- Saturday, March 29 2003 -
NCAA Midwest Regional Finals (at Minneapolis, MN)
Kentucky - 69 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Final Rank 1st by AP]
Marquette - 83 (Head Coach: Tom Crean) - [Final Rank 9th by AP]
Halftime Score: Marquette 45, Kentucky 26
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Wisconsin 63 - 57|||||Winthrop 65 - 44|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
The dream dies: UK's road ends
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Between Dwyane Wade and a throng of yellow-clad Marquette fans, Kentucky never had a chance.
Wade, a First Team All-American, dominated UK en route to the first NCAA Tournament triple-double since 1998, posting 29 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, to lead the Golden Eagles to a shocking 83-69 demolition of No. 1 UK at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
"It wasn't supposed to end like this," sophomore Chuck Hayes said. "But it did."
For all intents and purposes, it ended for the Cats (32-4) when Marquette went on a 28-7 run in the first half after falling behind 14-10. During the nearly nine-minute stretch, UK had just one field goal, a Keith Bogans three-pointer.
Bogans, who gave everything he had after suffering a high ankle sprain in the Sweet 16 just two days before, played 24 minutes and had 15 points, but it was obvious he was not himself. Because of that, UK's vaunted defense wasn't near as swarming as usual, leading to the Eagles hitting the second best field goal percentage against UK all season at 56.4 percent. On top of that, Marquette hit 10-of-19 three-pointers, leaving UK with no answers defensively.
"They hit everything," Hayes said. "We couldn't rotate the way we wanted to. You've got a great player like Wade and then Travis Diener, they did what they had to do."
Wade was unstoppable and really, unguardable, for UK. The junior had 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists at halftime, then took over the game when UK made a run in the second, scoring 13 consecutive Marquette points to keep the Cats at bay. In an attempt to slow Wade, UK Coach Tubby Smith tried at least five defenders on the 6-foot-5 guard, all to no avail.
"He made some really tough plays," junior Cliff Hawkins said. "But he also passed the ball. He had like 11 assists. He is just a tough player to stop one-on-one."
"I'm surprised," junior Gerald Fitch said. "He's a total player. He's a perfect example of a total player. He did everything. He rose to the occasion. He's as good as I've seen."
Even with Wade going off, it was a pair of background players that really killed UK. Robert Jackson, the Mississippi State transfer, totally outplayed Marquis Estill, scoring 24 points and hauling in 15 rebounds, while 6-foot-10 freshman forward Steve Novak drilled 5-of-8 from beyond the arc to score 16 points. Jackson, who was told Estill said he didn't remember him, had the last laugh between the two.
"I'm pretty sure he knows who I am now," Jackson said. "My teammates were all joking on me on the bus. I took that as motivation."
And UK took it on the chin. The Cats fell behind by 19 at halftime, then began to mount a comeback, when a questionable whistle stunted all their momentum.
Antwain Barbour between two Marquette players on the break, leaning in for a lay-up to cut the lead to 10 with 10:05 remaining. But the officials called a surprising charging call on Barbour, wiping out the basket. Wade then took over, as the Eagles went on an 8-2 spurt to push the lead back to 18 and end any hopes of a stirring Cat comeback.
"It's been a wonderful year for us," Smith said. "It's been a fun year. We just didn't have an answer for Dwyane Wade."
In the end, Wade and the Golden swarm was just too much for the Cats to survive on this night.
Chuck Hayes (#44) shoots over Steve Novak
Cliff Hawkins (#1) finds the going rough inside
Dwyane Wade (#3) drives around Chuck Hayes