This Week in Kentucky Basketball History: Dead of Winter Edition
On Tuesdays throughout the 2015-2016 season we will take a trip down memory lane and look back at past great plays, players and games associated with University of Kentucky men’s basketball for that given week. So be sure to check back with us each and every Tuesday to relive the moments that make the winningest Division I men’s basketball program so special.
• 1983: Florida was looking for the upset bid at Rupp Arena, racing to a six-point lead at halftime against No. 6 Kentucky. But the Wildcats came roaring back in the second half, outscoring the Gators 39-26 in the final 20 minutes to secure the 70-63 comeback victory. Junior Melvin Turpin was the star for Kentucky, recording a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while also blocking six shots.
• 1990: Kentucky overwhelmed No. 25 Alabama in the first half at Rupp Arena, resulting in a 12-point lead at the break. The Wildcats cruised in the second half to upset the Crimson Tide, 82-65. Four players scored in double figures for the Wildcats, led by Reggie Hanson's 20 points.
• 1998: No. 6 Kentucky and No. 22 Arkansas were involved in a thrilling battle of ranked SEC foes at Rupp Arena. The Razorbacks had a slight edge at halftime, leading the Wildcats by two points at the break. Kentucky responded, outscoring Arkansas 29-27 in the second half to force overtime. In the extra period, the Wildcats outscored the Razorbacks 13-10 to secure the slim 80-77 victory. Kentucky dominated the game on the boards, resulting in an astounding plus-26 rebounding margin. The Wildcats were also able to overcome a poor shooting performance from behind the arc, making just 10.5-percent of their 3-point attempts. Heshimu Evans led the team in scoring with 20 points, while Nazr Mohammed and Scott Padgett each recorded a double-double.
• 2012: No. 2 Kentucky was too much for Arkansas to handle, thoroughly defeating the Razorbacks 86-63 at Rupp Arena. But this game was about a freshman sensation breaking a school record. Center Anthony Davis had a double-double with 27 points and 14 rebounds, but it was the second of his seven blocks that was special. With that block, Davis broke the school record for most blocks in a single season, set by Melvin Turpin 29 years earlier.
• 1958: No. 9 Kentucky took a commanding 13-point lead into halftime against No. 13 Tennessee and never looked back, defeating the Volunteers 77-68 at Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats had five players score in double figures, led junior Johnny Cox's 30 points. This was the first matchup between Kentucky and Tennessee with both teams ranked in the Associated Press Poll.
• 1969: No. 5 Kentucky, trailing Tennessee by one point at halftime, outscored the Volunteers 34-30 in the second half for the 69-66 comeback victory in Knoxville. The Wildcats had three players score in double figures, led by Dan Issel's 21 points. This victory was significant for Kentucky as it was the 1,000th victory all-time for the Wildcats, becoming the first NCAA Division I men's basketball program to reach 1,000 wins.
• 2003: No. 16 Kentucky limited No. 10 Notre Dame to just 34.4-percent shooting from the field as the Wildcats upset the Fighting Irish 88-73 at Rupp Arena. Kentucky was very disciplined with the ball on offense, committing just nine turnovers. The Wildcats had four players score in double figures, with Chuck Hayes recording a double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds.
• 2013: Kentucky, with a moderate five-point lead at halftime against Auburn, outscored the Tigers 45-28 in the second half to pull away for the 75-53 victory at Auburn Arena. The Wildcats had a stupendous defense from behind the arc as Auburn made zero of their 15 three-point attempts. Kyle Wiltjer led the team in scoring with 17 points, while Nerlens Noel blocked seven shots. The head coach for Auburn was Tony Barbee, current assistant coach for Kentucky.
• 1975: No. 7 Alabama led No. 10 Kentucky by three points at halftime, but the Wildcats responded in the second half, outscoring the Crimson Tide 47-39 in the final 20 minutes for the 74-69 upset victory at Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats won despite their poor shooting from the free-throw line, making just four of their 13 attempts. Kentucky had four players score in double figures, while senior Kevin Grevey posted a double-double with 20 points and 18 rebounds.
• 1999: No. 7 Kentucky used a hot shooting performance, 56.5-percent from the field, to upset No. 6 Auburn 72-62 at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats also played great defense, limiting the Tigers to just 33.8-percent shooting from the field. Kentucky had four players score in double figures, with senior Heshimu Evans leading the way with 20 points. This was just the second meeting all-time between Auburn and Kentucky with both teams ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press Poll, and the first time since 1959.
• 2004: No. 9 Kentucky let a 15-point lead in the second half slip away against Tennessee in Knoxville, but it was the heroics of a senior that saved the day for the Wildcats. Point guard Cliff Hawkins, who had missed his previous three 3-point field goal attempts in the game, nailed a 25-foot shot with 16.3 seconds left that tied the game at 64. The game went into overtime, where Chuck Hayes provided the game's final points with 3:50 left, as the Wildcats held on for the narrow 69-68 victory over the Volunteers. Erik Daniels led the Wildcats in scoring with 19 points, while Hayes had a double-double (18 points and 16 rebounds).
• 1989: It seemed as though Kentucky couldn't miss against No. 17 Tennessee in Knoxville, making an astounding 61.5 percent of its field-goal attempts, as the Wildcats upset the Volunteers by the slimmest of margins, 66-65. Kentucky's defense was just as good, limiting Tennessee to just 30 percent shooting from the field. The Wildcats had three players score in double figures, led by Derrick Miller's 23 points. This was Kentucky's only win over a team ranked in the Associated Press Poll in the 1988-1989 season.
• 1949: No. 2 Kentucky raced out to a nine-point lead against DePaul at halftime and never looked back, defeating the Blue Demons 56-45 in Chicago. This game was Kentucky's first game played in the Associated Press Poll era, with the Wildcats debuting at No. 2 in the poll. Kentucky had three players score in double figures, led by senior Alex Groza's 18 points.
• 1972: No. 19 Tennessee shot an impressive 55.3-percent from the field, but it wasn't enough for them as Kentucky upset the Volunteers 72-70 at Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats had three players score in double figures, led by sophomore Ronnie Lyons' 17 points. This was the first time that an unranked Kentucky team defeated a Tennessee team ranked in the Associated Press Poll.
• 1984: No. 3 Kentucky and No. 4 Houston squared off at Rupp Arena on Super Bowl Sunday in a game that may have had more hype than the NFL's biggest event. The Wildcats had just come off a season where they were an overtime period away from advancing to the Final Four, while the Cougars lost in the national championship game in the previous season. Kentucky had the "Twin Towers", Sam Bowie and Melvin Turpin, while Houston had Akeem "The Dream" Olajuwon. This was the first time that both Kentucky and their opponent were ranked in the top four of the Associated Press Poll in a game played at Rupp Arena. Kentucky's defense came up big, limiting Houston to just 34.7-percent shooting from the field, as the Wildcats were victorious in this supreme matchup, 74-67. Kenny Walker posted a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while the "Twin Towers" of Bowie and Turpin combined to have 27 points and 29 rebounds. Olajuwon had 14 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Cougars. Both teams went on to advance to the Final Four that season.
• 2000: No. 18 Kentucky was effective from behind the arc, making 12 three-point field goals, as they defeated No. 20 Vanderbilt 81-73 in overtime at Memorial Gymnasium. The Wildcats also dominated the Commodores on the glass, resulting in a plus-11 rebounding margin. Kentucky was led on offense by a pair of 23-point scorers: Desmond Allison and Jamaal Magloire. That was a career high in scoring for both players.
• 2003: No. 8 Kentucky's defense stifled No. 24 Auburn, forcing the Tigers into 26 turnovers, as the Wildcats defeated the Tigers 67-51 at Rupp Arena. Kentucky had four players score in double figures, led by Gerald Fitch's 16 points.
• 2008: Trailing No. 3 Tennessee by six points at halftime, Kentucky used some home-court magic to come back and upset the Volunteers 72-66 at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats defense proved the defense in the second half, holding the Volunteers to just two made field goals over a span of 13 minutes and 21 seconds. Kentucky had four players score in double figures, led by Patrick Patterson's 20 points. This was the highest-ranked team that an unranked Kentucky team had ever defeated in school history.
• 2010: No. 2 Kentucky's size was too much for Arkansas to handle, resulting in a plus-20 rebounding margin as the Wildcats thoroughly defeated the Razorbacks 101-70 at Rupp Arena. It wasn't a great homecoming for Arkansas' head coach John Pelphrey, a former Kentucky great himself. As a result of the blowout, 12 different players scored for Kentucky, led by Darius Miller's 18 points.