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CATS FINISH OFF TECH IN BIG WAY

Date story published: Sunday, December 20, 1998

ATLANTA - It is one thing to pile up a big lead. It is something else to sustain a dominating performance.

Kentucky did both in an 80-39 victory over Georgia Tech last night.

"Our big thing was we knew we had a big lead," UK forward Scott Padgett said. "We wanted to sustain that intensity that got us that lead and not let them back in the game."

Earlier this season, UK sometimes failed to put away opponents. "I think that was just being lackadaisical," Padgett said.

The Cats never let up against Tech.

"Our defense was just superb early in the game," UK Coach Tubby Smith said before adding, "and late in the game for that matter."

Georgia Tech made just four of 26 shots (15.4 percent) in the first half.

"Our shooting percentage was beyond belief," Tech Coach Bobby Cremins said. "We couldn't hit anything. I just told them I wanted to beat Kentucky in the second half."

UK outscored the Yellow Jackets 42-27 the second half.

Hogan makes his mark

Sophomore guard Ryan Hogan achieved his personal goal.

"I really wanted to come out and play well offensively," he said. "I wanted to make a mark."

Playing with noticeably more pep, Hogan scored 15 points. He also had career highs in three-pointers (three), baskets (five), rebounds (four), steals (two) and minutes (17).

Magloire in flow?

In his three seasons for Kentucky, Jamaal Magloire has not been a consistent scorer. He would have a burst of points (18 against Missouri in Maui last season and most notably 36 in three games in Alaska as a freshman), but more often he labored to get the ball in the basket.

For instance, he came into the game shooting 29.2 percent this season. And he rarely shoots outside the paint.

"I missed four games (due to suspension), so it's tough getting back in the flow," Magloire said. "I know I'm there now. It's only upward now."

J.P. is sorry

Every available UK player but walk-on Steve Masiello got into the game in the first half. By game's end, everyone had played at least six minutes.

Wearing a sport coat and tie, freshman J.P. Blevins watched the game from UK's bench. He was serving a one-game suspension because of his alcohol-related arrest last weekend.

Blevins, who has not played since the Wright State game Nov. 23, was asked if he was sorry to miss this golden chance to play.

"I'm sorry for what I did," he said. "I'd be sorry no matter what kind of game it was."

Not indispensable

UK's three senior captains combined for 73 points in the big victory over Maryland last week. Heshimu Evans, Wayne Turner and Padgett had only 15 points against Tech. Yet Tech suffered its most lopsided loss since a 98-57 setback at Duke on Jan. 9, 1991.

"There's a lot of talent on this team," Padgett said. "It's not just us three. This team can do it one through 13."

Masiello mismatch

Masiello, UK's pixie-like walk-on, inexplicably tried to score over Tech's Alvin Jones, the nation's leading shot blocker. Jones blocked Masiello's leaner in the lane.

Told Masiello deserved credit for taking it strong at Jones, Padgett said of his roommate, "I don't know how strong it was. We always kid Steve that he's good at getting by his man, but he's not good about finishing. I guess he was showing he could finish. Alvin was showing he couldn't."

Fields eligible

Lexington Catholic grad Shawn Fields regained his college eligibility Friday. He dressed but did not play against Fresno State. The day-of-game shootaround yesterday afternoon was his first practice. Georgia Coach Ron Jirsa planned to get Fields his first game action when the Bulldogs play East Carolina Tuesday.

Fields, a 6-3 guard, signed with Georgia last spring. But he did not qualify academically in time for the fall term.

'No heart?'

It didn't take long for Fresno State to dismiss Georgia as an opponent. Twice during the first half, a member of the bench could be heard yelling of Georgia: "They ain't got no heart."

Fresno led 22-13 at the time.

Thanks to forward Jumaine Jones, Georgia showed plenty of heart. Jones, a candidate for SEC player of the year, scored Georgia's last 11 points of regulation and first four points of overtime.

Fresno won 86-82 in overtime.

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