UK's bench play disappoints Smith

November 30, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Tubby Smith tries not to place unreal expectations on reserves when he puts them into a game. However, he does always expect one thing.

"I expect them to play hard. When I don't see that, I get disappointed," Smith said after Friday's 108-81 victory over Tennessee Tech.

Smith's starters had all but nine of his team's points even though reserves played about 53 minutes. The only player to come off the bench and get a field goal was Antwain Barbour, who was 1-for-5 from the field.

Barbour had not played in UK's two exhibition games or its season-opening game against Winthrop because of a team suspension. Smith was hoping he would provide a needed spark off the bench for the Wildcats.


Instead, he missed a shot and had a turnover during his first two minutes of play.

"Antwain looked rusty tonight," Smith said. "We knew it would be tough for him stepping in after missing some time, but he had been playing better than this in practice.

"I know there is some confusion when we put in reserves. But they play together in practice, so I don't know why they can't get the same result (in a game). We've got to improve on that."

Barbour insisted he wasn't nervous. "I really wasn't nervous. Maybe I should have been, but my shots just were not falling," Barbour said. "It was fun to get back to playing with my teammates, but I've got to do better than this."

Seven-foot freshman center Shagari Alleyne, one of Smith's first substitutes in the three previous games, didn't play until the final four minutes. Smith said there was "no reason" for Alleyne's absence other than there were "some things he needs to learn."

Alleyne said he did learn by watching.

"You can learn a lot by sitting and watching. It's just like school. You apply that same thinking when you are on the bench," Alleyne said. "That's what I tried to do tonight because playing time is up to coach Smith, not me."

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