Sunday, February 14, 1999

UK NOTEBOOK


Seniors step up to Smith's challenge

BY NEIL SCHMIDT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEXINGTON, Ky. — Tubby Smith didn't want to detail his halftime tirade. But there was no denying he had one.

        “I could hear him through the wall,” South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler said. “He was quite upset.”

        Kentucky's coach challenged his players to up their intensity in the second half Saturday, suggesting they were going through the motions against struggling South Carolina. The spark was lit.

        UK used a 19-1 run shortly after intermission to swell an 11-point lead to 29, and the Wildcats held the Gamecocks to 6-of-32 second-half shooting (.188).

        “I don't want to get into it,” UK senior Heshimu Evans said, “but he definitely challenged us.”

        Smith said his tirade was directly mostly at Evans and fellow senior Scott Padgett. Evans scored UK's first five points of the second half, and Padgett totaled seven points and three assists in a five-minute span.

        “I always need someone challenging me,” Padgett said. “Coach (Rick) Pitino challenged me to get my grades up. My parents challenged me to not give up on Kentucky (after flunking out).”

        What about his fiancee, Cynthia Dozier?

        “She challenges me not to use my credit card.”

Jerseys retired
        UK greats Bob Burrow and Rick Robey had their jerseys retired before Saturday's game. They bring the total of former coaches, players and contributors who've had jerseys retired to 36.

        Burrow, a 1956 All-American, was the first junior college player to start for UK. Robey, an All-American in 1977 and '78, set a school record in career field-goal percentage (.635) and helped UK win the 1978 national championship.

        Speaking of legends: UK's first All-American, Basil Hayden (1921), spelled out the “Y” in the “Kentucky” cheer Saturday. Hayden is 99 and will turn 100 in May.

Cat tales
        UK reached the 20-victory mark for the ninth consecutive season and 44th overall. It will be hard-pressed, though, to keep alive its string of consecutive 30-victory seasons, which is currently at three. ... The last time UK allowed only 40 points was in a 74-40 beating of Tennessee on Jan. 4, 1997. ... Saturday was the fourth time UK has been outrebounded this season.

Up next
        UK plays host to Georgia at 8 p.m. Wednesday, the final regular-season matchup between UK coach Smith and son G.G., Georgia's senior point guard. Tubby and son Saul, a UK sophomore, are 3-0 against G.G.

       



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