Friday, March 16, 2001

Kentucky Notebook

Alford: Kentucky is 'scary'

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Kentucky went from being scared by first-round opponent Holy Cross to being labeled as “scary” by the coach of the Wildcats' second-round opponent, Iowa's Steve Alford.

        “Kentucky is playing very well, and they are very talented,” said Alford, a former Indiana University star. “We are going to have to shoot much better in order to beat them.”

        The Hawkeyes, Big Ten Tournament champions, won their NCAA Tournament East Regional opener 69-56 over Creighton on Thursday despite shooting 39 percent from the field and 27 percent from the 3-point line. By contrast, Kentucky hit just less than 50 percent of its field goal attempts and 33 percent of its 3-point attempts in beating Holy Cross.

        “They are a really good team, and they're hot right now,” said Iowa center Reggie Evans, who scored 19 points and went 13-for-15 from the free throw line against Creighton. “They are really athletic, and that will be a big-time game.”

        The Hawkeyes finished the season at 22-11 and ranked 25th in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll. The team also finished 26th in the RPI ratings. Kentucky was 10th in the RPI.

        But Iowa will play UK on Saturday night without its best player, junior guard Luke Recker, who has been out since Jan.27 with a chipped kneecap. He was averaging 18.1 points a game and was making 43 percent of his 3-point shots.

        There still is an outside chance Recker could play later in the tournament, if Iowa advances.

        MILESTONE I: By scoring 27 points Thursday, junior forward Tayshaun Prince moved into 33rd place on UK's all-time scoring list with 1,178 points. He passed four former Wildcats, including former teammate Wayne Turner, who finished with 1,170.

        Prince trails Rodrick Rhodes, who is 30th on the list, by 30 points.

        MILESTONE II: Senior guard Saul Smith also reached a milestone during the Holy Cross game. It was his 141st game, tying him with Anthony Epps for fourth place on UK's all-time list.

        Smith and Epps are tied with Duke's Brian Davis for 10th place in NCAA history.

        SECONDS AGAIN: UK is 33-9 in first-round games in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the second round for the 10th straight year.

        CONFIDENT CROSS: Some Holy Cross players wondered how prepared UK was Thursday.

        “When I looked at them in warmups, the way they came on the court, I had a feeling we were going to give it to them tonight and it almost happened,” said guard Jared Curry, who finished with 16 points. “... I think they kind of took it easy a bit and they didn't realize what they were in for.”

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