Eddie Fogler picked up his biggest win at Carolina, as his 6th-ranked Gamecocks defeated 3rd-ranked Kentucky 72-66. The victory clinched the first and only SEC regular season championship for USC as well, with a 15-1 SEC mark. What made it even sweeter was the fact that it was Senior Day in Lexington. Remarkably, it was the first loss for UK on Senior Day in 33 years! Further, no team had come within 23 points of the ‘Cats at home all season.
The Gamecocks never trailed over the last seven minutes of the game, but it was a tenuous lead at best. An Anthony Epps three-pointer narrowed the USC lead to a slim one point with 31.7 seconds remaining. Carolina free throws built the lead back to four, but UK’s Ron Mercer hit a shot from the corner to cut the lead to two, 68-66, with 1.8 seconds left. Then, all heck broke loose as a blocking foul was called on the Wildcats on the inbounds pass. Rick Pitino went berserk at the officials, earning a technical foul and an ejection. Carolina knocked home four free throws, and celebrated an SEC Championship on the Rupp Arena floor.
BJ McKie was brilliant, leading the way for Carolina with 22 points. Larry Davis was close behind with 20 of his own.