Kentucky stunned by Gardner-WebbNov 8, 2007 - 7:03 AM LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- The honeymoon for Billy Gillispie at Kentucky came to a crashing end on Wednesday night.
Gillispie and the 22nd-ranked Wildcats will not be headed for New York City after all as Gardner-Webb posted an 84-68 victory in the second round of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.
The Wildcats (1-1) opened with a 67-40 victory over Central Arkansas in the first round on Tuesday in Gillispie's first game as coach since taking over for Tubby Smith. It seemed that Kentucky had an easy route to the semifinals with a matchup against the Runnin' Bulldogs, but it was not to be.
Instead, it will be Gardner-Webb that will play either Connecticut or Buffalo at Madison Square Garden on November 15.
"To play last night and to have the chance to play Kentucky, and to come out on top tonight, is really beyond my wildest dreams," Gardner-Webb coach Rick Scruggs said. "We told our guys coming into the tournament that we had a shot to win. We felt like we could play with anybody in the tournament."
Gardner-Webb defeated Alabama A&M, 69-55, on Tuesday and there was little indication that it would pull off the upset Wednesday. The Runnin' Bulldogs of the Atlantic Sun went 9-21 last season and have only been a Division-I program since 2000. They entered the game 0-6 against the Southeastern Conference and 0-3 against ranked opponents.
The Runnin' Bulldogs came to play from the start. They led, 14-0 and 17-4, early in the first half and were leading, 38-27, at the half.
"That was a great exhibition of basketball by Gardner-Webb," Gillispie said. "They just came into our place and I thought they whipped us in every phase of the game. The box score was not indicative of how bad they beat us and it was a very tough loss."
Kentucky was never able to mount a sustained run in the second half and any time they got remotely close, Gardner-Webb had the answer.
"What we hadn't seen people do to them this year was attack them," Scruggs said. "I told our team we were going to play the game they way we were going to play in the regular season, which was to run the break, attack people and put our shooters in position to make shots."
After Kentucky missed a 3-pointer that could have cut the deficit to five, Grayson Flittner connected from the arc to make it 61-50 with seven minutes to play. A little over a minute later Flittner was fouled taking a 3-pointer and made two free throws to make it 64-50.
"We just couldn't finish plays," Gillispie said. "The things about our offense that have been bad weren't any better tonight."
Flittner scored 22 points and Thomas Sanders added 21 for the Runnin' Bulldogs (2-0).
"It was just a total team effort," Flittner said. "We knew Kentucky had a great tradition and we know this is going to put us on the map. It's something I'm going to tell my grandkids about years from now. I'll never forget this."
Ramel Bradley scored 24 points for Kentucky.
"This game makes you think and ask if we are going as hard as we really can," Bradley said. "We have to go 100 times harder than we are going. We have to step it up and keep teams from knocking down shots."
- 2K SPORTS COACHES VS CANCER CLASSIC
NCAA BB 2K SPORTS COACHES VS CANCER CLASSIC
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
GARDNER-WEBB 38 46 84
KENTUCKY (22) 27 41 68 FINAL
Nov 7 11:14 PM
- 2K SPORTS COACHES VS CANCER CLASSIC
NCAA BB GARDNER-WEBB 38
(22) KENTUCKY 27 HALFTIME
Nov 7 9:54 PM
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