Fant impressive in Kentucky-Indiana All-Star game

10 06 2011

LOUISVILLE — George Fant has said for quite some time now that whenever he gets a chance, he’s going to prove he belongs with the best of them.

On Friday, Fant got another shot – and once again, he didn’t disappoint.

The soon-to-be Western Kentucky power forward and former Warren Central standout finished with 18 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes of action, albeit in a losing effort, as Team Indiana used a second-half comeback to knock off Team Kentucky 105-103 in the first game of the 2011 Anthem Kentucky vs. Indiana All-Star Basketball Classic at Knights Hall in Louisville.

“I just came out and played hard, the same as I do against anyone else,” Fant said. “It was a lot of fun. It sucks that we didn’t win, but I came in just ready to play hard.

“Kentucky hasn’t won in a long time in this series, but we showed them what we’re capable of.”

Though it came in a loss, Fant’s performance came against an Indiana team that featured three McDonald’s All-Americans in Indiana signee Cody Zeller, Michigan State signee Branden Dawson and Kentucky signee Marquis Teague.

Going against Zeller and Dawson for a good portion of the night, Fant had 14-first half points and sparked Kentucky to erase an early 10-point deficit and give Kentucky an eight-point edge at the half.

Fant was then quickly saddled with foul trouble early in the second, picking up his fourth early on. With Fant on the bench, Indiana started to fire back – thanks in large part to the long-distance shooting of Butler signee Andrew Smeathers (who finished with a game-high 21 points).

The game stayed close into the final minutes, as a Fant dunk with 5:11 to go made it 90-87 in favor of Kentucky.
But a quick triple by Smeathers sparked a 7-0 Indiana spurt to regain control.

Kentucky eventually took the lead once more late on a tip-in by Zach Price, but five straight Indiana points put the visitors up 103-100 with just 29.7 to go.

LSU signee and Kentucky Mr. Basketball Anthony Hickey dropped in a long triple to tie things once more with 15 seconds to go.

But Teague then sealed the deal for Indiana – dropping in a step-back 18-footer with less than a second to play to seal the win.

For Fant – the day ended bitterly in a loss, but he said he was able to take solace in the fact that he helped hold down one of the country’s highest-rated recruits in Zeller (who finished with just nine points in a foul-saddled 19 minutes) and put on a show of his own in the meantime.

Fant and company will finish the series today at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis – following the girls’ 4 p.m. contest. After that, the former Warren Central standout will be WKU through and through.

And he couldn’t be more excited.

“It’s going great so far,” said Fant, who has already been in class at WKU for a week. “(Fellow signee) T.J. Price is looking good, everyone’s looking good and going hard – and we’re ready to get rolling.

“Everybody’s good. The older guys are taking us under their wings, showing us the ropes, telling us the dos and don’ts – it’s going great.”

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