St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

College basketball

Unlikely Spartan silences Wildcats

©Associated Press

December 15, 2002


LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In a tight game, Tim Bograkos is the last player Michigan State coach Tom Izzo wants taking a big shot.

But the 6-foot-2 sophomore guard sank an open 3-pointer with 49.2 seconds left Saturday that gave the No.21 Spartans the lead for good in a 71-67 win over No.12 Kentucky.

It was the only 3-point attempt for Bograkos, who averages 1.7 points.

"I said, 'Are you kidding me?' I guess it was our day," Izzo said. "I could lie to you and tell you I set that up. But in all honesty, he was the sixth option out of five guys."

Chris Hill made two free throws with 13.6 seconds remaining to seal the victory. Hill scored 16 to lead the Spartans.

"We all have confidence and we've got a lot of confidence in everybody," Hill said. "It's a big confidence boost for everybody to come into an environment in a place like this and win."

Keith Bogans scored 23 to lead the Wildcats, who had won four straight.

Kentucky trailed 69-67 after Bograkos' shot, and Bogans couldn't convert a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 21 seconds left.

Marquis Estill and Erik Daniels had 12 points each for the Wildcats, who shot 46 percent.

"It hurts a lot," said Bogans, who reached 20 points for the fifth time this season. "It's our homecourt, and we let them come in here and steal one away."

Hill sank two 3-pointers in the first three minutes as the Spartans took a 12-4 lead.

Bogans hit consecutive 3-pointers from the top to trigger an 18-4 run that put the Wildcats in front. Michigan State started 4-of-7 from the field, then missed 8-of-9 during Kentucky's spurt.

Aloysius Anagonye's basket ended a three-minute drought for the Spartans and trimmed their deficit to 22-19.

Wildcats freshman Kelenna Azubuike hit a 3-pointer and Daniels made a steal and converted a breakaway layup to give the Wildcats a 27-19 lead.

The Spartans managed to lead 34-31 as Kentucky went more than five minutes without scoring.

"We didn't shoot the ball well, but we were still in the ballgame," Bogans said. "We did everything else, the ball just wouldn't fall."

The teams were tied at 40 at halftime, but the Spartans surged ahead 50-44. The lead shrank to three near the seven-minute mark when Kentucky point guard Gerald Fitch fell awkwardly and cut his chin after missing a layup.

Fitch left the game and returned with 4:58 left. He threw an assist to Daniels, whose layup cut Michigan State's lead to 63-61.

Estill had an over-the-shoulder tip-in with 3:55 remaining to tie. Hill answered with a 3-pointer with 3:38 to go, but Estill scored again at the three-minute mark to keep Michigan State's lead at one.

Each team committed a turnover before Bogans scored on a drive with 1:23 left to put Kentucky up 67-66.

The capacity crowd stood and cheered as the clock went under a minute. Bogans ran to double-team Hill, but Hill passed to Bograkos, who silenced the fans with his 3-pointer from the corner.

"That's the biggest shot I've ever hit," Bograkos said. "I don't look to shoot a lot, but I was open and fortunately, the ball went in."

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.