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It Sure Looks Like Kentucky

March 14, 1997|From Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — It's not the same Kentucky team that strolled to the national championship last season, Coach Rick Pitino insists. The Wildcats aren't overpowering.

Oh, yeah? Ask Montana's Ryan Dick.

"In warmups I was almost in tears," Dick said Thursday night after the 16th-seeded Grizzlies (17-15) went where every other 16th-seeded team in the NCAA tournament had gone before them, down to defeat. In this case, 92-54, to Kentucky in the West Regional.

"I was looking around and I couldn't believe the environment. It was the most excited I've ever been for a game."

You get that way when you haven't played in a lot of NCAA tournaments and haven't played the team that still carries the title, at least until March 31.

"There's a reason they've won 31 games," Montana Coach Blaine Taylor said. "It's an awfully good Kentucky team. All you have to say is defending champion and it has a ring to it."

Kentucky (31-4) goes for its eighth NCAA tournament victory in a row Saturday against Iowa, a 73-60 winner over Virginia.

The blowout was barely over when Pitino started again.

"If this team isn't on the same page offensively and defensively, we could lose to any team at any time," he said. "This isn't last year's team. We don't have the players to put it away at any time like we want to."

They had plenty Thursday.

Wildcat reserve Cameron Mills scored 19 points. Wayne Turner also had 19, and Ron Mercer added 16.

Iowa 73, Virginia 60--Hawkeye Coach Tom Davis stayed perfect in first-round games with his 10th victory, getting 19 points from Guy Rucker and 17 from Andre Woolridge.

Iowa (22-9) never trailed and led by as many as 22 points in the second half before a late spurt by Harold Deane, who finished with 24 points, cut the margin for Virginia (18-13).

Boston College 73, Valparaiso 66--Bevan Thomas, Danya Abrams and Duane Woodward each made three free throws in the final four minutes, and the Eagles finished with a 9-2 run to advance to a game against St. Joseph's on Saturday.

Boston College (22-8) held a 22-4 advantage in made free throws over Valparaiso (24-7).

St. Joseph's 75, Pacific 65--Rashid Bey and freshman Arthur Davis made back-to-back three-point baskets for the Hawks after two technical fouls put Pacific back in the game.

Pacific (24-6) had pulled to within 52-50 on the second technical foul, with 7:20 to play, but then Davis hit a three-point shot and Bey followed with another for St. Joseph's (25-6).

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