UK Notebook: 'Real' Barbour steps up again for UK in victory

February 26, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Once again Antwain Barbour thinks he's ready to be a major contributor to Kentucky's success.

Barbour had 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field in Wednesday's 92-60 victory over Tennessee.

"I think this is the real Antwain Barbour," the UK senior said. "My problem might have been worrying too much about what others were thinking. Now I'm not worrying about the fans or the media. I am just playing."

Barbour made his sixth straight start. He had 10 points in a win over South Carolina in his first start when Gerald Fitch was sidelined with a hand injury. He came back with 23 points the next game against Alabama. However, in the last three games, he managed a total of only seven points and he failed to score in last week's win at Auburn.

Against Tennessee, he had nine points in the first five minutes. He did not hesitate to drive by defenders and stop to take a 15-foot jump shot, something he has not done often this season.


"We noticed in their game at Georgia that they really closed out on you full speed and I knew it would be hard for them to get back if I just made a fake and drove," Barbour said. "(Assistant) Coach (Dave) Hobbs told me once I got by one defender, just to pull up and shoot."

Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said this is the way he expected Barbour to play all season.

"Antwain is very capable of this," Smith said. "I told him before the game just to relax. It has taken me some time to understand him. I know he's starting to play with a lot of confidence. He has the best first step of anybody on our team.

"He's finally slowed down some. He doesn't feel he has to make something happen right away Sometimes he puts pressure on himself to do something right away. I told him to quit looking over at me and just concentrate on the game."

Barbour's teammates only expect him to get better.

"He is getting more confident with each game," UK point guard Cliff Hawkins said. "He can play. His main thing all along was confidence and now he's got it."

Hurting: Kentucky senior guard Gerald Fitch played only 35 seconds. He picked up two quick fouls after coming in the game early in the first half and didn't return. Smith said he was suffering from food poisoning.

"He was weakened and he got a little woozy in the second half," Smith said. "I knew he wasn't himself when he went in the game early on. He was nauseated and throwing up after the pregame meal."

Fitch, UK's leading scorer coming into the game, missed three games with a hand injury. However, he had 18 points at Auburn Saturday.

"Other guys just knew that he was hurting and that they had to step up," Smith said.

Senior center Erik Daniels had 12 points, six assists and four rebounds in the win. However, he was not available to the media after the game because UK officials said he left to receive treatment for a sore groin.

Numbers: Kentucky scored 44 points in the first half, its highest total this season in an SEC game. ...Kentucky made seven three-pointers in the first half, a season high. ... All five Wildcat starters scored in double figures, the first time that has happened since Nov. 28 against Tennessee Tech. ... Kentucky is 11-0 this season when scoring 69 or more points and 14-0 when holding opponents under 64 points. ... UK is 9-0 this season when shooting above 50 percent from the field. ... Kentucky has held all 24 opponents under 50 percent shooting this season. ... The Wildcats won the rebounding 40-27, points in the paint 34-18, bench points, 18-8 and second-chance points 11-4. ... Kentucky is 6-0 in Barbour's career when he scores in double figures. ... Freshman forward Bobby Perry came off the bench to grab a game-high and career-high seven rebounds.

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