- Wednesday, February 16 2000 -
Alabama - 54 (Head Coach: Mark Gottfried) - [Unranked]
|Terrance "Doc" Martin||31||2||6||2||4||0||1||0||4||4||2||0||0||0||1||6|
Kentucky - 66 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 19th by AP]
|J. P. Blevins||15||0||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 38, Alabama 26
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Louisiana State 57 - 70|||||Georgia 70 - 64|
Game Writeup - Written by and courtesy of Jeff Drummond; Kentucky Sports Report, (All Rights Reserved)
UK holds off Tide
Well, it just wasn't pretty.
Kentucky had enough in its arsenal to handle an outmanned Alabama squad Wednesday at Rupp Arena, but didn't get many style points in a 66-54 victory. The No. 19 Wildcats shot only 41 percent from the field and went a scant 2-for-23 from 3-point range as the Crimson Tide trimmed an 18-point lead down to five in the waning moments.
Alabama had a chance to make it a four-point game with three minutes remaining, but Rod Grizzard missed the second of two free throws, and Kentucky responded with a 12-2 run to put the game away.
The Cats hung on despite a nine-minute span of the second half which saw them score only two points and hit just one of 10 field goal attempts. They also survived the Tide's 11-for-24 performance from behind the 3-point arc.
"I thought coming into the game that we had a good gameplan. We had been shooting the ball awfully well in practice," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "When you go 2-for-23 it becomes a problem because then it's a mind game. Now, psychologically, guys think they can't make that shot.
"That was the real disappointing thing about tonight because we took care of the basketball --- something we've been working on --- and we had 16 assists to only six turnovers. We did a good job of finding people open, but didn't get the shots to drop. And (Alabama's) zone gave us a lot of problems, too."
Kentucky improved to 18-7 overall and 8-3 in the Southeastern Conference. The win kept the Cats in a second-place tie with Florida in the Eastern Division, one game behind Tennessee. Alabama, which has been riddled by injuries this season and played most of the game without leading scorer Schea Cotton, dropped to 11-12 overall and 4-7 in league play.
Early on, it appeared Kentucky would handle Alabama with ease. Tied at 13 at the 11:13 mark, the Cats broke the game open with a 21-5 run highlighted by six points from Tayshaun Prince and four apiece from Jamaal Magloire and Marvin Stone.
Alabama countered with eight straight points to make it 34-26, but Jules Camara scored twice before the half to send the Cats into the break with a 12-point advantage. Camara came off the bench to score all 10 of his points in the first period.
"I thought Jules played great," Smith said. "He came in and gave us a big lift."
Alabama committed 11 of its 15 turnovers in the first half, and Kentucky converted them into 16 points.
"We put ourselves in a hole with our turnovers in the first half," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "Kentucky did a good job of creating turnovers and we got in an awfully hurried pace."
Kentucky maintained the momentum entering the second half as Prince scored on a putback and Bogans drained a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 43-26. The margin reached its peak of 18 moments later on an inside basket by Prince.
The teams exchanged baskets until the 11:10 mark when Kentucky's offense bogged down against the Tide's 2-3 zone. As the Cats took one errant shot after another, Alabama chipped away with a 3-pointer by "Doc" Martin and inside baskets by Grizzard and Sam Haginas. Grizzard then tacked on six straight points to make it 54-49 with 3:02 left.
Desmond Allison's offensive rebound and assist of a Prince basket gave the Cats some breathing room at 56-49 with 2:20 left, and Magloire sank a pair of free throws to extend the lead to nine. Kentucky ensured the victory with a series of transition baskets, including dunks by Saul Smith and Magloire.
"I was proud of our players," Gottfried said. "We got it down to five, had a chance to make it four. They kept fighting. That makes you feel real good about your players and your team."
Kentucky placed four players in double figures, led by Magloire with 16 points. The senior center also grabbed nine rebounds. Prince followed with 14 points for the Cats while Bogans and Camara each added 10. Freshman Marvin Stone came off the bench to contribute nine points and seven rebounds.
Alabama, which shot only 32 percent (19 of 59) overall, was led by Grizzard with 20 points. Freshman backcourt mate Terrance Meade added 13 points and nine rebounds. Cotton, the SEC's fourth-leading scorer at 16.4 points per game, was bothered by a large foot blister and finished with only four points on 2-for-10 shooting in 13 minutes of action.
Prince had three of the Cats' 10 blocked shots. Magloire had two in adding to his school record total of 255 entering the contest. Camara and Stone also blocked two apiece. Alabama managed only eight 2-point field goals in 35 attempts.
"Kentucky is a very, very underrated defensive team," Gottfried said. "One of the reasons is Magloire inside, as well as those other guys."
Kentucky returns to action Saturday at Rupp Arena against Georgia. The Bulldogs (10-14 overall, 3-8 SEC) last played on Feb. 12, a 71-65 win over Ole Miss.
Jules Camara skies for a rebound