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CATS TOWER OVER ZAGS

Date story published: Thursday, November 28, 2002

LAHAINA, Hawaii -- Kentucky's Jules Camara and Marquis Estill might not be known nationally by that nickname of choice for dominating duos: Twin Towers.

But they certainly loomed large in UK's 80-72 victory over Gonzaga yesterday in the Maui Invitational.

Camara and Estill anchored a suffocating second-half defense that discombobulated the Zags' patterned attack. At the other end, the two keyed Kentucky's startling improvement in attacking zone defenses.

Strange as it might sound, the Cats went from busted by Virginia's zone to zone busters against Gonzaga by shooting nearly half as many three-point shots. Instead, UK went inside, most effectively when Camara fed Estill from the foul-line area.

Kentucky's 24-hour turnaround from the 2-for-22 three-point shooting debacle against Virginia did not surprise Gonzaga Coach Mark Few.

"You have to attack inside-out," Few said. "That's the misnomer: That you have to shoot over a zone. I just thought their players -- through their staff -- really took that to heart. They had us moving and shifting out of position on numerous occasions."

UK Coach Tubby Smith used the bench as a pointed reminder that his team had to learn from Tuesday's trial-and-error lesson against Virginia's zone. When Antwain Barbour took a quick three in transition early in the second half, he found himself on the bench at the next dead ball. Barbour sat from the 15:51 mark until he replaced freshman Kelenna Azubuike, who fouled out with 6:13 left.

"You've got to listen to the coach," said senior Keith Bogans, who acknowledged his own backsliding in that area. "If you don't, nine times out of 10 you're going to be sitting. I know that for a fact. From experience."

In the first half, Estill and Camara were more one-story flats than Twin Towers. Estill got in quick foul trouble for the second straight game, picking up his second (fouling Gonzaga guard Blake Stepp on a three-point shot) with 16:14 left.

When asked about the fouls, Estill challenged his questioner. "You tell me," he said. "I don't think they (the refs) are picking on me. Sometimes I might stick an arm in there instead of holding it straight up. You know how it is. When little guys take it up, they're going to call it."

Estill began the second half on the bench, a decision Estill accepted and Smith emphasized as important. "The key was not starting Marquis in the second half so he wouldn't get in any more foul trouble than he did," the UK coach said.

Estill returned with 16:32 left in game. From there, he and Camara scored 15 of their collective 21 points.

"Our focus was to get the ball inside," Smith said, "and we didn't care how we got it there."

The Cats took only five three-point shots in the second half. They scored about that many times on high-low passes in which Camara fed Estill.

"Me and Jules worked that real good," Estill said. "He's big. He can throw over people. I was posting up strong."

Estill, who scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds, caught any pass thrown in his general direction. "Coach says I have the softest hands on the team," he said.

Camara scored 12 points, grabbed eight rebounds, made three steals and was credited with four assists.

Defensively, the two limited Gonzaga's four-man inside rotation to five-of-24 shooting. "Jules and Marquis are big bodies, good shot blockers," Smith said. "It gave (the Zags) a tough target to shoot over."

That gave Gerald Fitch a secure feeling as he defended Stepp, Gonzaga's leading scorer and leading light in the Zags' remarkable rally late against Indiana on Tuesday.

"My main focus was take away the three and make him drive," Fitch said. "Then when he did drive, my teammates had my back."

Stepp, who scored 15 first-half points against a UK zone, made only three of 12 second-half shots to complete a hard-earned 24-point game.

Afterward, Smith suggested that a Twin Towers look might suit Kentucky fine. The nickname can come later.

"We've been hoping to get those two guys in the lineup at some juncture," the UK coach said. "It's something we're evolving to."

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