SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ No lead was safe against Kentucky these past two weeks. And Monday night was no different.

The Wildcats fought back from 17 down with 9 1-2 minutes left against Duke. They raced ahead from a 10-point deficit in the second half against Stanford.

And with the NCAA championship on the line and Utah leading by seven with 10 minutes to go, Kentucky simply forced its will on the sagging, weary Utes to pull away to a 78-69 victory.

In two breathless spurts in the final frenetic minutes, Kentucky scored nine straight points to take the lead for the first time since the early minutes. Then, after six points by Utah, the Wildcats fashioned a 10-1 run to surge ahead for good 70-64.