- Saturday, December 14 2002 -
Michigan State - 71 (Head Coach: Tom Izzo) - [Ranked 21st by AP]
Kentucky - 67 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 12th by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 40, Michigan State 40
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|Tulane 76 - 60|||||Indiana 70 - 64|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Spartans Bust Zone, Cats 71-67
Sometimes, even the best laid plans can go awry. Kentucky learned its lesson the hard way against Michigan State, allowing a late defensive breakdown in a 71-67 loss before 23, 145 at Rupp Arena.
UK Coach Tubby Smith switched the Cats into a zone during a timeout with 1:11 remaining after a Keith Bogans' drive had given UK a 67-66. The move appeared to be a stroke of coaching genius, as State looked confused while passing the ball around the perimeter.
But as the shot clock went under 10 seconds, Michigan State sophomore Tim Bograkos found an opening in the right corner as UK doubled the ball, took a pass from Chris Hill, and buried a three-pointer with 49.1 seconds remaining to give the Spartans a 69-67 lead it would not relinquish.
"The biggest shot I've ever hit," Bograkos said. "I was left wide open in the corner. I don't look to shoot a lot, but I was open and fortunately, the ball went in."
The three was the first Bograkos had attempted all season long and just the third in his career. Although the Cats defended the possession well, the scouting report on Bograkos may have led to his being open in the end.
"The kid that hit that three, his scouting report said, 'Defensive stopper. Hasn't shot a three or free throw all season,'" UK sophomore Chuck Hayes said. "I guess it was just his time."
The Cats (5-2) had a chance to tie it after calling a timeout, but Keith Bogans had to force a long three from the wing that drew front iron. Aloysius Anagonye hauled in the rebound for the Spartans and several Hill free throw's later, State (5-2) had escaped with a win.
The loss ended UK's four-game win streak, despite Bogans' season-high 23 points and a 34-30 rebounding advantage for the smaller Cats. In the end though, it was a last option that ended another classic UK-Michigan State battle.
"I could lie to you and tell you I set that play up, but in all honesty, (Bograkos) was the sixth option of our five players," Izzo said.
The finish left a bad taste in UK's mouth after having played a pretty solid game. After falling behind 12-4 four minutes in, UK went on a 23-7 run to claim a 27-19 lead, but then found themselves in a battle after Marquis Estill went to the bench with foul trouble at the 8:05 mark.
UK took a quick 44-42 lead after the break, but went scoreless for nearly five minutes thanks to State's physical, suffocating defense and fell behind 52-46. The Cats made a run to erase a six-point deficit and take the lead on two sensational Estill tips and Bogans' drive with 1:22 left, setting up the ending.
"It was a very intense game," Smith said. "This has become a pretty intense rivalry. In games like this, you have to make plays when called upon."
In the end, UK didn't and Tim Bograkos did.
Gerald Fitch meets MSU's Aloysius Anagonye
Chuck Hayes is surrounded by Spartans
Marquis Estill (#50) fouls a MSU player