December 14, 1996
Kentucky Races To 80-56 Win Over The Irish
LEXINGTON, Ky.— Ron Mercer scored 13 of his 21 points in thesecond half as third-ranked Kentucky rolled to an 80-56 win over NotreDame. The victory was the seventh straight for the Wildcats (7-1), whohave won by an average of nearly 28 points since a season-opening lossto Clemson.
Mercer scored eight points during a 27-3 run as the Wildcats overcame asluggish start to defeat the Irish. Kentucky, which made only 10 of 29shots, led 22-20 after Notre Dame’s Pat Garrity made one free throw with3:19 remaining in the first half.
Mercer then hit a 17-footer to ignite Kentucky’s decisive run. The Irishdidn’t score again until Garrity’s three-point play 35 seconds into thesecond half cut the margin to 31-23. Kentucky then reeled off 17straight points, ending on Mercer’s 19-footer for a 48-23 advantage with15:47 to go.
Garrity scored a game-high 25 points for Notre Dame (3-3), which haslost three of four overall and six straight to Kentucky. The juniorforward was 8-for-15 from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throwline. Garrity also added a game-high 10 rebounds.
Notre Dame committed 25 turnovers in the game, compared to Kentucky’s11. The Wildcats also forced 14 steals.
Admore White added 10 points for the Irish, who fell to 3-3 with theloss.
Jared Prickett finished with 14 points, while Derek Anderson added 13for the Wildcats.
KENTUCKY HEAD COACH RICK PITINO
On the game in general: “It was a very physical game. Theplay was about as physical as it gets. I was happy with the victory. We keep a stat called deflections and we set a record for deflectionstonight. We had 61 deflections. We try for 35 a night, which we don’tnormally get. This is the most deflections a team I have coached asever gotten, including the Knicks.”
On the offensive execution: “We executed better in thesecond half. In the first half, were taking the first open shot. Wedidn’t give ourselves a chance to get into rebounding position. Theball movement didn’t get to the second and third option. It got betterin the second half.”
On Allen Edwards’ play: “I’m very pleased with Allen’s play. He has great determination and hustle.”
On Jamaal Magloire and Nazr Mohammed playing in a more physicalgame: “It’s good for them. Both players are learning to turn tothe middle and follow their shots. Great players turn to the middle andaverage players turn to the baseline away from the defense. They aregrowing and learning right now.”
On Jared Prickett and Allen Edwards: “Jared just works hard. Jared and Allen have been just as valuable as Ron Mercer and DerekAnderson. Their hustle and determination has just been incredible.”
On Notre Dame’s Pat Garrity: “Pat Garrity is a wonderfulplayer. I like him. He can play at the next level. He moves wellwithout the ball. He gets everyone’s attention. It’s hard to scorewhen you are the focal point of all of the defenses. But, he still putsup the numbers.”
On defense turning into offense: “I told them at halftimethat we had to get to the second and third options in order to not shoota low percentage. Our shot selection, ball movement and passing led toscores which led to the press. This is the type of game that it takesdefense to win.”
On Derek Anderson: “I tried to explain to Derek that he is amarked man and has to score his points in different ways now. He was astand-still target in the first half.”
On the team’s progress: “This is going to be a very goodbasketball team. I don’t base that on games but on what I see inpractice every week. We are nowhere near last year, but we can improvein every phase.”
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH JOHN MACLEOD
“Kentucky did a great job all around in the second half. In thefirst half, they did a good job of being conscious of (Pat) Garrity andknowing when he had the ball. We had a lot of problems handling theball against their defense, which I think everybody does.”
“We have three people that we’re counting on that haven’t been ableto play. We want to make sure that we’re ready for conference play.”
“During the first half we were still within striking distance, butwe just weren’t able to run the ball off the defensive end.”
“For the most part, we did a great job defensively. We just justweren’t able to run the ball off the defensive end.”
“We’re going to learn from this one tonight, just like we did lastSaturday (against Indiana).
“Kentucky is a quick team that runs patterns well. We just weren’table to catch them.”
“Since the first of August, this team has been an interesting group. They work hard in practice and make sure that they are ready. They’regood kills. They come to play.”
Notre Dame Player Quotes
On difference of team play against Providenceversus the team play tonight: “No question about it. I think atProvidence we came there with our guard down. You have to, you can’t goback on your heels. There wasn’t anything that surprised us.”
On the pace in the first half and how it got away from them inthe second: “I think it was our inability to score. I think theydid a good job of scoring.”
On how the team played tonight: “There is a lot of peoplethat played well tonight. Admore played well tonight. Our youngplayers are getting some experience.”
Kentucky Player Quotes
SENIOR FORWARD/CENTER JARED PRICKETT
On his all-around play:“I’m just always trying to hustle and do my job. My knee is 100 percentnow, which has really helped my mobility. I really am starting to feelgood about how I’m playing, and I’m getting a lot more minutes.”
On shooting from three-point range, where he hit 2-of-3 shots: “Ican shoot. I just never get to show it because I’m usually settingscreens for our other guys. The thing is, if you’re open, coach wantsyou to shoot it. We work on our threes every day in practice andindividual workouts, so we get enough practice that we should be prettygood at them.”
On his outlook for this season: “I’m having a blast right now. It’sreally fun playing with these guys because we just go out and win. Weknow what it feels like to lose, because of our first game. We hate thatfeeling.”
On UK’s press: “It’s just a matter of time before it kicks in. Itreally can wear teams down in the second half, and I think that’s whathappened to Notre Dame.”
SOPHOMORE RON MERCER
On the play of Allen Edwards, likely thebest six man in the nation: “He’s really not a guy people look at toomuch, but he sure can play. He had a dunk in the second half that Idon’t think I could have made.”
On the slow start tonight: “It was just a matter of time before wemade our run. We had to get the tempo up to our style of play. NotreDame really slowed things down, but our press helped speed things up,and we pulled away.”
JUNIOR GUARD ALLEN EDWARDS
On Notre Dame: “They came out withthe will to win and played very aggressively. We weren’t ready for theiraggressiveness. We made some changes and were ready in the second half.”
On his role off the bench: “It’s a good role for me. My first twoyears were pretty slow. I feel confident behind Mercer and Anderson andaway from the limelight.”
SENIOR ANTHONY EPPS
On the strong second half UK had: “Whenwe came out in the second half, we were a totally different team. Wewere more hungry. We wanted to show that we were a different team thanwe were in the first half.”
On Notre Dame’s physical play: “They were a very physical ball club.Every block they made, they stood us up. In the second half, the pressgot them into an up-tempo style and we took over.”
SENIOR GUARD/FORWARD DEREK ANDERSON
On Ron Mercer: “He’sreally playing well. It shows how much he’s matured. What he’s doingright now is fitting into the role as leader and he hasn’t been used tothat on this team.”
On Allen Edwards: “He’s finally gotten his opportunity. He has hadto wait to play, and now he’s taking advantage of it.”
NOTRE DAME (56) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tpGarrity 33 8-15 9-11 3-10 2 2 25Manner 33 2-7 1-2 2-5 1 4 5Young 20 0-0 0-2 2-3 1 3 0Wyche 32 2-10 1-2 0-0 1 3 6White 29 5-7 0-0 0-0 5 0 10Hickey 18 2-4 0-0 0-0 1 1 4Dillon 11 0-0 0-0 0-3 1 0 0Lalazarian 17 3-7 0-0 1-3 0 0 6Miller 5 0-0 0-0 1-2 1 0 0Carroll 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0_______________________________________________TOTALS 200 22-50 11-17 9-26 13 13 56_______________________________________________Percentages: FG-.440, FT-.647. 3-Point Goals:1-7, .143 (Wyche 1-5, White 0-1, Lalazarian 0-1).Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 2 (White 2).Turnovers: 16 (Garrity 4, Young 4, Lalazarian 2,Manner 2, White 2, Miller, Wyche). Steals: 9(Garrity 3, Dillon, Hickey, Lalazarian, Miller,White, Wyche).KENTUCKY (80) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tpMercer 35 9-18 2-2 2-4 2 2 20Prickett 34 5-9 3-0 3-7 3 1 15Magloire 20 1-6 1-2 4-8 1 5 3Epps 20 3-8 0-0 0-0 6 1 8Anderson 26 4-9 4-4 2-3 3 3 13Edwards 25 4-12 1-5 4-7 2 0 10Turner 20 2-5 0-0 0-0 2 2 5Mohammed 15 2-6 0-1 3-6 0 1 4Mills 3 1-1 0-0 0-1 1 1 2Masiello 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0_______________________________________________TOTALS 200 31-74 11-14 18-36 20 16 80_______________________________________________Percentages: FG-.419, FT-.786. 3-Point Goals:7-22, .318 (Mercer 0-5, Prickett 2-3, Epps 2-6,Anderson 1-4, Edwards 1-3, Turner 1-1). Teamrebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 8 (Magloire 5,Edwards 2, Prickett). Turnovers: 11 (Prickett 4,Magloire 3, Edwards, Masiello, Mercer, Mohammed).Steals: 14 (Prickett 4, Edwards 3, Anderson 2,Magloire 2, Epps, Mercer, Turner).__________________________________Notre Dame 20 36 - 56Kentucky 29 51 - 80__________________________________Technical fouls: None. A: 24,152. Officials:Burr, Mike Kitts, John Corbett.