Sunday, January 18, 2004

Time, turnovers cut for Hawkins


Smith trying options at point guard

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEXINGTON - It's silver-lining time for Cliff Hawkins.

After another rough game Saturday, Kentucky's senior point guard said he was glad to have had only one turnover against Georgia - even though it was a killer, coming with 90 seconds left. But his 0-for-5 shooting hurt UK, to the point where Tubby Smith tried three other players at the point Saturday.

PHOTO GALLERY

Photos of Saturday's game
"He's struggled the last few games," Smith said of Hawkins. "We just need to get him more aggressive offensively. ... If he could make some open jump shots, that could give him some confidence."

Hawkins is 7-for-32 (21.9 percent) over his last four games, including a 1-for-13 game against North Carolina. In three Southeastern Conference games, he has eight assists and 13 turnovers.

Hawkins insists he's not struggling with his confidence.

"I'm fine," Hawkins said. "I'll stay with it."

His season average of 9.7 points is still a career best. He's shooting 41 percent, same as last season.

Hawkins played a season-low 22 minutes Saturday, as Smith tried Josh Carrier, Gerald Fitch and Brandon Stockton at the point.

Smith moved Carrier to the point in practices this week for the first time in his career. He lauded Carrier, who was 1-of-5 for three points with no assists and a turnover.

"Hopefully I can help the team out in any way I can," Carrier said.

BENCH STRUGGLES: Georgia's bench had been outscored by opponent's reserves 109-19 in its past five games. Yet the four subs it used Saturday - all freshmen, two of them walk-ons - outscored UK's subs 11-9.

UK's bench has been outscored in 11 of 13 games this season. The only significant contribution it gave Saturday was Antwain Barbour's six points, which all came on free throws.

RUPP KILLER: The last time UK lost at home to such a huge underdog, Dennis Felton was also responsible. Then coaching Western Kentucky, he led the Hilltoppers to a 64-52 upset in the 2001-02 season opener.

WKU beat George Washington in the finals of the NABC Classic, so with his victory Saturday with Georgia, Felton is now 3-0 in Rupp Arena.

"I don't put much significance into where we play," Felton said.

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E-mail nschmidt@enquirer.com




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