Carrier, Moss find ways to help Cats win

December 19, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LOUISVILLE - While their more highly-touted freshmen teammates watched, Ravi Moss and Josh Carrier were finding ways to help Kentucky win.

The two unlikely players helped No. 9 Kentucky overcome a 16-point halftime deficit and beat Louisville 60-58 here Saturday.

The two reserves did not put up staggering numbers. Moss was 1-for-2 from the field and had three rebounds in seven minutes. However, his 3-pointer with 2:03 to play pulled Kentucky within 54-53.

Carrier missed his only shot and had one turnover in 13 minutes of play. However, like Moss, he was in the game when UK came back from a 54-44 deficit in the final five minutes to win.

"That just shows we do have experience on this team and we have older guys that know how to make plays," Kentucky senior Chuck Hayes said. "A lot of attention has gone to our young players, but we would not have won this game today without Ravi and Josh."


Bench wore down Cardinals

Kentucky's bench outscored Louisville only 11-6. However, what Kentucky's bench did was wear down the Cardinals. Kentucky coach Tubby Smith used 13 players. Louisville coach Rick Pitino played only seven and three - Francisco Garcia (40), Larry O'Bannon (38) and Taquan Dean (34) - played most of the game.

"Franciso played too many minutes. That's my fault," Pitino said. "Against a good team that is deep, you can't play six people and win."

Pitino was down to six players in the second half when freshman Juan Palacious went out with an eye injury. Unlike Smith, Pitino didn't trust anyone else on his bench to play and the Louisville coach admitted "fatigue" took a toll on his team late in the game.

"We played a lot of people. We didn't want what happened the last time we played Louisville to happen again," Smith said. "I thought last time the game and excitement around it kind of drained our guys, so we played a lot of guys to combat that."

Smith kept Moss sitting and watching until late in the game. When Moss got in, the junior walk-on was as active as always.

"I knew we had to pick up our play. We had been struggling and had not been as aggressive as we should have been," Moss said. "I just tried to do what I could. I was physical, rebounded and played defense. Hitting the shot was just a bonus.

"On this team, you have to be ready at any time. Coach Smith has confidence in all of us. He prepares us all the same way. He trusts us all to go in and do the job."

Smith felf more comfortable with experienced pair

Still, Smith felt more comfortable with Moss and Carrier, a senior, in the game at the end than freshmen backcourt players Rajon Rondo, Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley.

"I think we showed that experience can go a long way, especially in a big game like this," Carrier said. "When you are on the bench, you better be ready. You don't know when your time is coming.

"I hope all our freshmen learned a lot today. They got to sit and watch the ending of a very special game and now they will know what this is all about."

Smith already knew how Moss and Carrier would respond.

"It's not all about scoring. It's about doing your job and helping your team win. Both of them know how to do that," Smith said.

Thomas returns: Sophomore forward Sheray Thomas played 1:25 the second half, his first appearance of the year after preseason surgery.

He drove inside, drew a foul and hit a free throw within seconds of getting in the game midway of the second half when Smith wanted to give Hayes a brief rest.

"I was just glad to get back out there," Thomas, who was cleared to practice last week, said. "In this game, every point was big. I'm not anywhere close to 100 percent, but just being able to help made me feel a lot better."

Numbers: Kentucky scored 15 points off turnovers compared to five by the Cardinals in the second half. The Wildcats had a season-low eight turnovers. ... After Louisville outscored UK 18-6 in the paint in the first half, Kentucky outscored the Cards 14-4 the second half. ... Louisville shot 43.5 percent from the field, the 40th straight game an opponent has failed to shoot 50 percent against UK. The 58 points were also a season low for Louisville. ... Chuck Hayes played a season-high 36 minutes also had a season-high four assists, all in the second half. ... Saturday's attendance was 20,088, the largest crowd Louisville has ever had at Freedom Hall. ... This was only the second time in 22 games that Pitino has lost to a former assistant coach. Both losses have been to Smith.

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