Refuse to Lose Rewind: Kentucky vs. UMASS 1996 Final Four

14 years ago in what today seems like a strange match-up, the Kentucky Wildcats led by Rick Pitino faced the University of Massachusetts Minutemen who were then led by Coach John Calipari. Tony Delk scored 20 points to help lead Kentucky past UMASS 81-74. UMASS defeated Kentucky in a regular season game earlier in the year but Kentucky played strong defense during this game. The Cats frequently double teamed Marcus Camby, who still scored 25 points and had a Final Four record 6 blocks.
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“I started catching leg cramps in the second half, but Shep (Sheppard) gave us a big lift,” said Delk. “Hey, that’s our team. We have guys off our bench who give us a lift at any time.”

“Tony (Delk) cramping up hurt us a little bit,” said Kentucky coach Rick Pitino. “We knew we were going to have to win it with halfcourt offense and halfcourt defense down the stretch.”

“When we had a 10-point lead, we usually put the knockout punch, but they kept fighting back,” said Pitino. “When they made their run, the thing I feel best about is that there was no panic in our players.”

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