Date story published: Sunday, November 27, 1988
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Kentucky gave a textbook example yesterday of how it will play more talented opponents this season. Slow the tempo. Take good shots. Play aggressive man-to-man defense.
But someone forgot to include a page on rebounding, leaving Seton Hall enough of an opening to beat UK 63-60.
Seton Hall -- "The best team in the tournament," Eddie Sutton said -- advanced to Monday's finals of the Great Alaska Shootout.
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UK, now 1-2, also plays Monday (tipoff 9 p.m. EST). The Cats will play California for third place. California lost to Kansas 86-71 yesterday.
Statistically, UK won the rebounding battle yesterday 31-30. Those deceptive numbers clouded the fact that 13 of Seton Hall's 27 second-half points came off second-chance opportunities.
Daryll Walker, a 6-foot-8 senior forward, provided the biggest rebound points. He had eight of his team-high 13 points off second-half rebounds. The most critical was a putback with the Pirates clinging to a 59-58 lead in the final minute.
"Again, like what hurt us yesterday, probably the deciding factor was rebounding," Sutton said. "We gave up too many second shots. That's the most glaring thing that concerns me most. We're just not rebounding. It's not that we're not getting offensive rebounds. You could work all season and not get better at that.
"But certainly we can minimize the rebounds the opponents get. That's what I'm really worried about."
Iona outrebounded UK 46-28 in Friday's first-round game.
Walker's critical putback was all the more painful because it came off a rushed three-point attempt by John Morton.
"John Morton took what some people would consider a bad shot," Seton Hall coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We were trying to play two possessions for one down the stretch. We handled the situation better than it looked."
Walker, who picked Morton's shot off the floor, credited simple determination.
"If you go hard, you'll get what you want," Walker said. "You'll get the rebound."
UK squandered several chances late.
Seconds before Walker's putback, LeRon Ellis missed a short turnaround. That completed an 8-for-21 shooting performance for Ellis.
"I got a little lackadaisical with my shot," Ellis said. "I didn't feel it would be contested that much from what the scouting report said."
An upset stomach, caused by something he ate Friday night, didn't help either, Ellis said. At one point of the first half, Ellis left the floor to get an antacid.
After Walker missed the front end of a bonus with two minutes left, a dwindling shot clock left Chris Mills to go one-on-one. Seton Hall guard Gerald Greene never lost contact and Mills missed from 15 feet with about 1:15 to go.
With 53 seconds left, Walker rebounded Morton's miss to put Seton Hall ahead 61-58.
Greene made two free throws with 17 seconds left to make it 63-60.
UK had one last attempt.
Mills, who led UK with 21 points on 10-for-14 shooting, was called on to take the potential game-tying three-pointer. In a timeout with 12 seconds left, a play was called to free Mills in the left corner behind a double screen.
Seton Hall anticipated the play, switched a defender onto Mills and forced point guard Sean Sutton to look elsewhere.
"The lengthy guard (Morton) cut me off and wouldn't let me go that way (to Mills)," Sutton said. "I reversed the ball. Then I fumbled it. Deron (Feldhaus) made a smart play."
Feldhaus broke to the top of the key when his man switched to Mills. Feldhaus received Sutton's pass and launched a three-pointer.
"It felt good," Feldhaus said of the shot. "I thought I really had it. It was on line the whole way."
The shot bounced off the front of the rim.
"It was a very tough loss (for UK) because they played incredibly hard," Carlesimo said. "I thought they followed the game plan very, very well. That's got to be disappointing."
UK set the tempo on its first shot. With the shot clock at one second, Reggie Hanson flipped in a 15-footer.
Except for a few fast breaks, the game was played at UK's pace despite Seton Hall's man-to-man pressure.
"A lot of possessions we played good defense," Carlesimo said. "They were very deliberate running screens and opening the floor."
Despite its precision, UK succumbed at times to its inexperience.
The most glaring lapse came in the first half's final minute with UK ahead 32-30.
"We ought to be able to get to the locker room at the worst tied," Sutton said.
But Nick Katsikis, one of Seton Hall's two three-point threats, was left alone and hit a trey to put the Pirates ahead 33-32.
After Sean Sutton's forced feed inside was picked off, Mills fouled Greene 18 feet from the basket. Greene's field-goal attempt with one second left went in, resulting in a three-point play that put Seton Hall ahead 36-32 at intermission.
"I really didn't think I fouled him," Mills said. "I asked the ref what I did and he said I stuck my leg out. Even if I did foul him, he took another dribble before shooting."
Sutton's term for Mills' foul, his son's forced feed and Katsikis' open shot was "youthful mistakes."
"It's hard for me to be critical because we're playing so many freshmen and sophomores," the UK coach said. "We never could get ahead to put pressure on them."