- Saturday, February 9 2008 -
Alabama - 52 (Head Coach: Mark Gottfried) - [Unranked]
Kentucky - 62 (Head Coach: Billy Gillispie) - [Unranked]
|A. J. Stewart||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 28, Alabama 27
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Auburn 66 - 63|||||Vanderbilt 52 - 93|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Ramel Bradley has spent much of the season having the familiar refrain of helping those around him out on the basketball court. Apparently, he has taken the message so seriously the courtesy extends to courtside photographers as well.
Playing for the first time since he went down with a concussion early in the Georgia game a week before Bradley buried a critical three-pointer off a scramble as the shot clock expired to ignite Kentucky's decisive run in a 62-52 victory over Alabama at Rupp Arena. When the senior swished his third three of the game from the top of the key after collecting a loose ball from teammate Patrick Patterson having his shot blocked, Bradley held his arm in the air al a Wesley Snipes in 'White Men Can't Jump'.
It was all part of being a team player.
"I just held the pose for the photographers so they could get a good shot," Bradley said with a smile. "I think they should have (got one) if they were doing their jobs."
It might have been the only thing that was pretty in another grind-it-out win for the Cats. No matter, that's just how UK and coach Billy Gillispie like it. You don't have to paint a Picasso when a paint-by-numbers will do just as good.
"It's just a win," Patterson said. "Some games are ugly but Coach always says that's the way he likes it. A win is a win, no matter if it's by one point or how you lay it down."
This one came courtesy of another stingy defensive effort that left Alabama confused and frustrated at its inability to get any offense going after a torrid start. Making matters worse was the Crimson Tide had to play without arguably the best post player in the Southeastern Conference when Richard Hendrix became the latest athlete to catch the flu bug.
Without Hendrix Alabama had few offensive options, although seldom used replacement Yamene Coleman and Justin Knox combined to score 14 points in the first half, 11 more than their combined season averages for a game. Alabama jumped out to a 23-15 lead but watched UK whittle away the deficit before taking their first lead on a Joe Crawford leaning prayer at the shot clock with just 5.6 seconds remaining in the first half. Coupled with Bradley's triple that jump-started the decisive 19-7 second half run and it was just one of those days for the Cats.
"Ramel is a good shooter and Joe made one at the end of the shot clock too that was a jump up, double clutch it thing too," Gillispie said. "Those are big plays. They have the ability to deflate a defense because they played well for 34 seconds and then you luck one in or whatever it might be. We play pretty decently at the end of the shot clock, we just need to play better the first 34 seconds. Ramel's shot was huge because that's when we didn't have much going."
Alabama coach Mark Gottfried couldn't have agreed more.
"That was a big play for them," Gottfried said of Bradley's shot. "It was one of those plays where you just shake your head. We blocked the shot and it bounces right to Bradley, who buries a deep three. That was when the game was still hanging in the balance. A great hustle play on our part turns into a big three-point play for them."
UK's defense was also a determining factor in its fifth-straight league win, the first time the Cats have accomplished that since January of 2006. The Cats held Alabama to just 28 percent shooting after halftime and 37.3 percent for the game, while hounding Alonzo Gee (who averaged 16.3 points per game) into five points on just 1-of-9 shooting.
"I think we stepped it up and made it hard for them to get the ball moving," Crawford said. "We denied the wings and didn't let them get into the offense. It starts on the defensive end of the floor because we aren't scoring a lot of points but we are not letting opponents get into their offense."
It may not be the easiest on the eyes but the Cats will take it that way every time.
Patrick Patterson (#54) and Perry Stevenson (#21) both go for a rebound
Joe Crawford (#32) shoots inside
Ramon Harris fights for a loose ball