Cats Down Iowa State 87-71

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Updated: 3/18/2012 1:06 am
By COLIN FLY
AP Sports Writer
      LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Freshman Marquis Teague finally feels in
step with Kentucky coach John Calipari's offense.
      Now, he's taking the Wildcats to the South Regional semifinals
in Atlanta, and maybe a lot farther than that.
      Teague scored a career-high 24 points and top seed Kentucky put
together another complete performance with a dominating second-half
run in an 87-71 victory over Iowa State in the third round of the
NCAA tournament on Saturday night.
      "I didn't really care about scoring points. I just wanted to
get my teammates involved and do whatever I needed to do to help my
team win," said Teague, who added seven assists. "I was just
trying to push the ball in transition and take whatever play they
were going to give me. They gave me the layup a lot tonight."
      Freshman Anthony Davis had 15 points and 12 rebounds, senior
Darius Miller added 19 points and Doron Lamb finished with 16. The
Wildcats (34-2) used a 20-2 burst to break away from a tie and next
will face fourth-seeded Indiana on Friday.
      Teague's role as point guard has been one of the hardest on a
team full of NBA talent. He's had to learn the position under
Calipari and acknowledged earlier this year he worried so much
about it he has had sleepless nights.
      No more.
      "I just was thinking too much. Trying to force shots up
sometimes instead of the making the easy play," Teague said.
"Coming out of high school I scored a lot of points, and that's
what I was used to doing. But playing with guys like I'm playing
with, you don't need to do that."
      Not with a team that has this many playmakers.
      Kentucky now gets another crack at the Hoosiers, who beat them
on a last-second 3-pointer by Christian Watford in December when
the young 'Cats committed a defensive lapse that cost them on the
final play.
      "That was a rough day for us. Hate to lose any game but the way
we lost, that just made it that much worse. Had to move on past
that day," Teague said. "Guess we got 'em again. We just have to
come out and play our hardest. We're not talking revenge or
anything."
      Among the players who have improved the most since then is
Teague, often overshadowed and compared to Calipari's former floor
leaders at Kentucky and Memphis, including John Wall, Brandon
Knight, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans.
      "I brought him here because when I watched him play, I
absolutely loved his game. He is a tough - I call him a pitbull,"
Calipari said. "Great athleticism, but a really smart floor game.
Now, for us, he could score more, but why would you score more on
this team as a point guard? But today, they really left him. I told
him, look, you've got to keep people honest."
      So when Teague and Calipari talked before a first-half timeout,
the coach was impressed Teague recognized the defense was rolling
off him, allowing him to cut to the basket.
      "I told him you just created two unbelievable shots for your
teammates. Now, just keep playing," Calipari said. "They were all
focused."
      Royce White, who almost transferred to Kentucky before settling
in Ames, scored 23 points and had nine rebounds before fouling out
with 4:32 left for Iowa State (23-11), which beat defending
national champion Connecticut on Thursday night.
      "We've got nothing to hang our head about. We got beat by the
No. 1 overall seed that played an incredible game," Cyclones coach
Fred Hoiberg said. "We're going to walk out of Lexington, I'm
sorry, where are we? Louisville, with our head held high."
      The Cyclones couldn't contend with Kentucky's overwhelming
offense and smothering defense after rallying from a 12-point
halftime deficit to 42-all with 16:23 left.
      Teague and Kentucky turned up the pressure with their big run.
      Terrence Jones hit a basket, Miller added another and Jones
flipped an alley-oop to Davis. After two free throws by Scott
Christopherson, the Wildcats ran off 14 straight points that made
it 62-42.
      Jones finished with eight points and 11 rebounds as Kentucky led
by as many as 24 with 6:27 left while shooting 55.4 percent from
the field on the night.
      Chris Allen scored 16 points and Christopherson finished with 15
for the Cyclones, who struggled from 3-point range.
      "Our biggest strength is the 3-point shot, and we go 3 for
22," Hoiberg said. "We're not going to win very many games when
we shoot the ball like that."
      In this tournament, Kentucky has remained the mark of
consistency so far and made the most of its two games in its own
state, just 75 miles from campus. Seemingly every member of Big
Blue Nation attended, including actress Ashley Judd, who was
stationed just behind the bench with Calipari's family.
      Teague and the rest of the Wildcats made sure the show was worth
it.
      "That's about as good as we can play," Calipari said. "I want
them to just look at this and be happy, but not satisfied. Let's
just keep stepping."


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