Sunday, February 11, 2001

Kentucky 76, Mississippi St. 57


Bulldogs 0-for-19 from 3

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — The Kentucky Wildcats knew they would have to find some way to negate Mississippi State's athleticism. As it turned out, the Bulldogs took care of that for them, shooting a season-low 26.9 percent and missing all 19 of their 3-point attempts in the Wildcats' 76-57 victory Saturday.

        “It's amazing that we could hold them 0-for-19 from 3-point range,” Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. “This is one of the teams we feared, because they're very athletic. But when you're not making shots, it can be a tough day.”

        The victory was the fifth straight and 12th in the last 14 games for the Wildcats (15-7, 8-2 Southeastern Conference), who retained their two-game lead in the league's Eastern Division.

        As he has the past two weeks, Tayshaun Prince led Kentucky with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. Over his past four games, Prince — the league's reigning player of the week — has averaged 22.3 points and made 37 of 60 shots (62 percent).

        “When you take 19 3s, you've got to make one of them,” Prince said. “I don't know whether it was great defense or if it just wasn't their day. The shots just weren't falling for them.”

        Mississippi State (12-9, 3-7) came into the game shooting 45 percent overall and 33 percent from behind the 3-point line. But the Bulldogs could only watch in frustration as shot after shot         It wasn't as if they didn't have good opportunities. The Bulldogs outrebounded Kentucky 52-41, including a 29-9 margin at the offensive end and took 78 shots to the Wildcats' 56.

        “If we can't hit shots on the road, we can't win,” said Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury, a Kentucky native. “We had 29 offensive rebounds, but we probably didn't score on five of those.

        “We missed a lot of shots around the hole for whatever reason. And our two starting guards were 2-for-25 between them.”

        Mario Austin had 14 points and Derrick Zimmerman added 10 to lead the Bulldogs, who have lost seven of their last 10 games.

        Seeing Prince and Keith Bogans in foul trouble seemed to ignite Kentucky's talented freshmen. Jason Parker and Gerald Fitch each had 12 points and Cliff Hawkins had 10 for the Wildcats, who have won 20 straight SEC home games.

        “The freshmen are really starting to mature,” Prince said. “They are aggressive and getting the job done. If we can continue to get that kind of support from Gerald and the other guys, we are going to be very successful.”

        Mississippi State missed six of its first seven shots as Kentucky jumped out to a 19-10 lead midway through the first half and led 38-24 at halftime.

        An 8-0 run over the next three minutes pulled the Bulldogs within 19-18, but Fitch's 3-pointer on the Wildcats' next possession pushed the lead back to four with 6:18 to play.

        Leading 24-21, Kentucky finished the half with a 14-3 spurt to take a 38-24 halftime lead.

        “They needed to attack something different and didn't,” Prince said. “They kept settling for outside jumpers.”

        Mississippi State would have no better luck in the second half. It trailed by as many as 26 at 71-45 on Fitch's 3-pointer with 3:24 remaining.

        “We played great team defense today,” said Fitch, who added five rebounds and three assists. “We really stressed stopping the 3 this week in practice, and it paid off.”


MISSISSIPPI ST (57)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Hamilton        23   3-9   0-1   1-5  1  3    6
Patterson       34  2-17   4-6  6-10  2  3    8
R Jackson       21   2-4   0-2   3-3  0  3    4
Gardner         11   0-3   0-0   1-1  0  3    0
A Jackson       26  0-10   3-4   1-5  1  0    3
Austin          19  6-12   4-6   7-9  0  0   16
Billups          7   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  3    0
Bowers          11   1-5   0-1   2-4  0  0    2
Zimmerman       28  5-11   0-1   3-8  3  4   10
Boswell         13   2-5   4-4   3-4  0  1    8
Q Smith          7   0-1   0-0   0-1  0  1    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 21-78 15-25 27-50  7 21   57
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.269, FT-.600. 3-Point Goals:
0-19, .000 (Hamilton 0-3, Patterson 0-7, Gardner
0-1, A Jackson 0-3, Bowers 0-2, Zimmerman 0-2,
Boswell 0-1). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 1
(Zimmerman). Turnovers: 11 (Gardner 3, Zimmerman
2, A Jackson, Billups, Boswell, Hamilton, Q
Smith, R Jackson). Steals: 6 (Zimmerman 2,
Billups, Bowers, Patterson, R Jackson).


KENTUCKY (76)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Prince          24  8-10   0-1   1-5  0  3   18
Bogans          26   3-6   2-4   0-4  3  2    8
Parker          25   5-8   2-4   2-6  1  3   12
Fitch           22   4-7   2-4   2-5  3  2   12
Smith           17   0-2   2-2   0-6  2  0    2
Hawkins         18   4-8   2-2   0-1  1  4   10
Blevins         18   4-6   0-0   0-0  1  1    8
Daniels         17   0-2   0-0   3-5  0  0    0
Heissenbuttel    3   0-0   1-2   0-1  0  1    1
Stone           16   0-3   2-2   0-3  0  4    2
Sears            3   0-0   0-0   0-1  2  0    0
Estill          11   1-4   1-4   0-1  0  2    3
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 29-56 14-25  8-38 13 22   76
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.518, FT-.560. 3-Point Goals:
4-13, .308 (Prince 2-4, Bogans 0-1, Fitch 2-3,
Smith 0-1, Hawkins 0-1, Blevins 0-1, Estill 0-2).
Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 5 (Prince 2,
Stone 2, Fitch). Turnovers: 12 (Smith 3, Hawkins
2, Prince 2, Stone 2, Blevins, Fitch, Parker).
Steals: 4 (Blevins, Hawkins, Smith, Stone).
__________________________________
Mississippi St     24   33  -   57
Kentucky           38   38  -   76
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 22,274. Officials:
David Dodge, Doug Shows, Bernard Clinton.


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