The University of Kentucky Wildcats take on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. During halftime, the Wildcats will honor the 40th anniversary of Rupp's Runts and welcome back the ENTIRE 1965-66 team including Miami Heat's coach and team President, Pat Riley. Speaking of Rupp's Runts, take a look at Jeffrey McMurray's AP article about Kentucky reaction to Glory Road.
Kentucky comes into the game with an 11-6 record. South Carolina enters with a 10-7 record. UK is 1-2 in conference play while USC is 1-3. Kentucky leads the series 35-6. At home, the Cats are 18-1 against the Gamecocks. A loss today would set a first with Kentucky already having lost the first two games of conference play at home.
JP Sports will air the game on television while the Big Blue Sports Network will cover it on the radio with pregame coverage beginning at 11:30 AM. If you are not covered by JP Sports, then you can check out Yahoo's college broadcast listings as the UK game is a featured game this week and it's free for viewers.
After the game against Georgia, I hope Patrick Sparks is moved to the point because we did so much better with that lineup! Under the new lineup, the Cats are 1-0. After Saturday, Patrick Sparks will have 99 consecutive starts. Currently, he has 98 and is ranked 9th. Rekalin Sims is expected to play but with limited time as he has had back problems as of late. The Wildcats have hit a 3 in every game dating back to 1988. They currently have 592 consecutive games with a three. UNLV has 617 while Vandy has 614.
As Oscar said, when shots start falling, we start winning. Looks like people will have their autograph requests turned down. Unfortunately, Pat Riley will not be there today after a loss at home. It's saddening since he was supposed to be here but oh, well. Looks like Dave and Oscar are split between Louisville and UConn tonight. Chuck Hayes had a double-double against the Chicago Bulls last night.
Another promo for Adolph Rupp: Myth, Legend and Fact, a documentary put together by WKYT's own Dick Gabriel.
Tom Leach now speaking to Tubby Smith. Practices were lively. Spirits were up. Tubby's been under the weather but his spirits are up too. The slow starts have been due to what's happening on the defensive end.
Mike Pratt's State Farm Insurance Keys of the Game:
- Offensive end must continue to build upon the trust and feed Randolph Morris, or feed the open guy
- Eliminate or make turnovers very manageable.
- USC is an excellent defensive team and good at rebounding. Stop the dribble penetration.
- USC had not closed people out until they played Vandy.
That ends the pregame coverages. Dave Baker now turns it over to Tom Leach and Mike Pratt. JP Sports coverage now begins as well. "Bittersweet Symphony" and "Right Here, Right Now" can only mean one thing: starting lineups.
JP keys: Guard rails and Morris the Cat.
JP Sports Commentators: Tom Hammond and Larry Conley
Big Blue Sports Network: Tom Leach, Mike Pratt, Dave Baker, and Oscar Combs
F - Sheray Thomas
F - Randolph Morris
G - Rajon Rondo
G - Patrick Sparks
G - Joe Crawford
F - Brandon Wallace
F - Tarence Kinsey
C - Antoine Tisby
G - Tre Kelley
G - Dwayne Day
First Half Score Reports:
UK controls tip to Rondo who passes to Morris for 2. Crawford gets an early foul. Crawford loses the layup. Morris fouls on the other end. Down 8-2. Sparks for 2! Cats rebound. Crawford for 3 after we got it back. Travel on USC after Rondo nearly steals it. Morris for 2 and 1! 10-7 Cats. Thomas to Sparks for 3! Sparks for 3 more! He's got confidence and found his shot. Subs to come in soon. Rondo airballs the 3. Four subs coming in. Rondo misses a 3, Crawford rebounds for 2. 5 subs coming in now. Morris for 2 and 1!
13:05 (TV Timeout) UK 20, USC 20
Patrick has found his shot but it looks like after Morris hits the free throw that we will see a new lineup. 67% in the first half so far. Woo, Sims, Moss, Perry, and Bradley in. Moss steals. Bradley misses. Sims picks up the foul. USC hitting everything from outside. Sims for 2 after a few rebounds. Cats rebound. Perry misses 3. Woo picks up the foul.
10:40 (TV Timeout) UK 23, USC 23
Sparks back in for Perry. Morris in for Woo. Morris for 2. Cats rebound. Sims misses 3. Bradley answers with a 3. Sparks to Morris for 2. 30-26 Cats. Fans on the feet. Sparks misses. Morris picks up the foul on the rebound and he'll sit.
7:14 (TV Timeout) UK 30, USC 28
4 3's for the Cats. Woo aside, all starters are in. Turnover on the bad rebound. 30-30. Cats steal. Rondo passes to Sparks and turnover on miscommunication. 5:56 to go. Charge! Cats ball. Rondo spins for 2. Woo picks up a foul. Perry in for Woo. Rondo rebound. Crawford misses 3.
3:35 (TV Timeout) UK 32, USC 30
Turnover right as the shot clock was ending. Perry for 3. Cats fumble the rebound. Dave Odom questions whether Perry's shot was a 3. The call was correct. Cats not blocking the shots. Thomas for 2. Sparks, Bradley, Moss, Perry, Thomas in for the Cats. Bradley lost it. 37-36 Cats. Thomas throws a bad pass.
55.3 (UK Timeout) UK 37 , USC 38
Tubby calls a timeout to setup the final minute of the first half. 56% field goals, 46% from outside. Foul on USC. Sparks for 3! USC Turnover. 19.2 left. 40-38 UK.
We take a lead into the locker room. We're 9-1 when that happens. Now, will the honoring of the 1965-66 team be televised? My guess is that it will as Larry Conley is a part of the broadcasting team. They are showing the team on the court being honored to a standing ovation. Sparks and Morris are in double digits. Sparks is 4/5 having made all 3 point attempts. Moss and Woo are the only players not to have any points in the first half. They showed the starting lineup being introduced but not the reserves. Either way, they should commended as we celebrate the 40th anniversary. Pat Riley may not be there but rest assured, he is there in spirit. North Dakota State is beating Wisconsin in Madison by 16 in the second half. What's up with that? Larry Conley felt fine about Glory Road. He recommends it but he hated being on the losing end. Both teams shotting over 50%. UK leads 20-10 in the paint.
Second Half Score Reports
USC controls at the beginning of the half. Starters in for the Cats. Jump ball and Cats get it. Thomas blocked by Wallace. Cats ball with a 5 second call. Sparks to Rondo for the alley oop! Rondo blocks and it's a jump ball. UK is playing some great defense. USC gets the ball back. Rondo for 2. Thomas for long 3 and miss. USC Turnover. 44-43 Cats. Crawford and Perry in. Crawford for 2. Perry for 3 and miss. Morris rebound and couldn't get it off. Rondo fouls.
15:37 (TV Timeout) UK 46, USC 45
UK needs to go on a spurt. UK not blocking the 3's. Rondo blocked. Morris over the back. That's his 3rd foul. Woo in for Morris. Sparks to Woo and miss. USC on a 10-0 run. Down 53-46. Sparks miss. Cats rebound. Crawford for 2 and miss. Down 10. USC on fire.
13:06 (UK Timeout) UK 46, USC 56
The Cats are playing an athletics USC team that is not missing a thing right now. They are not playing good defense right now. The last time we lost 3 straight at Rupp was 1926-27. USC intercepted the pass. USC fouls. Rondo back in for Sparks. Moss in and he makes 3. Cats rebound. USC fouls again. Morris in for Woo. Perry for the jumper with 2. Within 7. Fans on the feet. Perry or Morris fouled on that one.
11:29 (TV Timeout) UK 51, USC 60
Morris has his 4th. Thomas and Perry at forward. Moss hits the layup and the foul. Moss, Bradley, and Rondo as guards. North Dakota State has knocked off Wisconsin 62-55. Kinsey misses for USC. Cats rebound. Perry for 3. 61-56 USC. 10 to go in the half. Fans on the feet. Perry rebounds. Moss for 3 and no good.
9:29 (USC Timeout) UK 56, USC 61
Four guard lineup. Sparks in. Perry the tallest man on the floor. USC airball. Shot clock violation. Cats ball. Sparks to Crawford for 2. 3 point game. Great defense forces a USC timeout rather than turning it over.
8:24 (USC Timeout) UK 58, USC 61
Pitt lost to St. John's. Duke down 42-28 at the half. Bradley fouls USC. Missed the first half of 2. Cats down 4. Crawford for 2. Down 2. Turnover on USC.
7:40 (TV Timeout) UK 60, USC 62
Cats on a 14-4 run over the last 4 minutes. Perry for 3! Cats lead! Crawford picks up a foul. Rondo rebound. Bradley for 3. USC answers on the other end. Rondo draws the foul. 66-65 Cats. 5:58 remaining. Turnover and Cats lose lead. Rondo miss. Perry for 2. 68-67. Turnover on UK on the rebound. 5:01 to go. Moss in for Crawford. Foul on the floor so Rondo's basket does not count. Morris for Perry. Morris misses. Rondo rebound.
3:51 (TV Timeout) UK 68, USC 69
This will go down to the wire. This has been a close game. Sparks for 3, miss. Wallace taps it in but Crawford will be credited. 70-69. Lost ball. Bradley gets charged with a blocking foul. Looked like a charge to me. 73-70 USC. Morris on the bench. Sparks in the bench. Perry, Moss, Rondo, Bradley, Crawford in for the Cats. Perry misses 3. Down 4 with just over 2 to play. Bradley for 2!
1:43 (UK Timeout) UK 72, USC 74
I feel good about the Cats. Just under 2 to play. They should pull it off. Charge! UK ball! 1:25 to play. Crawford for 2 and 1! 74-74 before the free throw. Missed the free throw. 1 minute remaining. Kinsey is fouled with 39.1 remaining. The foul is on Sparks. Shooting 2. Made the first. Morris returns for Moss. Made the second. Sparks for the long 3!!! 77-76. 31.1 remaining. That was NBA length. 27-28 feet. That was at the end of the K. Fans are on their feet.
31.1 (UK Timeout) UK 77, USC 76
Pressure. Looked like a walk but Morris gets his 5th foul. Morris leaves with 12 points. 9.9 remaining. He walked. He definitely traveled. Thomas in for Morris. Tisby bat the line. Tie game at 77-77. 78-77 USC.
9.9: (USC Timeout) UK 77, USC 78
The Cats just need to go straight for the basket. A dunk, lay-up or jumper will do. Don't go for the 3. UK 55%, USC 52%. Fans on their feet. Each has 1 TO left. Rondo for 3! That's not his shot but he made it. 80-78! Two big 3's by Sparks and Rondo!!! 1.2 remaining! RAJON RONDO! I don't believe what I just saw.
1.4 (USC Timeout) UK 80, USC 78
How bout #4?!? Rondo, Gerald Fitch and Kyle Macy!
1.4 (UK Timeout) UK 80, USC 78
END OF REGULATION
KENTUCKY 80, SOUTH CAROLINA 78
Duke is trailing Georgetown. Wisconsin lost. Pitt lost. Despite the 15-0 run, UK came back and won this game. Perry and Moss got the comeback started. But Patrick Sparks and Rajon Rondo! The UGA game was a confidence booster with the Cats. They are now 2-2 in conference play and 12-6 on the season.
Of everyone that played, Woo did not score. Crawford had 15 points. Sparks had 14. Perry had 13. Morris had 12. UK shot 50% from behind the arc. The Cats shot 55.9% in field goal percentage. Rondo was named the player of the game.
Some great news for Cats fans: It appears that Duke will lose.
Postgame show with Coach Tubby Smith: "You think we practice standing around? You think we practice boxing out?"