Saturday , Feb , 26 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

‘Cats claim 43rd SEC title

Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) – Patrick Sparks shot 7-of-10 from three-point
range and finished with 26 points to lead No. 5 Kentucky over No. 16 Alabama,
78-71, at Coleman Coliseum. Kelenna Azubuike added 15 for the Wildcats, who
claimed their 43rd outright Southeastern Conference title with the victory.

Ravi Moss contributed 10 points for Kentucky, which made a school- record 68.4
percent (13-of-19) of their shots from beyond the arc.

The Wildcats (22-3, 13-1) have won 12 of their last 13 games.

Kennedy Winston scored 21 points to lead the Crimson Tide (21-6, 10-4). Chuck
Davis ended with 17 and Earnest Shelton had 12 in the loss.

Kentucky, which trailed by as many as 14, was behind most of the opening half
and down, 36-29, at the break. A 13-0 burst in the second half, though, gave
the Wildcats a 50-47 advantage after a three-point play by Azubuike with 11:42

Six straight points put the Tide back in front, but Kentucky answered with an
8-0 run to take the lead for good. Sparks hit a pair of three-pointers during
the decisive burst to give the Wildcats a 58-53 lead.

After a trey by Alabama’s Ronald Steele, Sparks buried his sixth three to give
Kentucky a 61-56 advantage. Alabama again pulled within three, but Sparks
responded with his another three for a 66-60 lead with just under five minutes

The Kentucky lead grew to 70-62 after a basket by Lukasz Obrzut with just
under three minutes to go, but the Crimson Tide would not go away.

Winston made two free throws and, after Kentucky’s Rajon Rondo missed the
front end of a 1-and-1, Shelton buried a three to cut the Wildcats’ lead to

The Wildcats then put the game away by going 8-for-10 from the free throw line
over the final 1:30.

The Crimson Tide, who led 33-19 late in the opening half, stretched a seven-
point halftime lead to 47-35 before Kentucky rallied.