This Week in Kentucky Basketball History: NCAA First Weekend 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.

Mar. 13
1988: No. 6 Kentucky used a perfect performance from the free-throw line, making all 12 of its attempts, to propel the Wildcats to a 62-57 victory over Georgia in the SEC Tournament championship game in Baton Rouge. The Wildcats, trailing the Bulldogs by five points at the break, outscored Georgia 35-25 in the final 20 minutes to complete the comeback. Three players scored in double figures for Kentucky, led by sophomore Rex Chapman's 23 points.
1993: No. 4 Kentucky used a great shooting performance, 57.1 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc, to defeat No. 14 Arkansas 92-81 in the SEC Tournament semifinals at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats also dominated the Razorbacks on the glass, resulting in a plus-11 rebounding margin. Travis Ford led Kentucky in scoring with 26 points, including making an impressive six of his seven 3-point field goal attempts.
1994: No. 10 Kentucky made a living from deep, making almost as many 3-point field goals (12) as 2-point field goals (13), to defeat No. 17 Florida 73-60 in the SEC Tournament championship game in Memphis. The Wildcats were also nearly flawless from the charity stripe, making 11-of-12 free-throw attempts. Kentucky was balanced in scoring, with six players scoring at least eight points, led by Rodrick Rhodes' 15 points. 
2010: No. 2 Kentucky used stifling defense to limit No. 15 Tennessee to just 30.9-percent shooting from their field in the Wildcats' 74-45 blowout victory over the Volunteers in the SEC Tournament semifinals. Kentucky also imposed its will on the glass, resulting in a plus-15 rebounding margin. Freshman DeMarcus Cousins recorded a double-double for Kentucky, leading the team in points (19) and rebounds (15).
2011: No. 15 Kentucky took advantage of No. 12 Florida's physical play, making 24-of-29 free-throw attempts, to upset the Gators 70-54 in the SEC Tournament championship game in Atlanta. The Wildcats also used a great defensive performance, limiting Florida to 38.6-percent shooting from the field, to aid in their victory. Four players scored in double figures for Kentucky, led by freshman Brandon Knight's 17 points.

Mar. 14
1959: No. 2 Kentucky overwhelmed No. 20 Marquette in the first half, leading the Warriors by 30 points at the break, and cruised in the second half to win 98-69 in the NCAA Tournament regional consolation game in Evanston. The Wildcats shot an impressive 51.8-percent from the field, while limiting the Warriors to just 37.3-percent from the field, that aided in their blowout win. Don Mills had a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Bennie Coffman led the Wildcats with 28 points.
1993: No. 4 Kentucky used their patented pressure defense to limit LSU to just 29.7-percent shooting from the field as the Wildcats defeated the Tigers 82-65 in the SEC Tournament championship game at Rupp Arena. Kentucky was unselfish on the offensive side of the ball, assisting on 26 of their 31 made field-goals. Travis Ford led the Wildcats in scoring with 18 points, but it was sophomore Andre Riddick had a near-historical performance. Riddick almost had the second triple-double in school history, scoring 15 points and pulling down 10 rebounds while blocking nine of LSU's shots. 
1999: After No. 8 Kentucky let a four-point halftime lead slip away, the Wildcats outscored No. 22 Kansas 13-9 in overtime to defeat the Jayhawks 92-88 in an NCAA Tournament thriller in New Orleans. The Wildcats shot 50-percent from the field to aid in their victory, including making 11 3-point field goals. Senior Scott Padgett made sure that this wouldn't be his last game in a Kentucky jersey, setting a career-high with 29 points.
2010: No. 2 Kentucky was involved in an instant classic with Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament championship game in Nashville. With the Wildcats trailing the Bulldogs 64-61 with 4.9 seconds left, Mississippi State fouled Eric Bledsoe to avoid giving Kentucky the opportunity to attempt a 3-point field goal. Bledsoe made the first free-throw and purposely missed the second to give the Wildcats a chance to tie the game. Patrick Patterson tipped the miss away from the basket where John Wall retrieved it and took a long jumper. Wall's jumper was short, but DeMarcus Cousins was in the right place at the right time, rebounding the miss and quickly going back up for a lay-in at the buzzer that took the game into overtime. In the extra period, Wall put the game away for good by making a 3-point field goal with 22.6 seconds left to give the Wildcats a five-point lead. Kentucky went on to defeat Mississippi State, 75-74. Bledsoe led the Wildcats in scoring with 18 points, while Cousins recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Mar. 15
1973: With No. 17 Kentucky trailing No. 19 Austin Peay by four points at halftime, the Wildcats outscored the Governors 49-45 in the second half to force overtime. Kentucky pulled away in the extra period, defeating Austin Peay 106-100 in the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals in Nashville. Two players posted double-doubles for the Wildcats, Jim Andrews (30 points and 14 rebounds) and Kevin Grevey (21 points and 13 rebounds). 
2015: No. 1 Kentucky raced to a convincing 16-point lead against No. 21 Arkansas at halftime and cruised in the second half to defeat the Razorbacks 78-63 in the SEC Tournament championship game in Nashville. The Wildcats had an all-around good shooting performance, making 51 percent of their field-goal attempts, 58.3 percent of their 3-point field goal attempts and 77.8 percent of their free-throw attempts. Willie Cauley-Stein posted a double-double, scoring 15 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

Mar. 16
1996: No. 2 Kentucky had its way with No. 22 Virginia Tech on the glass, resulting in a plus-16 rebounding margin, to propel the Wildcats to an 84-60 blowout victory over the Hokies in the NCAA Tournament regional second round in Dallas. The Wildcats also used their pressure defense to limit Virginia Tech to 39.3-percent shooting from the field. Kentucky did its fair share on offense, making 53.3 percent of their field-goal attempts and 78.9 percent of their free-throw attempts. Sophomore Antoine Walker was the top performer for the Wildcats, leading the team in both points (21) and rebounds (11).
2002: No. 16 Kentucky was in a back-and-forth battle with Tulsa in the NCAA Tournament regional second round, pulling away from the Golden Hurricane 87-82 to advance to the regional semifinals. But this game was about one player and one of the greatest postseason performances in school history. Senior Tayshaun Prince was determined to not have his collegiate career at Kentucky end in St. Louis. Prince was efficient with his shot, making 66.7 percent of his 21 field-goal attempts, 75 percent of his 3-point field-goal attempts, and 77.8 percent of his free-throw attempts to end the game with an astounding 41 points, leaving the crowd at the Edward Jones Dome in complete awe. Prince became the third player in school history to score at least 40 points in an NCAA Tournament game, and the first since Jack Givens against Duke on Mar. 27, 1978.

Mar. 17
1984: No. 3 Kentucky made 53 percent of its field goals to dismantle the BYU Cougars 93-68 in the NCAA Tournament regional second round at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats also took advantage of BYU's physical play, making 23 of their 30 free-throw attempts. Kentucky was balanced on offense, with five players scoring in double figures, led by Kenny Walker's 19 points. But it was undersized senior Dicky Beal who played the biggest for the Wildcats on this day. Beal, the 5-foot-9 point guard, was an excellent distributor on offense, resulting in 14 assists, tying the school record at the time. 

Mar. 18
1966: No. 1 Kentucky and No. 2 Duke squared off at Cole Field House in the NCAA Tournament national semifinals in a game that was worthy of being a national championship game. The two best teams in the country, according to the Associated Press Poll, didn't disappoint, with Duke clinging to a slim one-point lead heading into halftime. The Wildcats overcame the deficit, outscoring the Blue Devils 42-37 in the final 20 minutes to secure the 83-79 victory and a berth in the national championship game. Amazingly, both teams had identical shooting performances from the field, making 32 of their 66 field-goal attempts. So the difference came down to the charity stripe, where the Wildcats made 19 of their 24 attempts, while Duke made 15 of its 19 attempts. Four players scored in double figures for Kentucky, led by Louie Dampier's 23 points.
1978: With No. 1 Kentucky trailing No. 4 Michigan State by five points at halftime, the Wildcats mounted a comeback that came down to a transfer to seal the 52-49 victory over the Spartans in the NCAA Tournament regional finals in Dayton. The Wildcats were clinging to a slim one-point lead with eight seconds left in the game when Purdue transfer Kyle Macy was fouled, sending him to the free-throw line. Macy made eight of his first nine free-throw attempts in the game, and didn't falter under pressure for his last two, making both to seal the game for the Wildcats. As a result of his clutch shooting from the charity stripe, Macy led Kentucky in scoring with 18 points. The Spartans had a freshman by the name of Earvin "Magic" Johnson who was limited to just six points on 2-of-10 shooting from the field.

Mar. 19
2005: No. 7 Kentucky, trailing No. 23 Cincinnati by two points at halftime, outscored the Bearcats 36-25 in the second half to complete the 69-60 comeback victory in the NCAA Tournament regional second round in Indianapolis. The Wildcats had an impressive defensive performance, limiting Cincinnati to just 32.8-percent shooting from the field, including 26.9-percent from behind the arc. Kentucky was much better on offense, shooting 51 percent from the field and making 58.3 percent of their 3-point attempts. The Wildcats had five players score 67 of their 69 points, led by junior Kelenna Azubuike's 19 points. Freshman Randolph Morris chipped in a double-double, scoring 11 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.
2011: No. 11 Kentucky had one of its best halftime comebacks in NCAA Tournament play against No. 22 West Virginia in the regional second round in Tampa. With the Wildcats trailing the Mountaineers by eight points at the break, Kentucky turned it around in the final 20 minutes, outscoring West Virginia 38-22 to complete the thrilling 71-63 comeback. The defense was much improved for Kentucky in the final 20 minutes, limiting the Mountaineers to 33.3-percent shooting from the field in the second half. Freshman Brandon Knight provided the spark for Kentucky offensively, scoring a career-high 30 points.