I'm very pleased with the win," said Smith, despite the fact that his team was outscored 20-9 down the stretch to make the final score deceptively close. "South Carolina's a good team, and Eddie Fogler's not going to let them give up.
"I thought we lost our focus and our concentration there when we got up big. We put our starters back in there (with six minutes remaining), and I think they thought it was time to go to the showers."
The Cats led by 24 on three occasions, the last coming on Estill's 3-pointer with 8:25 remaining to make it 69-45. But that marked the last field goal they'd make until the 4:08 mark. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks were entertaining thoughts of a comeback with a 3-pointer by David Ross, consecutive inside baskets by Marius Petravicius, and a steal leading to a layup by Aaron Lucas.
Kentucky committed five of its 15 turnovers in one three-minute stretch, and further complicated matters by missing six of seven free throws in the same period. The Cats were a woeful 9-for-21 at the line for the game.
"Two things we didn't do were hit our free throws and take care of the ball," Smith said. "Those are areas that will get you beat in the tournament if you're not careful.
"The big bugaboo was the turnovers. You can't turn the ball over that much when they're not forced," added Smith, noting the Gamecocks' low-pressure, zone defenses. "We've got to play the right way, or we can get beat by any team."
"We weren't moving the ball around like we're supposed to, and we found ourselves standing a lot," Bogans said. "If we had penetrated a little more, we would have had easy shots."
"We can't go through those kind of droughts anymore," Kentucky senior point guard Saul Smith said. "It will come back and bite you. We've got to play the full 40 minutes. That's something we have to take into the next game."
Kentucky shot 46 percent (30 of 64) from the field, as did South Carolina (24 of 52). The Cats hit nine of 23 from long range and held a 36-34 rebounding edge. The Cats also forced 23 turnovers, including 14 steals. Hawkins recorded four off the bench.
Freshman center Rolando Howell paced South Carolina with 20 points.