Sunday, January 12, 2003

Reserves starting to make impact


UK notebook

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEXINGTON - Tubby Smith said he knew it was just a matter of time before his bench got bullish.

Kentucky's reserves combined for 14 points and 78 minutes in a 62-55 victory Saturday over South Carolina. What they didn't give was more important: rest for the Gamecocks.

"The second team could just as easily play as the first team in practice," Smith said. "That keeps pressure on your opposition when there's no dropoff when you go to the bench."

Cliff Hawkins played 26 minutes Saturday at point guard, totaling four points, two assists and two blocks. Antwain Barbour made his only field goal attempt, a tip-dunk of a Josh Carrier miss, and added four rebounds and two assists.

Kelenna Azubuike had four points, with Jules Camara and Bernard Cote also scoring.

"Kentucky's depth became a factor," South Carolina coach Dave Odom said. "Because of them, we weren't able to sustain the play we showed early in the game."

UK used mostly reserves during its 25-6 run to close the first half.

As Smith tells it, many of his backups are only now becoming comfortable in their roles.

"It's tough to come off the bench when you've been a starter all your life," he said of his reserves. "But we know we can plug those guys in at any time. We want guys to play at that level (of their play Saturday) constantly."

Barbour, a junior-college All-American, had seemed to struggle the most as he lost his starting spot and missed a month with a broken hand. He's now playing better and appears more upbeat.

"With minutes, you've got to take advantage of what you get," he said. "Whatever it takes, I've got to do it."

TWILIGHT ZONE: Smith doesn't like to play zone defense. Yet he scrapped man-to-man entirely Saturday when a zone kept the Gamecocks in check.

"We were not making shots early, and Kentucky wisely stuck in that zone," Odom said.

South Carolina entered the game ranked 10th in the Southeastern Conference in 3-point shooting (31.2 percent), and it made just 21.4 percent of those shots Saturday.

CAT TALES: This was the 2,400th game in UK basketball history. UK, the nation's winningest program, is 1828-571-1 all time (76.2 percent). ... UK was 15-of-19 at the free throw line. It is making 81.1 percent of its free throws (43-of-53) in SEC play. ... Keith Bogans eclipsed the 1,600-point mark. He has 1,607 points, in 11th place on the UK all-time scoring list.

UP NEXT: UK visits Vanderbilt at 9 p.m. Tuesday (ESPN).




UC BEARCATS
UC 83, TCU 72
Barker starts, but Moore finishes

XAVIER
XU 99, St. Bonaventure 83
Weary Musketeers muster resolve

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
No. 18 UK 62, South Carolina 55
Reserves starting to make impact
Top 25 roundup: Okafor plays little, comes up big
Ohio State 81, No. 15 Indiana 69
Flyers finish Dukes at foul line
No. 12-ranked Norse men win, now 13-2
Syracuse freshman guard has superstar potential
Scores, how Top 25 fared

BENGALS
Bengals' search nearly finished

NFL PLAYOFFS
Steelers bungle, Eagles rumble
Whiners guilty of unnecessary roughness on officials
Eagles 20, Falcons 6
McNabb tops Vick with grit instead of art
Titans 34, Steelers 31, OT
Washington takes blame for Steelers' loss
Bucs hope 'D' keeps dominating
Time for Gruden to prove his worth
Notebook: Long snappers will get look from Giants

REDS / BASEBALL
Reds Q&A
Tigers trade best starter to Marlins
Notebook: Longtime AL ump dies

PREP SPORTS
City well-represented on the gridiron
Kidd gets my vote for Sportsman of Year
No. 4 Colonels topple No. 1
Ohio boys: Aden stars for the Devils
Ohio girls: Bacon surprises No. 2 McNick
Ky. Boys: Simon Kenton's Brock dominates Clark
Ky. Girls: Bray's big night lifts Campbell
Schools to resume football rivalry
Swimming: Relay gives St. X winning edge
Prep sports results

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Willingham hits road to sell Irish
Canes winning recruiting war
Shrine Classic: East 20, West 17

NASCAR
No consensus yet on new body styles
Speed not crucial at Daytona testing
French driver killed in Paris-Dakar rally

NHL
Lemieux, Jagr together again as All-Stars

TRISTATE SPOTLIGHT
Guite powers Ducks to victory
Enquirer Page Two Power rankings
Honest Deceiver wins Wishing Well
Stowers switch brings Norse wins
Grab a pal, head for the hill