Kentucky runs over Tulane, 82-60 NCAA TOURNAMENT SOUTHEAST REGIONAL

March 19, 1995|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Kentucky's seemingly bottomless bench claimed another victim yesterday in the NCAA Southeast Regional, as Tulane wilted under the relentless pressure, 82-60, at the Pyramid.

The victory advanced the second-ranked and top-seeded Wildcats into this week's regional semifinals against Arizona State in Birmingham, Ala.

Kentucky (27-4) sealed the decision with one of its patented runs, an 18-0 streak in the first half after the Green Wave had weathered the initial storm to stay within 19-16.

Kentucky coach Rick Pitino said that kind of surge "is like a shark-feeding to them. They elevate until the timeout comes and keep pushing it up point by point."

Thus, another second-round stop sign braked Tulane (23-10), which did not get beyond this stage in 1992 or 1993.

"It just seems like we can't get past there," said coach Perry Clark. "But maybe this year we've run into the eventual national champions.

"They impressed me so much. Everybody who comes in plays hard and unselfishly. They know what they're supposed to do and where they're supposed to go."

The Green Wave had some success going inside to big forward Rayshard Allen (29 points, 12-for-15 shooting), but committed 22 turnovers and made only two of 15 shots from three-point range against Kentucky's stellar perimeter defense.

During the game's decisive stretch, Tulane ball-handlers committed two offensive fouls, the team went 1-for-6 from the foul line and its inside players couldn't get a dunk or several put-backs to go down.

"They're the first team that ever pressured us like that," said Tulane forward LaVeldro Simmons. "You beat one guy and two '' more step up to be there. The opening is there, but your eyes get big and you want to go too fast. Then it isn't there. It was very frustrating."

As usual, Kentucky's scoring was well distributed: six players in double figures, 10 on the score sheet.

The result atoned for the Wildcats' second-round upset by Marquette last season and gave Kentucky a 6-0 record at the Pyramid, sort of a home away from Rupp Arena. Kentucky has not lost since Feb. 14 at home against Mississippi State.

"We haven't done this all season, pressured for 40 hard minutes, not until the Southeast Conference tournament and the two games here," said Pitino. "It's not easy to do. We've been trying to play defense as if we haven't eaten in two weeks."

Clark was a believer in the Wildcats' potential to win it all, saying, "Even if they had 10 guys named Joe, I'd like that ballclub because of how hard they play."

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