Sunday, January 31, 1999

KENTUCKY 86, LSU 62


Turner shows why he's 'Mr. Everything'

BY NEIL SCHMIDT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEXINGTON, Ky. — Tubby Smith was asked to assess what Wayne Turner brings to his basketball team. “A steadying influence,” he decided.

        If nothing else, Turner has come to symbolize Kentucky's success the last half of this decade simply by being there. UK's senior co-captain is college basketball's Cal Ripken Jr., inching toward the NCAA record for games played, and seemingly setting standards in any number of other stats.

        Steals. Assists. Dives. Motivational speeches. High-fives.

        And yes, scoring. Saturday brought his 1,000th career point — a steal and layup for Kentucky's first points in an 86-62 beating of Louisiana State at Rupp Arena.

        “I guess that was the best way to get it,” he said. “It sums up the way I play.”

        Turner led sixth-ranked UK Saturday with 14 points, totaling six assists, no turnovers, two rebounds and a blocked shot. All in 24 minutes as the Wildcats (19-4, 8-1 Southeastern Conference) won for the fifth straight time.

        “He's our Mr. Everything,” sophomore center Michael Bradley said. “He's our leader. He has an overall complete game, and he brings it out every game.”

        While he's the 46th member of the school's 1,000-point club, he holds the UK record for career steals (210) and is sixth on the school's all-time assists list. All-around play? He's the first Wildcat to ever top 1,000 points, 300 rebounds, 400 assists and 200 steals during a career.

        “He always comes ready to play,” Smith said. “I've said it before. I think he's one of the outstanding point guards in the country.”

        Turner has played in 102 consecutive games and 137 overall. He needs seven more games to break the school record of 143 held by Jared Prick ett (1993-97) and 12 more to break Christian Laettner's national record of 148 games played at Duke.

        The only game he missed — the 1996 NCAA title game against Syracuse — came as a freshman, when Anthony Epps played the entire 40 minutes at point guard.

        “All these milestones are gonna mean a lot when I'm done, being that this is Kentucky with all the great players they've had,” he said. “But right now, I just want another (NCAA) title.”

        Turner is trying to become the first non-Duke player to appear in four Final Fours. His contributions in leading UK to the last two have earned him the nickname “Mr. March.”

        Two years ago, he averaged 12.2 points and had a 2.4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in the postseason (2-to-1 is considered ideal for point guards). That was up from a 5.0 scoring average and 1.4-to-1 ratio in the regular season.

        Last March, he had a 2.6-to-1 ratio in the postseason (up from 1.7 in the regular season), earning SEC Tournament and South Region MVP honors in leading UK to the NCAA title.

        “Wayne always finds a way to make a big play, whether it's something that shows up on the stats sheet or not,” UK senior forward Scott Padgett said. “And come March, he's always one of the better players in the nation. He finds a way to turn it up another notch.”

        Turner hasn't been brilliant yet this season, though his scoring average (10.0) is a career high. His assist-to-turnover ratio entering Saturday was 1.4-to-1.

        But he's coming around. His six assists Saturday followed the season-high eight he totaled Tuesday at Georgia.

        When LSU (10-8, 2-7) cut UK's 14-point halftime lead to five two minutes into the second half, Turner drilled a 14-foot jumper and made a 19-footer on the next possession. That keyed a 19-3 run.

        “His shot may be unorthodox, but he gets it in,” Smith said. “Now we're getting more balance in our offense because people have to guard Wayne on the perimeter.”

UK NOTEBOOK


LSU (62)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Beshara         22   3-6   0-2   1-6  2  3    6
Williams        28   4-7   0-0   1-3  0  1    9
Smith           33  5-12   1-2   2-7  1  3   11
Wolfe           15   0-1   0-0   0-1  0  1    0
M Carter        35  5-13   2-3   3-4  2  0   15
Bridgewater     14   2-5   0-0   0-0  0  5    4
Mance           32   3-4   4-5   1-4  3  1   11
Swift           13   2-5   0-0   0-1  1  1    4
Cooper           4   0-0   0-0   0-0  1  1    0
Ledoux           4   1-1   0-0   0-1  1  0    2
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 25-54  7-12  8-27 11 16   62
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.463, FT-.583. 3-Point Goals:
5-13, .385 (Beshara 0-1, Williams 1-2, Smith 0-2,
M Carter 3-6, Mance 1-1, Swift 0-1). Team
rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 2 (Smith,
Bridgewater). Turnovers: 24 (Smith 5, Beshara 4,
Swift 4, Mance 3, Wolfe 3, M Carter 2,
Bridgewater, Cooper, Williams). Steals: 6 (Smith
2, Swift 2, M Carter, Williams).


KENTUCKY (86)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Evans           23  5-10   0-0   1-2  5  4   10
Padgett         22   4-6   0-0   2-3  1  1    8
Bradley         16   3-5   1-3   0-3  0  2    7
Turner          24   6-9   2-2   1-2  6  4   14
Allison         21   4-5   1-2   0-2  1  1   11
Prince          18   3-6   0-1   0-1  0  1    7
Magloire        22   3-7   4-6  3-11  1  2   10
Smith           12   0-3   2-2   1-3  3  0    2
Hogan           15   1-4   2-2   3-4  0  1    5
Camara          17   4-9   0-0   1-2  1  1    9
Blevins          4   1-1   0-0   0-0  0  1    3
Tackett          3   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Masiello         3   0-2   0-0   0-0  1  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 34-67 12-18 12-33 19 18   86
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.507, FT-.667. 3-Point Goals:
6-15, .400 (Evans 0-1, Padgett 0-2, Turner 0-1,
Allison 2-2, Prince 1-2, Smith 0-1, Hogan 1-2,
Camara 1-2, Blevins 1-1, Masiello 0-1). Team
rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 5 (Magloire 2,
Turner, Allison, Prince). Turnovers: 12 (Camara
3, Padgett 3, Magloire 2, Bradley, Evans,
Masiello, Prince). Steals: 10 (Allison 2, Smith
2, Camara, Evans, Hogan, Magloire, Padgett,
Tackett).
__________________________________
Lsu                35   27  -   62
Kentucky           49   37  -   86
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 24,179. Officials:
Rusty Herring, John Cahill, Doug Sirmons.


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