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Kentucky holds on to defeat lona, gain first win; Seton Hall 'sneaks' past 'Cats in second round
Kentucky broke even in its first two games in Alaska defeating lona in the first round 56-54 in the Alaska Shootout before falling to Seton Hall 63-60. Due to 771*? Cats'Pause Monday night deadine we were unable to report the UK-California contest for third place in the Anchorage tournament.
Kentucky 56, lona 54: LeRon Ellis and freshman Chris Mills combined for 36 of UK's 56 points as Kentucky he'd on to defeat lona. The victory, the Wildcats' first of the season, evened UK's mark at 1-1.
The win sent the 'Cats into the semifinals the next day against Big East representative Seton Hall.
Even though the 'Cats were outrebounded 46-28, Eddie Sutton was glad to get the initial victory of the 1988-89 year.
"A typical performance for a very young basketball team," Sutton was quoted afterward. "Up and down. That's the way it's going to be. Not only for our ballclub. When you have many youthful players, you will be inconsistent."
The game was close throughout the first-round contest. However, the Wildcats built an 11 point lead with five minutes to go. But. . ."We're so young we've never been in a game like this," said starting point guard Sean Sutton to Lexington Herald-Leader writer Jerry Tipton. "Everybody tightened up a little. We blew a lead. We did get a little rattled."
Sutton, the player, kept things under control, dishing out a team-high 10 assists. The Lexington sophomore returned for the first time after suffering a broken cheekbone in Kentucky's first Blue-White scrimmage.
With the score 56-54 Ellis secured the victory with six seconds left when he grabbed a missed free throw by Mills. "They didn't have anyone to my left, so I decided to fake it," said Ellis. "I just got a lucky bounce."
lona, which was missing three starters who were serving one-game suspensions (Nestor Payne, the Gaels leading scorer; and guards Joey Johnson and Glenn Grant) was paced by freshman center Kevin Cooper (13 points).
"Our poorest area was our defensive board play," said Sutton, the coach. "If you had to pick one area that didn't allow us to win by a big margin, that was it."
Sophomore Reggie Hanson was the 'Cats' only other player in double figures, scoring 12.
UK-Iona Notes: Kentucky's starting lineup against lona looked like this: forwards, Reggie Hanson and John Pelphrey (no points, three rebounds); center LeRon Ellis; and guards, Sean Sutton and Chris Mills. . .Mills became only the second 'true' freshman to start for an Eddie Sutton coached team. The other, of course, was Rex Chapman, now a rookie performer for the Charlotte Hornets. . .Kentucky's field goal shooting was nothing to brag about. The 'Cats hit on 38.2 percent (21-55) while lona wasn't much better 38.5 percent (20 of 52). . .From three-point land UK hit on three of nine (Mills, 2-4; and Derrick Miller 1-4). lona hit on one of five. . .Kentucky, which turned the ball over 29 times against Duke, improved that mark with only nine miscues. . .UK hit on only 11 of 19 shots from the charity stripe while lona cashed in on two more (13-20). . .lona coach Gary Brokaw said he was "proud" of his Gael's performance. . .Kentucky once led 29-19 with five minutes remaining in the first half, but a 10-0 run by the Gaels gave them their first lead. . The halftime score: Kentucky 31, lona 29. . .A crowd of 3,365 attended the Shootout's initial game at Sullivan Arena. . .This marked the
11th annual Alaska Shootout.
Seton Hall 63, Kentucky 60: The
Wildcats' quest to make it two in a row, not to mention a spot in the championship game opposite Kansas, was spoiled by Seton Hall.
Kentucky had a chance in the final seconds to tie the game, but a three-point try by Deron Feldhaus fell short. His attempt, above the key, bounced off as Kentucky claimed the rebound in vain. "It felt good," Feldhaus said of his jumper. "I thought I really had it. It was on line the whole way."
For the second straight day freshman Chris Mills contributed a good portion of Kentucky's offense (21 in this contest). The same held true for Ellis, who poured in 20 points, several coming on dunks. However, the 6-11 center hit on eight of 21 field goal attempts.
"Again, like what hurt us yesterday, probably the deciding factor was rebounding," said Eddie Sutton. "We gave up too many second shots. That's the most glaring thing that concerns me most. We're just not rebounding. It's not that we're not getting offensive rebounds, you could work all season and not get better at that."
While defensive boards worried the UK coach (18 offensive boards by Seton Hall), overall UK amazingly outrebounded the stronger club from the Big East31-30.
Perhaps the turning point came in the final minute. Seton Hall took a bad shot but nowhere was there a UK defender to be found under the basket. Six-foot-eight forward Daryll Walker slipped in underneath, grabbed the offensive rebound and hit the easy bucket to give his team a 61-58 advantage.
"If you go hard, you'll get what you want,"
Walker said. "You'll get the rebound."
Kentucky's inability to box out was exactly what what Sutton was referring to.
While Kentucky's frigid shooting warmed up to 52 percent (26 of 50), Seton Hall connected on just 38.5 percent (20 of 52).
Mills and Ellis contributed 41 of UK's 60 points. Mike Scott, who started at center, was next with six, followed by Reggie Hanson with five. Hanson fouled out.
UK-Seton Hall Notes: LeRon Ellis, who
was held to two rebounds against lona. grabbed six against Seton Hall to tie Reggie Hanson for team-high honors. . .Seton Hall's P. J. Carlesimo said John Morton's badly missed shot late in the game, which was turned into two points by Daryll Walker, was not a bad choice on the player's part. "John Morton took what some people would consider a bad shot. We were trying to play two possessions for one down the stretch. We handled the situation better than it looked." . .For the third straight game Johnathon Davis did not see any action. Freshman Richie Farmer did not play against Seton Hall. . .Eddie Sutton said he thought Seton Hall was the best team in the eight-team field. . The game was not a thing of beauty. To wit: Kentucky committed 21 turnovers while Seton Hall had 20. . .Kentucky had six more field goals but only hit eight of 13 free throws compared to Seton Hall's 21 connections on 25 attempts. . .Sean Sutton, for the second straight game, was the game's top assist man, handing out six. In two games, Sutton dished out 16 assists. And heading into Monday night's games, Sutton was the tournament's leader in assists.
Sean Sutton came back to dish out 16 assists in two games