Saturday, March 17, 2001

Recker's absence is Iowa's inspiration

Kentucky Notebook

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Iowa lost leading scorer Luke Recker to a knee injury in January. But the Hawkeyes used the adversity as inspiration, point guard Dean Oliver said.

        “Guys started to find more ways to score points with Luke down,” Oliver said. “I believe our biggest key was our team defense. Guys really stepped up. It's a big key for us to play team defense.”

        Iowa is 7-7 since Recker's injury, but the Hawkeyes won their past five games, including wins over Ohio State, Penn State and Indiana in taking the Big Ten Tournament.

        “We are fresh off the other games,” Oliver said. “We feel real good. When you have a long layoff, sometimes it hurts. But we're ready.”

        BOARD BATTLE: UK's big men expect a battle under the boards today.

        “They are a Big Ten team,” said Wildcat Marvin Stone, a 6-foot-10 sophomore. “That means a lot of physical play inside. It'll be tough down low.”

        UK forward Tayshaun Prince said the Wildcats also have to concentrate on Oliver, where much of Iowa's offense starts.

        “Dean Oliver is a very quick player,” Prince said. “You have to keep him in front of you. We saw a lot of great games in their tournament. He did a great job of shooting the ball, and on defense.”

        MILESTONE: UK sophomore Keith Bogans is 47 points from becoming the 49th UK player with 1,000 points.

        TUBBY'S RECORD: Wildcats coach Tubby Smith, in four seasons at UK, is averaging 27.3 wins a year. He is 21-4 in March, 9-1 in the SEC Tournament and 11-2 in the NCAA Tournament.

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