Sunday, January 19, 2003

Short benching at Vandy motivates Hayes to play


UK notebook

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEXINGTON - On the sidelines, there's plenty of time to think. And so Chuck Hayes returned from a brief benching last week as the most motivated he had been in his Kentucky tenure.

After totaling no points and two rebounds last Saturday against South Carolina, and no points and no rebounds in the first half Wednesday at Vanderbilt, Hayes was benched to start the second half against the Commodores.

"Coach (Tubby Smith) decided to sit me because I wasn't helping the team," Hayes said. "It motivated me to play the way I can play."

After re-entering the game in the second half Wednesday, he totaled 11 points and five rebounds. Then he had a great game Saturday with 17 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and three blocks - all career highs - against Notre Dame. The 16th-ranked Wildcats defeated the No. 10 Fighting Irish 88-73.

"Chuck was everywhere," UK senior Marquis Estill said. "He was really fired up."

Hayes was boisterous during pregame introductions Saturday, and he set an immediate tone by making his first four shots and recording all three of his blocks in the first half.

Hayes' rebound total was the highest by a Wildcat since Dec. 11, 1999, when Jamaal Magloire grabbed 16 against Maryland.

"I just wanted to play the best that I could," Hayes said. "I did a lot of soul-searching (at Vanderbilt).

"I didn't want to dig myself a hole. I wanted to get after it early today, set the tone and be aggressive defensively."

BALL-HAWKINS: Cliff Hawkins' defense on Notre Dame point guard Chris Thomas was viewed as critical to UK's victory. Yet Smith was non-committal about Hawkins becoming a starter.

"Right now, we have a situation where, with the rotation, he gives us a lift off the bench," Smith said. "It's paid off so far, and I hope it continues to work in our favor."

Smith has expressed concern that if Hawkins and Gerald Fitch both start, it would create problems with his substitution pattern.

"Everybody wants to do more, from the last guy on the bench to the guy who gets the most minutes," Smith said. "My job is to make sure I utilize our personnel the best way so we're winning, and we're doing that at this time."

CAT TALES: Keith Bogans now has 1,636 career points and is one point shy of 10th place (Ed Davender, 1,637) on UK's scoring list. ... The Wildcats are 4-1 against ranked foes this season.

UP NEXT: UK hosts Auburn (15-2, 4-0 SEC) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

E-mail nschmidt@enquirer.com




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Short benching at Vandy motivates Hayes to play
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