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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMNET | GAME REPORT:
Kentucky 94, UCLA 68

First Half In Review

March 21, 1998|JASON REID

KY. 40

UCLA 23

Everything went wrong for the Bruins--and their problems began quickly. Kentucky overwhelmed UCLA from the start, racing to a 20-5 lead. Freshman Earl Watson struggled against the swarming Kentucky full-court press, committing four turnovers. The Wildcats' press is not typically easy for even the most experienced point guards, and Watson seemed confused even when he didn't lose the ball. However, he wasn't alone. Forward J.R. Henderson had the ball in his hands often, and also committed four turnovers. Forward Kris Johnson was the Bruins' lone effective player offensively, shooting well and attempting to lift the team's sagging spirits with his play. Things developed considerably better for Kentucky. The Wildcats' offense functioned smoothly from the start. They got the ball inside to center Nazr Mohammed, where he's most effective, receiving little resistance from the Bruins. Combined with their fastbreak points, the Wildcats punished the Bruins from several directions. Kentucky's attack was balanced, with six players scoring at least four points.

* UCLA'S LEADING SCORERS: Johnson 11, Henderson 4, Travis Reed 4.

* UCLA'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: Johnson 7, Reed 5.

* OTHER STUFF: UCLA shot 25.7% (nine of 35) from the field. . . . They were better from three-point range--but not much--shooting 28.6% (two of seven). . . . The Bruins had four assists to 14 turnovers. . . . They outrebounded Kentucky, 27-16.

* KENTUCKY'S LEADING SCORERS: Jeff Sheppard 9, Mohammed 8.

* KENTUCKY'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: Mohammed 4, Scott Padgett 3.

* OTHER STUFF: Kentucky shot 48.4% from the field (15 of 31), and made two three-pointers in five attempts (40%). . . . The Wildcats helped themselves by taking care of the ball, committing only four turnovers.

SECOND HALF IN REVIEW

KY. 94

UCLA 68

It was more of the same for the Bruins. They were only outscored by nine, but the game was decided before the half began. They couldn't get good shots against Kentucky's defense in the half court, wearing down in the process. Henderson became exhausted as Kentucky increased the pace, making three of 11 shots. The Bruins' inability to exploit the matchup of Henderson against the Wildcats' less mobile, and less skilled, big men hurt them most. They trailed by more than 20 points throughout, and Kentucky's biggest reached 33. Johnson continued to play well, encouraging the Bruins. But Reed struggled, missing his eight field-goal attempts. Watson added four more turnovers to finish with eight and two assists. Guard Toby Bailey scored 16 points, making four of eight shots after missing seven in the opening half and going scoreless. Padgett, a Kentucky forward, became more involved offensively, scoring 14. Kentucky appeared relaxed, celebrating on the bench in the final minutes.

* UCLA'S LEADING SCORERS: Johnson 18, Bailey 16, Henderson 10.

* UCLA'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bailey 11, Reed 10.

* OTHER STUFF: The Bruins shooting improved somewhat. They made 14 of 44 shots (31.8%). . . . They had six steals and only five turnovers.

* KENTUCKY'S LEADING SCORERS: Padgett 19, Sheppard 16, Mohammed 15.

* KENTUCKY'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: Mohammed 7, Padgett 6.

* OTHER STUFF: The Wildcats' shooting improved a lot. They made 22 of 37 shots (59.5%).

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