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Kentucky 87, Tulsa 82


ST. LOUIS (AP) _ To say Tayshaun Prince's shooting slump is over is an understatement.

Kentucky's lone senior starter went 14-for-21 from the field to score a career-high 41 points, leading the fourth-seeded Wildcats to an 87-82 victory over Tulsa in the second round of the East Regional on Saturday.

The NCAA tournament is bringing out the best in a team that lost four of nine games coming in, with Kentucky (22-9) also impressive in beating Valparaiso 73-58 in the first round.

Kentucky fought off several runs by Tulsa (27-7), and four free throws by Prince in the final 25 seconds were crucial. Both teams were on-target on 3-pointers: Kentucky went 10-for-19 from long range to compensate for shooting 44 percent overall, and Tulsa was 9-for-20.

The Wildcats led 81-72 with 4:49 to go, but the Golden Hurricane cut the gap to two on a 3-pointer by Greg Harrington with 57 seconds left. The lead was three after Antonio Reed's layup 47 seconds later, but Prince clinched it with a pair of free throws with 8.5 seconds remaining.

Kentucky is 11-2 in second-round games since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, and made it to the round of 16 for the second straight year. The victory over 12th-seeded Tulsa might have bittersweet for Kentucky coach Tubby Smith, facing the school that gave him his first Division I job in 1995.

The Wildcats will next play the winner of the Maryland-Wisconsin game.

Prince, Kentucky's leading scorer with a 16-point average, topped his previous career best of 31 points.

He made seven of his first eight shots and was 6-for-8 from 3-point range, adding nine rebounds, three blocked shots and four assists. He was 12-for-15 at one point in the second half before missing four of his last six shots.

Prince broke out after shooting only 35 percent over the previous seven games. That included a 5-for-14 outing against Valparaiso, although his defense on Mid-Continent Conference player of the year Lubos Barton was instrumental to Kentucky's victory.

Kentucky threatened to make it a rout early against Tulsa, hitting seven of its first eight shots and going 7-for-11 from 3-point range in the first half. But the Wildcats needed a long 3 from Prince at the buzzer for a 43-42 lead after an 11-0 Tulsa run.

Kentucky's Keith Bogans added 19 points, following up a 21-point outing in the first round.

Reed and Kevin Johnson each had 18 points for Tulsa. Johnson was 8-for-12 and had eight rebounds, and Harrington had 14 points and six assists.
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