'MAD' Moment: March 1997

Aug. 17, 2010

Editor’s Note: The following was written by Pat Harty and first appeared in the March 14, 1997 edition of the Iowa City Press Citizen.

SALT LAKE CITY – Andre Woolridge said he nearly transferred to Kentucky before choosing to attend the University of Iowa in 1993.

Woolridge and the Hawkeyes will meet Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Tournament West Regional at approximately 6 p.m. Saturday.

Iowa advanced by defeating Virginia 73-60 in Thursday’s first round. The Hawkeyes committed only three turnovers against one of the top defensive teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Kentucky, the defending national champion and No. 1 seed in the West Regional, pounded No. 16 seed Montana 92-54 Thursday.

“I think it’s going to be a good matchup,” Woolridge said. “It’s going to be a fast-paced game, just an all-around good basketball game.”

Iowa played an all-around good basketball game against Virginia, which ended the season with an 18-13 record.

The Hawkeyes (22-9) out rebounded the Cavaliers 44-27 thanks primarily to junior forward Ryan Bowen. He finished with 16 rebounds, including 10 offensive boards. Bowen also had 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field.

It marked the 10th time this season that Bowen had at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in the same game.

Bowen, a 6-foot-7 native of Fort Madison, played sparingly in last year’s NCAA Tournament because of a broken hand.

“I was pretty fired up coming out there,” Bowen said. “It seems like the ball was going right there and I was going up and getting them.

“I was upset at myself early because I thought I could have had more.”

Complimenting Bowen on the inside was redshirt freshman center Guy Rucker, who finished with 19 points and four blocks. Rucker had 14 points in the first half.

“In my opinion, the guys that really hurt us badly are Bowen and Rucker,” Virginia coach Jeff Jones said. “I just can’t say enough about Bowen’s performance. He was just relentless after the basketball.

“And that’s the kind of effort that great rebounders have.”

Woolridge turned in a typical performance with 17 points and 10 assists, which matched his career high. He also had zero turnovers in 32 minutes.

“I just can’t say enough about Bowen’s performance. He was just relentless after the basketball. And that’s the kind of effort that great rebounders have.”
Virginia coach Jeff Jones

Woolridge, a 6-foot senior point guard, will be tested by Kentucky’s pressure defense.

“With two pressure teams like Iowa and Kentucky, it’s going to be up-and-down all night,” Woolridge said. “We’re going to have to be ready to play.”

Iowa coach Tom Davis has never lost a first-round NCAA Tournament game. His record improved to 10-0 with Thursday’s victory, including 8-0 at Iowa. Davis’ other two victories were at Boston College.

“We’ve been playing better and better as this season’s gone on,” Davis said. “The one guy that has been phenomenal from the start is Andre Woolridge.”

Woolridge and his cohorts played well from start to finish Thursday. Iowa led almost the whole game. Its biggest lead was 22 points (59-37) in the second half.

Rucker made a basket with 16 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the first half to give Iowa an 8-6 lead. The Hawkeyes never trailed again.

Iowa led by as many as 11 points in the first half.

Virginia had no answer for Rucker inside. He made 8-of-16 field goals and also had five rebounds in his first NCAA Tournament appearance.

Rucker scored most of his points on medium-range jumpers. “All through the season, that’s been the shot that I’ve been hitting,” Rucker said. “It just comes to me. And I just try to use it to the best of my advantage.”

Iowa out-rebounded the Cavaliers 24-14 in the opening half. Bowen led the Hawkeyes with eight rebounds, including six offensive.

Woolridge had seven points and six assists by intermission. He also committed zero turnovers while playing 19 minutes in the first half. Iowa committed one turnover in the first half.

Virginia made only 22-of-50 shots and just 6-of-21 3-point field goals. The Cavaliers were ranked second in 3-point shooting in the ACC this season.

Junior guard Curtis Staples missed the only two shots he took in the first half. Staples scored five points on 1-of-8 shooting for the game.

Staples led the ACC with 97 3-point baskets. He was averaging 14.2 points heading into Thursday’s game.

“I thought that I would get a few more looks than I did,” Staples said. “I thought they wouldn’t extend as much as they did in the zone.

“They were very aware of where I was on the floor and I could never really get going.”

Sophomore forward Courtney Alexander also struggled offensively. He finished with six points, far below his 15.1 average.

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Iowa, seeded eighth in the West Regional, will need a similar performance on defense against Kentucky, which improved to 31-4 with Thursday’s victory.

Davis said Kentucky will provide the ultimate challenge for his team.

“Kentucky is a whole different style,” Davis said. “They do a lot of things that we do as well.

“So we’re aware of what the problems are going to be, and you’re going to turn the ball over.

“They are going to come at us.”

Here’s a list of “MAD” Moments that have appeared previously inside hawkeyesports.com.