Tide's Upset Hopes Fade Late Against Kentucky, 78-71

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Saturday, February 26, 2005

Chuck Davis
Chuck Davis

Stats icon Box Score
By Matt Hooper, UA Media Relations

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Patrick Sparks scored 26 points and hit seven of 10 three-point attempts to lead fifth-ranked Kentucky to a 78-71 win over sixteenth-ranked Alabama on Saturday afternoon at a sold-out Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama led by as many as 10 points early in the second half, building off of their first half momentum and tough inside play. That left the Wildcats scrambling to take advantage of the perimeter, pinning their hopes on Sparks, a junior guard. His triple with 16:40 remaining in regulation was the first of 20 second half points. Sparks finished five of six from behind the arc in the final period.

“You just get in that groove,” Sparks said. “I was getting good screens and got good looks that got me going. This was a good team win.”

The Wildcats erased the Tide lead with 12:35 remaining, tying the game on a three-point shot by Ramel Bradley. Alabama retook the lead, 53-50, as Ronald Steele nailed a long trey with just over 10 minutes left in the period. It was the last time that the Tide would be on top.

“We did a lot of things well,” Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried said. “We rebounded well and we kept them off the offensive glass. We just didn’t make enough shots and they stepped up and made big play after big play. That’s the difference in the game.”

Kentucky shot over 71 percent from the field in the second half, including 80 percent from behind the arc. The Wildcats connected on 13 of their 19 attempts from three-point territory for the game. 

Kennedy Winston scored 21 points to lead the Tide scorers, nailing five of nine attempts from behind the arc. Chuck Davis powered the Tide in the first half, scoring 15 points on four of four shooting from the floor and seven of seven from the charity stripe. The junior forward finished with 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Alabama out-rebounded Kentucky, 28-24, holding the Wildcats to only four offensive boards. The Tide was also quite proficient from the free-throw line, hitting 18 of their 19 attempts (94.7 percent).

Alabama’s record now stands at 21-6 on the season and 10-4 in Southeastern Conference play. The Wildcats improve to 22-3 overall and 13-1 in the SEC.

Next Wednesday is “Senior Day” for the Crimson Tide, as Alabama hosts in-state rival Auburn in their final home game of the season. The action tips off at 7 p.m. at Coleman Coliseum.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Game Kentucky 01
Coleman Coliseum was packed to the rafters for the Bama-Kentucky contest.
(Photo by Jeff Hanson)

Game Kentucky 13
The team huddles up before the game.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

Game Kentucky 02
Wesley Britt accepts his Jacobs Award at halftime.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

Game Kentucky 03
Chuck Davis and Jermareo Davidson attempt to block a shot.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

Game Kentucky 04
Chuck Davis shoots a floater over a Kentucky defender.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

Game Kentucky 05
Chuck Davis swats away a Kentucky shot.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

Game Kentucky 06
Chuck Davis grabs a rebound from a UK player.
(Photo by Michelle Lepianka)

Game Kentucky 07
Chuck Davis gets his arms up to try to block a Wildcat shot.
(Photo by Michelle Lepianka)

Game Kentucky 08
Big Al and the Mark's Madness section kept the atmosphere lively throughout.
(Photo by Jeff Hanson)

Game Kentucky 09
The student section finds other things to do during the introductions of Kentucky players.
(Photo by Jeff Hanson)

Game Kentucky 10
Coach Gottfried discusses a call with a referee.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

Game Kentucky 11
Earnest Shelton fights to regain a loose ball.
(Photo by Michelle Lepianka)

Game Kentucky 12
Ronald Steele takes the ball to the glass.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

Game Kentucky 14
Coach Gottfried talks to his team during a timeout.
(Photo by Jeff Hanson)

Game Kentucky 15
Kennedy Winston shoots a mid-range jumper.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

Game Kentucky 16
Kennedy Winston puts the ball away.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)