Kentucky, Prince go wild on Iowa, 92-79

Forward's six 3-pointers, 31 points help 'Cats gain 8th Sweet 16 in a decade

March 18, 2001|By NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Screaming and shouting at the end of a second-round win is for Southern California. Or for some other team that hasn't made the Sweet 16 in 40 years.

Kentucky makes it this far practically every year. Last night, the Wildcats behaved accordingly after making the regional semifinals for the eight time in the past 10 years.

Second-seeded Kentucky handled seventh-seeded Iowa, 92-79, at Nassau Coliseum. The Wildcats advanced to play sixth-seeded USC -- which last got this far in 1961 -- in the NCAA tournament's East Regional semifinals Thursday in Philadelphia.

The ease of Kentucky's victory surely had something to do with the Wildcats' ho-hum demeanor. But so did the fact that Kentucky (24-9) is used to success.

"There's nothing to celebrate at this point in time," said forward Tayshaun Prince, who had a game-high 31 points and six three-pointers. "We've got a lot of work still ahead of us. I think the only time to celebrate is when you win a championship."

Prince, whose last three-pointer came from several feet beyond the NBA three-point line, was also low-key about the shooting show.

"My teammates try to give me the ball in spots I like best," he said. "When I make the first one, it really gets me going. The first one went down for me."

Reserve Marquis Estill -- 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting in 22 minutes -- showed some excitement during the game, though. The 6-foot-9 forward spiked the ball at the end of the first half after stuffing Iowa standout center Reggie Evans inside.

With help from Marvin Stone, Estill controlled Evans, who had 18 points and 13 rebounds but did not dominate.

"I think I had quickness on him," Estill said. "I knew that once I got the ball in my hands, I could score over him."

Iowa started strongly, leading 16-7 after the first 4 1/2 minutes. But when the Wildcats switched to a 2-3 zone, the Hawkeyes were thoroughly confounded, particularly Evans. Kentucky took control of the game in the last 9:30 of the first half, finishing the half on a 23-6 run. It led by at least seven for all but 2:18 of the second half.

For Iowa (23-12), which sprinted to a surprising Big Ten championship after losing seven of nine games without guard Luke Recker, the season ends one game before Recker's possible return from a kneecap injury. Recker might've played this week if the Hawkeyes had won.

Senior guard Dean Oliver (26 points) tried to extend the season and his distinguished career a little longer. He sparked an Iowa comeback, hitting a pair of threes and eight straight points at the start of the second half. (He finished with six threes overall.) But Prince responded with consecutive threes that restored Kentucky's double-digit lead.

"Tayshaun Prince was unreal," Oliver said. "We couldn't do anything to stop him. He really hurt us."

Prince scored 21 of his points in the second half. His three-pointer with 4:58 left made it 74-59 and basically sealed the game.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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