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NCAA TOURNAMENT / CHAMPIONSHIP GAME | KENTUCKY 78,
UTAH 69

10 Moments To Remember

March 31, 1998|ROBYN NORWOOD | Times Staff Writer

1. The Champions

No lead was safe against Kentucky during the tournament, and Monday night was no different. The Wildcats fought back from down with 9 1/2 minutes left against Duke. They raced ahead from a 10-point deficit in the second half against Stanford. And with the NCAA championship on the line and Utah leading by seven with 10 minutes to go, Kentucky simply forced its will on the sagging, weary Utes to pull away to a 78-69 victory.

2. Arizona's Arrogance Gets Its Due

With Coach Lute Olson and guard Mike Bibby busy talking about lack of respect the Atlantic Coast Conference and a rematch with North Carolina, Utah sends the defending national champion packing with a triangle-and-two defense that holds the Wildcats 40 points below their average in a stunning, dominating upset in the West regional final.

3. Greatest Game II

With time running out and Duke's timeouts long gone, freshman William Avery tries a desperate last-second shot against Kentucky. But his attempt to reprise Christian Laettner's 1992 game-winner against Kentucky fails, and the Wildcats win after having trailed by 17 in the second half. "I believe God puts us in special positions, and he put me in two of them with Kentucky," Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I thank God he put me in both."

4. Doesn't He Ever Miss?

Valparaiso's Bryce Drew, running a play called "Pacer" to perfection, sinks a three-pointer at the buzzer to upset Mississippi in the first round after a length-of-the-court, pass and a touch-pass relay. "A miracle shot" says Valparaiso Coach Homer Drew, the father of the shooter. Two games later, the Drews and Valparaiso assistant coach Him Harrick Jr. lose to Rhode Island Coach Jim Harrick in a regional semifinal.

5. Harrick's Improbably Run

A bitter Jim Harrick seethes after Rhode Island's loss to Stanford, unable to let go of the no-call on Arthur Lee's steal late in the game that left the Rams a minute shy of the Final Four. But it was a remarkable showing by the former UCLA coach, whose team upset top-seeded Kansas in the second-round and left red-eyed Kansas Coach Roy Williams wondering, if this own ambition made it harder for his players. "If I put extra pressure on them, I apologize," Williams said.

6. General Lee and the Mad Dog

Stanford's seemingly possessed point guard, Arthur Lee, gives Rhode Island's Tyson Wheeler the choke sign--he later apologizes--and Mark Madsen lets loose with a caveman roar after he follows Lee's controversial steal with a dunk. With that, the Cardinal comes from six pints down with a minute left to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 1942, five years before Coach Mike Montgomery was born.

7. Goodbye, Carolina

With national player of the year Antawn Jamison's frustration showing at Utah's leaning, smothering defense, and Shammond Williams in the midst of his second consecutive disastrous Final Four shooting performance, North Carolina forward Vince Carter goes to the bench shouting at his teammates, "Play some D!" Only one team listens, and it's Utah, which holds off the last desperate charge of the top-ranked Tar Heels and advances to the national championship game.

8. The Jerry West of the '90s.

Cincinnati was about to survive an upset threat for the second game in a row when West Virginia's Jarrod West banked in a three-pointer from 22 feet for a 75-74 victory. The bank, by the way was unintentional. "No, I didn't call my shot," admitted West. After decking the second-seeded Bearcats, West Virginia played Utah to a three-point game in a West Regional semifinal.

9. That's a Wrap

Toby Bailey, Kris Johnson and J.R. Henderson--the great UCLA trio that helped win an NCAA title as freshmen, lost to Princeton as sophomores, saw Jim Harrick fired as juniors and their team in turmoil as seniors--gathers on the court for a group hug as their college careers wind to an end with a loss to Kentucky. They leave the program in the hands of Baron Davis, a freshman with an injured knee.

10. Good Night, Sweet Princeton

Steve Goodrich, the Princeton player who scored 1,580 out of a possible 1,600 on the SAT, sits at a microphone, struggling for words after Michigan State has ended the Tigers' 27-2 season in the second round, having held them to a single back-door layup. "When you win, you're happy. When you lose, you can't even talk," Goodrich said. "To know we're not going to get to play together anymore is just a horrible feeling."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

THE UPSETS

FIRST ROUND

Washington 69, Xavier 68

Richmond 62, South Carolina 61

Illinois State 82, Tennessee 81 (OT)

West Virginia 82, Temple 52

Florida State 96, Texas Christian 87

Valparaiso 70, Mississippi 69

Western Michigan 75, Clemson 72

Detroit 66, St. John's 64

St. Louis 51, Massachusetts 46

SECOND ROUND

West Virginia 75, Cincinnati 74

Rhode Island 80, Kansas 75

Valparaiso 83, Florida State 77 (OT)

Syracuse 56, New Mexico 46

UCLA 85, Michigan 82

REGIONAL SEMIFINALS

Stanford 67, Purdue 59

REGIONAL FINALS

Utah 76, Arizona 51

Kentucky 86, Duke 84

FINAL FOUR

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