Friday, November 16, 2001

No.4 UK shocked at home, 64-52


'Cats commits 20 turnovers, shoot 19-of-56

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON, Ky. — Western Kentucky coach Dennis Felton had no doubt his squad could beat a team as talented and as deep as No.4 Kentucky.

        The trick was convincing his players it was possible.

        “We knew it was going to be a big challenge to beat a great team on their home court,” said Felton, whose Hilltoppers (1-0) stunned the Wildcats 64-52 Thursday night in the first round of the NABC Classic. “I told our players that people across the country are suspect as to how good we really are. We have to prove to everyone that we're not suspect.”

        David Boyden scored 15 points, and Chris Marcus added 13 points and 10 rebounds as the Hilltoppers beat their intrastate rivals for the first time since a 107-83 victory that knocked the Wildcats (0-1) out of the 1971 NCAA Tournament.

        “We didn't come here without being confident in our team,” said Marcus, a 7-foot-1, 290-pounder who is considered one of the country's best big men. “From the first jump, we knew (we had a chance).

        “We weren't nervous. We showed that it doesn't matter what type of players you have or if you're ranked. We worked as a team and showed how talented we really are.”

        Western Kentucky advanced to face George Washington in today's championship game.

        Tayshaun Prince and Marvin Stone each scored 12 points to lead Kentucky, which will play Marshall in today's consolation game.

        “We didn't have any flow — any cohesiveness in our offense, any leadership in our attacking,” a disappointed Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. “This was a tough loss. We certainly have a lot of work to do.”

        Kentucky shot 34 percent from the field, finishing only 2-of-18 from 3-point range (11 percent), and turned the ball over 20 times to lose its season opener for the second straight year.

        The Wildcats had problems at the free throw line as well, making only 12 of 24 and missing several key opportunities that could have put them back in it late in the second half.

        “They outplayed us in every phase of the game,” Smith said. “They outtoughed us, they out- hustled us, outworked us, outshot us, they were more physical ... It was just a really disappointing effort on our part.”

        Prince, a preseason All-American, finished only 4-of-14 from the field as Kentucky's starters were a dismal 17-of-47, and 2-of-15 from 3-point range.

        “They just outplayed us,” Prince said. “I don't know if we had tired legs or what, but as the game progressed, our shots just weren't falling.”

        The Hilltoppers attacked Kentucky from the opening tip, taking a 13-11 lead on Marcus' two-handed dunk at the 15-minute mark.

        Down 15-13, Western Kentucky went on a 12-2 run to go on top 25-17 midway through the first half. The Wildcats roared back with a 13-2 run of their own to go up 30-27 with 4:50 to play.

        But the Hilltoppers refused to back down, outscoring Kentucky 5-0 the rest of the way to take a 32-30 halftime lead.

        “I got on them pretty good at halftime,” Smith said. “It wasn't that I wanted them to shoot more. We were just being outplayed and weren't hitting the shots we got.”

        Western Kentucky opened the second half with more energy than the Wildcats, outscoring them 17-6 over the first 10 minutes to take control.

        Kentucky 30-22 52
       Western Kentucky 32-32 64
       

        Attendance— 21,104. 3-point goals—W. Kentucky 6-20 (Robinson 2-3, Boyden 2-4, Pandov 1-1, Rowles 1-4, Wells 0-1, Videnov 0-2, Sparks 0-5), Kentucky 2-18 (Bogans 1-4, Prince 1-6, Daniels 0-1, Carrier 0-2, Fitch 0-5). Technical fouls—WK Boyden, UK Bogans. Officials—Tom Eades, Mike Thibodeaux, Kerry Sitton.

       



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