- The Washington Times - Monday, March 18, 2002

ST. LOUIS (AP) The route for a repeat trip to the third round of the NCAA tournament was simple for Kentucky: Get the ball to Tayshaun Prince.
The rail-thin, 6-foot-9 forward added another chapter to Wildcats lore with his 41-point effort in an 87-82 victory over Tulsa in the second round of the East Region on Saturday.
Prince, the lone senior starter for the fourth-seeded Wildcats, topped his previous career best by 11.
"It's plain and simple," guard J.P. Blevins said. "Give him the ball. Isolate him whenever you can and get him off screens whenever you can."
Prince's point total was well shy of the NCAA tournament record of 61 by Notre Dame's Austin Carr in 1970 against Ohio in a first-round game. It was 12 shy of the team record of 53 by Dan Issel in 1970 against Ole Miss, and three points shy of Issel's 44-point outing in a regional semifinal against Notre Dame in '70.
But it matched the dominating performance by Jack Givens in the Wildcats' 1978 NCAA championship game victory over Duke, also in St. Louis. And it came at a most opportune time for a team that was scuffling entering the postseason, losing four of its last nine and falling in the first round of the SEC tournament.
And he did it with only 21 shots, played 37 minutes and had no turnovers.
"It was a spectacular 41 points," coach Tubby Smith said.
"He's always been considered an All-American player and he showed why," Tulsa coach John Phillips said. "You take 21 shots and get 41 points, that's incredible."
Kentucky (22-9) will play Maryland, the top seed in the East, on Friday in Syracuse, N.Y.
"We've got momentum on our side now, thanks to the big guy," Blevins said. "We ask a lot of him, and he delivered, but never did we expect to get 41 points out of him."
Prince was only 5-for-14 in Kentucky's 83-68 first-round victory over Valparaiso, although he was instrumental in holding Lubos Barton, the Mid-Continent Conference player of the year, to 10 points. Entering the second round, he had been shooting only 35 percent the last seven games overall, going only 2-for-11 from 3-point range.
He broke the slump by hitting a pair of inside shots, opening the game by posting up on 6-2 Greg Harrington and scoring off an inside toss.
"I got some to fall before I started shooting the outside shot," Prince said. "Once I knew I had my outside shot going, then I knew I was comfortable with my game and I could pretty much go inside and out and take it at the opponent."
Prince ended up 14-for-21, including 6-for-8 from 3-point range. He scored on a variety of shots, none of them dunks.
"He was just doing so many little jump shots, little in-between jump shots, and those are some of the hardest shots to make," Smith said. "So, his concentration and focus was the best I've seen in a long time."
Prince hopes he can keep it up, but figures he'll have to make some adjustments before the next game.
"The most important thing is to get everybody involved early on," Prince said. "I'm pretty sure the next opponent will see how I played and try to send more people at me," Prince said.
Keith Bogans, a DeMatha High grad, also is getting his game on track just in time for the Wildcats. Bogans had 21 points in the first round and followed that up with 19 against Tulsa.
"When you've got a 1-2 punch like Tayshaun and Keith, you can go pretty far," forward Chuck Hayes said.
Smith wrote the words "4 More!" on the marker board in the locker room.
"We've had a lot of ups and downs, but Coach said we were going to start fresh," Bogans said. "We've just got a whole new attitude right now."


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