December 14, 1996
Kentucky Races To 80-56 Win Over The Irish
LEXINGTON, Ky.-- Ron Mercer scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half as third-ranked Kentucky rolled to an 80-56 win over Notre Dame. The victory was the seventh straight for the Wildcats (7-1), who have won by an average of nearly 28 points since a season-opening loss to Clemson.
Mercer scored eight points during a 27-3 run as the Wildcats overcame a sluggish start to defeat the Irish. Kentucky, which made only 10 of 29 shots, led 22-20 after Notre Dame's Pat Garrity made one free throw with 3:19 remaining in the first half.
Mercer then hit a 17-footer to ignite Kentucky's decisive run. The Irish didn't score again until Garrity's three-point play 35 seconds into the second half cut the margin to 31-23. Kentucky then reeled off 17 straight points, ending on Mercer's 19-footer for a 48-23 advantage with 15:47 to go.
Garrity scored a game-high 25 points for Notre Dame (3-3), which has lost three of four overall and six straight to Kentucky. The junior forward was 8-for-15 from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throw line. Garrity also added a game-high 10 rebounds.
Notre Dame committed 25 turnovers in the game, compared to Kentucky's 11. The Wildcats also forced 14 steals.
Admore White added 10 points for the Irish, who fell to 3-3 with the loss.
Jared Prickett finished with 14 points, while Derek Anderson added 13 for the Wildcats.
KENTUCKY HEAD COACH RICK PITINO
On the game in general: "It was a very physical game. The play 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 deflections tonight. We had 61 deflections. We try for 35 a night, which we don't normally get. This is the most deflections a team I have coached as ever gotten, including the Knicks."
On the offensive execution: "We executed better in the second half. In the first half, were taking the first open shot. We didn't give ourselves a chance to get into rebounding position. The ball movement didn't get to the second and third option. It got better in 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 physical game: "It's good for them. Both players are learning to turn to the middle and follow their shots. Great players turn to the middle and average players turn to the baseline away from the defense. They are growing 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 Derek Anderson. Their hustle and determination has just been incredible."
On Notre Dame's Pat Garrity: "Pat Garrity is a wonderful player. I like him. He can play at the next level. He moves well without the ball. He gets everyone's attention. It's hard to score when you are the focal point of all of the defenses. But, he still puts up the numbers."
On defense turning into offense: "I told them at halftime that we had to get to the second and third options in order to not shoot a low percentage. Our shot selection, ball movement and passing led to scores which led to the press. This is the type of game that it takes defense to win."
On Derek Anderson: "I tried to explain to Derek that he is a marked man and has to score his points in different ways now. He was a stand-still target in the first half."
On the team's progress: "This is going to be a very good basketball team. I don't base that on games but on what I see in practice every week. We are nowhere near last year, but we can improve in every phase."
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH JOHN MACLEOD
"Kentucky did a great job all around in the second half. In the first half, they did a good job of being conscious of (Pat) Garrity and knowing when he had the ball. We had a lot of problems handling the ball against their defense, which I think everybody does."
"We have three people that we're counting on that haven't been able to play. We want to make sure that we're ready for conference play."
"During the first half we were still within striking distance, but we just weren't able to run the ball off the defensive end."
"For the most part, we did a great job defensively. We just just weren't able to run the ball off the defensive end."
"We're going to learn from this one tonight, just like we did last Saturday (against Indiana).
"Kentucky is a quick team that runs patterns well. We just weren't able 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're good kills. They come to play."
Notre Dame Player QuotesPAT GARRITY
On difference of team play against Providence versus the team play tonight: "No question about it. I think at Providence we came there with our guard down. You have to, you can't go back on your heels. There wasn't anything that surprised us."
On the pace in the first half and how it got away from them in the second: "I think it was our inability to score. I think they did a good job of scoring."
On how the team played tonight: "There is a lot of people that played well tonight. Admore played well tonight. Our young players are getting some experience."
Kentucky Player QuotesSENIOR FORWARD/CENTER JARED PRICKETT
On his all-around play: "I'm just always trying to hustle and do my job. My knee is 100 percent now, which has really helped my mobility. I really am starting to feel good 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: "I can shoot. I just never get to show it because I'm usually setting screens for our other guys. The thing is, if you're open, coach wants you to shoot it. We work on our threes every day in practice and individual workouts, so we get enough practice that we should be pretty good at them."
On his outlook for this season: "I'm having a blast right now. It's really fun playing with these guys because we just go out and win. We know what it feels like to lose, because of our first game. We hate that feeling."
On UK's press: "It's just a matter of time before it kicks in. It really can wear teams down in the second half, and I think that's what happened to Notre Dame."
SOPHOMORE RON MERCER
On the play of Allen Edwards, likely the best six man in the nation: "He's really not a guy people look at too much, but he sure can play. He had a dunk in the second half that I don't think I could have made."
On the slow start tonight: "It was just a matter of time before we made our run. We had to get the tempo up to our style of play. Notre Dame 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 with the will to win and played very aggressively. We weren't ready for their aggressiveness. 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 two years were pretty slow. I feel confident behind Mercer and Anderson and away from the limelight."
SENIOR ANTHONY EPPS
On the strong second half UK had: "When we came out in the second half, we were a totally different team. We were more hungry. We wanted to show that we were a different team than we 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 press got them into an up-tempo style and we took over."
SENIOR GUARD/FORWARD DEREK ANDERSON
On Ron Mercer: "He's really playing well. It shows how much he's matured. What he's doing right now is fitting into the role as leader and he hasn't been used to that on this team."
On Allen Edwards: "He's finally gotten his opportunity. He has had to 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 tp Garrity 33 8-15 9-11 3-10 2 2 25 Manner 33 2-7 1-2 2-5 1 4 5 Young 20 0-0 0-2 2-3 1 3 0 Wyche 32 2-10 1-2 0-0 1 3 6 White 29 5-7 0-0 0-0 5 0 10 Hickey 18 2-4 0-0 0-0 1 1 4 Dillon 11 0-0 0-0 0-3 1 0 0 Lalazarian 17 3-7 0-0 1-3 0 0 6 Miller 5 0-0 0-0 1-2 1 0 0 Carroll 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 tp Mercer 35 9-18 2-2 2-4 2 2 20 Prickett 34 5-9 3-0 3-7 3 1 15 Magloire 20 1-6 1-2 4-8 1 5 3 Epps 20 3-8 0-0 0-0 6 1 8 Anderson 26 4-9 4-4 2-3 3 3 13 Edwards 25 4-12 1-5 4-7 2 0 10 Turner 20 2-5 0-0 0-0 2 2 5 Mohammed 15 2-6 0-1 3-6 0 1 4 Mills 3 1-1 0-0 0-1 1 1 2 Masiello 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). Team rebounds: 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 - 56 Kentucky 29 51 - 80 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 24,152. Officials: Burr, Mike Kitts, John Corbett.