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Maryland Lays Down Law to American

November 27, 1998| From Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — American University of Puerto Rico wasn't expected to be much more than another tuneup for No. 5 Maryland. NCAA rules made it even more of a blowout.

Reserves Juan Dixon and Danny Miller scored 14 points each Thursday and the Terrapins beat the Division II host school, 82-32, in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Shootout.

American lost 10 players from its roster after they weren't approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse when the school made the move from Division III to II this year.

"It's a shame because American has really great tradition in this tournament with the upsets," Maryland Coach Gary Williams said. "Then the ruling goes against them and I know how disappointed they are. It's not a game you enjoy playing to be honest with you."

As expected, the Terrapins (5-0) took control right away by scoring the first 15 points of the game and extended their average margin of victory this season to 41.8 points. They advance to today's semifinals against UCLA.

Williams called the press off four minutes in and used the game as a chance for players to get minutes as all 13 players saw action and all but two scored.

"We stayed unselfish and our guys that get all the minutes were able to see those guys that work so hard but don't get the minutes have a chance to play," he said.

The Pirates, who were playing their opener, beat Arkansas and Alabama last season but with a team of four returning reserves and three walk-ons, trailed Maryland, 49-17, at halftime.

"Those players will be able to play next season," first-year Coach Rafael Torres said. "It was my fault the paperwork was not done. We will accept the challenge in front of us."

Players on the Division III level don't have to go through the clearinghouse.

Laron Profit had 13 points for Maryland, which shot 57 percent and had 21 steals, while Terence Morris added 12 points.

"We're about due for a game where we have to step up and are challenged man-to-man," Profit said. "I was glad we handled this game the way we did but we never felt sorry for them."

Kevin Nesbitt had 13 points and nine rebounds for American, which was outrebounded 50-30.

No. 4 Kentucky 64, Colorado 52--One of Kentucky Coach Tubby Smith's concerns entering the tournament was his team's defense against the three-pointer.

The Wildcats eased those worries impressively, holding Colorado to 2-for-28 from beyond the arc in an opening-round game.

Early in the game, Smith and the 600 Kentucky fans who had made the trip to Puerto Rico had a lot to worry about. The Buffaloes led, 11-2, after 2 1/2 minutes and Smith went from a man-to-man defense to a 1-2-2 matchup zone.

"They attacked us early with their quickness and that took us out of the man-to-man," he said. "We went to the zone to try to match up on the perimeter. We did a good job defensively inside and we were pretty good at contesting their outside shots as well."

Freshman Tayshaun Prince scored 15 points to lead Kentucky (4-0), which will play Pittsburgh, a 94-76 winner over No. 13 Xavier, in today's semifinals.

Wayne Turner and Michael Bradley added 10 points each for the defending national champions, who used defense and depth to stretch their winning streak to 17 games.

"Today was out first real test against exceptional athletes and a well-coached team," Smith said. "It was a very physical game and fatigue became a factor."

After Colorado's opening burst, the Wildcats went on a 24-2 run, with Prince scoring seven points, over the next 10 1/2 minutes. They held Colorado (4-1) scoreless for a span of 7:52. The Buffaloes went 12 minutes without a field goal, missing 17 straight shots before Aki Thomas scored down low with 5:30 left.

Colorado scored the final five points of the half to get within 30-21 despite shooting 22 percent (9 of 41), including 1-of-13 from three-point range.

"We knew we were going to have our hands full but overall I'm pleased with our effort and toughness," Colorado Coach Ricardo Patton said. "We're normally a good shooting team, but today was one of those days we didn't put it in the hole."

Kentucky didn't shine from the outside either, going 1 for 12 from three-point range, but it finished with a 57-40 rebound advantage.

The closest the Buffaloes got in the second half was 40-36 with 11:48 left on a drive by Nick Mohr, but Kentucky's defense again stiffened as the Wildcats went on an 11-0 run over the next 5:53.

Smith said he wanted Prince to create a little more on the offensive end and the 6-foot-8 guard did just that in the early run.

"I always feel better when I can make my first few shots," he said. "I like it when I can create out things out there."

Kenny Price led Colorado with 16 points, while Thomas added 12.

"Because of our guards we feel we're a good shooting team," said Price, who made both threes for the Buffaloes but was just two of 12 from beyond the line. "They did a good job."

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