Kentucky's Cliff Hawkins lets out a yell as he tries to draw a charge from Tulane's Brandon Spann during the first half of their game Wednesday. No foul was called on the play.
Jan 2, 2002
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Kentucky connected on 16 three-pointers to roll to a 101-67 victory over Tulane University in men's basketball action on Wednesday evening at Freedom Hall.
The game was Tulane coach Shawn Finney's first against his former boss and mentor Tubby Smith. Finney assisted Smith for nine years, including three years at Kentucky.
Kentucky (9-2), ranked No. 6 in the nation wasted little time taking control of the game. The Wildcats scored the first five points of the game and quickly built 11-2 and 19-4 leads. Tulane (8-3) pulled together, however, and cut the deficit to eight at 21-13. However, Kentucky again rallied and pushed the margin to 17, 47-30, at the break.
"They are really good," Finney said. "We came out tentative and they came out aggressive and focused. Unfortunately our guys have not played enough games like this. But that's why you play them. They are measuring sticks and allow you to see what you need to do to get to that level."
Linton Johnson (Chicago, Ill.) opened the second-half scoring with a breakaway dunk to make it 47-32, but then the Wildcats locked in. Kentucky scored the next 13 points and had a 22-3 run overall to build a 69-35 advantage with 13:24 to go.
Despite seeming to be down for the count, the Green Wave rallied. Marsh and Ivan Pjevcevic (Belgrade, Yugoslavia) connected on back-to-back threes to jump-start a 17-2 Tulane run. Marsh also capped the stretch with four straight free throws as the Wave pulled within 19 at 71-52.
However, Kentucky had back-to-back threes from Cliff Hawkins and an alley-oop dunk by Tayshaun Prince to push the margin back to 27 with 7:45 to go.
Prince, the reigning SEC Player of the Year and an All-American, was unstoppable. He connected on 10-of-13 shots and finished with 22 points and six rebounds.
"I think Tayshaun is the best player in the country," Finney said. "He can do it all, he is so versatile. He can play the one, two, three, four or five [positions] and he makes everyone around him better."
Joining Prince with big games for Kentucky were Gerald Fitch (16 points, 10 rebounds), Keith Bogans (16 points) and Rashaad Caruth (11 points), one of last year's McDonald's High School All-Americans, who comes off the bench for the Wildcats.
"We didn't play well," Spann said of the night's effort. "But you have to give Kentucky credit for that. It's a learning process for us, but we need it to get ready for conference play."
A George Brown dunk with 2:57 to go made it 86-64 but with both teams clearing their benches, Kentucky used five three-pointers in the final 2:14 to account for the final margin.
Tulane returns to action on Saturday, opening its Conference USA schedule with a road game at DePaul. The Blue Demons upset No. 10 Missouri in their last game.
"We have to learn from our mistakes," Finney said. "We need to lay this one to rest and get ready for DePaul, who is coming off a great win over Missouri."