- Sunday, March 15 1998 -
NCAA South Regional Second Round (at Atlanta, GA)
Kentucky - 88 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Final Rank 5th by AP]
St. Louis - 61 (Head Coach: Charlie Spoonhour) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 46, St. Louis 18
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|South Carolina State 82 - 67|||||UCLA 94 - 68|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol 7. No. 28. (All Rights Reserved)
Kentucky won its NCAA South Regional 2nd round game against St Louis 88-61 in the Georgia Dome as the Cats placed 5 players in double-figures in scoring. UK was #5 ranked by AP and was the #2 seed in the South, with St Louis the #10 seed. The Cats reached the NCAA "Sweet 16" for the 4th consecutive year, and the 6th time in 7 years. It was the 77th official Kentucky victory in the NCAA Tournament, which is the most of any member institution (UCLA is next with 75 wins).
The Georgia Dome scoreboard was a bit misleading, as it proclaimed that Heshimu Evans would again start for the Cats, but Jeff Sheppard in fact started and played brilliantly. During the game's 1st 3 minutes, Kentucky sped to a 10-0 lead, and never looked back, keeping the tempo high for the entire contest. Hughes finally scored for St Louis 4 minutes into the game, but an Edwards 3 made it 13-2. The refs in the NCAA continue to be overly impressed by flops, as Scott Padgett was somehow called for an offensive foul as he caught the ball and turned with a Billiken player throwing himself to the floor. A Luechtefeld 3, a Sheppard 3, a Mohammed FT, 2 Luechtefeld FTs, a Sheppard 17 footer, a Luechtefeld 18 footer, and a Magloire hook made it 21-11 at the next TV timeout. Kentucky ran off the next 17 pts (for a 19-0 run) and put the game away. The Cats shot 71% from the floor going deep into the 1st half, as the Billikens appeared rattled and hit a mere 14%. UK was so impressive that Billy Packer of CBS said he was reminded of the Cats' 1993 run through the NCAA, destroying everything in their sight until they came upon Michigan. When the score reached 40-14, CBS switched games [JNB note - in Atlanta, anyway] as they did so often in 1993. UK had no problems in the 2nd half (even allowing themselves to be outscored by the Billikens), with St Louis never reducing the lead under 20 pts, and playing many bench players for extended periods once the outcome was decided.
Wayne Turner became the 8th leading assist man in Kentucky basketball history with his 9 assists. He passed John Pelphrey's 328 assists by 1 after this game. Jeff Sheppard scored 18 pts, allowing him to become the 44th member of the Kentucky "1000 Point Club", and giving him 1014 total pts in his Wildcat career.
Coach Smith guessed that the St Louis game portrayed Kentucky at its best 1st half of the season.
After the win, Kentucky is now 9-0 all-time in Rupp Arena South (also known as the Georgia Dome). "We can say this is Kentucky's gym now," Nazr Mohammed quipped.
Nazr Mohammed scores
Scott Padgett shoots