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Play by Play


For Ford, it's nothing personal
UK just another stop in rebuilding project
By Jerry Tipton, The Lexington Herald-Leader Staff Writer, 12/21/2006

Travis Ford made his mark as a Kentucky player. His 15 assists against Eastern Kentucky in December 1993 remain the most for any player in Rupp Arena. His still-standing school records include a streak of 50 straight made free throws, plus 101 three-point baskets and 52.9-percent accuracy from beyond the arc in 1992-93.

Ford can make more history on Friday as Massachusetts coach. His Minutemen can become the sixth team since 1922 -- and the first since Mississippi in 1997-98 -- to win at Louisville and Kentucky in the same season (see list).

But Ford, the son of a high school coach and a heady point guard for Kentucky, is too savvy to put a personal spin on this UK-UMass game.

"I haven't even thought of that," he said before chuckling. "That thought hasn't even crossed my mind."

Even though the Minutemen beat Louisville 72-68 in Freedom Hall last week, Ford said Kentucky would not "be scared of lowly UMass coming in there, that's for sure."

Nor did Ford embrace the suggestion that he'd want his team to show the home folks the results of his coaching.

"I want my team to play well every night," he said yesterday. "I want to impress every night with our team because I do like my team.

"I try to tell the players and everybody, this is not about me coming home. It's about me trying to make my team better. We can't get caught up in outside distractions."

The history that concerns Ford began with this season's opener on Nov. 11. The Minutemen bring a 9-2 record into Rupp Arena.

That start (the best by UMass since the Final Four team of 1995-96) is made more impressive by the fact that he scheduled eight of those games away from Amherst.

"We've been tested on the road," said Ford, who noted a game at highly rated Pittsburgh (an 85-68 loss). "But I don't know that we've played in a place like Rupp Arena. That's a different atmosphere."

In the second season of a rebuilding effort, Ford counts on 6-foot-9 center Rashaun Freeman, an All-Atlantic 10 player and 1,000-point scorer, plus Stephane Lasme, who ranked third nationally in blocks (3.9 per game) last season while being named Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year. Lasme is averaging 4.2 blocks this season.

UMass, which hadn't won more than 16 games or had a Ratings Percentage Index better than 104 in the past five seasons, also got a boost from three transfers: 6-7 Gary Forbes from Virginia, 6-8 Etienne Brower from Boston University and 7-foot Luke Bonner (younger brother of former Florida player Matt Bonner) from West Virginia.

Freshman point guard Tiki Mayben originally committed to Syracuse before academic questions caused him to look for a new school.

"We're probably a little ahead of schedule," Ford said of his rebuilding effort. "Do I think we are a team to break the Top 25 or should receive votes? I think we're good enough to do that."

Free-throw shooting (60.1 percent as a team) and turnovers (17.9 per game) hinder UMass in terms of consistency and cohesion, a problem Ford tried to address with a pre-season trip to the Bahamas.

But the expanded roster (from eight scholarship players eligible and healthy last season) enables Ford to incorporate a style that mirrors the way his Kentucky teams played for Rick Pitino: up-tempo with traps and pressure. "Oh, it's very, very close," he said. "We want the games to go as fast as possible."

Although he uses similar practice plans and drills, Ford doesn't press as much as Pitino did at Kentucky because the strategy wouldn't fit a UMass team that can play a lineup with no one taller than 6-7. "I can beat my head against a wall and say, 'Hey, we're going to press no matter what,' " Ford said. "I'd rather be smart."

Ford brings the same foot-stomping sideline involvement that typified Pitino's coaching for UK. "I hope my players feed off my energy and my excitement," he said.

Ford also studies other coaches, including the defensive tactics of UK's Tubby Smith.

This study began at the feet of his father, noted Kentucky high school coach Eddie Ford.

As UK's 5-foot-9 point guard, Travis was the proverbial coach on the floor.

"As a player, I survived on understanding the game," he said. "It wasn't based on just pure ability and physical presence, that's for sure."

Coaching, the only profession Ford considered, began for him at Campbellsville and then at Eastern Kentucky. That Ford, who turns 37 on Dec. 29, seems well on the way to reviving UMass basketball does not surprise his former UK teammates.

"He's bred for it," Jeff Brassow said. "I don't think anybody is surprised."


Ford will pull out all the stops vs. 'Cats
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 12/22/2006

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Travis Ford doesn't like playing zone defense and he doesn't like keeping players with two fouls in the game. But he's prepared to do either or both tonight to give his team a chance at upsetting Kentucky at Rupp Arena.

Ford was kicking himself after the Minutemen's loss at Pittsburgh Nov. 18 for not bringing Rashaun Freeman or Stephane Lasme back into the game sooner with two fouls. The Panthers pulled away late in the first half while both senior big men watched from the bench.

Ford said while keeping the duo out of foul trouble is the best option, he is not ready to rely on Dante Milligan and Luke Bonner for long critical minutes together if Freeman and Lasme do pick up two whistles early in tonight's game which starts at 7.

"It's always been my rule not to play guys with two fouls in the first half, but I've gone against that recently," Ford said. "We've been working on zone. I'm not a big zone guy, but if they get in foul trouble I'm going to continue to play them. Kentucky's defense is great so I'm worried about scoring. We need those guys in the game to score some points."

Freeman said avoiding foul trouble is about finding balance.

"Our team can be more aggressive if we're not sitting on the bench with three fouls," Freeman said. "We have to go in with the mind-set that we want to be aggressive but watch the fouls."

Foul trouble is a possibility because Kentucky's best player is 6-foot-11 center Randolph Morris, who is averaging 16.1 points and eight rebounds per game. That puts him among the Southeastern Conference leaders in both categories.

Morris has had his own foul trouble in the past, but has only reached four fouls twice this season and has yet to foul out. He has become proficient at getting opponents to foul him.

"I don't think any of us are looking at foul trouble as a big key," Morris said. "But we're always trying to get teams in foul trouble."

Ford said he is impressed with Morris' overall game.

"He's talented. For his size he shoots with touch," Ford said. "He can hurt you in a lot of ways. He can shoot 10- to 15-foot jump shots. He has jump hooks, dunks, power moves. He's a very skilled basketball player."

The game is the last for both teams before Christmas and neither likes the timing of it. Filling in for head coach Tubby Smith at Thursday's press conference, Kentucky associate coach David Hobbs said Friday is not the ideal time to be playing a good opponent.

"This is a different type of game to be playing right before Christmas," Hobbs said. "Usually you'd like to play some directional school while our guys are focused on going home for Christmas.

"This is a big game against a quality opponent," Hobbs said. "If we start thinking about Christmas too early, we won't enjoy Christmas."

But Morris said he isn't worried. "I don't think we'll have any problems keeping focused," he said.

Hobbs said the Minutemen's 72-68 win over Louisville Dec. 13 ensures that the Wildcats would not overlook UMass (9-2).

"Hopefully they helped us when they beat Louisville," Hobbs said. "That should get your attention."

Ford said he wished the game was either closer to that win at Louisville or came in a week when exams weren't disrupting the team's preparation.

"This game comes at such a bad time," Ford said. "You never realize how hard it is during finals week until you get in the middle of it. The players' minds aren't usually on practice, it's on academics where it should be. So this is a tough time for everybody.

"I'm anxious to get back on the court, it's been awhile, "Ford added. "We want a little carryover from the Louisville game, but it's been so long. I wish we could have played this game a lot sooner."

The Wildcats (8-3) will be playing their third game in seven days and trying to extend their win streak to five straight games. All three of Kentucky's losses have come against ranked teams including two at the hands of UCLA and North Carolina, which are currently ranked No. 1 and 2 in both polls.

"Kentucky is not going to care that UMass is coming in. They've played DePaul, Memphis, UCLA, Indiana, Louisville and North Carolina. Those are not bad basketball teams," Ford understated while smiling.

Ford, who rooted for both Kentucky and Louisville as a youngster and played for the Wildcats from 1991-94, has a chance to become just the fifth coach to beat the Wildcats and Cardinals in the same season and the first since 1997-98 when Mississippi pulled off the feat.

Kentucky isn't ranked entering the game, but Freeman said that doesn't diminish the game's luster.

"When you think of college basketball, you think of Kentucky. You think of Duke, North Carolina and you think of Kentucky," Freeman said. "This is a very big game for us. I know when we get out there, we're going to be ready."

Ford said he hopes the game gives his team a strong start to a critical period in the schedule between semesters. Classes do not resume until the end of January.

"Obviously the Kentucky game is very important, but after that we begin a stretch where we get to spend a lot of time on ourselves," Ford said. "I like the time where we're not in school. It's like an NBA schedule. They don't have to be better at anything other than getting better at basketball. I look forward to that time."

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. For more UMass coverage including a frequently updated UMass sports blog, go to www.dailyhampshiregazette.com/umsports.


Scoring comes naturally for Freeman now
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 12/22/2006

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Before the season started, University of Massachusetts senior big man Rashaun Freeman said he was willing to score less if it meant winning more.

But 11 games into the season, Freeman is scoring considerably more, averaging 18.2 points which is well ahead of last year's average (13.6) and his career mark (15.2).

UMass coach Travis Ford said he isn't surprised.

"I listened to him say that and I knew what he was getting at and I knew with that attitude, which is a different attitude than he's ever had, that it would make him score more. When you don't think about scoring, you score more points," Ford said.

"He's improved so much. Everyone knows that Ray was pretty much a black hole (when a pass came to him, it never came back out) for three years," Ford added. "For a guy to step up and say before the year 'I don't care if I score as long as we win' - that should send a message."

Freeman said he's just letting the game come to him rather than worrying about carrying the scoring load.

"I'm just playing and allowing things to happen. In the past I've had some ups and downs," he said. "Everything I've learned on the court is coming through right now. I'm just going out and playing."

Freeman has scored in double figures in 11 straight games, tying the longest such stretch of his career. He entered the year with a career shooting percentage of 53.9 which was No. 4 on the UMass career list. But so far this year he's shooting at a 67.8 percent clip (82-for-121), making him one of the few players in the nation to shoot better from the floor than the free-throw line (61 percent).

Freeman will be tested tonight as Kentucky's best player is 6-foot-11 center Randolph Morris, who is averaging 16.1 points and eight rebounds per game. The two won't be matched up the entire game because UMass is likely to use Stephane Lasme on Morris as well. But if Freeman can help negate Morris, the Minutemen will have a much better chance to win.

Ford said that while Freeman's strong play has helped lift the Minutemen to a good start, he hopes that two players still will take on some of the scoring burden.

"We're 9-2 but we really haven't seen what Gary Forbes is capable of doing other than the Jacksonville State game. We're still expecting a lot more out of him," Ford said. "I don't think Stephane Lasme has played well in a while. He gets in foul trouble and he seems to lose interest. He needs to pick it up and play up to his capabilities and be one the best big men in the country. That's what I expect out of him. The last game he really played well was the Boston College game."

MORE BROWER - Ford said junior forward Etienne Brower, who had eight points in 14 minutes in his first sustained action of the season in the Minutemen's win over Louisville, would likely continue to expand his role.

"He's definitely going to be an asset for this team," Ford said. "He's just now getting back to form. He's still not 100 percent, but he's getting very close. He just needs to get more playing time."

REMATCH FINALIZED - The schools announced that they will meet again exactly a year later at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. Time, TV and ticket information will be announced later.

NO NESN -- ESPN used a provision of its contract with the Southeastern Conference to force tonight's game off NESN, which had been scheduled to broadcast the game. The 7 p.m. game will be broadcast in Kentucky on the Big Blue Sports Network, and will be available to a national audience on ESPN Full Court, which makes it accessible with a satellite dish, digital cable or pay-per-view.

LAST TIME - Ford's last game as the coach of Eastern Kentucky was an NCAA Tournament loss to Kentucky.

Tubby Smith's last game as the coach of Tulsa was an NCAA Tournament loss to the Minutemen in 1995.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. For more UMass coverage including a frequently updated UMass sports blog, go to www.dailyhampshiregazette.com/umsports.


Wildcats face fight in paint vs. UMass
By Victoria Sun, The Cincinnati Post Staff Reporter, 12/22/2006

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky basketball team will have to shift gears fast when a tough-minded Travis Ford trots back into Rupp Arena armed with an athletic Massachusetts squad anchored by two mobile post players.

The Wildcats won their fourth consecutive game Tuesday night by beating a Santa Clara team with size, but not much speed.

That won't be the case when UK hosts UMass tonight.

"We've told our guys obviously this is a very big game," UK associate head coach David Hobbs said. "They're a quality opponent, they're very athletic, kind of the antithesis of what we just finished playing.

"We played a good opponent in Santa Clara, but on the inside it's kind of a whole different ball game. Where you had the big, bulky maybe a little less mobile guy in the post, now you've got these guys who are very athletic, maybe don't have the bulk but in terms of running and jumping and being able to make athletic plays, they're much more able to do that so hopefully our guys know what they're facing."

Hobbs filled in for UK head coach Tubby Smith, who wasn't able to meet with reporters Thursday afternoon.

Ford, a beloved UK point guard from 1991-94, is in his second year at UMass after coaching the previous five seasons at Eastern Kentucky.

He is 0-3 when coaching against his alma mater, but enters the game with a realistic shot of upsetting the Wildcats, a fact that the UK coaches have used to keep their players focused on hoops, not the upcoming Christmas break.

After tonight, the Wildcats won't play another game until Dec. 30 when they host EKU.

"If we get to thinking about Christmas too early and trying to celebrate Christmas prematurely, then we won't enjoy Christmas," Hobbs said.

The Minutemen unintentionally helped get the Wildcats' attention when they beat Louisville at Freedom Hall on Dec. 13 before UK accomplished the same feat three days later.

"If you beat Louisville, you're tough," UK junior guard Ramel Bradley said.

UMass hasn't played since beating the Cardinals on the road. If Ford engineers an upset, it will be the first time since the 1997-98 season that a team has beaten both U of L and UK on their home floors.

"It's an important game for many different reasons," said Randolph Morris, UK's leading scorer (16.1 points per game) and rebounder (8.0 rebounds). "You never want to lose a game at home and second of all, going into the break, you want to snowball into the Southeastern Conference (play). You want to come off a win so you can have a positive mindset going into a new season.

"Third of all, you want to get a rivalry going. He's (Ford) going to try to come in and make his team win at his alma mater and we're going to try to prevent that from happening."

Limiting the effectiveness of UMass seniors Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme is at the top of UK's list.

Freeman, a 6-9 center, is an aggressive lefty who leads the team in scoring (18.2 points per game) while shooting 67.8 percent from the field and is the top rebounder with 7.9 per game. Lasme is a prolific shot-blocker who ranked third in the nation last year and is averaging 4.2 rejections a game.

To underscore how skilled Lasme is at altering shots, Hobbs pointed out that he has 46 blocks while the Wildcats have 63 as a team.

"I just know that their two starting big men are the best two players on the team," Morris said. "So anytime you've got that kind of explosiveness and shot blocking, you're going to look to get them in foul trouble, try to limit their touches so you have a better chance of getting more points in the paint."

Scoring has been an issue for the Wildcats, who rank 11th in the 12-team SEC in scoring offense (69.7 points per game), 10th in 3-point shooting percentage (34.6 percent), last in made 3-pointers (5.9 per game), eighth in field goal percentage (46.5 percent) and last in assist/turnover ratio (minus 2.45).

Though Morris has been a consistent performer throughout the season, the team has struggled when running plays that don't involve getting him the ball inside and relied heavily on its defense to earn victories.

"I think we're better at running the ball, pushing it, getting easy shots in transition," said Bradley, who is second on the team with 12.8 points per game. "But we're in the half-court set, we know we're just going to get it down to Randolph and let him go to work."

Bradley believes the team is better suited at playing up-tempo because there is less confusion.

Yet the Wildcats had little success trying to run with No. 18 Memphis, resulting in a 80-63 loss and figured their best chance of upsetting No. 2 University of North Carolina was by slowing them down, not running with them in a 75-63 loss.

"I just think it makes the game easier for us, we don't have to think too much," Bradley said. "You shouldn't have to think too much on offense and we can just get out, run the floor, get easy passes, guys are wide open. I just think it's more natural for us to play that way."

Now that UMass, picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 Conference, is off to such a great start, Hobbs admitted there is a natural tendency to wonder whether playing such a quality opponent right before the holidays is such a good idea.

But the schedule isn't going to change so he just hopes the Wildcats will be ready for the challenge.

"It's a good game, it's going to be competitive game," Hobbs said. "It's certainly two teams that have a certain amount on the line, obviously, it would be a big win for UMass.

"In our minds, we think it would be a big win for us because they're a quality opponent, they're going to have a good season and at the end of the day, that will be good for us if we win the game."


Cats must avoid yule lag
UMass not the usual Pre-Christmas cream puff
By Jerry Tipton, The Lexington Herald-Leader Staff Writer, 12/22/2006

Comedians know the importance of timing. So do coaches.

Substituting for Kentucky Coach Tubby Smith at a day-before-the-game news conference, Associate Coach David Hobbs noted the less-than-ideal timing of tonight's Kentucky-Massachusetts matchup. In basketball thinking, Christmas is a distraction when playing a quality opponent.

"Usually you want to play some directional school when your guys have their minds on going home for Christmas," Hobbs said.

UMass, at 9-2 off to the school's best start since the Final Four season of 1995-96, is perceived as good enough to be the Grinch that stole UK's Christmas.

"It's one of those games that maybe you think right before you play it: Why are we playing this game?" Hobbs said. "If we get to thinking about Christmas too early and try to celebrate Christmas prematurely, then we won't enjoy Christmas."

The UK coaches are hoping that UMass has already helped them get the players' minds off peace on earth, goodwill to men and other holiday sentiments.

"Hopefully, they helped us a little bit last week by beating Louisville at Louisville," Hobbs said. "That should get your attention."

UMass won at Louisville 72-68. UK players noticed.

Such a victory "says something about your organization. ... ," UK center Randolph Morris said. "We're definitely not taking them for granted or looking past them."

In an unfortunate coupling for Kentucky, the UMass strengths dovetail into the UK weaknesses: the Minutemen are good at running and rebounding. Transition defense and rebounding have been areas of concern for UK. Hobbs suggested that, in both areas, UMass is an unusual opponent this time of year.

"Usually with a non-conference opponent, they're mostly undersized," he said. "In this case, they've got the quickness, foot speed and athletic ability without being undersized."

UK matches up better against a big, bulky (and slower afoot) opponent like Santa Clara, Hobbs said.

When asked about what presented the more difficult frontcourt matchup, Hobbs said, "For us, it's the quicker guy. The guy who can run the floor better. The guy who can step away from the basket and put the ball on the floor. That can shoot it and go around you after shooting."

The UMass front line includes three players 6-foot-7 or taller, all averaging double figures and all in their fourth season at the college level.

Rashaun Freeman, a 6-foot-9 senior center, is a 1,000-point scorer and a two-time selection to the All-Atlantic 10 Conference first team. This season, he's an Atlantic 10 Player of the Year hopeful.

Gary Forbes, a 6-foot-7 fourth-year junior, is one of the transfers Coach Travis Ford imported in rebuilding UMass basketball. He averaged 7.6 points for Virginia as a sophomore. That included a career-high 23 at North Carolina.

Much talk during interviews yesterday involved Stephane Lasme, a 6-foot-8 senior from the African country of Gabon. He ranked third nationally in blocked shots (3.9 per game) in being named Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. In 11 games this season, he's blocked 46 shots. Morris leads UK with 19 blocks.

"He's got good length," Hobbs said of Lasme (pronounced LAZZ-me). "He's what I call a second jumper. He can hit the floor and go right back up. And he's got good timing."

Kentucky players spoke of taking the action to Lasme, crowding him and perhaps getting him in foul trouble.

"You can't run away from a guy because he blocks shots," Hobbs said. "If you try to beat somebody with jump shots, you'll probably have a long night."

Morris, who rose to the occasion against North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough, relished the opportunity to compete against the UMass front line.

For Morris, who earlier in his career was saddled with a reputation for being foul-prone, the challenge includes a delicious irony. Getting his opposite number in foul trouble is key.

"It's a change," Morris acknowledged. "It's a change I welcome. Get somebody else in foul trouble for a change."


Kentucky 82, Massachusetts 68
From The Associated Press, 12/22/2006

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Joe Crawford, Ramel Bradley and Randolph Morris each had 14 points as Kentucky won its fifth straight with an 82-68 victory over Massachusetts Friday, spoiling the homecoming of Minutemen coach Travis Ford.

Freshman point guard Derrick Jasper had a career-high nine assists - the most by a Kentucky player this year.

Ford, coming off a victory against former coach Rick Pitino and Louisville on Wednesday, failed to become the first coach in nine years to beat both the Cardinals and Wildcats on their home courts in the same season.

He is now 0-4 against his alma mater. The previous three games - including one in the NCAA tournament - came when Ford coached at Eastern Kentucky.

Kentucky's backcourt trio of Crawford, Bradley and Jasper had its most complete game since coach Tubby Smith went with the three-guard lineup Dec. 5 against Chattanooga.

Crawford came out of a shooting funk by hitting three of four shots from 3-point range. Bradley made both of his long-range shots.

Eight minutes into the game with the Minutemen ahead 19-16, Kentucky went on a 23-3 run to take a 17-point lead. Six different Wildcats scored on the 10-minute drive, highlighted by three consecutive 3-pointers - two from Crawford and one by Ramel Bradley.

The Minutemen trimmed a 21-point Kentucky lead down to 12 with two minutes left but got no closer.

The Wildcats dominated virtually every aspect of the game, shooting 59 percent from the field, holding the Minutemen to 37 percent, and winning the rebounding battle 37-to-32.

One of the only sore spots for Kentucky was personal fouls. The Wildcats racked up 20 - five from Bobby Perry and four from Morris.

James Life provided almost all the offense for UMass, scoring 24 points - including six 3-pointers. Stephane Lasme had five blocks, but the Wildcats kept challenging him, as Lasme fouled out with two minutes left.

The newest Wildcat, Ramon Harris of Alaska, scored his first two points of the year.


Post-game quotes
From UMass Athletics, 12/22/2006

Massachusetts Head Coach Travis Ford
Opening statement ...
"I give Kentucky all the credit in the world here. When they are making threes like that - they are going to play well. They are going to get that every night with their defense. They are one of the best defensive teams I have seen. I think I may have hyped up to our team about the defense a little too much. When they are shooting the ball like that and with the consistency of the defense and the way Coach Smith teaches defense, there are not five better teams in the country; if there are I would like to see them. I have watched every game Kentucky has played over the last four or five days and they just played with an extreme sense of urgency, they played with a great edge. Our guys were ready to play. We just didn't have an answer for a lot of the things they did. Anything we did, they just took it too us. Give them credit; they took it to us and made shots they haven't been making lately. When they put it together like that, they are a good basketball team, very good. We have played some good basketball teams this year and they are as good as I have seen."

On the UK defensive effort on UMass forwards Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme...
"We knew they were going to double-team them. That is something that [UK] always does. We worked so much on it the last couple of days. I think they started thinking too much and started forcing quick shots instead of trying to work for better post positioning. They tried to just get the ball and shoot it quickly. We did not get much out of Rashaun [Freeman] or Stephane [Lamse]. If those two are not producing, our chances go way down."

On differences between UK tonight and on film ...
"They got better shots. We probably helped out that cause a little bit. We gave them a lot of confidence, that is for sure. What they did though was they created shots for each other and that is a little different than what I have seen. What I had seen before was a lot of one-on-one. That is something that we worked on for the last couple of days. They found the open man very well. They just found the open man a lot. They got in the paint and we had to help and then they would find the open guys. But you still have to put it in and they put it in. A lot of times you can find the open guy and still miss shots."

On the emotion of returning to Rupp Arena ...
"It is one of the hardest games to coach because it is against a good basketball team. I didn't get caught up in all the outside stuff. There is not a bigger fan of Kentucky basketball than me, definitely. I love Kentucky basketball. It has done so much for me and I have so many great memories - I love Kentucky basketball no question. But, we were here trying to win. I like our basketball team. We have a good basketball team. We had 10 days off since the Louisville game and I was very concerned with that. I was concerned because we had guys still taking finals this morning. We had guys miss practice yesterday because of finals. We played hard but we looked sluggish, very sluggish and I attribute a lot of that to 10 days off and finals. But again, Kentucky was just a step quicker in everything they did tonight. Kentucky basketball is very dear to me there is no question. I am going to be rooting for them every game from this point on."

Kentucky Head Coach Tubby Smith
"It was good to get a win against a very good team. Travis' teams are always tough. Today we got off to a very fast start. We have been defending and shooting the ball much better, and I think tonight was one of our most impressive efforts. We challenged a lot of shots and did some very good things to hold a team like Massachusetts to 37 percent shooting. We had some very good efforts by some players, and with 20 assists I was very impressed with our ability to move the ball and pass the ball, especially with the break starting. I know their minds were somewhere else. It was a good all-around effort, and we'll have a lot of things to work on when we get back. But we'll enjoy this win because it was a good win, and we're happy about that. We want to wish Jared Carter well, who had surgery this morning, which was successful. He'll start his rehab immediately."

On the scheduling of Massachusetts before the break...
"We got a good win over UMass, a team that beat Louisville and were 9-2, and we played pretty well. It wasn't a very smart scheduling job, but it is good for us to go on the break getting these two good wins we've just gotten this week. We're getting better, and the progression is there. If we just limit our turnovers then we'll be okay."

On Derrick Jasper's eight assists tonight...
"It is hard to be a point guard, and I get on him, but I thought he had an all-around good game. He stepped up and had eight assists, five rebounds and two steals. I think he got fatigued near the end of the game, and he was guarding (James) Life, who is a very talented player. I think Derrick stripped him of the ball once, and he stripped a few other guys. I thought he did a good job, and I think he's getting better every game."

On the team's better offensive effort...
"Randolph (Morris) set the tempo early on, and posted up strong. We moved the ball well, and we passed the ball well. We tried scoring with basic motion by limiting the things that we're doing. We're getting better spacing, better movement. Our passing was better, and I think we had better shots. We had open shots with Joe Crawford hitting those three-pointers to get us going. I thought that was critical for us."

Kentucky Players
#32 Joe Crawford, Guard
On his performance...
"I let the game come to me. I took the shots, and when I got some opportunities, I took advantage of them."

On the game...
"I think this is the best game we've played so far. We played well on defense and offense. We let down a couple of times. We still have to get to the point where we can break a team and build the lead. We're getting better every game."

On if the team is getting better...
"I think we're getting a lot better. Everyone is contributing. We had four people in double figures. I think we're becoming a better passing team. We still have to take care of the ball better."

#3 Ramel Bradley, Guard
On the game...
"I think mentally our guys came out prepared. We came out ready to be aggressive and ready to shoot the ball. We knocked shots down. When we're knocking shots down, it's no big deal to move the ball because the offense is flowing."

On what he wants for Christmas...
"I just want everyone to have a good Christmas. I really feel that there's nothing that I really need at this moment. Maybe a Lamborghini. I can wait for that. I just hope everyone has a good Christmas."

On the pace of the game...
"I think that had a lot to do with us being mentally prepared to come in the game and play the kind of game we wanted to play; control the tempo, play offense the way we know we're capable of playing. We defended well, and we came down and knocked down shots."

#13 Bobby Perry, Forward
On the victory ...
"I'm glad our team came out ready to play. We knew UMass would come out fired up and emotional since Coach Ford played here. It's great to go into the holiday season with a win."

On Kentucky's play...
"I think this is the best we've played this season. To play a team like UMass and put them out the way we did, I think this was a big game."

On Stephane Lasme...
"He's probably one of the most athletic guys I've played. When you have a shot blocker you have to take it to them and put them on their heels."

#33 Randolph Morris, Center
On the physical inside game...
"That's what you have to expect from two teams with post players as integral parts of the team. That's just what it comes down to."

On his performance...
"I don't have any complaints. As long as we win, I think I'm doing my job. I've been playing about the way I expected. I think better conditioned is the key."

On Kentucky's mindset...
"We're trying to take it one game at a time. I think our mindset is exactly where it needs to be, and that's on the next game."

#12 Lukasz Obrzut, Center
On his performance this year...
"I feel much more comfortable, especially down low. I realize this is my senior year and I try to go out and play the best I can every day."

On Kentucky's performance...
"I think it's coming along. All the work we've put in since June is starting to pay off. Everyone knows we started off struggling, but we're trying to go out and give it our best."


Post-game quotes
From Kentucky Athletics, 12/22/2006

Massachusetts Players
#14 Chris Lowe
On the game tonight…
“I thought we played together as a team. But we need to play for a full forty minutes. We need to breed success, especially after a win like we had over Louisville. We need to be more consistent. I thought we played good defense. We just let Kentucky get on a couple of big runs for that first half lead.”

On the key to UK’s big lead…
“We just missed some key rebounds and we made turnovers at key times for Kentucky to take advantage to make that big first half run.”

On the season outlook…
“After twelve games we’re at 9-3, that’s a good mark. This game will help us get better as a team.”

On playing Kentucky in Rupp Arena…
“We played a great team, with great tradition. It is a good game to play with a sold-out crowd and atmosphere like tonight. This game should get us ready for (Atlantic 10) conference play.”

#5 Ricky Harris
On tonight’s game…
“Going into tonight’s game, I think we were still on cloud nine from the win at Louisville in Freedom Hall. The coaches got us prepared but as players we weren’t prepared to play this game. I don’t think it was because of our layoff. We just weren’t prepared mentally as players tonight.”

On the season outlook…
“We have a couple of games at home now. We’re excited about returning home to play in front of a big UMass crowd. If we can get a couple wins against Yale and Miami at home, it would definitely be a big boost going into our conference play.”


Post-game notes
From Kentucky Athletics, 12/22/2006

MFINAL SCORE: Kentucky 82, Massachusetts 68


Team game notes

Individual game notes


Rupp return ruined
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 12/23/2006

Travis Ford's alma mater was tougher than his mentor and the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team's second trip to the Bluegrass State this month wasn't nearly as successful as the first.

Despite an impressive shooting effort by James Life, the Minutemen couldn't overcome an early shooting drought and fell to Kentucky 82-68 Friday at Rupp Arena.

After upending his college coach Rick Pitino and Louisville 72-68 Dec. 13, Ford said playing in an arena where he has lots of good memories as a player was not a distraction.

'It's one of the harder games to coach because Kentucky is such a good basketball team,' said Ford. 'Our guys were ready to play, but we didn't have answers for a lot of the things they did. They took it to us.

Ford added, 'There's not a bigger fan of Kentucky basketball than me. I love Kentucky basketball but we were coming in here trying to win. I'll be rooting for them every single game from here on.'

Ford got an ovation when he was introduced before the game.

'Kentucky fans are great,' he said. 'I think they knew they could cheer for me and still kick our butt tonight.'

UMass (9-3) appeared headed for its worst loss of the season as it trailed 70-48 with 6 minutes, 31 seconds remaining, but a 13-3 run made it 73-61 with 2:11 left. But it was too late for the Minutemen to complete a comeback.

'We got off to a fairly good start and defended really well,' Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. 'I thought this was one of our better defensive efforts of the season.'

At one point in the second half Life had 22 of the 44 points scored by UMass. He finished with 24, one short of his career high. Freshman Ricky Harris added 13.

Rashaun Freeman dunks in front of the Wildcat faithful
Rashaun Freeman dunks in front of the Wildcat faithful
Rashaun Freeman had seven points in the first five minutes, but Kentucky shut him down after that. Freeman struggled against the Wildcats' bigger inside players Randolph Morris (6-foot-11) and Lukasz Obrzut (7-foot-1) and double teams throughout and didn't score again.

Morris, Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford each had 14 to lead the Wildcats, while freshman Jodie Meeks added 10.

The Minutemen get the next five days off before hosting Yale at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Harris said, 'We have a couple games at home now. We're excited about returning home. If we can get a couple wins against Yale and Miami at home it would definitely be a big boost heading into conference play.'

UMass was sharp early and led the Wildcats 19-16 after a 3-pointer by Life with just over 12 minutes left. But the Minutemen shooting went ice cold after that. They didn't make a field goal for the next 10:19 as Kentucky went on a 23-3 run, igniting the Rupp Arena crowd.

Another Life 3-pointer ended the drought and Chris Lowe scored the last basket of the half to cut the UMass deficit to 39-27.

Kentucky's lead hovered around a dozen early in the second half as Life was almost single-handedly keeping the game from getting out of hand. But an 11-2 run by the Wildcats midway through the half ended any suspense.

Ford said he'd like to play Kentucky again.

'I like our basketball team. We've got a good basketball team,' Ford said. 'We'd like to meet them again down the road. That would be great. If we did, that would mean we're in the NCAA Tournament somewhere. I think we have an NCAA Tournament team. I think we'll be there. But we need to learn from this.'

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. For more UMass coverage including a frequently updated UMass sports blog, go to www.dailyhampshiregazette.com/umsports.


Kentucky shuts down inside duo
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 12/23/2006

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Before Friday night's game at Kentucky, University of Massachusetts men's basketball coach Travis Ford said even if Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme got in foul trouble he'd likely leave them in for their offense.

Stephane Lasme gets hacked by Randolph Morris
Stephane Lasme gets hacked by Randolph Morris
Neither got in foul trouble until late in the game, but Kentucky shut them down anyway.

Freeman had seven points in the first five minutes, but he didn't score again and finished with seven rebounds. Lasme had just one field goal, attempted only five shots and finished with eight points on six free throws.

"We didn't get much out of Rashaun and Stephane," Ford said. "When that happens our chances go way down. You didn't see the true Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme at all. The reason you didn't was the defense of Kentucky."

UMass doesn't face too many teams with two players bigger than Freeman and Lasme, but Randolph Morris and Lukasz Obrzut both created problems. On most possessions, the Wildcats trapped and double-teamed the UMass big men whenever they got the ball on the block.

"We knew they were going to double-team Rashaun," Ford said. "That's something they always do. I think he started thinking too much and started forcing quick shots rather than really trying to work for better post position."

Neither player was available for comment. Kentucky coach Tubby Smith's press conference ran long and most of the UMass players had left for the team hotel across the street by the time Ford was done with his.

"We looked to trap him right away and take away his move to the middle," Smith said. "Our guys did a good job as they start understanding how to trap."

The seven points snapped Freeman's 11-game streak of scoring in double figures. He had seven points in the Minutemen's season-ending loss to Xavier in the Atlantic 10 Tournament last year.

UMASS & TRAVIS FORD vs. KENTUCKY - The Minutemen fell to 1-5 all time against the Wildcats. Their only win came in the season opener of the 1995-96 season when Marcus Camby led the Minutemen to an upset of then No. 1 Kentucky in the now-defunct Great Eight Tournament in Auburn Hills, Mich. It was the first of 26 straight wins for UMass. The Wildcats avenged that loss with an 81-74 win in the Final Four.

Ford, who beat Rick Pitino for the first time 72-68 at Louisville Dec. 13, fell to 0-4 against Tubby Smith.

Former Kentucky players as coaches have not fared well against their alma mater as the Wildcats have won 44 of 55 such meetings. Ford has been on the short end of four of those Kentucky wins.

Kentucky has dominated Atlantic 10 teams, improving to 78-18 all time against the league's current 14 teams.

FREE THROWS - Among the bright spots for the Minutemen Friday was their free throw shooting. They were 17-of-24 (70.8 percent) which is well above their 60.1 percent season average. Freeman and Lasme combined to go 9-for-9.

LASME BLOCKS - Lasme had four or more blocked shots for the fifth time this season and the 34th time in his career. He finished with five.

PART OF THE RECORD - Texas Tech coach Bob Knight will try to tie North Carolina coach Dean Smith for the Division I men's basketball victory record with 879 Saturday against Bucknell. The General has two wins over UMass in that stretch. His Army team beat the Redmen 68-46 on Jan. 24, 1967.

Almost 37 years passed before Knight faced UMass again. His Texas Tech Red Raiders beat the Minutemen 90-40 Nov. 21, 2003, in the second round of the Preseason NIT.

UMass has never beaten a Knight-coached team.

Smith beat three Redmen/Minuteman teams while he coached North Carolina, twice in the NIT (1971 and 1973) and once in the Jimmy V Classic in 1996. UMass beat Smith and the then No. 1 Tar Heels 91-86 in the Preseason NIT Nov. 24, 1993.

NEXT UP - The Minutemen host Yale (2-7) at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Bulldogs have not played since falling to Hartford 66-65 Dec. 12. Yale's wins came against American and Allegheny, a non-Division I team, in the season opener.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. For more UMass coverage including a frequently updated UMass sports blog, go to www.dailyhampshiregazette.com/umsports.


A rude return: Ford, Minutemen trip in Kentucky
By Derek Poore, The Boston Herald, 12/23/2006

LEXINGTON, Ky. - UMass coach Travis Ford’s second trip to the Bluegrass State in less than two weeks wasn’t as thrilling as his last.

Randolph Morris and Ramel Bradley each had 14 points to lead Ford’s alma mater Kentucky to an 82-68 win over UMass last night at Rupp Arena. It came just nine days after Ford beat his former coach, Rick Pitino, at Louisville.

“I think they knew they could cheer for me and still kick our butts,” Ford said of Kentucky fans.

Guard James Life led UMass (9-3) with 24 points, shooting 6-for-13 from 3-point range. Freshman Ricky Harris added 13 points for the Minutemen.

Kentucky is 44-10 against former players-turned-coaches. Ford, a standout Wildcats point guard in the mid-1990s, was 0-3 against his old team while head coach at Eastern Kentucky. He said he tried not to get caught up in the backstory for the game this week.

“There’s not a bigger fan of Kentucky basketball than me,” Ford said. “I’m going to be rooting for them in every single game from here on out.”

Harris believed the Minutemen had yet to come down from beating Louisville.

“I don’t think it was because of our (nine-day) layoff. We just weren’t prepared mentally,” Harris said.

UMass had been banking on the play of center Rashaun Freeman, who had scored 20-plus points in the previous three outings. Freeman scored seven points in the first five minutes against Kentucky (9-3) before the Wildcats shut down the senior, holding him scoreless the rest of the game.

Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said he wanted to key on Freeman early.

“We took away his move to the middle,” Smith said. “Travis Ford teams are always tough. I thought tonight was one of our better defensive efforts.”

UMass hung around until late in the first half, when Kentucky used a 9-0 run from a flurry of 3-pointers to push its lead to 33-22.

UMass trailed 39-27 at halftime and never got within single digits in the second half.

“After 12 games we’re at 9-3; that’s a good mark,” sophomore guard Chris Lowe said. “This game will help us get better as a team.”


Kentucky offense wakes up vs. UMass
Wildcats savor 5th straight win
By Victoria Sun, The Cincinnati Post Staff Reporter, 12/23/2006

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky basketball team prevented head coach Tubby Smith from stealing Christmas by turning in a solid offensive performance against Massachusetts Friday night.

Any concerns that Wildcats would have their mind on the holidays and not hoops were quelled about midway through the first half of their 82-68 victory over UMass at Rupp Arena. That's when the Wildcats (9-3) clamped down defensively and punched up their stagnant offense with a balanced scoring effort to win their fifth consecutive game and snap UMass' three-game winning streak.

The performance was one Smith told his players to savor with a full week until their next game when they host Eastern Kentucky at noon next Saturday.

"We have been defending and shooting the ball much better, and I think tonight was one of our most impressive efforts," Smith said. "I was very impressed with our ability to move the ball and pass the ball, especially with the break starting.

"I know their minds were somewhere else. It was a good all-around effort and we'll have a lot of things to work on when we get back. But we'll enjoy this win because it was a good win and we're happy about that."

James Life chases down the loose ball in front of Ramel Bradley
James Life chases down the loose ball in front of Ramel Bradley
Had the Wildcats lost, players were bracing for a grueling set of practices.

"Christmas is going to be a lot nicer," UK senior Bobby Perry said. "To get a win like this, going home, it's great and there's no better feeling than to have a five-game winning streak."

UK scored its second-most points of the year since an 87-81 victory over DePaul on Nov. 20 and shot a season-high 58.8 percent from the field, its highest percentage since beating the Blue Demons. The Wildcats also shot a season-high 63.6 percent from behind the arc and had a season-high 20 assists.

UK juniors Ramel Bradley, Joe Crawford and Randolph Morris each had 14 points while Jodie Meeks, who was named the Southeastern Conference's freshman of the week Monday, had 10 points and freshman Derrick Jasper had a career-high eight assists, the most any UK player has had all season.

Because the Wildcats have had some difficulty scoring in previous victories, Smith simplified the offense and had the players shoot a lot during practice the two days before the game, which seemed to help.

Crawford said he thought this was the best the team has ever played for 40 minutes.

"I would probably say our first exhibition game (against Lindsey Wilson College) where we had 20-something assists is the last time we had a flow like this," said Perry, who scored eight points in 11 minutes after scoring zero the previous two games. "Dishing off, guys coming down the lane, dunking, (when that happens) you're feeling good.

"We've had spurts here and there throughout games here and there we would, but consistently throughout the whole game, probably that first exhibition game (is when we played this well)."

The Minutemen, coached by former UK point guard Travis Ford, hadn't played a game since defeating Louisville by four on Dec. 13.

Ford, in his second season at UMass, received warm applause from the crowd when he was introduced, but the predominately UK fans quickly remembered what team they showed up to root for by supporting the Wildcats.

UK's defense was instrumental in causing the Minutemen to a shoot a season-low 37.3 percent from the field, 31.8 percent from 3-point range and forcing 15 turnovers.

UK centers Morris and Lukasz Obrzut helped hold UMass' leading scorer Rashaun Freeman to seven points on 2-of-9 shooting, the first time he hasn't scored in double-figures all season.

"They are one of the best defensive teams I have seen," Ford said.

UMass took its final lead of the game when James Life, who had a game-high 24 points, made a 3-pointer making it 19-16 with 12:07 remaining.

But then the Wildcats responded by outscoring the Minutemen 23-3 for a 39-22 advantage and never trailed again.

Crawford, who scored five points in the last two games, made two 3-pointers and Jasper made two nice driving layups during that stretch while the Minutemen took quick shots and rushed passes.

Once again, Morris paced the team with 10 points in the first half.

The Wildcats made 5-of-7 3-pointers in the first half, shot 57.1 percent and out-rebounded the Minutemen 17-10 for a 39-27 lead at the break.

"It was easy to not be focused, with everybody just thinking they get to go home for the break, but guys understood this UMass team was a tough team and they beat a good team in Louisville so we had to be prepared and aggressive," Bradley said.

CARTER HAS SHOULDER SURGERY - UK sophomore center Jared Carter underwent reconstructive shoulder surgery Friday morning at UK's Albert B. Chandler Medical Center.

The 7-2 Carter of Georgetown, Ky., dislocated his shoulder two separate times in practice and is expected to be sidelined for six months.

He averaged less than one point and 2.3 rebounds while appearing in three games this season.


Fickle fans see Ford in future
By Lonnie Wheeler, The Cincinnati Post, 12/23/2006

LEXINGTON, Ky. - It would appear that Billy Donovan is out of the picture now. He doesn't need to coach at the University of Kentucky to win a national championship, having done it last year at Florida, which also has that weather thing going on.

Of course, that doesn't slow down the unrelenting speculation as to who will replace Tubby Smith after he loses again in, say, the Elite Eight. The man has gone eight years without an NCAA title, if you can imagine that. A lot of Kentuckians can't.

This brings us, inevitably, to the next Donovan, or the heir apparent to the heir apparent. Friday night, Travis Ford happened to be at Rupp Arena with his Massachusetts Minutemen, although there was not a lot of happenstance about it. The Wildcats, whose nutrition is tradition, are fond of bringing back their own, as they did a couple of times when Ford was coaching Eastern Kentucky.

Like Donovan, Ford was a shrewd and feisty point guard in his uniformed days, the difference being that he played for Rick Pitino and Donovan coached for him. Ford, did, however, coach against Pitino last week in Louisville, and did the thing that endears him thoroughly to the UK folks. He beat the Cards.

That may have been taken into account Friday night, when Ford received an unrestrained ovation from the 24,307 people in blue, including Santa Claus. "It was more than I expected," said the Madisonville, Ky., native. "But Kentucky fans are great, just great.

"I think they knew they could cheer for me and still kick our butts tonight."

Yeah, there was that. There was also the recognition of his roots - Ford averaged 31.7 points as a senior at North Hopkins High School - and the three overachieving seasons he put in for the Wildcats, which included three trips to the NCAA tournament, a regional MVP award and various records in assists, 3-point shooting and free-throw shooting.

After transferring from Missouri, Ford began playing for Kentucky in 1991, which, for what it's worth, happens to be the year that Smith began his head-coaching career at Tulsa. The little guy's contributions to the UK program are fondly remembered, but not so much that the Kentucky faithful didn't wildly enjoy the Wildcats' 82-68 victory.

Ford himself was able to admire it with a certain amount of attending anguish. "They made some shots that they haven't been making," he said, "and when they put it together like that, they're a good basketball team; very good. We've played some good ones this year, and they're as good as I've seen.

"They got it going tonight. I hate that it came against us, but I'm pulling for them. I'll be rooting for them in every single game from this point on. There's not a bigger fan of Kentucky basketball than me."

It all sounds good, just the sort of stuff that the Commonwealth would delight in for its next basketball coach. But we might do well to hold our Kentucky-bred horses for just a minute.

Since Smith won a national championship in his first season at UK - with Pitino's players, his critics point out - the rap on him has been that he is not an elite recruiter. Tell that to Ford, who watched his fast-rising team taken apart by a swell of athletes that included six freshmen who played 40 percent of Kentucky's minutes in the first half, when the Wildcats fired out to a 39-27 lead.

Kentucky may have sported splashier recruiting classes in recent history, but few, if any, as deep as the current freshmen. One among them, Derrick Jasper, has moved into the starting lineup at point guard, and his maturation seems to parallel that of the team at large, which has now won five straight games after a worrisome start to the season. Against UMass, Jasper produced nine points, five rebounds and eight assists.

"You can see us growing and getting better," said Smith. "The progression is there.

"We expect a lot out of our freshmen, and he (Jasper) delivered. Derrick is getting better every game."

Meanwhile, the junior class has been maturing in lockstep with the younger fellows. Randolph Morris, Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley were part of a heralded recruiting wave that has mostly underachieved to this point. But not Friday.

"They played with a great edge tonight," observed Ford. "They played with a great sense of urgency."

For his part, Smith coached with the same. It was nothing personal, of course, but he was aware that Massachusetts was an uncommonly threatening opponent for a home game three days before Christmas.

"This was not one of the smarter scheduling jobs we've done," he said.

Not from where he sits.


Holiday Smear
Cats jubilant after shutting down UMass
By Jerry Tipton, The Lexington Herald-Leader Staff Writer, 12/23/2006

Enjoy.

Like a waiter bringing a $500 bottle of wine to the table, Kentucky Coach Tubby Smith told his players to savor last night's 82-68 victory over Massachusetts.

"I told the guys, we're going to enjoy this win because it was a good win," Smith said.

Unusually good three-point shooting and what's becoming routinely excellent defense made for an intoxicating victory. The Cats made a season-high 58.8 percent of their shots (a season's best 63.6 percent from three-point range) and, perhaps, not coincidentally, equaled a season high with 20 assists.

Smith credited center Randolph Morris, one of three UK players with 14 points, for setting the tone by posting up strong for baskets early.

"We really moved the ball better," Smith said. "We're trying to limit the things we're doing. You can see better spacing, better movement."

Kentucky, which improved to 9-3, impressed UMass Coach Travis Ford, the former UK point guard.

"When they are shooting the ball like that, and with the consistency of the defense and the way Coach Smith teaches defense, there are not five better teams in the country," Ford said.

Kentucky limited UMass to a season-low 37.3 percent shooting. The Minutemen came into the game as the Atlantic 10 Conference's best shooting team (49.4 percent). Center Rashaun Freeman, a two-time all-conference player, scored seven points, the first time he's failed to reach double figures this season.

In the first 13 minutes of the second half, UMass had four baskets. The Minutemen fell to 9-3.

The addition of a smoother offensive flow with solid defense put thoughts of championships, not sugar plums, dancing in the players' heads.

"I think we can get better and better," said Joe Crawford, another of the Cats with 14 points. "By mid-January, we can be a championship-caliber team, if we aren't already."

Morris scored two of UK's first three baskets. But two other early baskets, by slumping Bobby Perry, might have sent a bigger signal. Twice inside the first four minutes, Perry drove assertively even though guarded by Stephane Lasme, the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year last season and a man averaging 4.2 blocks per game this season.

"One of the most athletic guys I've played against throughout the season," said Perry, who scored on both occasions. "That's what you have to do: take it right to him, and not back down. ... That aggressiveness carried over."

A 17-1 run late in the first half put the hammer down on UMass. In that span, the Cats made six of nine shots and all three attempts from beyond the arc.

"We were just ready to hit shots," said Crawford, who made two of the treys. "We were patient and just ready to take the shot before the ball came. Sometimes we force things. In Louisville, I kind of forced things."

How hot was UK? Moments after UMass closed within 12 points, Sheray Thomas made his first three-pointer of the season. The Minutemen fell behind by as much as 22 and got no closer than 12 down the stretch.

Meanwhile, outside of senior guard James Life (24 points), UMass struggled to score.

Smith noted how the Cats followed the game plan in containing Freeman.

"We took away his move to the middle," the UK coach said. "He likes to go over his right shoulder for his jump hook. The kids are starting to understand how to trap.

"You can see them growing and getting better. The progress is there. You can see it going in the right direction."

As Smith suggested, the Cats planned to enjoy this victory.

"It's going to be a great Christmas now," said Ramel Bradley, the third UK player with 14 points. "We're playing well. I'm going to the best city in the world (New York City). It doesn't get any better than this."


Bradley, Smith disagree
Player says towel incident is 'over now'
By Jerry Tipton, The Lexington Herald-Leader Staff Writer, 12/23/2006

Player takes ill-conceived shot. Coach sends a replacement into the game. Player shows his unhappiness by ignoring a towel tossed his way by a caring teammate.

Coach scolds player. Coach starts to walk again, then decides to deliver a second scolding.

That scenario played out by Ramel Bradley and Kentucky Coach Tubby Smith drew a big reaction from the crowd in Rupp Arena to watch UK beat Massachusetts 82-68 last night.

"It was a little heated moment," Bradley said. "It was in the heat of battle."

The incident happened with 15:07 left in the second half. Bradley took a wild driving shot that UMass blocked out of bounds. As the ball left the court, Smith signaled freshman Derrick Jasper to report in the game. As the players crossed paths, Jasper tossed a towel toward Bradley that the older player let fall to the floor untouched.

The scoldings ensued.

"I guess Coach interpreted it differently," said Bradley, whose interpretation involved his being distracted by a conversation with an assistant coach when Jasper tossed the towel.

"I'm not sure what Coach thought it was," Bradley said. "No player likes to come out of a game. ... It's over now. That's a good thing."

Bradley later returned to the game.

The subject of Smith's scoldings? "Make better decisions," Bradley said.

Perry scores

Foul trouble limited Bobby Perry to a season-low 11 minutes. But after going scoreless in the last two games, his eight-point night served as a much-needed tonic.

"Absolutely," Perry said. "It was frustrating. After the last game, I was really frustrated."

Encouraging words by his father and teammates helped Perry carry on, he said.

"I was happy for Bobby," Smith said. "The one time he plays well, he gets in foul trouble. We need him to be more aggressive and take the ball to the basket. He did an outstanding job."

Jasper stars

Freshman Derrick Jasper's career-high eight assists led a Kentucky effort that equaled a season-high 20 assists.

"It's hard for a point guard," Smith said. "I expect a lot. He delivered."

The UK coach noted Jasper's all-around contributions. Jasper also tied for the team lead with five rebounds, scored nine points and, alas, also tied for the team lead with four turnovers. In all, UK committed 18 turnovers.

"If we can just limit our turnovers, I think we're going to be OK," Smith said.

Carter has surgery

Sophomore big man Jared Carter underwent surgery to repair his dislocated right shoulder yesterday, Smith said.

"It's tough having surgery before Christmas," Smith said. "But he'll start rehab immediately."

Still a fan

UMass Coach Travis Ford returned to the scene of many of his exploits as a college player.

"There's not a bigger fan of Kentucky basketball than me, definitely," the former UK point guard said. "I love Kentucky basketball. It has done so much for me, and I have so many great memories. ... I am going to be rooting for them every game from this point on."

'Sluggish'

UMass had not played since a Dec. 13 victory at Louisville. In the interim, the Minutemen took final exams, including one yesterday morning before the flight to Lexington.

"We played hard," Ford said. "But we looked sluggish, very sluggish, and I attribute a lot of that to 10 days off and finals. But, again, Kentucky was just a step quicker in everything they did."

Etc.

Freshman Ramon Harris scored his first points, a fast-break layup with 21 seconds left. He could have had more points, but missed two free throws with 9.3 seconds left. His two minutes included a 45-second appearance in the first half and the final 48.7 seconds of the game. ... UK improved its record to 9-0 when leading at halftime. The Cats are 0-3 when trailing at the break.


Christmas comes early for Cats
By John Clay, The Lexington Herald-Leader Columnist, 12/23/2006

Merry Christmas, Cats.

So that may not have been a Christmas miracle last night in Rupp Arena, but it was certainly an invitation to a happy holiday what with Kentucky pummeling pesky favorite son Travis Ford and UMass 82-68.

Not just that the Cats did it, mind you. But it was the way the Cats did it.

We bring you glad tidings of great joy.

The Christmas Cats shot 57.1 percent from the floor in the first half, 60.9 the second for a season-high 58.8 for the game.

"If they're hitting shots like that, with the way they play defense," said Ford, the former UK point guard, "there's not five better teams in the country."

They held the motoring Minutemen to 37.3 percent, making UMass the seventh consecutive foe that has failed to crack the forty-from-the-floor barrier.

They dished out 20 assists, led by Derrick Jasper's eight.

"I liked the way we moved the basketball," said Tubby Smith, the happy UK coach.

They flew through the air with the greatest of ease, i.e. Perry Stevenson's flying reindeer slam. They got double-digits from Jodie "Instant Offense" Meeks, 13 in-your-face minutes from Lukasz Obrzut. They watched Bobby Perry take the ball straight to the hoop and Sheray Thomas absolutely bury a bottom-of-the-net three-pointer with the shot clock ticking down.

"I watched all of Kentucky's games over the past three or four days," said Ford, shaking his head. "Sheray Thomas making a three-pointer from the corner? Nothing against him, but I haven't seen a lot of that on film."

Baseline-to-baseline, this was Kentucky's best performance of the season, holiday or otherwise.

"It was a good all-around effort," admitted Smith.

(We won't linger on that one Cat lump of coal: 15 of 28 from the free-throw line.)

For most of the night, Kentucky played with the intensity of a last-minute shopper. Perhaps UMass had something to do with that. Ford's team favors the torrid retro-Pitino tempo that demands attention. Match it or melt. Kentucky exceeded it.

"I thought Kentucky played with an extra sense of urgency," Ford said. "They played with an edge tonight."

Indeed, everything at Rupp seemed a little more amped last night, a little more festive, starting with the appreciative and near-thunderous ovation Ford received upon his pre-game introduction. (That's what beating Rick Pitino will do for you.)

"I think UK fans knew they could cheer for me and still kick our butts," said the coach, with a bit of a grin.

Mainly, the butt-kicking was accomplished by making shots. Perry, who had gone two straight games without a point, made four of five from the field. Randolph Morris was six of 10. Jasper was 3-for-4. Obrzut was 2-for-3. Joe Crawford made three of his four three-pointers. Bradley was 5-for-9 from the floor.

One of Bradley's misses was the evening's lone Grinch moment, the only time when holiday stress reared its ugly head.

After the junior had taken off on a reckless, needless and unproductive drive to the basket, Bradley was immediately benched. He didn't take it well, dismissively letting the towel thrown his way hit the floor. Smith charged over, picked up the loose towel and fired it back at his starting guard, then got in his face. Twice.

Afterward, a media member said he had to ask the coach about the incident in the second half ...

"You don't have to ask," shot back Smith with a glare, "because I don't have to answer."

Two minutes after receiving his nose-to-nose, Bradley was back in the game.

It's Christmas, after all.

"Hopefully we'll meet them again," said Ford by way of a wish. "Because that would mean we're in the NCAA Tournament."


Massachusetts Minutemen 68
Kentucky Wildcats 82
at Kentucky

Official Basketball Box Score
Massachusetts vs Kentucky
12/22/06 7:00pm at Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VISITORS: Massachusetts 9-3
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 Freeman, Rashaun.... f  2-9    0-0    3-3    1  6  7   4   7  0  2  0  1  28
13 Lasme, Stephane..... f  1-5    0-0    6-6    1  2  3   5   8  1  4  5  2  31
03 Forbes, Gary........ g  3-9    0-2    1-4    3  4  7   4   7  2  1  0  1  27
10 Mayben, Tiki........ g  0-4    0-1    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  3  2  0  1  15
34 Life, James......... g  8-16   6-13   2-2    2  1  3   3  24  0  1  2  1  32
02 Thomas, Brandon.....    0-1    0-1    0-0    1  1  2   2   0  1  1  0  0  12
05 Harris, Ricky.......    4-8    1-3    4-7    0  0  0   2  13  0  1  0  2  16
14 Lowe, Chris.........    4-6    0-1    1-2    0  2  2   0   9  4  3  0  3  25
22 Brower, Etienne.....    0-1    0-1    0-0    1  2  3   1   0  0  0  0  0  11
31 Bonner, Luke........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   2   0  0  0  0  0   3
   TEAM................                         2  1  3
   Totals..............   22-59   7-22  17-24  11 21 32  23  68 11 15  7 11 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  9-23 39.1%   2nd Half: 13-36 36.1%   Game: 37.3%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-10 30.0%   2nd Half:  4-12 33.3%   Game: 31.8%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-9  66.7%   2nd Half: 11-15 73.3%   Game: 70.8%   2,1

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOME TEAM: Kentucky 9-3
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
13 Perry,Bobby......... f  4-5    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   5   8  2  1  0  0  11
33 Morris,Randolph..... c  6-10   0-0    2-5    1  4  5   4  14  1  2  4  0  25
03 Bradley,Ramel....... g  5-9    2-2    2-2    1  4  5   2  14  2  2  0  2  25
05 Jasper,Derrick...... g  3-4    0-0    3-6    1  4  5   3   9  8  4  0  2  29
32 Crawford,Joe........ g  4-10   3-4    3-6    0  4  4   0  14  3  4  0  0  30
01 Porter,Michael......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  2  0  0   4
10 Obrzut,Lukasz.......    2-3    0-0    0-2    0  3  3   3   4  0  1  2  0  13
20 Meeks,Jodie.........    2-4    1-3    5-5    1  2  3   1  10  3  0  0  3  24
21 Stevenson,Perry.....    2-3    0-0    0-0    0  4  4   0   4  1  0  0  0  13
22 Harris, Ramon.......    1-2    0-0    0-2    0  0  0   0   2  0  0  0  0   2
23 Thomas,Sheray.......    1-1    1-1    0-0    1  2  3   1   3  0  2  0  0  23
30 Perry,Dwight........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0  0+
42 Coury,Mark..........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0   1
   TEAM................                         1  4  5
   Totals..............   30-51   7-11  15-28   6 31 37  20  82 20 18  6  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 16-28 57.1%   2nd Half: 14-23 60.9%   Game: 58.8%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  5-7  71.4%   2nd Half:  2-4  50.0%   Game: 63.6%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  2-2  100 %   2nd Half: 13-26 50.0%   Game: 53.6%    6

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Officials: Tom Lopes, Tracy Woodson, Brian Forte
Technical fouls: Massachusetts-None. Kentucky-None.
Attendance: 24307
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Massachusetts.................   27   41  -   68
Kentucky......................   39   43  -   82

Points in the paint-UMASS 30,UK 38. Points off turnovers-UMASS 19,UK 16.
2nd chance points-UMASS 6,UK 5. Fast break points-UMASS 14,UK 8.
Bench points-UMASS 22,UK 23. Score tied-3 times. Lead changed-4 times.
Last FG-UMASS 2nd-00:43, UK 2nd-00:24.
Largest lead-UMASS by 3 1st-18:58, UK by 22 2nd-06:34.


Play by Play

Play-by-Play
Massachusetts vs Kentucky
12/22/06 7:00pm at Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY

1st PERIOD Play-by-Play (Page 1)
HOME TEAM: Kentucky                             TIME   SCORE  MAR  VISITORS: Massachusetts
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                19:48              TURNOVR by Lasme, Stephane
STEAL by Bradley,Ramel                          19:46
GOOD! LAYUP by Morris,Randolph [PNT]            19:41   2-0   H 2
ASSIST by Crawford,Joe                          19:41
                                                19:28   2-3   V 1  GOOD! 3 PTR by Life, James
                                                19:28              ASSIST by Mayben, Tiki
MISSED JUMPER by Morris,Randolph                19:13              REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM)
FOUL by Perry,Bobby                             18:58   2-4   V 2  GOOD! FT SHOT by Freeman, Rashaun
                                                18:58   2-5   V 3  GOOD! FT SHOT by Freeman, Rashaun
GOOD! JUMPER by Perry,Bobby [PNT]               18:44   4-5   V 1
REBOUND (DEF) by Morris,Randolph                18:30              MISSED JUMPER by Forbes, Gary
GOOD! DUNK by Morris,Randolph [PNT]             18:17   6-5   H 1
ASSIST by Jasper,Derrick                        18:17
                                                18:11              TURNOVR by Mayben, Tiki
STEAL by Jasper,Derrick                         18:09
TURNOVR by Perry,Bobby                          18:00
                                                17:59              STEAL by Lasme, Stephane
REBOUND (DEF) by Bradley,Ramel                  17:50              MISSED JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun
GOOD! 3 PTR by Bradley,Ramel                    17:36   9-5   H 4
ASSIST by Crawford,Joe                          17:36
                                                17:19              TURNOVR by Life, James
TURNOVR by Jasper,Derrick                       17:04
                                                17:03              STEAL by Life, James
                                                17:00   9-7   H 2  GOOD! DUNK by Life, James [FB/PNT]
GOOD! JUMPER by Perry,Bobby [PNT]               16:44  11-7   H 4
                                                16:29  11-9   H 2  GOOD! DUNK by Freeman, Rashaun [PNT]
                                                16:29              ASSIST by Mayben, Tiki
TURNOVR by Crawford,Joe                         16:02
                                                16:01              STEAL by Lasme, Stephane
                                                15:58              TURNOVR by Freeman, Rashaun
                                                15:58              FOUL by Freeman, Rashaun
TIMEOUT media                                   15:58
MISSED 3 PTR by Perry,Bobby                     15:39              REBOUND (DEF) by Mayben, Tiki
                                                15:32  11-11  T 1  GOOD! LAYUP by Forbes, Gary [FB/PNT]
                                                15:32              ASSIST by Mayben, Tiki
GOOD! 3 PTR by Meeks,Jodie                      15:02  14-11  H 3
ASSIST by Perry,Bobby                           15:02
                                                14:46  14-13  H 1  GOOD! LAYUP by Freeman, Rashaun [PNT]
                                                14:46              ASSIST by Lasme, Stephane
FOUL by Perry,Bobby                             14:46  14-14  T 2  GOOD! FT SHOT by Freeman, Rashaun
GOOD! LAYUP by Bradley,Ramel [PNT]              14:18  16-14  H 2
REBOUND (DEF) by Morris,Randolph                13:56              MISSED JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun
TURNOVR by Morris,Randolph                      13:46
FOUL by Morris,Randolph                         13:46
REBOUND (DEF) by Thomas,Sheray                  13:36              MISSED 3 PTR by Life, James
TURNOVR by Porter,Michael                       13:25
                                                13:23              STEAL by Lowe, Chris
                                                13:21  16-16  T 3  GOOD! LAYUP by Lowe, Chris [FB/PNT]
TURNOVR by Thomas,Sheray                        13:03
FOUL by Thomas,Sheray                           13:03
REBOUND (DEF) by Thomas,Sheray                  12:32              MISSED 3 PTR by Lowe, Chris
MISSED 3 PTR by Meeks,Jodie                     12:17              BLOCK by Life, James
                                                12:13              REBOUND (DEF) by Brower, Etienne
                                                12:07  16-19  V 3  GOOD! 3 PTR by Life, James
GOOD! LAYUP by Jasper,Derrick [PNT]             11:48  18-19  V 1
FOUL by Obrzut,Lukasz                           11:40
                                                11:40              TIMEOUT MEDIA
REBOUND (DEF) by Stevenson,Perry                11:13              MISSED 3 PTR by Life, James
                                                11:08              FOUL by Brower, Etienne
GOOD! LAYUP by Obrzut,Lukasz [PNT]              10:53  20-19  H 1
ASSIST by Jasper,Derrick                        10:53
REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM)                         10:45              MISSED 3 PTR by Thomas, Brandon
MISSED DUNK by Stevenson,Perry                  10:06              REBOUND (DEF) by Thomas, Brandon
                                                09:58              TURNOVR by Lowe, Chris
GOOD! LAYUP by Jasper,Derrick [PNT]             09:37  22-19  H 3
FOUL by Obrzut,Lukasz                           09:18  22-20  H 2  GOOD! FT SHOT by Lasme, Stephane
                                                09:18  22-21  H 1  GOOD! FT SHOT by Lasme, Stephane
MISSED JUMPER by Bradley,Ramel                  08:51
REBOUND (OFF) by Bradley,Ramel                  08:51
MISSED JUMPER by Bradley,Ramel                  08:46              BLOCK by Lasme, Stephane
                                                08:45              REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun
REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM)                         08:31              MISSED JUMPER by Lasme, Stephane
GOOD! JUMPER by Morris,Randolph                 08:22  24-21  H 3
REBOUND (DEF) by Stevenson,Perry                08:08              MISSED 3 PTR by Forbes, Gary
                                                07:53              FOUL by Forbes, Gary
TIMEOUT media                                   07:53
GOOD! 3 PTR by Crawford,Joe                     07:44  27-21  H 6
ASSIST by Bradley,Ramel                         07:44
BLOCK by Morris,Randolph                        07:21              MISSED DUNK by Lasme, Stephane
REBOUND (DEF) by Bradley,Ramel                  07:19
MISSED JUMPER by Harris, Ramon                  07:13              BLOCK by Lasme, Stephane
                                                07:09              REBOUND (DEF) by Forbes, Gary
FOUL by Bradley,Ramel                           07:06              MISSED FT SHOT by Forbes, Gary
                                                07:06              REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL)
REBOUND (DEF) by Stevenson,Perry                07:06              MISSED FT SHOT by Forbes, Gary
GOOD! 3 PTR by Bradley,Ramel                    06:36  30-21  H 9
ASSIST by Stevenson,Perry                       06:36
FOUL by Bradley,Ramel                           06:21  30-22  H 8  GOOD! FT SHOT by Harris, Ricky
REBOUND (DEF) by Crawford,Joe                   06:21              MISSED FT SHOT by Harris, Ricky
GOOD! 3 PTR by Crawford,Joe                     05:47  33-22  H 11
ASSIST by Meeks,Jodie                           05:47
                                                05:39              TURNOVR by Mayben, Tiki
                                                05:39              TIMEOUT 30sec
GOOD! DUNK by Stevenson,Perry [PNT]             05:29  35-22  H 13
ASSIST by Jasper,Derrick                        05:29
REBOUND (DEF) by Crawford,Joe                   05:14              MISSED JUMPER by Harris, Ricky
MISSED JUMPER by Crawford,Joe                   05:04              BLOCK by Lasme, Stephane
REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM)                         05:03
                                                04:59              FOUL by Bonner, Luke
MISSED JUMPER by Morris,Randolph                04:29              REBOUND (DEF) by Lasme, Stephane
                                                04:15              MISSED JUMPER by Lasme, Stephane
                                                04:15              REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM)
REBOUND (DEF) by Morris,Randolph                03:51              MISSED 3 PTR by Forbes, Gary
GOOD! JUMPER by Morris,Randolph                 03:22  37-22  H 15
ASSIST by Jasper,Derrick                        03:22
STEAL by Meeks,Jodie                            03:12              TURNOVR by Lasme, Stephane
TIMEOUT media                                   03:12
MISSED JUMPER by Crawford,Joe                   02:50              BLOCK by Lasme, Stephane
                                                02:48              REBOUND (DEF) by Bonner, Luke
                                                02:23              TURNOVR by Lowe, Chris
STEAL by Meeks,Jodie                            02:22
GOOD! FT SHOT by Morris,Randolph                02:04  38-22  H 16 FOUL by Bonner, Luke
GOOD! FT SHOT by Morris,Randolph                02:04  39-22  H 17
                                                01:49  39-25  H 14 GOOD! 3 PTR by Life, James
                                                01:49              ASSIST by Lowe, Chris
TURNOVR by Jasper,Derrick                       01:36
                                                01:34              STEAL by Lowe, Chris
                                                01:32  39-27  H 12 GOOD! LAYUP by Lowe, Chris [FB/PNT]
MISSED JUMPER by Crawford,Joe                   01:11              BLOCK by Life, James
                                                01:08              REBOUND (DEF) by Lowe, Chris
                                                01:04              TURNOVR by Freeman, Rashaun
TURNOVR by Jasper,Derrick                       00:42
                                                00:40              STEAL by Lowe, Chris
REBOUND (DEF) by Jasper,Derrick                 00:36              MISSED 3 PTR by Life, James
TIMEOUT 30sec                                   00:28
                                                00:05              FOUL by Forbes, Gary
MISSED JUMPER by Morris,Randolph                00:05              REBOUND (DEF) by (DEADBALL)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                 Kentucky 39, Massachusetts 27

          1st period-only      InPaint Pts-T/O 2nd-Chc FastBrk BnchPts Ties  Leads
          Massachusetts          12       6       0       8       5      3     2
          Kentucky               18       8       0       0       7      0     2

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2nd PERIOD Play-by-Play (Page 1)
HOME TEAM: Kentucky                             TIME   SCORE  MAR  VISITORS: Massachusetts
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TURNOVR by Crawford,Joe                         19:43
BLOCK by Morris,Randolph                        19:24              MISSED JUMPER by Forbes, Gary
                                                19:22              REBOUND (OFF) by Forbes, Gary
FOUL by Morris,Randolph                         19:22  39-28  H 11 GOOD! FT SHOT by Forbes, Gary
                                                19:22              MISSED FT SHOT by Forbes, Gary
                                                19:22              REBOUND (OFF) by Forbes, Gary
                                                19:18              MISSED JUMPER by Forbes, Gary
BLOCK by Morris,Randolph                        19:17
REBOUND (DEF) by Crawford,Joe                   19:15
GOOD! JUMPER by Perry,Bobby [PNT]               19:00  41-28  H 13
ASSIST by Morris,Randolph                       19:00
FOUL by Perry,Bobby                             18:35
REBOUND (DEF) by Bradley,Ramel                  18:34              MISSED 3 PTR by Mayben, Tiki
MISSED JUMPER by Bradley,Ramel                  18:17
REBOUND (OFF) by Morris,Randolph                18:17
                                                18:17              FOUL by Lasme, Stephane
MISSED FT SHOT by Morris,Randolph               18:16
REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL)                     18:16
MISSED FT SHOT by Morris,Randolph               18:16
REBOUND (OFF) by Jasper,Derrick                 18:16
GOOD! JUMPER by Morris,Randolph [PNT]           18:15  43-28  H 15
ASSIST by Jasper,Derrick                        18:15
MISSED FT SHOT by Morris,Randolph               18:15              FOUL by Forbes, Gary
                                                18:15              REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun
                                                18:09              TURNOVR by Forbes, Gary
TURNOVR by Crawford,Joe                         18:01              STEAL by Freeman, Rashaun
REBOUND (DEF) by Morris,Randolph                18:01              MISSED LAYUP by Mayben, Tiki
GOOD! DUNK by Stevenson,Perry [FB/PNT]          17:44  45-28  H 17
ASSIST by Jasper,Derrick                        17:43
                                                17:43              TIMEOUT 30sec
FOUL by Morris,Randolph                         17:28
                                                17:26  45-29  H 16 GOOD! FT SHOT by Lasme, Stephane
                                                17:26  45-30  H 15 GOOD! FT SHOT by Lasme, Stephane
MISSED JUMPER by Jasper,Derrick                 17:08              REBOUND (DEF) by Forbes, Gary
FOUL by Jasper,Derrick                          17:04
                                                16:54  45-33  H 12 GOOD! 3 PTR by Life, James
                                                16:54              ASSIST by Forbes, Gary
TURNOVR by Bradley,Ramel                        16:38
                                                16:26              TURNOVR by Lasme, Stephane
STEAL by Meeks,Jodie                            16:25
GOOD! LAYUP by Meeks,Jodie [FB/PNT]             16:23  47-33  H 14
GOOD! FT SHOT by Meeks,Jodie                    16:21  48-33  H 15 FOUL by Lasme, Stephane
REBOUND (DEF) by Crawford,Joe                   15:58              MISSED 3 PTR by Life, James
MISSED 3 PTR by Meeks,Jodie                     15:51              REBOUND (DEF) by Forbes, Gary
REBOUND (DEF) by Stevenson,Perry                15:33              MISSED JUMPER by Forbes, Gary
                                                15:26              FOUL by Forbes, Gary
TIMEOUT media                                   15:26
GOOD! JUMPER by Crawford,Joe                    15:05  50-33  H 17
ASSIST by Jasper,Derrick                        15:05
                                                14:50              MISSED JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun
                                                14:50              REBOUND (OFF) by Lasme, Stephane
                                                14:47              MISSED TIP-IN by Lasme, Stephane
                                                14:47              REBOUND (OFF) by Thomas, Brandon
FOUL by Jasper,Derrick                          14:41
                                                14:39  50-36  H 14 GOOD! 3 PTR by Life, James
                                                14:39              ASSIST by Lowe, Chris
MISSED JUMPER by Obrzut,Lukasz                  14:21              REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun
                                                14:13  50-38  H 12 GOOD! DUNK by Lasme, Stephane [FB/PNT]
                                                14:13              ASSIST by Lowe, Chris
                                                13:47              FOUL by Lasme, Stephane
TIMEOUT 30sec                                   13:47
GOOD! DUNK by Jasper,Derrick [PNT]              13:47  52-38  H 14
ASSIST by Meeks,Jodie                           13:47
                                                13:43              MISSED 3 PTR by Brower, Etienne
REBOUND (DEF) by Obrzut,Lukasz                  13:30
MISSED 3 PTR by Crawford,Joe                    13:20
REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL)                     13:20
                                                13:20              FOUL by Thomas, Brandon
GOOD! JUMPER by Obrzut,Lukasz                   13:03  54-38  H 16
ASSIST by Crawford,Joe                          13:03
                                                12:40  54-41  H 13 GOOD! 3 PTR by Life, James
                                                12:40              ASSIST by Thomas, Brandon
TURNOVR by Crawford,Joe                         12:18
FOUL by Meeks,Jodie                             12:14  54-42  H 12 GOOD! FT SHOT by Lowe, Chris
REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM)                         12:14              MISSED FT SHOT by Lowe, Chris
TIMEOUT 30sec                                   12:08
GOOD! FT SHOT by Jasper,Derrick                 12:06  55-42  H 13 FOUL by Life, James
MISSED FT SHOT by Jasper,Derrick                12:06              REBOUND (DEF) by Lasme, Stephane
STEAL by Jasper,Derrick                         12:03              TURNOVR by Lowe, Chris
GOOD! 3 PTR by Thomas,Sheray                    11:32  58-42  H 16
ASSIST by Jasper,Derrick                        11:32
FOUL by Jasper,Derrick                          11:19
                                                11:19              TIMEOUT media
                                                11:19  58-43  H 15 GOOD! FT SHOT by Life, James
                                                11:19  58-44  H 14 GOOD! FT SHOT by Life, James
MISSED JUMPER by Bradley,Ramel                  11:07              REBOUND (DEF) by Life, James
REBOUND (DEF) by Meeks,Jodie                    11:01              MISSED 3 PTR by Life, James
                                                10:47              FOUL by Lasme, Stephane
GOOD! FT SHOT by Jasper,Derrick                 10:46  59-44  H 15
MISSED FT SHOT by Jasper,Derrick                10:46              REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun
BLOCK by Obrzut,Lukasz                          10:28              MISSED LAYUP by Freeman, Rashaun
                                                10:26              REBOUND (OFF) by Freeman, Rashaun
REBOUND (DEF) by Obrzut,Lukasz                  10:20              MISSED TIP-IN by Freeman, Rashaun
TURNOVR by Obrzut,Lukasz                        10:20              STEAL by Mayben, Tiki
BLOCK by Obrzut,Lukasz                          10:10              MISSED JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun
                                                10:10              REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM)
                                                10:08              MISSED JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun
                                                10:08              REBOUND (OFF) by Brower, Etienne
REBOUND (DEF) by Jasper,Derrick                 09:54              MISSED JUMPER by Mayben, Tiki
MISSED JUMPER by Crawford,Joe                   09:10
REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL)                     09:10
GOOD! FT SHOT by Bradley,Ramel                  09:08  60-44  H 16 FOUL by Life, James
GOOD! FT SHOT by Bradley,Ramel                  09:08  61-44  H 17
REBOUND (DEF) by Jasper,Derrick                 08:50              MISSED JUMPER by Mayben, Tiki
GOOD! LAYUP by Perry,Bobby [FB/PNT]             08:42  63-44  H 19
ASSIST by Bradley,Ramel                         08:42
                                                08:29              TURNOVR by Thomas, Brandon
STEAL by Bradley,Ramel                          08:27
GOOD! FT SHOT by Crawford,Joe                   08:24  64-44  H 20 FOUL by Thomas, Brandon
GOOD! FT SHOT by Crawford,Joe                   08:24  65-44  H 21
                                                08:14              TURNOVR by Harris, Ricky
MISSED JUMPER by Morris,Randolph                07:58              REBOUND (DEF) by Brower, Etienne
                                                07:56              TIMEOUT media
FOUL by Perry,Bobby                             07:42  65-45  H 20 GOOD! FT SHOT by Lasme, Stephane
                                                07:42  65-46  H 19 GOOD! FT SHOT by Lasme, Stephane
GOOD! LAYUP by Morris,Randolph [PNT]            07:32  67-46  H 21
ASSIST by Perry,Bobby                           07:32
                                                07:10  67-48  H 19 GOOD! JUMPER by Lowe, Chris [PNT]
GOOD! 3 PTR by Crawford,Joe                     06:34  70-48  H 22
                                                06:24              TURNOVR by Lasme, Stephane
TURNOVR by Jasper,Derrick                       05:57
                                                05:55              STEAL by Harris, Ricky
                                                05:52  70-50  H 20 GOOD! LAYUP by Harris, Ricky [FB/PNT]
TIMEOUT 30sec                                   05:42
GOOD! LAYUP by Bradley,Ramel [PNT]              05:23  72-50  H 22
                                                05:11              MISSED 3 PTR by Harris, Ricky
                                                05:05              REBOUND (OFF) by Life, James
                                                04:56              MISSED 3 PTR by Life, James
                                                04:56              REBOUND (OFF) by Forbes, Gary
                                                04:52  72-52  H 20 GOOD! DUNK by Forbes, Gary [PNT]
MISSED FT SHOT by Crawford,Joe                  04:46              FOUL by Freeman, Rashaun
REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL)                     04:46
MISSED FT SHOT by Crawford,Joe                  04:46
REBOUND (OFF) by Thomas,Sheray                  04:46
                                                04:45              FOUL by Freeman, Rashaun
GOOD! FT SHOT by Jasper,Derrick                 04:40  73-52  H 21
MISSED FT SHOT by Jasper,Derrick                04:09              REBOUND (DEF) by Forbes, Gary
BLOCK by Morris,Randolph                        04:08              MISSED LAYUP by Lowe, Chris
                                                04:08              REBOUND (OFF) by Life, James
REBOUND (DEF) by Jasper,Derrick                 04:08              MISSED JUMPER by Life, James
MISSED JUMPER by Crawford,Joe                   04:07              BLOCK by Lasme, Stephane
                                                04:04              REBOUND (DEF) by Lowe, Chris
                                                03:40  73-54  H 19 GOOD! JUMPER by Lowe, Chris [PNT]
TURNOVR by Bradley,Ramel                        03:10
TIMEOUT media                                   03:10
                                                03:00  73-56  H 17 GOOD! LAYUP by Life, James [PNT]
TURNOVR by Thomas,Sheray                        02:49
                                                02:48              STEAL by Forbes, Gary
                                                02:45  73-59  H 14 GOOD! 3 PTR by Harris, Ricky
                                                02:45              ASSIST by Forbes, Gary
                                                02:41              TIMEOUT 30sec
TURNOVR by Morris,Randolph                      02:25
FOUL by Morris,Randolph                         02:25
                                                02:11  73-61  H 12 GOOD! LAYUP by Harris, Ricky [PNT]
FOUL by Obrzut,Lukasz                           02:11              MISSED FT SHOT by Harris, Ricky
REBOUND (DEF) by Obrzut,Lukasz                  02:11
MISSED FT SHOT by Obrzut,Lukasz                 02:08              FOUL by Life, James
REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL)                     02:08
MISSED FT SHOT by Obrzut,Lukasz                 02:08
REBOUND (OFF) by Meeks,Jodie                    02:08
GOOD! FT SHOT by Meeks,Jodie                    02:05  74-61  H 13 FOUL by Lasme, Stephane
GOOD! FT SHOT by Meeks,Jodie                    02:05  75-61  H 14
                                                01:46  75-63  H 12 GOOD! LAYUP by Forbes, Gary [PNT]
                                                01:46              ASSIST by Lowe, Chris
                                                01:41              TIMEOUT 30sec
GOOD! FT SHOT by Crawford,Joe                   01:35  76-63  H 13 FOUL by Harris, Ricky
MISSED FT SHOT by Crawford,Joe                  01:35              REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun
REBOUND (DEF) by Bradley,Ramel                  01:32              MISSED JUMPER by Harris, Ricky
GOOD! LAYUP by Bradley,Ramel [PNT]              00:56  78-63  H 15
FOUL by Perry,Bobby                             00:49
                                                00:48  78-64  H 14 GOOD! FT SHOT by Harris, Ricky
REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM)                         00:48              MISSED FT SHOT by Harris, Ricky
TURNOVR by Porter,Michael                       00:43              STEAL by Harris, Ricky
                                                00:43  78-66  H 12 GOOD! LAYUP by Harris, Ricky [FB/PNT]
GOOD! FT SHOT by Meeks,Jodie                    00:36  79-66  H 13 FOUL by Harris, Ricky
GOOD! FT SHOT by Meeks,Jodie                    00:36  80-66  H 14
REBOUND (DEF) by Meeks,Jodie                    00:29              MISSED 3 PTR by Harris, Ricky
GOOD! LAYUP by Harris, Ramon [FB/PNT]           00:24  82-66  H 16
ASSIST by Meeks,Jodie                           00:24
FOUL by Coury,Mark                              00:18
                                                00:17  82-67  H 15 GOOD! FT SHOT by Harris, Ricky
                                                00:17  82-68  H 14 GOOD! FT SHOT by Harris, Ricky
MISSED FT SHOT by Harris, Ramon                 00:07              FOUL by Freeman, Rashaun
REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL)                     00:07
MISSED FT SHOT by Harris, Ramon                 00:07              REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun
                                                00:03              MISSED 3 PTR by Life, James
                                                00:03              REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                 Kentucky 82, Massachusetts 68

          2nd period-only      InPaint Pts-T/O 2nd-Chc FastBrk BnchPts Ties  Leads
          Massachusetts          18      13       6       6      17      0     0
          Kentucky               20       8       5       8      16      0     0


POINTS OFF TURNOVERS        1   2 - Tot
Massachusetts...........    6  13 -  19
Kentucky................    8   8 -  16

POINTS IN PAINT             1   2 - Tot
Massachusetts...........   12  18 -  30
Kentucky................   18  20 -  38

2ND CHANCE POINTS           1   2 - Tot
Massachusetts...........    0   6 -   6
Kentucky................    0   5 -   5

FAST BREAK POINTS           1   2 - Tot
Massachusetts...........    8   6 -  14
Kentucky................    0   8 -   8

BENCH POINTS                1   2 - Tot
Massachusetts...........    5  17 -  22
Kentucky................    7  16 -  23

SCORE TIED BY               1   2 - Tot
Massachusetts...........    3   0 -   3
Kentucky................    0   0 -   0

LEAD GAINED BY              1   2 - Tot
Massachusetts...........    2   0 -   2
Kentucky................    2   0 -   2

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