This Week in Kentucky Basketball History: Rupp's Debut 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.
• 1948: Kentucky raced out to a 40-19 halftime lead over Arkansas and never looked back, defeating the Razorbacks 76-39 at Alumni Gymnasium. Senior center Alex Groza led the Wildcats in scoring with 18 points. This was the last game played at Kentucky for Joe B. Hall, future head coach of the Wildcats. Hall later transferred to Sewanee University.
• 1958: No. 2 Kentucky used a stifling defense on No. 9 St. Louis, limiting the Billikens to just 33.3-percent shooting from the field, as the Wildcats thoroughly defeated St. Louis, 76-57. Kentucky was aided by spectacular shooting at the free-throw line, making 89.7-percent of its 29 attempts from the charity stripe. Senior forward Johnny Cox had a monster of a game for the Wildcats, posting a double-double with 27 points and 20 rebounds.
• 1960: No. 20 Kentucky, trailing No. 5 North Carolina by one point at the half, outscored the Tar Heels 44-38 in the second half for the upset victory at Greensboro Coliseum. The Wildcats had three players score in double figures, led by Ned Jennings' 19 points. This was the first meeting between Kentucky and North Carolina with both schools ranked in the Associated Press Poll.
• 1980: No. 2 Kentucky had a slim three-point lead at halftime against Kansas, and outscored the Jayhawks 49-38 in the second half for the 87-73 victory. The Wildcats were led on offense by four players scoring in double figures, including a career-high 29 points by sophomore center Sam Bowie.
• 1997: No. 4 Kentucky, trailing No. 24 Georgia Tech by one point at halftime, outscored the Yellow Jackets 51-36 in the second half for an 85-71 comeback victory at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats were very balanced on offense, with six players scoring in double figures. Junior forward Heshimu Evans led Kentucky with a double-double, pouring in 14 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
• 2003: No. 8 Kentucky led No. 21 Michigan State 49-43 in a high-scoring first half and held on in the second half to defeat the Spartans 79-74 in the Basketbowl. The game was held at Ford Field in Detroit to set a world record for largest attendance at a basketball game. The world record was set, with 78,129 fans in attendance to watch the battle of Top 25 teams. The Wildcats were led by Gerald Fitch's 25 points and Chuck Hayes' double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds.
• 2014: No. 1 Kentucky jumped out to a commanding 15-point lead over No. 21 North Carolina at halftime and cruised to an 84-70 victory over the Tar Heels at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats had four players score in double figures, with both Devin Booker and Willie Cauley-Stein leading the way with 15 points. The attendance of 24,406 made it the 10th-largest crowd in Rupp Arena history.
• 1929: Kentucky was just too much to handle for intrastate foe Georgetown College as the Wildcats held the Tigers to just four points in the first half of their 46-9 victory. Center Stanley Milward outscored Georgetown by himself, scoring 12 points for the Wildcats. Harry Lancaster, future men's basketball assistant coach and athletics director at Kentucky, played for Georgetown and was held scoreless.
• 1957: No. 3 Kentucky used a stifling defense, holding No. 9 St. Louis to just 39.4-percent shooting from the field, to defeat the Billikens in a battle of Top 10 teams at Kiel Auditorium. The Wildcats had three players score in double figures, led by Adrian Smith's 21 points.
• 1979: No. 5 Kentucky, trailing No. 1 Indiana by three points at halftime, outscored the Hoosiers 33-19 in the second half to secure the 69-58 upset victory for the Wildcats at Rupp Arena. Kentucky dominated the game on the glass, resulting in a plus-13 rebounding margin over Indiana. The Wildcats were led on offense by senior Kyle Macy's 12 points. This was the third victory over a top-ranked team in the AP Poll in Kentucky's history.
• 2001: No. 9 Kentucky overwhelmed intrastate foe Kentucky State, outscoring the Thorobreds 63-31 in the second half for a convincing 118-63 victory for the Wildcats at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats emptied the bench, with 14 players scoring, led by Marquis Estill's 21 points. Kentucky State was coached by former Kentucky player Winston Bennett.
• 1948: Kentucky led Holy Cross, with future Hall of Famer Bob Cousy, by seven points at halftime and cruised in the second half to defeat the Crusaders 51-48. Senior center Alex Groza led the Wildcats in scoring with 17 points. This was the only game played by Kentucky at the famous Boston Garden.
• 2006: Kentucky overwhelmed intrastate rival Louisville on defense, limiting the Cardinals to a meager 27-percent shooting from the field, in the Wildcats' 61-49 victory at Freedom Hall. Freshman Jodie Meeks led Kentucky in scoring with 18 points.
• 1951: Memorial Coliseum was the site for a monumental college basketball matchup as No. 2 Kentucky and No. 1 St. John's squared off in Lexington in, at the time, the second-ever game between the top two teams in the AP Poll. But the game didn't go as many fans expected as the Wildcats ran the Red Storm off the court, blowing them out in an 81-40 victory for Kentucky. It was the defense for the Wildcats that was the difference, holding St. John's to just 10 made field goals the entire game. The offense was led by the sensational duo of Cliff Hagan and Bobby Watson as they outscored St. John's themselves, combining to score 50 points. This still remains the largest margin of defeat ever for a top-ranked team in the AP Poll.
• 1983: It was a tale of two halves for No. 2 Kentucky against BYU in the UKIT Championship at Rupp Arena. BYU led Kentucky by two points at halftime, but the Wildcats saved their best play for last, outscoring the Cougars 59-23 in the second half for the convincing 93-59 victory. The Wildcats used some hot shooting for their comeback win, shooting 58.6-percent from the field. Kentucky was led in scoring by Melvin Turpin's 16 points, but Winston Bennett and Sam Bowie both chipped in with a double-double.
• 2005: No. 23 Kentucky came out firing out of the gate against No. 4 Louisville, leading the Cardinals by 15 points at halftime, and never looked back as the Wildcats upset their intrastate rival, 73-61. It was sophomore sensation Rajon Rondo who stole the show for Kentucky, scoring a career-high 25 points while also dishing out seven assists. The Wildcats' defense helped in the victory as well, limiting the Cardinals to 35-percent shooting from the field.
• 1930: Kentucky was too much for intrastate foe Georgetown College to handle, overwhelming the Tigers in a convincing 67-19 victory for the Wildcats. But the score or opponent wasn't important as one of the greatest head coaches in men's college basketball history began his career at Kentucky. Adolph Rupp, formerly a high school basketball coach in Illinois, made his coaching debut for the Wildcats. Forest Sale led Kentucky in scoring with 19 points.
• 1971: No. 7 Kentucky could do no wrong on offense in the first half against No. 18 Princeton, resulting in 57 first-half points. That helped the Wildcats defeat the Tigers 96-82 in the UKIT Championship at Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats had four players score in double figures, with a pair of double-double performers, Jim Andrews and Tom Parker.
• 1999: Kentucky and Louisville battled in the first half of their annual intrastate matchup, with the Wildcats holding a slim one-point lead at halftime. But it was the impressive second-half performance by Kentucky that dazzled the fans, outscoring Louisville 41-12 in the final 20 minutes for the 76-46 blowout victory for the Wildcats. Kentucky's defense was key to victory, holding Louisville to just 29.8-percent shooting from the field. The Wildcats were led on offense by Tayshaun Prince's 20 points. This was Kentucky's largest margin of victory against Louisville since Mar. 27, 1948.
• 2004: No. 9 Kentucky had one of its greatest comebacks in school history against their intrastate rival, No. 13 Louisville, at Freedom Hall. With the Wildcats trailing the Cardinals by 16 points at halftime, Kentucky clawed all the way back to trail by just one point with a few seconds remaining. Patrick Sparks attempted a 3-point field goal in the final second and was fouled, and subsequently hit all three free-throws to secure the 60-58 thrilling victory. Sparks became an instant legend in Kentucky basketball folklore, and it didn't hurt that he led the team in scoring with 25 points. This game tied the largest halftime deficit overcome by Kentucky in a win in school history.
• 1998: No. 3 Kentucky had one of its best defensive performances of the shot-clock era against Georgia Tech in the Delta Air Lines Classic in Atlanta. The Wildcats limited the Yellow Jackets to just 12 points in the first half en route to their convincing 80-39 victory. Kentucky held Georgia Tech to an astounding 24.2-percent shooting from the field to aid in the victory. Sophomore center Michael Bradley led the Wildcats in scoring with 16 points. This was Kentucky's largest margin of victory against Georgia Tech since Jan. 7, 1951.