Saturday, March 11, 2000

UK takes early trip home


Arkansas goes hog wild 86-72

BY NEIL SCHMIDT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

img
Arkansas' Blake Eddins steals from Tayshaun Prince.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        ATLANTA — Kentucky coach Tubby Smith began the week proclaiming, “The sky is the limit for this team.” Friday night, that sky fell. Hard.

        Chicken Littles were in full cluck after a shocking 86-72 loss to Arkansas in a Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinal at the Georgia Dome. A Kentucky team which dominated this event in the 1990s, going 23-1, begins this decade 0-1.

        Welcome, March Madness.

        “We weren't ready to play,” Smith said. “It looked like we were rusty, and we got beat by a team that was much quicker and wanted it more. We've got to learn from this.”

        Momentum seemingly gained in a late-season surge vanished in one horrid half. The 16th-ranked Wildcats made just 6-of-24 first-half shots (25 percent) and totaled 16 turnovers to allow Arkansas a 36-22 halftime lead. Though they played better after intermission, they never got closer than nine points.

        They would finish with .389 shooting and a season-high 27 turnovers. It was the season's second-largest margin of defeat.

        UK falls to 22-9, endangering hopes of a high seeding in the NCAA Tournament. It hadn't lost its SEC Tournament opener since 1989, and that was in a 13-19 season.

        “The lesson to learn is we've got to show up to play,” UK junior point guard Saul Smith said. “They took it to us. We can't have that — it's one-and-done now.”

        Arkansas (17-14) made 12 of its first 20 shots to surge to a 30-12 lead. The lead would reach 20 points at 36-16, the largest first-half deficit of UK's season.

        UK made just three of its first 17 shots and after 11 minutes had nearly as many turnovers (10) as points (12).

        “We got behind and forced things, and that just led to more turnovers,” Tubby Smith said.

        It was this kind of night: On one possession, UK freshman Keith Bogans lost a shoe, and the Wildcats tried to attack 4-on-5 while Bogans stayed back to tie his laces. The possession ended when Saul Smith threw the ball out of bounds, 10 feet over a teammate's head.

        This kind of night: On one possession, Arkansas didn't realize the shot clock was about to expire until the last second, but as a wild 3-point try caromed off the rim, UK's Jamaal Magloire accidentally tipped the ball in for Razorback basket.

        Arkansas scored on seven of its first eight possessions to take a 15-7 lead. At that point, UK was just 1-of-8 shooting with four turnovers.

        Smith tried everything to stop the bleeding. Normal bench sparks Jules Camara and Marvin Stone couldn't help, so he inserted little-used Todd Tackett. Then lesser-used Steve Masiello. All 10 Wildcats played in the half.

        Down 20 points at 36-16, UK would score the next nine points to cut the lead to 36-25 moments into the second half. It raced from the locker room hellbent on a comeback, scoring 12 points on its first five possessions of the half.

        The Razorbacks didn't flinch. They also scored 12 points on their first five possessions. UK used a 5-0 run — a Bogans layup and a Tayshaun Prince three-point play — to creep within 46-37, the closest it had been since the first six minutes of the game.

        But Brandon Dean drove the lane and scored, starting a 10-0 run he would finish with three free throws. The lead was back to 19 points, and the Wildcats began to wilt.

        The Wildcats' ballhandling suffered after Saul Smith drew two fouls in the first 3:52 and sat the rest of the half. That wouldn't save him from one of his worst statistical games: 1-of-4 shooting, a career-high seven turnovers, and five fouls — in just 17 minutes.

        Tayshaun Prince also struggled, going 4-of-13 shooting and committing five turnovers.

        “We were sluggish, lethargic, and lot of other adjectives I'd like to use but can't,” Saul Smith said.

        Since Arkansas joined the SEC in 1991, UK had gone 10-5 against Arkansas — including 6-0 in SEC Tournament meetings. UK had won eight of the last night meetings overall, including including a 60-55 victory Feb. 26 at Rupp Arena.

        Bogans tied a career high with 25 points to lead the Wildcats. Magloire posted his 15th double-double of the season, totaling 16 points and 13 rebounds.

        This was UK's first loss in the Georgia Dome after 13 victories.

UK loss was as ugly as it gets
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 ARKANSAS (86)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Johnson         31  8-15   4-6   3-5  0  3   21
Lane            18   4-5   0-3   2-3  1  4    8
Eddins          16   3-7   1-2   1-3  1  2   10
Gipson          25  6-12   1-2   2-4  1  3   16
Walker          26   3-8   6-9   1-1  1  0   12
Tatum            5   1-4   0-0   0-0  0  2    2
Cleveland       22   1-3   0-0   0-3  4  2    2
Dean            20   4-9   3-3   0-2  0  3   12
Davis            8   0-2   0-0   1-2  0  0    0
Gomez            4   0-0   0-2   1-1  0  0    0
Baker           17   0-1   1-2   1-3  1  3    1
Satchell         8   1-2   0-0   1-1  0  3    2
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 31-68 16-29 13-28  9 25   86
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.456, FT-.552. 3-Point Goals: 8-26, .308 (Johnson 1-4, Eddins 3-7, Gipson 3-4, Walker 0-3, Tatum 0-2, Cleveland 0-2, Dean 1-3, Davis 0-1). Team rebounds: 11. Blocked shots: 3 (Johnson, Gipson, Satchell). Turnovers: 6 (Johnson 3, Davis, Gipson, Satchell). Steals: 13 (Eddins 3, Dean 2, Johnson 2, Baker, Cleveland, Davis, Gipson, Tatum, Walker).

KENTUCKY (72) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Prince 34 4-13 6-6 4-6 3 4 15 Allison 24 2-5 0-0 1-4 1 3 6 Magloire 33 5-7 6-8 5-13 0 4 16 Bogans 33 7-12 7-9 1-5 1 4 25 Smith 17 1-4 3-4 1-3 3 5 5 Blevins 26 0-3 1-2 0-0 3 2 1 Masiello 4 0-3 0-0 0-1 1 0 0 Tackett 5 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Stone 6 1-2 0-1 1-2 0 1 2 Camara 18 1-3 0-0 1-4 0 1 2 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 21-54 23-30 14-38 12 25 72 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.389, FT-.767. 3-Point Goals: 7-22, .318 (Prince 1-6, Allison 2-4, Bogans 4-6, Smith 0-2, Blevins 0-2, Masiello 0-1, Tackett 0-1). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 4 (Prince 2, Camara 2). Turnovers: 27 (Smith 7, Prince 5, Bogans 4, Allison 3, Camara 2, Magloire 2, Masiello 2, Blevins, Stone). Steals: 1 (Allison). __________________________________ Arkansas 36 50 - 86 Kentucky 22 50 - 72 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 24,447. Officials: Ken Clougherty, David Day, Tony Green.



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