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Pro Continuation Call Suits Duncan Just Fine

MIKE NADELMarch 22, 1996

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Tim Duncan faked left and spun right when he was slapped hard by Damion Dantzler. Able to maintain control of the basketball, Duncan continued with the play and banked in a 5-footer.

No one was more surprised than Duncan that the referees counted the basket. He then made the free throw with 1:16 left Thursday night, lifting Wake Forest to a 60-59 victory over Louisville and a spot in the Midwest Regional final.

``I didn’t think the basket was going to count for a second there,″ Duncan said. ``I thought the shot went off a little late, but when they said the shot counted, I wasn’t going to argue.″

In college, the foul is supposed to take place during the actual shot for a player to get a three-point opportunity. Instead, it was a classic NBA continuation call _ which might have been appropriate for a player who is likely to be a pro standout.

``We played against Massachusetts, and Marcus Camby is a great player,″ Louisville’s Denny Crum said. ``But we haven’t played against anybody better than Tim Duncan.″

The play capped a 27-point, 13-rebound, seven-block night for the All-American center.

That Duncan was even in the game to make the winning play was somewhat surprising. He picked up his fourth foul with 7:59 to go, but the Cardinals mysteriously stopped feeding the ball inside to Samaki Walker.

``I was kind of surprised that they didn’t isolate Walker and try to throw it into him every time,″ Duncan said.

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NO BLUE-GRASS BATTLE: Ever since the NCAA tournament brackets were announced, fans from the Blue Grass State had their eyes on one matchup _ Kentucky vs. Louisville in the Midwest Regional final.

It’s not going to happen.

Kentucky did its part, rolling past Utah 101-70 in Thursday’s other semifinal. But Louisville shot only 33 percent and didn’t score in the final 4:52 in its loss to Wake Forest.

``We didn’t think the Sweet 16 was going to be good enough for us,″ Louisville’s B.J. Flynn said. ``We thought we could go to the championship game.″

Since winning the title in 1986, the Cardinals have lost the last five times they have advanced to the regional semifinal round.

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DOME SWEET DOME? NO!: Louisville also lost in Midwest Regional semfinals at the Metrodome in 1989, falling 83-69 to Illinois.

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GREAT DEPTH, GREAT TEAM: While Keith Van Horn and Ben Caton combined for 45 of Utah’s 70 points, Kentucky had four players with at least 14 points each. In addition, 12 different Wildcats scored.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest got points from only six players. Besides Duncan’s 27 points, Ricky Peral’s 11 represented the only other double-digit output.

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SCORING DROUGHTS: Both Wake Forest and Louisville had trouble scoring in the second half.

At one point, Wake Forest turned the ball over on five of seven possessions, with Duncan scoring on the other two.

Louisville missed all nine shots it attempted in the final 6:20, getting only one free throw.

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LOOKING BACK: In 1951, Kentucky was ranked No. 1 in the nation and had only one defeat before losing to Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference tournament title game. The Wildcats recovered in time to capture the national championship, winning games in Minneapolis and New York in the NCAA tournament.

This season, Kentucky was No. 1 and had one loss before falling to Mississippi State in the SEC title game. The Wildcats are now trying to win the Midwest Regional in Minneapolis to earn a trip to the Final Four in East Rutherford, N.J., a suburb of New York.

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NO. 1 FOR THE AGES: Thursday’s victory over Utah gave Kentucky a career record of 1,647-520, tying North Carolina for the most victories in college basketball history. North Carolina has 588 losses.

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JUST SHORT: Louisville was going for a significant number of its own Thursday night. But the 60-59 loss to Wake Forest prevented the Cardinals from gaining victory No. 1,300, which would have broken a tie with Illinois for 21st on the NCAA list.

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