One Kentucky point guard disappoints

another steps up

December 28, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - The one point guard that Kentucky expected to play well lost his poise. The Kentucky point guard that some thought might lose his poise kept his.

Senior Cliff Hawkins had a horrendous second half where he got in foul trouble, turned the ball over five times and failed to score in Kentucky's 65-56 loss to Louisville.

Sophomore Brandon Stockton got to play a career-high 19 minutes and had eight points, all in the first half, along with one assist and one steal.

Stockton's play was the main reason UK had a 31-28 halftime lead. He surpassed his career scoring high in the first half, got a steal that led to a basket and also hustled back on defense once to keep Louisville from scoring.


"Brandon came in and gave us a lot of positive things," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said.

Stockton came in less than seven minutes into the game and less than a minute later drove inside, scored and was fouled. He hit the free throw to complete the three-point play. Two minutes later he hit a 3-point shot.

"It was great to come in and play well, but that's my job," Stockton said. "It's hard in practice going against Cliff every day. It's almost easier in a game.

"I've been waiting to come in and be a spark off the bench. I'm just glad I could help. I wish I could have done more. I knew we needed a spark. I had a chance to drive, and I've got the confidence to do that or make an outside shot. But we didn't win, and that kind of negates everything I did."

Hawkins was superb early, when he made four 3-point shots in the first half. He had 12 points, three steals and one assist in a little over 16 minutes.

But he got his third foul early in the second half for throwing an elbow and picked up his fourth foul on another careless mistake. He had five turnovers, two assists and no points in 10 minutes the second half.

"I don't know where Cliff went the second half," Smith said. "He just disappeared. After he got that offensive foul, he was out of it. It got in his head and he may as well have not been on the court. It was awful."

Hawkins didn't disagree.

"They really got after us the second half, and I blame myself for what happened," Hawkins said. "I'm supposed to set the tempo. I didn't do it. I made turnovers and made bad decisions. My performance the second half was unacceptable and is a big reason we lost.

"The fouls were frustrating, but I have to know better than to let that disrupt me. I just got too anxious and did things that helped get us beat. That's my fault. I should know better."

Scoreless: Each team's three top scorers combined for only four points in the first half. Kentucky's Gerald Fitch and Louisville's Franciso Garcia and Taquan Dean all failed to score, while UK's Chuck Hayes and Erik Daniels had two points apiece and Louisville's Luke Whitehead four points.

"I told Francisco and Taquan that the coach in the other locker room was a great coach and he wasn't going to let them beat him," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "His whole game plan was on stopping Dean and Garcia.

"They weren't doing anything that special on me. I just didn't make shots," Fitch said.

Garcia had 10 points the second half and Fitch nine.

Depth: Hayes had to play a career-high 39 minutes for Kentucky, which used only eight players to Louisville's 10. Kentucky had four players play over 32 minutes, Louisville had just two.

"The two most overrated things in college basketball are height and a lack of depth," Pitino said after his bench outscored the Wildcats 33-10.

"Our guys got a little winded," Smith said. "It looked like we lost our legs after the first 10 to 15 minutes."

Numbers: Hayes had a career-high four blocked shots for Kentucky ... Trailing 24-10, Louisville used a 16-3 run to get back in the game. The Cards also had a 10-0 run to get a 46-41 lead and 15-5 run to account for the final margin ... Kelenna Azubuike tied his career high with three steals ... After shooting 59.9 percent from the field in previous three games, UK was only 20-for-59 from the field - a 33.3 percent mark.

Central Kentucky News Articles