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NCAA TOURNAMENT / CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Notes

March 31, 1998|TIM KAWAKAMI

Kentucky senior swingman Allen Edwards did not jump for joy or scream or fall to the floor in celebration after the Wildcats wrapped up the national title on Monday.

Instead, he stood quietly, staring into space, and this was not precisely happiness he was experiencing.

Edwards' mother, Laura Mae Edwards, died of breast cancer late last month, as Kentucky started its run toward its second national championship in three seasons.

"I was thinking about my mom," Edwards said softly in Kentucky's locker room amid the continued hubbub, "and how much I'm going to miss her.

"There's no more games now, so I don't know how it's going to feel. I haven't had to think about it . . . I was thinking about her.

"This is bittersweet. It's a national championship, so you have to be grateful for it. It's tremendous. But I'm not really enjoying right now."

*

Kentucky reserve forward Cameron Mills had a good reason not to hope for much heading into Monday night's game. In last season's West Regional final, he did not score a point against the stingy Utah defense.

"I was thinking, I can't get blanked again by them tonight," said Mills, who played a scoreless seven minutes in the first half.

But in the second half, Mills made two crucial three-pointers, one of them off a called play set up for him, during Kentucky's comeback.

"I thought I might have another 0-point game," Mills said. "I really didn't expect to hit those two threes."

*

Utah center Michael Doleac, who was held to only three second-half points after scoring 12 in the first, conceded that the Wildcat shot-blockers Jamaal Magloire and Nazr Mohammed affected his play.

"I had a hard time finding the open man," Doleac said of Kentucky's sagging defense. "I had my shot blocked a couple of times. I knew it would happen. They are a good shot-blocking team."

Said Utah Coach Rick Majerus: "I think Mike wore down. Magloire did a good job, and Mohammed. And they played him two on one.

"We don't have an athletic body guy other than Doleac, and I think they did a good job on wearing Mike down and banging him."

*

Utah outrebounded Kentucky by 15 (39-24), the largest margin ever by a losing team in a national-title game. . . . The all-Final Four team: Kentucky's Jeff Sheppard, the most outstanding player, and Scott Padgett; Utah's Andre Miller and Michael Doleac; and Stanford's Arthur Lee.

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