LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky got over a loss to its archrival
by getting in the face of overmatched Tennessee State.
The Wildcats used a full-court press to create turnovers and
easy baskets, and they shook off a slow start to beat Tennessee
State 115-87 on Monday night. The victory helped take some of the
sting out of Kentucky's 18-point loss to Louisville on Saturday.
"We started off slowly,'' Wildcats forward Chuck Hayes said. "A loss like that will stick with you. We were still in a
The Wildcats (7-3, No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) came out flat against Tennessee
State and trailed for much of the first half. Coach Tubby Smith
benched his starters and ordered the pressing defense, which
rattled the Tigers (2-7).
"Sometimes you've got to be a little bit agitated, a little bit
mad at how you played the last time out in order to improve,'' said
Smith, whose 81-63 loss to Louisville was the worst in his six
seasons at Kentucky. "Instead of feeling sorry for yourselves, you
kind of need someone to take it out on. That's the attitude we
Keith Bogans scored a season-high 26 points and led a decisive
second-half spurt. Bogans made three layups and an alley-oop dunk
at the start of the second half as the Wildcats pulled away from a
seven-point halftime lead.
"We haven't been pressing a whole lot,'' said Bogans. "That
leads to easy baskets. Anytime we can get a steal and a layup,
that's a whole lot easier.''
Kentucky scored 27 points off Tennessee State's 22 turnovers and
had 60 points in the paint, many coming on layups as the Wildcats
riddled the Tigers' defense. Kentucky committed 21 turnovers of its
Gerald Fitch said the Wildcats caught the Tigers off-guard with
"The way they started, they jumped on us a little bit,'' Fitch
said. "When we started pressing, we started taking their game
away. They didn't know we could press the way we did.''
Kentucky didn't take the lead for good until a 3-pointer from
the side by Hayes made it 35-32 at the 5:06 mark and triggered a
Leading 47-40, Kentucky started strong in the second half,
outscoring Tennessee State 24-10 in the opening six minutes.
Erik Daniels contributed a field goal and two layups, including
an acrobatic reverse move, during the spurt.
Marquis Estill scored 15 points for Kentucky while Daniels had
14 and Hayes 13. Estill had a game-high 11 rebounds. Daniels and
Bogans each had three steals.
Tigers coach Nolan Richardson III served the second game of an
indefinite suspension for an undisclosed violation of university
The NCAA is investigating the program for rules violations under
Richardson. The inquiry involves allegations of impermissible
practice out of season, providing extra benefits to recruits and
unethical conduct by a coach.
Tennessee State hit six of its first eight shots to pull ahead
12-5 -- matching the Tigers' biggest lead -- as Cooperwood and Arvid
Caldwell scored six apiece.
Kentucky trailed for much of the first half as the
turnover-prone Wildcats seemed tentative against Tennessee State's
Estill had eight points during the 13-0 Kentucky spurt late in
the first half, capped by his tip-in of a Cliff Hawkins miss to put
the Wildcats up 45-32 with 2:37 remaining.
Brandon Lockridge ended Tennessee State's scoring drought with a
3-pointer with 2:07 left to make it 45-35. Richardson hit a field
goal and free throw and Cooperwood added two free throws to keep
Tennessee State close at the end of the half.
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