Monday, March 15, 1999

KENTUCKY 92, KANSAS 88 (OT)


Padgett delivers Wildcats' prayer

BY NEIL SCHMIDT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[padgett]
Scott Padgett gets a hug from coach Tubby Smith.
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        NEW ORLEANS — There are times the haphazard flight of a basketball can change young lives. Sunday, with a season crashing down around him, Scott Padgett let fly the prettiest jump shot of his 22 years.

        When it splashed through the net, a season was saved. Kentucky has new life and a hero to match.

        “This was a life-and-death situation, but we weren't ready to go home,” the senior forward said. “We've got a championship to defend.”

        After Padgett's rainbow three-pointer with 18.7 seconds left in regulation capped a furious, last-minute comeback, UK mustered another finishing kick to beat Kansas 92-88 in overtime at the Superdome.

        On a court that saw coming-of-age, championship-winning shots by Michael Jordan (North Carolina, 1982) and Keith Smart (Indiana, 1987), there was no questioning Padgett's prayer belonged in that group.

[padgett]
Padgett shoots the game-tying three-pointer.
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        “He wanted the ball,” UK senior point guard Wayne Turner said. “I could see it in his eyes. And when he made that shot, we knew we weren't going to be denied.”

        UK (27-8), the Midwest Region's third seed, advances to play 10th-seeded Miami University (24-7) in a regional semifinal Friday at the TWA Dome in St. Louis. Thanks to Padgett's career-high 29 points and game-high 10 rebounds, UK's chase for a fourth consecutive NCAA title-game appearance breathes anew.

        “It's pretty hard to kill us, man,” UK sophomore guard Saul Smith said. “We don't want to lose.”

        Sixth-seeded Kansas (23-10) used everything but silver bullets and wooden stakes. In a game with 14 ties and seven lead changes, the Jayhawks seemed to seal matters when it applied a late haymaker.

        Down 71-67 with 3:38 left, Kansas scored three points on each of its next four possessions. Ryan Robertson, fouled attempting a three-pointer, sank three free throws. Jeff Boschee banged in a three. Then Robertson hit one. Boschee hit another.

[evans]
Heshimu Evans
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        The last one came from 22 feet out, with two seconds left on the shot clock. With 1:29 left in regulation, UK trailed 79-74.

        “I was hanging my head,” Turner said. “But Scott came over and said, "We've been here before. We're going to find a way to win.' And my heart started beating harder.”

        Turner missed a three-point er, but Padgett sent the offensive rebound back to Turner, who was fouled and made two shots with 1:08 left. UK elected to let Kansas burn its full possession, and got the ball back when Boschee missed a jumper high off the backboard.

        Turner brought the ball upcourt and missed a runner off the glass, but UK junior Jamaal Magloire came up with it. He whipped it to Padgett.

        Padgett stood just inside the three-point line, and said he would have shot if not for a rushing Jayhawk. So he pump-faked, took a step back, then elevated on a fadeaway from 20 feet.

[magloire]
Jamal Magloire
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        “I know Scott's shot, and I knew it was going in,” Turner said.

        Said Padgett: “I just had to hope.”

        Padgett had missed his first three three-point tries, but then made four of five thereafter. When it landed, Kansas didn't call time out, and its frantic possession ended with Kenny Gregory air-balling a 14-foot jumper over Magloire's outstretched hand. Overtime.

        “No one really panicked,” Turner said. “We all stayed poised and focused.”

        Kansas didn't make things easy, tying the score twice more in overtime. But when Turner's alley-oop to Padgett misfired and Magloire stuck it back in with 1:58 left, UK took a lead it wouldn't lose. Padgett hit four straight free throws, and the Jayhawks finally relented.

[bradley]
Michael Bradley
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        Turner totaled 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and fellow senior Heshimu Evans scored 14 points. In the last 11 minutes of regulation until Magloire's rebound basket in OT, Padgett and Turner combined to score all 30 of UK's points.

        “When you have veteran, experienced players, they lead by example,” UK coach Tubby Smith said. “They're so poised, I listen to them.”

        What he and the rest of the team heard was Padgett calling for the ball. It was another night to remember how far he has come in the three years since flunking out of school.

        “I definitely keep that in the back of my head,” Padgett said. “I can remember that year, wishing I was out here making these kind of shots. I can't believe it sometimes.”

Kentucky Stories
- KENTUCKY 92, KANSAS 88 (OT)
David vs. Goliath
Turner turns it up in March
Notebook: Magloire came up very big
UK in March: Been there, won that Tim Sullivan column
MARCH MADNESS PAGE


 KANSAS (88)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Pugh            24   1-1   0-0   0-4  4  5    2
Bradford        22   3-6   2-2   1-3  2  5    8
Chenowith       41   4-9   3-4  4-10  2  4   11
Robertson       42  7-10 13-14   1-5  3  0   31
Boschee         34  6-21   0-0   0-1  4  2   18
Earl            10   0-2   0-0   1-2  0  2    0
Nooner           1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Gregory         28   4-8   2-4   0-3  1  3   11
Carey            2   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  1    0
Janisse          1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
London          20   2-6   2-2   1-1  1  1    7
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         225 27-63 22-26  8-30 17 23   88
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Percentages: FG-.429, FT-.846. 3-Point Goals: 12-31, .387 (Chenowith 0-2, Robertson 4-6, Boschee 6-18, Gregory 1-1, London 1-4). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 2 (Chenowith 2). Turnovers: 13 (Boschee 3, Bradford 3, London 2, Pugh 2, Chenowith, Earl, Robertson). Steals: 5 (Chenowith 2, Pugh 2, Robertson).

KENTUCKY (92) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Evans 28 7-11 0-0 0-2 2 4 14 Padgett 37 6-14 13-17 2-10 1 3 29 Bradley 13 0-1 2-4 0-2 0 2 2 Turner 39 6-11 5-6 2-6 7 0 19 Allison 22 2-2 0-0 0-0 2 4 5 Smith 11 2-3 0-0 0-0 3 1 6 Prince 27 1-5 0-0 1-3 0 0 3 Hogan 8 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 3 Camara 8 1-3 0-0 1-4 1 0 2 Magloire 32 4-7 1-2 3-7 1 3 9 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 225 30-60 21-29 9-34 17 17 92 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.724. 3-Point Goals: 11-24, .458 (Evans 0-2, Padgett 4-8, Turner 2-4, Allison 1-1, Smith 2-3, Prince 1-3, Hogan 1-3). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 7 (Magloire 3, Padgett, Bradley, Prince, Camara). Turnovers: 13 (Turner 3, Allison 2, Bradley 2, Magloire 2, Prince 2, Camara, Hogan). Steals: 7 (Padgett 2, Turner 2, Allison, Bradley, Evans). _______________________________________ Kansas 36 43 9 - 88 Kentucky 40 39 13 - 92 _______________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 15,804. Officials: Jody Silvester, Rick Hartzell, Reggie Greenwood.