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Final Four Semifinal / Game Report

Kentucky 78, Minnesota 69

March 30, 1997|GEORGE DOHRMANN


The fans started cheering long before the game started. Fans on Minnesota's side of the RCA Dome chanted, "Let's go, Gophers" with 9:04 left in the Arizona-North Carolina game. Kentucky fans were a little more polite, waiting until three minutes remained. The biggest shot of the half was Bobby Jackson's three-pointer at 13:50 after the Wildcats had gone on a 14-5 run. Kentucky's Allen Edwards showed no ill-effects from an ankle injury that sidelined him two games after coming in with 12:18 left to spell Mercer for a few minutes. He had four points in the half to Mercer's six, taking 11 fewer shots. The defense of Sam Jacobson had a lot to do with Mercer's poor first half.

* KENTUCKY'S LEADING SCORERS: Mercer 6, Scott Padgett 6, Anthony Epps 6, Cameron Mills 5.

* KENTUCKY'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: Padgett 4, Jared Prickett 4.

* OTHER STUFF: Kentucky got 10 points off turnovers. . . . Not one Wildcat player had a dunk in the first half, but four different players made three-pointers.

* MINNESOTA'S LEADING SCORERS: Jackson 11, Jacobson 8, Courtney James 4.

* MINNESOTA'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: Jackson 4, James 3, Thomas 3, Eric Harris 3.

* OTHER STUFF: Minnesota had five dunks but made only one of six three-point shots. . . . The Gophers were outrebounded by the smaller Wildcats, 36-31. . . . Minnesota had 15 turnovers.


Best sight of the second half was senior Derek Anderson entering the game to shoot free throws, inciting an already rowdy Kentucky crowd when he made both. Ugliest sight was Minnesota Coach Clem Haskins throwing his jacket during the tantrum that earned him a technical with 14:31 left. Official Jim Burr said: "The technical was for unsportsmanlike behavior and unnecessary behavior." Padgett's line violation with 12:07 left and the score 51-47 could have come under scrutiny if Kentucky had lost. Jackson provided the game's most-entertaining moment when he made a reverse, spinning layup with 11:38 left.

* KENTUCKY LEADING SCORERS: Mercer 13, Epps 7, Wayne Turner 5, Mills 5.

* KENTUCKY LEADING REBOUNDERS: Epps 4, Turner 3, Nazr Mohammed 3.

* OTHER STUFF: Mercer scored his 1,000th point. . . . Kentucky is 5-0 against Big Ten teams this season and won its 11 straight NCAA tournament game.

* MINNESOTA LEADING SCORERS: Jackson 12, John Thomas 6, Harris 5, Charles Thomas 5.

* MINNESOTA LEADING REBOUNDERS: Miles Tarver 8, John Thomas 7, Russ Archambault 5.

* OTHER STUFF: Minnesota went on 9-2 run after Haskins got his technical. . . . The Gophers suffered their first loss in 26 games when shooting better than their opponent. . . . Minnesota's three-for-16 three-point shooting was the second-lowest percentage (.188) in a semifinal game.

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