Teague's 24 leads Kentucky over Iowa State 87-71

By Colin Fly

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 17 2012 9:45 p.m. MDT

Members of the Iowa State bench react in the second half of their NCAA third-round tournament college basketball game against Kentucky in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, March 17, 2012. Kentucky defeated Iowa State 87-71.

John Bazemore, Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — 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.

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