Sunday, February 8, 2004

Big game still not enough for Hayes


UK notebook

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEXINGTON - Chuck Hayes had a double-double, sank long-range jumpers and cooled South Carolina's hottest scorer. Yet the Kentucky forward modeled a postgame frown.

"I did some positive things, but at times I thought too much," he said. "I know what I'm capable of."

UK's resident perfectionist had been falling shy of his goals, averaging just five points the previous three games and making two of his previous 11 shots. He bounced back Saturday with 15 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

South Carolina's Carlos Powell scored 10 first-half points, but Hayes limited him to two thereafter. Hayes forced Powell into a late turnover and rushed to prevent Josh Gonner from taking a potential winning shot with seven seconds left.

Gamecocks coach Dave Odom called Hayes "the steadiest post player in the league."

Hayes made a 3-pointer Saturday for the first time since the season opener and nailed another 19-foot jumper. UK coach Tubby Smith said he has worked with Hayes to focus on the rim and not the flight of the ball.

"That's been a bad habit of mine forever," Hayes said. "Today I caught it and shot it in good rhythm."

BARBOUR BULLISH: Starting in place of injured Gerald Fitch, Antwain Barbour totaled 10 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal. He made the winning basket, a 3-point play with 1:09 left.

"This (spot start) gave me a chance to step up," Barbour said. "That's what I live for."

Barbour had 12 points recently against Mississippi and eight against Florida.

"He's accepted his role," Smith said. "I think a lot of (Barbour's earlier struggles) was his anxiety of not getting the minutes."

PERRY APPEARS: Freshman forward Bobby Perry played a career-high 10 minutes - including a key stretch late in the game - and totaled two points and a rebound. Perry had appeared in just one of the previous eight games.

"When you get game time, it helps a lot," he said. "It was a chance to contribute."

CAT TALES: Smith became the 18th coach to win 100 regular-season Southeastern Conference games. He is 100-36 in nine SEC seasons. ... Guard Brandon Stockton didn't play because of illness. ... UK has won 15 of its last 16 against South Carolina and is 17-1 all time against the Gamecocks in Lexington. ... UK has won 42 of its last 46 games.

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E-mail nschmidt@enquirer.com




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