Friday, March 16, 2001

Kentucky dodges a bullet


Prince helps put away Holy Cross in opener

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNIONDALE, N.Y. — When a game is on the line for UK, everybody knows Tayshaun Prince will get the ball. Stopping him is a different matter.

        Prince took over an unexpectedly tight game for Kentucky, knocking down two second-half 3s, hitting a pair of late free throws and scoring 12 of the Wildcats' final 14 points in a 72-68 win Thursday over Holy Cross in the NCAA Tournament East Regional's first round.

        The scenario was familiar for Prince, who this season has made five game-winning shots while emerging as the Wildcats' go-to player.

        “What hurts for me is that we focused on shutting down Tayshaun Prince,” said Holy Cross coach Ralph Willard, a former UK assistant coach. “We didn't want him to beat us. Great players rise to the occasion.”

        Prince, a 6-foot-9 junior forward who is the Southeastern Conference's player of the year and a second-team All-American, scored a game-high 27 points, and sophomore guard Keith Bogans added 17. The only other Wildcat in double figures was freshman center Jason Parker, who finished with 10 points.

        “In certain situations, guys look to me and Keith Bogans to get the game going,” said Prince, who hit three of his four 3-point shots. “Our guys did a great job of getting us open to get good looks. We just had to hit the shots.”

        Holy Cross entered the game leading the nation in field-goal defense (37.9 percent). A 20-point favorite, Kentucky hit almost 50 percent of its shots against the 22-8 Crusaders, the Patriot League champs.

        “It took awhile to get the outside game going,” Prince said. “We had a hard time on the inside defensively against excellent shot-blocking. We got the 3s falling; things fell into place.”

        Holy Cross, however, exploited some uninspired defensive play by the Cats in the early stages of the second half to keep the game tight.

        Kentucky coach Tubby Smith praised Holy Cross' defense and effort. He and Willard were UK assistant coaches together in 1989-90, Rick Pitino's first season as head coach.

        “Ralph Willard's team plays a lot like we do,” Smith said. “They are very quick. They deserve to be the No.1 defensive team in the country.”

        With 8:29 left in the second half, Holy Cross forward Jared Curry, a 6-5 senior, made the first of two quick 3-point shots. The Crusaders tied the score at 58 when 7-foot senior center Josh Sankes made a pair of one-handed free throws with 6:28 left.

        During a timeout, Smith set up plays to get the ball in Prince's hands. Even though Holy Cross had rallied from a 36-27 halftime deficit, Bogans said, the Wildcats remained focused and confident.

        “You always have to have the mind-set that the game isn't over until the buzzer goes off,” Bogans said. “You have to play hard the entire 20 minutes of each half.”

        After that timeout, Prince went on his tear.

        Prince made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, including an arching bomb from well behind the arc and just in front of the Kentucky bench.

        He added a one-handed runner, a baseline jumper and a pair of free throws with 7.2 seconds left to seal the victory and put Kentucky into a second-round game Saturday against seventh-seeded Iowa.

        During second-half timeouts, Prince repeatedly asked for the ball, senior point guard Saul Smith said.

        “I know how to listen and keep my people happy,” Saul Smith said.

Pitino to decide on U of L next week
Some Big Blue fans seeing red over Pitino
Alford: Kentucky is 'scary'
Online pool and college hoops coverage at Cincinnati.com


HOLY CROSS (68)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Curry           39  6-10   0-0   0-2  7  2   16
Szatko          33   4-9   1-1   0-2  3  2   11
J Sankes        39   4-7   5-5  1-10  0  2   13
Serravalle      29  4-10   0-0   0-4  4  1   10
Pegues          15   1-3   2-3   2-3  1  4    4
Wilson          16   2-4   2-2   0-2  0  1    6
Meade           27   3-8   0-0   1-3  4  1    8
Whearty          2   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  1    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 24-51 10-11  4-27 19 14   68
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.471, FT-.909. 3-Point Goals:
10-18, .556 (Curry 4-6, Szatko 2-4, Serravalle
2-4, Pegues 0-1, Meade 2-3). Team rebounds: 4.
Blocked shots: 3 (Pegues 2, J Sankes). Turnovers:
19 (Curry 3, J Sankes 3, Serravalle 3, Szatko 3,
Meade 2, Whearty 2, Wilson 2, Pegues). Steals: 6
(Meade 2, Pegues 2, Serravalle, Wilson).


KENTUCKY (72)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Bogans          31  7-15   1-2   2-4  6  2   17
Prince          38 10-17   4-4   1-5  3  0   27
Parker          18  5-10   0-2   3-4  0  3   10
Fitch           29   2-5   0-0   1-4  1  2    5
Smith           32   2-4   0-0   0-2  4  2    4
Hawkins          9   0-2   2-2   0-0  0  1    2
Blevins         13   1-3   2-2   1-1  0  0    5
Daniels          7   1-2   0-0   1-1  0  0    2
Stone           13   0-1   0-0   0-2  0  3    0
Estill          10   0-0   0-0   0-1  1  3    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 28-59  9-12  9-24 15 16   72
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.475, FT-.750. 3-Point Goals:
7-15, .467 (Bogans 2-4, Prince 3-4, Fitch 1-2,
Smith 0-2, Blevins 1-3). Team rebounds: 3.
Blocked shots: 4 (Parker 2, Prince, Fitch).
Turnovers: 9 (Bogans 3, Blevins, Fitch, Hawkins,
Prince, Smith, Stone). Steals: 9 (Bogans 2,
Prince 2, Blevins, Daniels, Fitch, Parker, Smith).
__________________________________
Holy Cross         27   41  -   68
Kentucky           36   36  -   72
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None. Officials: Tom Rucker,
Eddie Jackson, Jerry Sauder.


Sports Stories
Kent State next for UC
Hampton caps day of upsets, close calls
- Kentucky dodges a bullet
Pitino to decide on U of L next week
Some Big Blue fans seeing red over Pitino
Alford: Kentucky is 'scary'
Ohio State bowled over
Men's NCAA pairings
Women's NCAA preview
Women's NCAA pairings
Boys basketball coverage
Girls basketball coverage
Benken's shot puts Elder in regional finals
Western Hills breezes past Butler
Kreke comes through for Fenwick
McNicholas takes out defending champ
Defending champions end Wyoming's dream
Guards stand tall for Eastern Brown
Canfield soph goes from J.V. to tourney hero
Trojans go from hot to cold to hot
Enquirer's gymnastics all-stars
Ohio boys basketball scores
Ohio boys regional championships
Ohio girls basketball scores
Ohio girls state tournament pairings
Kentucky boys Sweet Sixteen

UC puts on a show
DAUGHERTY: Sweet opportunity for UC
BYU buried in 3s
Games not UC's only test
Second wind, season for XU
SULLIVAN: Can Xavier beat luck of Irish?
XU defense must improve fast
XU women want new memories
Kirkland keeps options open
Stinnett is No. 1A
Williamson role's no lock
Coleman gets by without E
Game report: Reds 4, Rangers 3