Wednesday, December 06, 2000

Kentucky 94, Eastern Ky. 79


Four 'Cats score in double figures

By Dave Goldstein
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Kentucky Wildcats spoiled Travis Ford's homecoming Tuesday night, beating Eastern Kentucky 94-79 in Rupp Arena.

        Ford, a UK point guard from 1991-1994, is in his first year as Colonels coach. His club put up a much tougher fight than expected as the former Wildcats star received an ovation from the Rupp Arena crowd.

        “That was just an overwhelming feeling, it really was,” Ford said. “These are without a doubt the best fans in America, and I told my guys to take advantage of the opportunity to play here. Enjoy every minute of it and never want it to end, and that's the way we played from the tip to the buzzer.”

        After trailing by as many as 15 points early, EKU cut the lead to four and trailed 45-37 after a foul-filled first half. EKU shot only 28 percent from the field in the opening half but grabbed 10 offensive rebounds. Kentucky couldn't get into a flow, with 31 fouls being called in 20 minutes.

        The Wildcats committed 16 turnovers in the opening half and 29 in the game.

        “We were pretty sloppy tonight,” coach Tubby Smith said. “It was just a lack of concentration and focus coming off a big win against North Carolina. A lot of that was because of Eastern Kentucky, but our unforced errors were just ridiculous.”

        EKU used a number of different defenses to confuse Kentucky, and a lot of the 29 turnovers were simple miscommunications. But when the Wildcats did control the ball, they shot it as well as they have all season. Kentucky shot 48 percent from the field in the game and 40 percent from 3-point range, hitting 10 of 25 from beyond the arc.

        Kentucky led at half in large part because of Keith Bogans. He paced the Wildcats with 14 points in the opening half and buried three of his five 3-point attempts. He finished with 21 points and hit five of seven

        3-point attempts.

        But the second half belonged to Saul Smith. He hit five of nine field goals in the final 20 minutes, including three 3-point shots, and finished with 15 second-half points. His 17 points tied a career high, and he dished out seven assists while committing only one turnover.

        “Saul was tremendous and he was the difference in this game,” Ford said. “He was the guy who took it from a 10-point lead to a 25-point lead really quickly.”

        Four Kentucky players finished with 14 or more points. Tayshaun Prince played well inside and out and finished with 15 points and six rebounds.

        Princeton High grad Erik Daniels continued his string of solid performances, hitting all four of his shots to finish with 14 points and tying a career high by grabbing five rebounds.

        But Kentucky's inside players weren't quite as effective. Jason Parker missed his only field goal attempt and committed seven turnovers in 15 foul-plagued minutes. Marvin Stone had only four points and committed three turnovers.

        The Wildcats are taking this as a learning experience.

        “We made some ill-advised decisions, and a lot of the guys said they were rushing things,” Saul Smith said. “But it's something that we can control and we can improve on, so that's something positive we can take away from this.”


EASTERN KY (79)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Jerry           28  3-10   3-4   1-4  1  5   10
Taylor          15   1-2   2-2   1-2  1  4    4
Volpenhein      19   2-5   4-5   2-4  0  3    8
Parks           34  8-20   2-8   5-7  2  2   19
White           39  7-21   2-3   0-2  3  1   21
Sims            18   2-8   1-2   3-5  1  0    7
Miller           1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  2    0
Carswell        19   1-5   0-0   3-6  1  3    2
Yarbrough        1   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  1    0
Gaston          25   2-4   3-6   3-6  0  4    8
Noll             1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 26-75 17-30 18-37  9 25   79
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.347, FT-.567. 3-Point Goals:
10-27, .370 (Jerry 1-3, Parks 1-5, White 5-15,
Sims 2-3, Gaston 1-1). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked
shots: 1 (Volpenhein). Turnovers: 18 (White 7,
Parks 4, Gaston 3, Taylor 2, Sims, Volpenhein).
Steals: 6 (Parks 3, Gaston, Taylor, Volpenhein).


KENTUCKY (94)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Prince          31  5-11   4-4   2-6  2  0   15
Parker          15   0-1   3-6   1-6  0  3    3
Stone           16   1-3   2-3   1-6  1  4    4
Bogans          26  7-11   2-4   1-2  2  0   21
Smith           25  5-11   4-4   0-5  7  2   17
Hawkins          7   0-0   4-7   0-1  1  4    4
Blevins         21   3-7   0-0   0-1  0  2    7
Fitch           11   1-3   0-0   0-4  0  2    2
Daniels         26   4-4   6-7   2-5  1  2   14
Heissenbuttel    3   0-2   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Sears            3   0-1   0-0   1-1  0  1    0
Estill          16   2-4   3-3   2-6  2  4    7
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 28-58 28-38 10-43 16 25   94
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.483, FT-.737. 3-Point Goals:
10-25, .400 (Prince 1-5, Bogans 5-7, Smith 3-5,
Blevins 1-5, Fitch 0-2, Heissenbuttel 0-1). Team
rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 4 (Estill 2, Prince,
Stone). Turnovers: 29 (Parker 7, Bogans 5,
Hawkins 3, Sears 3, Stone 3, Prince 2, Blevins,
Daniels, Estill, Fitch, Smith). Steals: 5 (Bogans
2, Fitch, Hawkins, Smith).
__________________________________
Eastern Ky         37   42  -   79
Kentucky           45   49  -   94
__________________________________
Technical fouls: Eastern Ky 1 (Bench).  A:
18,349. Officials: Tom Lopes, John Heatly, Tracy
Woodson.


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