- Saturday, January 29 2000 -
Kentucky - 60 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 16th by AP]
|J. P. Blevins||21||1||4||1||3||0||0||1||2||3||1||0||0||0||2||3|
Miami - 57 (Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton) - [Unranked]
|Joao Paulo Coelho||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 35, Miami 25
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Georgia 75 - 69|||||Tennessee 81 - 68|
Game Writeup - Written by and courtesy of Jeff Drummond; Kentucky Sports Report, (All Rights Reserved)
Prince comes through
MIAMI -- For the third consecutive game, Kentucky's Tayshaun Prince shook off a lackluster shooting performance just in time to deliver a clutch basket for the Wildcats.
After Johnny Hemsley buried a 3-pointer to give the Miami Hurricanes a one-point lead with 40 seconds left in Saturday's non-conference showdown, Kentucky turned to its wiry sophomore forward for an answer. Prince, who had hit only one of his 10 shots to that point, responded with a running left-handed jumper in the lane that reclaimed the lead for the Cats.
Kentucky then stole the ball from Miami guard Vernon Jennings under the Hurricanes' basket, and Jamaal Magloire, who had been scoreless in the second half, sank a pair of crucial free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining.
Miami had a chance to send the game into overtime, but Jennings' long 3-point attempt over the outstretched arms of Prince came up short and the Cats escaped Miami Arena with a hard-fought 60-57 victory.
"It was a great defensive struggle," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "I don't know if you'd say 'ugly', but overall, we've been doing what we need to do to pull the games out."
That meant another big shot from Prince, who has struggled to find his mark in recent games but managed to come up with key baskets. He was only 2-for-7 on Jan. 22 at Vanderbilt, but one of those was a double-pump 3-pointer to help give the Cats an overtime victory. On Wednesday at Georgia, he was only 3-for-13 before hitting his last three attempts in a UK win.
"It was a big shot," Smith said. "Tayshaun's been struggling the last two or three games, but we don't want him to quit looking for his shot."
The win was the fifth straight and the 11th in the last 12 games for No. 16 Kentucky (15-5). It also marked the Wildcats' first trip to Miami in their storied history. The Hurricanes dropped to 12-8.
Early on, it appeared Kentucky would blow Miami away. Sophomore guard Desmond Allison scored seven straight points and Magloire added two thunderous dunks to give the Cats a 13-4 advantage.
"He played extremely well and set the tone for us early," Smith said of Allison, who scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half.
But starting point guard Saul Smith picked up his second foul at the 13:56 mark, and Miami's taller guards took advantage of backup J.P. Blevins during the next nine minutes. Although the Hurricanes had hit only four of their first 15 shots from the field, Kentucky switched to a 2-3 zone defense, and Hemsley shot Miami back in the game with three straight 3-pointers.
Two free throws by Jennings gave the Hurricanes a 21-20 lead at the 4:46 mark before Kentucky switched back to a man-to-man set and closed the half strong. Allison and Magloire each had five points in a 15-4 run to give the Cats a 35-25 lead going into the locker room.
Miami, though, opened the second half by hitting six of its first seven shots (including six straight points from forward Elton Tyler) and took a 39-38 lead on a Hemsley steal and runout with 14:25 remaining. Kentucky was also slowed when Smith received his third foul only 85 seconds into the half.
Kentucky responded with a 5-0 spurt, including baskets by Keith Bogans and Allison and a free throw by Marvin Stone, to reclaim the lead for good. The Cats' lead swelled to 54-45 on a Saul Smith 3-pointer with 6:38 remaining, but UK could not put Miami away.
The Cats went without a field goal for the next 6:12 before Prince tossed in the game-winner.
"This is a team, for some reason, that when we have prosperity, we tend to relax. We need to be more serious minded," Tubby Smith said. "It's been a problem for us all year long, not scoring in long bunches. We show flashes of being very talented --- which we are --- but then we show the flashes of immaturity."
Kentucky also hurt itself with some uncharacteristic foul line woes, hitting just 12 of 21 (57 percent).
"If we had made our free throws in the second half, we would have won going away," Smith said.
Bogans led the Cats with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. Allison also had five rebounds and three assists to go along with his 15 points. Magloire added 11 points and seven rebounds for Kentucky, which shot 40 percent (21 of 53) from the field and held a 40-31 rebounding advantage. The Cats pulled down 20 offensive rebounds.
Hemsley led Miami with 18 points on 5-for-15 shooting. Tyler and Mario Bland added 13 and 10 points, respectively. The Hurricanes shot 39 percent (21 of 54) from the field.
Kentucky returns to action Tuesday in a key SEC East matchup with Tennessee. The game is scheduled for a 9 p.m. tipoff at Rupp Arena before an ESPN nationally televised audience. The Volunteers (17-2 overall, 5-1 SEC) played host to South Carolina on Saturday night.
Miami's Mario Bland (#51) and Keith Bogans fight for a rebound
Bland drives on Marvin Stone