Wednesday, November 03, 1999

UK shows early muscle, hustle

Wildcats: 17 blocks in exhibition win

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEXINGTON, Ky. — This neophyte Kentucky basketball team appears bigger, stronger and faster than those of recent vintage.

        But don't forget younger. Much younger.

        The least experienced UK team in 11 years debuted Tues day with fits of spurts and sputters, eventually muscling out a 73-66 exhibition victory over the California South All-Stars.

        What fans in Rupp Arena got was bittersweet basketball, a blind date with a Wildcat team that might yet grow on them. Election Day is too early to vote on this group's fate.

        Early impressions, though, suggest the Wildcats will be warriors. They blocked 17 shots, compensated for an early rebounding deficit and dove for balls as though this were March.

        The newcomers acquitted themselves well. McDonald's All-American freshmen Keith Bogans and Marvin Stone totaled seven and eight points, respectively, and junior-college transfer Nate Knight added four points.

        Bogans, a 6-foot-5 guard, is a quick, athletic player in the mold of Desmond Allison, though his jumping and scoring abilities appear a notch better. He wasn't Basketball Times' National Prep Player of the Year by accident and he offered glimpses of his talent with three baskets.

        The 6-10, 256-pound Stone, whom coach Tubby Smith has been advertising as “potentially the best big man here ever,” grabbed five rebounds and looked smooth in making six of eight free throws.

        Despite the promise, it's clear which Wildcats will carry the scoring load early this season. Sophomore Tayshaun Prince led UK with 19 points Tuesday, adding five rebounds, three assists and three blocks.

        And Jamaal Magloire, the lone returning scholarship senior, added 17 points, a team-high 13 rebounds and a game-high six blocks.

        Prince was expected to be a scoring star, but Magloire's offensive breakthroughs — he scored a game-high 33 points in UK's Blue-White scrimmage last weekend — are more surprising.

        His single-game scoring high is 18 points, two years ago against Missouri, and he has never averaged more than 7.0 points in a season.

        UK was running and pressing more Tuesday than it had in Smith's first two seasons here, and it apparently intends to exercise what little depth it has. The Wildcats used 10 of the 11 players on their roster in the first eight minutes, the only exception being seldom-used senior Steve Masiello.

        These All-Stars weren't a bad bunch. Mark Sanford (Washington) totaled 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead a group of several recent college veterans. UK's block total would have been a school record if it were a regular-season game; its single-game record is 17, set against Morehead State two years ago in Smith's first game at UK. The Wildcats were outrebounded 27-16 in the first half but ended up beaten only 50-47.

        UK junior point guard Saul Smith totaled 10 points and four assists but committed five turnovers, and Magloire also turned the ball over five times. UK had 23 turnovers.

        The defense was worth noting: UK held the All-Stars to 33 percent shooting, and the block total spoke for itself.

        UK hosts Athletes in Action at 7:30p.m. Nov.11, then begins its season at home Nov.17 with a Preseason NIT game against Pennsylvania.

        Tuesday's game used experimental rules that also will be used in UK's Preseason NIT games: On the 10th foul of each half, the team fouled has the option of taking the ball out of bounds instead of shooting free throws; and only six players are allowed in the lane during free throws.

        DEREK WATCH: Tubby Smith has avoided discussion of the possibility Derek Smith might join the team, but actions speak louder than words: The jersey of his son, Saul, added a first initial since last season.

        Saul is the only Smith on the team, but adding that “S” leaves room for the addition of “D. Smith” later. The Highlands grad and UK freshman is still in football season.

        CALIFORNIA ALL-STARS — Holden 2-9 2-2 6, K. Higgins 2-7 1-4 5, Sanford 7-18 6-6 23, Shannon 3-5 2-6 8, Flynn 0-2 0-2 0, D. Higgins 4-10 4-6 12, Mosley 1-4 4-4 6, Clyde 1-3 0-1 2, Jenkins 2-9 0-0 4, Morris 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-67 19-31 66.

        KENTUCKY — Prince 8-14 1-2 19, Camara 1-5 0-2 2, Magloire 6-12 5-8 17, Allison 1-7 0-0 3, Smith 4-7 1-2 10, Bogans 3-7 1-2 7, Stone 1-2 6-8 8, Knight 2-4 0-0 4, Blevins 1-4 0-0 3, Tackett 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 27-67 14-24 73.

        Halftime—California 35, Kentucky 34. 3-point goals—California 3-11 (Sanford 3-8, K. Higgins 0-1, Shannon 0-1, D. Higgins 0-1), Kentucky 5-20 (Prince 2-4, Blevins 1-2, Smith 1-3, Allison 1-4, Camara 0-1, Magloire 0-1, Bogans 0-2, Tackett 0-3). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—California 50 (Sanford 14), Kentucky 47 (Magloire 13). Assists—California 12 (D. Higgins 4), Kentucky 14 (Smith 4). Total fouls— California 22, Kentucky 23. A—18,265.


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