Saturday, March 10, 2001

Youth serves UK in opener


Wildcats roll past South Carolina 78-65

The Associated Press

        NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kentucky coach Tubby Smith says he's excited about the future thanks to his freshmen. That time already might have arrived for his Wildcats.

        Sophomore Keith Bogans hit five 3-pointers and scored 23 points as No.15 Kentucky beat South Carolina 78-65 Friday in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

        Smith would only call the victory a good start, but South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler didn't hold back his praise of the Wildcats.

        “They're a lot better team now than they were early in the year and even midway through the year. I think they're peaking at the right time,” said Fogler, who lost three games to Kentucky this season.

        The Wildcats (20-9) clinched their 11th consecutive 20-win season and a berth in the today's semifinals against either LSU or Arkansas. They have won nine of their past 11 games after starting the season losing five of their first eight with six freshmen on the roster. Fogler said those young Wildcats are playing much better now. Freshmen Jason Parker and Gerald Fitch started and scored 14 and 10 points, respectively.

        Junior Tayshaun Prince, the league's player of the year, scored just 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting for Kentucky, which has won seven of the past nine SEC tournaments and 22 overall.

        “We're just pleased to get this win and looking forward to moving on,” Smith said.

        Kentucky, which shared the regular season title with Florida, had little trouble against South Carolina (15-14).

        The Wildcats didn't shoot as well as they did Feb.3 when they handed fifth-seeded South Carolina its worst loss ever in Columbia, 94-61. Kentucky scored 10 of the first 12 points and never trailed in handing the Gamecocks their 10th straight loss in this series.

        “For whatever reason, they shoot the ball extremely well against us,” Fogler said. “They came out today on fire.”

        The Gamecocks could only get within six in the first half, the last at 31-25 on a basket by Rolando Howell with 1:35 to go before Kentucky opened a 34-25 halftime lead.

        Kentucky fans made themselves at home by hanging blue 3s from the rails over the South Carolina banner as the Wildcats built their lead to as big as 24 twice in the second half, the last at 69-45 on a 3-pointer by Marquis Estill with 8:31 left. South Carolina threatened to make a game of it with an 11-0 spurt that started with the Kentucky starters on the bench. They returned and watched as the Gamecocks closed within 69-56 on a pair of free throws by Howell with 4:31 to go. That was as close as South Carolina would get.

        “We had a little slump,” Bogans said. “We hit that slump a few times this season. I think we've matured a lot and are starting to overcome those slumps when we start to hit them.”


SOUTH CAROLINA (65)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Grant           29   1-5   0-0   0-1  2  2    3
Petravicius     18   3-5   2-2   3-9  0  2    8
Kitchings       28   5-8   0-0   2-8  1  5   10
Lucas           31  5-10   0-0   0-1  3  2   12
Bradley         27   1-8   3-4   0-0  4  4    6
Ross            16   2-4   0-0   2-4  0  1    6
Boynton         22   0-2   0-0   0-0  4  2    0
Clemmons         1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
R Howell        28   7-9   6-8   1-4  1  3   20
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 24-51 11-14  8-27 15 21   65
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.471, FT-.786. 3-Point Goals:
6-19, .316 (Grant 1-3, Lucas 2-4, Bradley 1-6,
Ross 2-4, Boynton 0-2). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked
shots: 1 (Kitchings). Turnovers: 23 (Boynton 5,
Lucas 5, Petravicius 5, Kitchings 4, Ross 2,
Grant, R Howell). Steals: 9 (Boynton 2, Lucas 2,
Ross 2, Bradley, Petravicius, R Howell).


KENTUCKY (78)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Prince          31  5-13   1-2   2-6  1  3   12
Parker          22   6-8   2-5   4-6  1  2   14
Fitch           25   4-7   1-1   3-5  2  1   10
Bogans          22  8-14   2-2   3-3  2  3   23
Smith           30   1-3   0-3   0-0  4  0    3
Hawkins         14   1-3   1-4   1-1  3  0    3
Blevins         14   0-2   0-0   0-0  0  2    0
Daniels         15   1-3   1-2   2-3  2  1    3
Stone           19   2-9   0-0   3-5  0  2    4
Estill           8   2-4   1-2   0-3  0  1    6
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 30-66  9-21 18-32 15 15   78
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.455, FT-.429. 3-Point Goals:
9-23, .391 (Prince 1-5, Fitch 1-1, Bogans 5-10,
Smith 1-3, Hawkins 0-1, Blevins 0-2, Estill 1-1).
Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 2 (Daniels,
Stone). Turnovers: 16 (Hawkins 5, Daniels 4,
Smith 3, Prince 2, Bogans, Estill). Steals: 14
(Hawkins 4, Bogans 3, Fitch 2, Smith 2, Daniels,
Parker, Prince).
__________________________________
South Carolina     25   40  -   65
Kentucky           34   44  -   78
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None. Officials: Andre Patillo,
Kerry Sitton, Bruce Benedict.


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