Andrew Bogut drives past the defense of Kentucky's Joe Crawford.
March 25, 2005
AUSTIN, Texas - Regardless of whether Kentucky goes on to win the national championship, the Wildcats accomplished something Friday night no team has done all season: slow Utah's Andrew Bogut.
Primarily using two 7-foot backups and lots of help from smaller guys, the Wildcats harassed Bogut into the poorest shooting game of his All-American season and showed off their depth, spreading their scoring in a 62-52 victory in the Austin Regional semifinals.
Kentucky (28-5) is headed to the regional finals for the second time in three years and the third time since winning the championship in 1998, the team's first season under coach Tubby Smith. The second-seeded Wildcats will play fifth-seeded Michigan State on Sunday, with the winner headed to the Final Four.
While it's not surprising Kentucky is moving on, few could have expected the stars of this win to be Shagari Alleyne and Lukasz Obrzut, a pair of big men who didn't play in a total of 11 games this season.
But when starting center Randolph Morris went to the bench with two fouls just 90 seconds in, the reserves answered. The 7-foot-3 Alleyne blocked the first shot Bogut tried against him, and his long wingspan seemed to bother the usually smooth Aussie.
Smith let his big men go at Bogut alone, having them stay between Bogut and the basket rather than deny him passes. When Bogut got the ball, another defender or two helped out, keeping him from getting to his favorite spots near the basket. Many of his early misses looked like flicks he hoped might bounce in.
Bogut finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, but it wasn't as good as it sounded. He was 8-of-19 - matching his career high for misses - and a career-worst 4-of-11 from the line. He had just three rebounds in the second half. And, unlike the previous game when he offset 10 points with a career-high seven assists, he didn't have any this time.
Chuck Hayes led Kentucky with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Rojon Rondo scored 10 and Kelenna Azubuike had nine.
AP Sports Writer