Monday, March 22, 1999
Prince playing into a gem
BY NEIL SCHMIDT
The Cincinnati Enquirer
ST. LOUIS Tayshaun Prince had bloodshot eyes an hour after the game and he continued to sniffle through his answers to the media. The youngest Wildcat he turned 19 a month ago was taking this loss the hardest.
That doesn't surprise me, coach Tubby Smith said. He's a sensitive guy and he always gives it his all. He takes it very hard.
His play, though, should give cause for UK fans to dry their eyes. Prince turned UK's game Sunday into his debutant dance, tying for team-high honors with 12 points in a critical reserve role.
Heshimu (Evans) was in foul trouble and I was just trying to make things happen, Prince said.
What he made happen: 3-of-3 shooting, 4-of-4 on free throws, two rebounds, an assist, blocked shot and no turnovers.
Prince scored eight points on three consecutive possessions late in the first half, showing flashes of the player UK expected when it signed the McDonald's All-American. This was his first game in double figures in the last 10 and his highest scoring output since Dec.12.
Prince had been shooting just 27.3 percent from three-point range on the season before swishing both his long-range tries Sunday. He hadn't made two threes in a game in the last 17 outings.
UK junior center Jamaal Magloire could become the fourth UK player the past four seasons to leave school early for the NBA.
Magloire has reportedly considered the move and hasn't denied considering it.
He averages 6.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
Because of his build (6-foot-10, 260 pounds), several mock drafts have projected him a first-round pick if he leaves now.
I really haven't been thinking about it, Magloire said Sunday. My only goal has been to try to win the national championship.
Antoine Walker (1996) and Ron Mercer (1997) left UK after their sophomore seasons and Nazr Mohammed (1998) left after his junior year.
UK seniors Scott Padgett and Wayne Turner finished with prominent spots in the school's record book.
Padgett is 27th on the all-time scoring list with 1,252 points. Turner passed Reggie Hanson (1,167 points) Sunday to finish 33rd with 1,170.
Turner holds the school career steals mark with 238 and also the single-season steals mark with 79 in 1997. He finishes fourth in career assists with 494.
Turner finished second all-time in NCAA Tournament steals with 38, trailing only Duke's Grant Hill (1991-94), who totaled 39.
Padgett and Miami senior Wally Szczerbiak both made the Midwest Region all-tournament team.
UK is 13-15 overall in regional finals.
Sunday's crowd was 42,519, an NCAA Tournament record for a regional.
UK had won 16 consecutive games played in domes, and 20 of its last 21.
KENTUCKY (28-9) Evans 5-10 0-0 12, Padgett 3-8 3-5 11, Bradley 2-4 0-0 4, Turner 2-8 1-2 5, Allison 3-8 1-1 7, S.Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Prince 3-3 4-4 12, Hogan 1-2 0-0 2, Camara 2-4 0-0 4, Magloire 3-5 3-4 9. Totals 24-53 12-16 66.
MICHIGAN ST. (33-4) A.Smith 1-2 2-2 4, Hutson 6-10 2-4 14, Klein 1-6 0-0 3, Cleaves 4-11 0-0 10, Bell 3-5 0-0 7, Kelley 1-1 0-0 2, Davis 0-0 0-0 0, Peterson 6-13 7-8 19, Granger 4-5 3-3 14. Totals 26-53 14-17 73.
Halftime scoreKentucky 36, Michigan St. 35. 3-Point GoalsKentucky 6-16 (Evans 2-2, Prince 2-2, Padgett 2-6, S.Smith 0-1, Allison 0-2, Turner 0-3), Michigan St. 7-17 (Granger 3-3, Cleaves 2-5, Bell 1-2, Klein 1-5, Peterson 0-2). Fouled outNone. ReboundsKentucky 29 (Evans 6), Michigan St. 33 (Peterson 10). AssistsKentucky 15 (Turner 8), Michigan St. 17 (Cleaves 11). Total foulsKentucky 16, Michigan St. 16. A42,519