Originally created 04/01/97

Kentucky runs out of everything



INDIANAPOLIS - Kentucky didn't have the stamina or the stars from last year to win a second straight national championship.

It couldn't overcome a thin bench, foul trouble and a fast Arizona team that matched Kentucky step-for-step, losing 84-79 in overtime Monday night.

Kentucky had lost three starters from last year's national champions, and then its leading scorer went down with a midseason knee injury.

In the end, Kentucky simply had nothing left.

"Fatigue was a factor, but it was a factor for both teams," Kentucky coach Rick Pitino.

Kentucky scored just five points in overtime, including a late 3-pointer by guard Cameron Mills with the game out of reach.

After beating Syracuse for the national title last year, the Wildcats lost seniors Tony Delk and Walter McCarty and sophomore Antoine Walker to the NBA. Then they lost leading scorer Derek Anderson to a knee injury in January.

In the postseason, swingman Allen Edwards had a hairline fracture to his ankle, and although he returned in the Final Four, the injury limited Pitino's options and Edwards' playing time.

A team that prides itself in wearing down the opposition with frenetic defense couldn't rattle Arizona.

Even without last year's powerhouse lineup, Kentucky used its smothering full-court pressure to force 26 Minnesota turnovers in posting a 78-69 semifinal victory on Saturday.

But it all caught up with Kentucky in the championship.

Kentucky had four players foul out in the game, another obstacle it couldn't overcome in the end.