Monday, March 18, 2002

Prince helps Kentucky right ship

The Associated Press

        ST. LOUIS — The route for a repeat trip to the third round of the NCAA tournament was simple for Kentucky: Get the ball to Tayshaun Prince.

        The rail-thin, 6-foot-9 forward added another chapter to Wildcat lore with his 41-point effort in an 87-82 victory over Tulsa in the second round of the East Regional on Saturday.

  Friday, Syracuse, N.Y.

  • Maryland (28-4) vs.
Kentucky (22-9)
  • Sou. Illinois (28-7) vs.
Connecticut (26-6)

  Thursday, Lexington, Ky.

  • Duke (31-3) vs.
Indiana (22-11)
  • Kent State (29-5) vs.
Pittsburgh (29-5)

  Friday, Madison, Wis.

  • Kansas (31-3) vs.
Illinois (26-8)
  • Oregon (25-8) vs.
Texas (22-11)

  Thursday, San Jose, Calif.

  • UCLA (21-11) vs.
Missouri (23-11)
  • Oklahoma (29-4) vs.
Arizona (24-9)

        Prince, the lone senior starter for the fourth-seeded Wildcats, topped his previous career best by 11.

        “It's plain and simple,” guard J.P. Blevins said. “Give him the ball. Isolate him whenever you can and get him off screens whenever you can.”

        Prince's point total was well shy of the NCAA tournament record of 61 by Notre Dame's Austin Carr in 1970 against Ohio in a first-round game.

        It was 12 shy of the team record of 53 by Dan Issel in 1970 against Ole Miss, and three points shy of Issel's 44-point outing in a regional semifinal against Notre Dame in '70.

        But it matched the dominating performance by Jack Givens in the Wildcats' 1978 NCAA championship game victory over Duke, also in St.Louis. And it came at a most opportune time for a team that was scuffling entering the postseason, losing four of its last nine and falling in the first round of the SEC tournament.

        And he did it with only 21 shots, played 37 minutes and had no turnovers.

        “It was a spectacular 41 points,” coach Tubby Smith said.

        “He's always been considered an All-American player and he showed why,” Tulsa coach John Phillips said. “You take 21 shots and get 41 points, that's incredible.”

        Kentucky (22-9) will play top-seeded Maryland on Thursday at Syracuse, N.Y.

        “We've got momentum on our side now, thanks to the big guy,” Blevins said. “We ask a lot of him, and he delivered, but never did we expect to get 41 points out of him.”

        Prince was only 5-for-14 in Kentucky's 83-68 first-round victory over Valparaiso, although he was instrumental in holding Lubos Barton, the Mid-Continent Conference player of the year, to 10 points. Entering the second round, he had been shooting 35 percent the last seven games overall, going only 2-for-11 from 3-point range.

        He broke the slump by hitting a pair of inside shots, opening the game by posting up on 6-2 Greg Harrington and scoring off an inside toss. He was 6-for-8 from 3-point range.

        “I got some to fall before I started shooting the outside shot,” Prince said. “Once I knew I had my outside shot going, then I knew I was comfortable with my game and I could pretty much go inside and out and take it at the opponent.”


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- Prince helps Kentucky right ship
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