The date is December 8, 2001 and 23,153 fans pack Rupp Arena to watch two legendary programs battle it out against one another. Knowing the history behind the two teams, everyone already knew that it would be a great game. But nobody could predict what would unfold in the opening minutes.
Tayshaun Prince from Compton, California entered the game averaging 16.5 points a contest and was the reigning SEC Player of the year. So he was already well acquainted with most of the Big Blue Nation, but he would soon become a legend in the hearts of everyone across the Commonwealth.
The game starts out and North Carolina quickly jumps out to a 4-0 lead, Prince gets the ball at the top of the key and fires, it’s good. One!
Prince comes off a screen, and gets the ball and shoots again behind the line, its good. Two!
Now Prince gets the ball on the right side of the floor, sizes his man up and pulls once more. Nothing but net. Three!
The team knows that he’s hot now. The crowd is getting louder and louder just begging for Prince to shoot. Tayshaun gets the ball at nearly the same spot as his previous shot and pulls again, its good. Four!
The announcers cant believe what they’re watching and Rupp Arena is about to blow the roof of the building. Good defense on the other end forces a turnover and Kentucky ends up with ball and it’s in Tayshaun’s hands before he even crosses half court. He squares up from the UK logo and lets it fly. It drops and its nothing short a chaos inside of Rupp. The crowd cant believe it, the announcers cant believe it, and North Carolina cant believe it. Five 3-pointers and they’re all from one player.
Prince ended the game with 31 points and Kentucky picked up their 1800th all time victory that day. After the game ended, head coach Tubby Smith called the performance “unbelievable”.
“He’s not a prince he’s a king!!”