USD Men's Basketball 2001-2002

1 bly the greatest college basketball game ever played ~

picks-had started on the 1991 team that had defeated invinci– ble UNLV in the semifinals, then beat Kansas for the title. Senior forward Brian Davis, junior guard Thomas Hill, sophomore forward Antonio Lang an freshman center Cherokee Parks (another future lottery pick) were all talented players. Kentucky answered ·th exactly one legitimate college star. Sophomore forward !Jamal Mashburn was the Cats' only future lottery pick The hi art of the team rested in four unher– alded seniors, who had elected to stay in Lexington and ride out the probation years. The Faithful Four, as some Kentucky fans called them-forwards John Pelphrey and Deron Feldhaus, guards Sean Wood and Richie Farmer-joked that they only stayed because they weren't good enough to go anywhere else. That was only a John Pelphrey (#34)wasa deadly outside shooter for

progr13m had never really been top-rank material before Krzyz wski's arrival in 1980. It was his incredible run– five Final Four appearances in six years between 1986 and 1 91-that had finally allowed the Blue Devils to clai parity with the elite programs such as UCLA, Kans s, North 1 Carolina.. and Kentucky Duke's bid for a second straight national champi– onshi in 199:j was vital to securing that place in the basketball world. The Blue Devils had spent the entire season ranked No. 1. Krzyzewski's squad opened the NC la ith double-figure victories over all.

Kentucky, and Duke knew it. The Blue Devils defense tried to deny him the ball,butwas unsuccessful most of the time.

slight exaggeration Even Pitino admitted that he wouldn't have recruited them. But he

used them to surround the gifted Mashburn and to run his system, built around constant fullcourt pressure and a heavy reliance on the three-point shot. That system, as much as anything, was why Duke was anx– ious to take on the Wildcats. The Blue Devils didn't believe anybody could press them or run with them. Kentucky would show them just how wrong they were. It started early The Wildcats forced Laettner into a turnover on Duke's first possession and Pelphrey promptly hit a

Kentucky's path to the East Regional title game was almost as easy he ildcats earned a No. 2 seed by winning the SEC champions ip and knocked off Old Dominion, Iowa +-----S- t-ate and Mass1chusetts to earn the chance to play the top– seeded Blue De ils in the Philadelphia Spectrum Few observers expected Kentucky to offer Duke much of a challenge that March day, including the Blue Devils themselves. "We were so confident," Grant Hill recalled. "As soon as we learned we were playing them, we licked our chops "

three-pointer. Kentucky had hit just 3-of-15 three-pointers in their semifinal victory over UMass, but the Cats hit their first three against Duke and jumped to a 20-12 lead.

It didn't last long. The Blue Devils responded, as they had all season, ripping off a 15-2 run to recapture the lead. The first half was played at a furious pace as Kentucky's press forced the tempo. Duke's response was to attack with Hurley, who turned it over eight times, but also dished out 10 assists. The Blue Devils shot an amazing 70 percent in the first -- -- --- ----------- half, yet led by just five at the break That lead stretched to 12 when Hurley hit a three-pointer to give Duke a 67-55 edge

Why not? Duke was a team of veteran stars. Point guard Bobby Hurley, Hill and Laettner- all future NBA lottery

College H2... tc:~

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