- Saturday, March 17 2001 -
NCAA East Regional Second Round (at Uniondale, NY)
Kentucky - 92 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Final Rank 9th by AP]
|J. P. Blevins||19||1||2||1||2||0||0||0||2||2||3||0||0||0||2||3|
Iowa - 79 (Head Coach: Steve Alford) - [Final Rank 24th by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 45, Iowa 33
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Holy Cross 72 - 68|||||Southern California 76 - 80|
Game Writeup - Written by and courtesy of Stephen John; Kentucky Sports Report, (All Rights Reserved)
Estill and Prince put Cats in Sweet 16, beat Iowa
In the battle of Conference Tournament Champions, it was the SEC over the Big Ten, as the Kentucky Wildcats advanced to the 2001 NCAA "Sweet Sixteen" by beating the Iowa Hawkeyes 92-79. Kentucky broke a 33-33 deadlock with a 12-0 run in the last 3:33 of the first half, taking command of the game. Iowa would never get closer than 4 points the rest of the way. Tayshaun Prince scored a career high 31 points to go with his 7 assists, "We knew Prince was an unbelievable player and hard to handle, but Estill really hurt," Iowa coach Steve Alford said. "He scored 22 points in 22 minutes. Estill really worked hard for them tonight."
Freshman Marquis Estill (pictured right) was named, "Player of the Game," coming off the bench to score a career-high 22 points and pulling down 6 rebounds.
Reggie Evans had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Iowa. Dean Oliver nailed 6 three-point baskets in the second half for Iowa, leading the Hawkeyes in scoring with 26. For the Kentucky Wildcats, it will be their 8th Sweet Sixteen appearance in the last 10 seasons.
Kentucky (24-9) will move on to Philadelphia to meet the Southern California Trojans on Thursday night at 10:15 PM, for the right to face the winner of Duke and UCLA for an Elite Eight Appearance. USC (21-9) beat 3rd seeded Boston College earlier Saturday, 74-71.
Reggie Evans and the Iowa Hawkeyes had their way in the opening moments of the game. Evans, the Hawkeyes' leading active scorer and rebounder (leading scorer Luke Recker was out injured), had 6 points in Iowa's opening run, and the Hawkeyes broke out to a 16-7 lead at the 15:41 mark. Jason Parker quickly went to the bench with 2 fouls and Tubby went to a zone to try to neutralize the big 265-lb Evans.
"Evans is the leading rebounder in the country and for good reason," Tubby Smith said at halftime, "he's so strong physically. He was picking up a lot of offensive rebounds for easy baskets. We went into the zone in an effort to get the ball out of his hands."
"They are a very physically aggressive team, but we thought if we could match them on the backboards, we thought we would have a good chance to win," Coach Sutton said, "we thought that Iowa might not shoot from outside with Recker and (former UK player Ryan) Hogan on the bench injured. So we went into a zone and pretty much stayed with it."
The move worked. Evans, who connected on four baskets in the game's first 6:30, would not make another basket until 4:25 remaining in the game. Kentucky chipped away at the Iowa lead. Tayshaun Prince connected on a long range three pointer, and Saul Smith added a bomb of his own. Bogans would connect on a three-point shot to draw the Cats to within three at 21-18. Iowa's Rod Thompson would nail a couple of three's, the latter extending Iowa's lead to 27-22 at the 9:26 mark.
But it would be Kentucky that finished the half strong, exploding for a 23-6 run the rest of the way, including the last 12 points of the half. "We got away from what we needed to do," said Coach Steve Alford, "which is pound it inside to Reggie (Evans) and we did not do that the last six minutes of the half, and we fell really behind. Kentucky is a team that will take advantage of your mistakes."
Gerald Fitch scored the next six Wildcats points, the final two providing Kentucky with its first lead at 29-28 at the 6:06 mark. Tay Prince would score 7 points in the final 5:30 of the half. Marquis Estill, playing in place of Jason Parker, made his presence felt, scoring 11 points and pulling down 5 rebounds in just nine minutes of 1st half play, including the Cats' final six points of the half. With 1:43 remaining in the half, Estill got three the old-fashioned way, then connected on only his fifth 3-pointer of the year with 7.9 seconds remaining in the half to provide the Wildcats with their largest lead and the final margin of the half. The Cats went into the lockers up by 12, 45-33.
Dean Oliver, who had been contained much of the first half, came out for the second period guns-a-blazing. The diminutive point guard scored the Hawkeye's first 8 points of the final period to pull Iowa to within just four points at the 18:24 mark, but that would be as close as the Hawkeyes would get. "Oliver is such an outstanding shooter," Coach Sutton said, "we did well to keep him in check the first half, but you aren't going to keep a player like that from scoring forever."
Up by only four points, "The Artist Known Simply as" Prince and Marquis Estill went to work to build the Kentucky lead. Prince hit two quick buckets to extend the Kentucky lead back to 7 at 49-42. Estill would add a couple of buckets, the latter taking Kentucky's lead to 11 at 58-47 at the 12:21 mark. After a Dean Oliver 3-pointer, Prince would hit 2 long-range bombs and the Kentucky lead was 14 at 64-50.
"Marquis Estill has playing so well lately. His knees are strong right now," said Coach Smith, "Iowa was taking it to us and the big kid (Evans) was having his way for a while but we were able to negate some of their effectiveness with our zone and Marquis did a good job defensively on Evans."
"We talked about getting Evans back into the game in the second half," Iowa coach Steve Alford said, "I thought we had the game going the way we wanted early in the game. We hit some early threes and I think we got a false sense of security. We never could get Evans back into the flow."
Iowa would try to hang in there and with 7:43 remaining, Oliver would hit a runner to cut the Cats' lead to 8 at 66-58. But Prince would score 6 straight points for UK and Estill would add 5 and the Cats were up 16 points, 80-64 with just 2:47 remaining.
Toward the end of the game, Prince ran the clock down and launched a 30-foot shot, which drew nothing but net. It was that sort of night for Prince, "I had to laugh when he shot that 30-footer," Saul Smith said. "If there is a better player playing in America than him, I'd like to see him. He's doing everything that coach is asking of him and more."
"My teammates try to give me the ball in spots I like best," Prince said of his big night. "When I make the first one, it really gets me going. The first one went down for me." Dean Oliver, who tried his best to keep the Hawkeyes close, added, "I got some outside shots and knocked them down. But Tayshaun Prince is unreal. We just couldn't stop him."
"Tayshaun's been phenomenal," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "He's really put on a show. He's surpassed all expectations. He has that potential. When you look at him, you think how is this guy doing it with a slight build? But he has great stamina and great endurance. He's just a tough-minded kid. He's a very intelligent player. I think that's the key to his success. His intelligence and ability to really concentrate when the game is on the line. When it's clutch time, he just rises to the occasion. I can't explain it."
"The Hawkeyes were game but just not strong enough tonight to stop Kentucky," said Bobby Hansen, former Iowa Hawkeye and current color radio commentator for the Hawkeye radio network, "only one team was going to walk away happy tonight, and Kentucky was just the better team. Tubby Smith really has this team playing well, and they are going to be a hand full for whoever goes up against them."
The Wildcats sizzled the nets for 58.5% FG shooting for the game, on 31-53 shooting, including 13-24 from three point range for 54%.
Keith Bogans drives to the hoop