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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA TOURNAMENT | EAST AT UNIONDALE,
N.Y.

Prince, Kentucky Finally Shake Hot-Shooting Holy Cross, 72-68

March 16, 2001|MIKE TERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Every time the Kentucky Wildcats thought they were ready to put the game away, Holy Cross responded.

And it took an effort until the final buzzer for Kentucky to walk away a winner.

The second-seeded Wildcats squandered a 10-point second-half lead Thursday, but managed to thwart the upset bid of the stubborn 15th-seeded Crusaders, 72-68, in a first-round East Regional game.

Holy Cross, which trailed, 36-27, at the half, rallied from a 54-44 deficit and tied the game at 58-58 on free throws by Josh Sankes (13 points, 10 rebounds) with 6:28 to play. But Kentucky junior forward Tayshaun Prince made two three-point baskets to give the Wildcats (23-9) the lead for good. He also made two free throws with 7.2 seconds left to seal the victory.

Prince led all scorers with 27 points, 16 in the second half, and 10 in the last six minutes.

"Every time we'd make a run, they came right back," said Prince, who starred at Compton Dominguez High. "When they tied the game, I told [point guard] Saul [Smith] to get me the ball because I had a good groove going."

Said Sankes, "Everything was fast paced out there. I felt like I was in a WWF wrestling match. Kentucky's athletes were quicker and could jump. It reminded me of playing in the Big East again."

The Wildcats, who advanced to the second round for the 10th consecutive year, play Iowa on Saturday.

Holy Cross, which made 10 of 18 three-point shots but had 19 turnovers, ends the season 22-8. Jared Curry, who made four of six three-point shots, led the Crusaders with 16 points.

Iowa 69, Creighton 56--Reggie Evans had 19 points and seven rebounds, and the seventh-seeded Hawkeyes (23-11) used a 20-7 run in the final 6 1/2 minutes to wear down the Bluejays. Evans, ordinarily a 62% free-throw shooter, made 13 of 15 from the line.

Tenth-seeded Creighton (24-8), which trailed, 32-30, at the half, made one of 15 three-point shots in the second half, and five of 28 overall. Ben Walker and Livan Pyfrom each had 11 points for Creighton.

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