- Wednesday, February 11 1998 -
Tennessee - 74 (Head Coach: Jerry Green) - [Unranked]
Kentucky - 80 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 7th by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 33, Tennessee 30
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|Villanova 79 - 63|||||Mississippi 64 - 73|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 24. (All Rights Reserved)
The Second Time Around:Although not as impressive against the Vols in Lexington as they were in Knoxville, 7th ranked (AP) Kentucky ended a 4 game winning streak by Tennessee as they knocked off the Vols 80-74.
While Kentucky got the opening tip, Black scored first for UT on a dunk. Thanks to Mohammed and Turner, UK quickly built leads of 4-2 and then 9-5 after an Evans FG. Tennessee couldn't hit well early, starting off making only 1 of their 1st 6 shots from the floor, and a Mills 3 extended the Wildcat lead to 14-5 at the initial TV timeout. But UT scored 7 straight (on scoring by Black, Baker, Tony Harris, and Wharton) to make it 14-12 by the next TV timeout. Later a Lee 3 made it 16-15 UK. Mohammed made an old-fashioned 3, then Lee had a very long 3, and UT took a brief 21-19 lead on a Harris 3. UT's poor shooting continued, but they had repeated tries as they controlled rebounding for several possessions (this was a bit misleading, however. UT took many bad shots which bounced far from the basket, and UK couldn't reach them). Mohammed had a putback of an Edwards miss, then he added a FT, and had a nice assist to Evans in the lane to give the Wildcats a 24-21 edge. UT closed the gap, eventually trailing only by 26-25 after a Victor 12 footer, at which point the Fox transmission was interrupted by a couple of news stories. They later rejoined the game, but continued to switch a couple of times to other coverage. Mohammed hit a 17 footer (his opponent no doubt did not expect him to shoot that far out) to give UK a 28-26 edge, but Black scored inside to tie the game at the next TV timeout. Sheppard hit a 3, then Black made 2 FTs, and Sheppard hit on a nice drive for a 33-30 UK lead which stood at halftime. The game ended with fine passing from Sheppard to Bradley to Evans, but Heshimu missed a wide open layup as the half ended. Mohammed already had 12 pts by halftime, and Padgett might have still been feeling the effects of his hip pointer, as he played only 7 minutes in the opening stanza.
Padgett showed he was OK, however, as the 2nd half started by hitting a 3 and getting a layup on a fast break to put UK up 38-30. Tennessee even had to call a 20 s timeout (their last of the game) to prevent a big Kentucky surge. Black scored inside, but Padgett added another 3, and it was 41-32 UK. Wharton and Edwards traded baskets, Sheppard hit 1 of 2 FT attempts, then Victor made 1 FT. Edwards hit a long 2, Victor put back a miss, Evans put back a Turner miss, and Mohammed had a hook shot blocked. Wharton made a 13 footer, and Evans answered with a 15 footer. Mohammed had a shot goaltended and at the next TV timeout, Kentucky led 52-41. The next possession featured several turnovers and blocks, and Turner and Harris had some words as Harris pointed a finger in Turner's face and Turner pushed the hand out of his way. Mohammed put back a bad Turner shot, and it was 54-41. Harris made 2 FTs, then Turner missed his FTs but soon after scored on a 3-on-1 break for a 56-43 Wildcat margin. Harris nailed a 3, Padgett made a scoop shot, Harris made 2 of 3 FT tosses after Evans fouled him beyond the line, and Mohammed made 2 FT tosses to give UK a 60-48 edge. Tennessee did not lay down and die, however, with Black getting a dunk as he worked past the defense. Edwards hit Padgett for a lob dunk, Lee hit a 3, and Kentucky was called for a 5 second inbounding violation as Edwards wouldn't pass to a wide open Sheppard (Jeff had no one within 20 feet of him, and was visible to Edwards who was only looking under his own basket). Tennessee started to press, and Kentucky missed a couple of 3s. Harris and Black made some FTs, Harris added some more, and it was 64-58 UK. Padgett opened the margin with a 3, Sheppard added some FTs, and Mohammed had a putback to make it a comfortable 71-58 with 3 minutes left. Black had a dunk, Evans had a layup past the defense, Wharton scored on a drive, and later added a 3. Then Wharton scored on a tough drive, and suddenly it was 73-67 UK. Sheppard made some FT tosses, Turner added some more, Black countered with some of his own, and Mohammed made 1 of 2 FT attempts. Lee hit a 3 to end the scoring for the night, and Kentucky preserved an 80-74 win.
Nazr Mohammed had his 7th double-double of the season, and the 14th of his career.
Tennessee has guaranteed its first winning season since 1991-92 with an upset win over South Carolina. UT had also won its last 4 SEC games, which had not happened for the Vols since 1988-89.
The Vols put 4 players in double figure scoring, Kentucky placed 5. The 9 blocks by Tennessee was a season high by a Wildcat opponent. Their 2 worst shooting SEC games of the season have come against Kentucky, with 30.0% shooting in Knoxville and 34.4% at Rupp.
Mohammed tied a career high with 16 rebounds, also achieved in the Arizona game earlier this season. His 5 blocks also matched a career high, also achieved against Morehead State earlier this season. His double double in pts and rebounds was his 7th of the season and 14th of his UK career. Tennessee's C.J. Black had his 3rd double double of the season.
Padgett's 3 3 pt shots were a season high for him.