Alex Groza and Ralph Beard combined for 26 points and the Wildcats' defense held the Bears to 16 first-half points to capture UK's first NCAA title.
The title victory enabled the Wildcats to become only the second team ever to win both the NIT and NCAA titles. UK, which finished the season at 34-2, won the NIT title in 1946.
Paced by Groza and Beard, the Wildcats turned a 29-16 halftime lead into a 44-28 bulge midway through the second half. After Baylor rallied to cut the lead to 11, UK put the game out of reach as Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones scored four points to give the Wildcats a 15-point lead.
In addition to Groza and Beard, the Wildcats also got nine points apiece from Jones and Kenneth Rollins.
Front Row: Coach Adolph Rupp, Johnny Stough, Ralph Beard, Kenneth Rollins,
Cliff Barker, Jr., Dale Barnstable, Asst. Coach Harry Lancaster. Second Row: Manager Humzey Yessin, Garland Townes, Jim Jordan, Joe Holland,
Alex Groza, Wallace Jones, Jim Line, Roger Day, Trainer Wilbert Bud Berger.
Kentucky 46, Oklahoma A&M 36 March 26, 1949 - Seattle
Paced by Alex Groza's 25 points and a defense that limited the Aggies to a mere nine field goals, the Wildcats were crowned NCAA Champions for the second straight year.
Groza, a unanimous selection as the "Player of the Tournament," scored more than twice as many points as any other player. A&M's Jack Shelton was the game's only other player to score in double figures. He finished with 12 points.
The Aggies, coached by Hank Iba, led 5-2, but the Wildcats scored seven straight points, five by Groza, and never trailed again as they took a 25-20 first-half lead.
UK extended the lead to 31-21 early in the second half and coasted the rest of the way.
Front Row: Coach Adolph Rupp, Jim Line, Cliff Barker, John Stough, Ralph Beard,
Joe Hall, Garland Townes, Assistant Coach Harry Lancaster. Back Row: Dale Barnstable, Walt Hirsch, Wallace Jones, Alex Groza,
Bob Henne, Roger Day, Mgr. Humzey Yessin.
Kentucky 68, Kansas State 58 March 27, 1951 - Minneapolis
Bill Spivey scored 22 points and an ailing Cliff Hagan sparked the Wildcats to their third NCAA title.
With a squad consisting of only six healthy players - Walt Hirsch was ineligible and Hagan was plagued by an infected throat - the Wildcats hardly looked like championship material as Kansas State broke out to a 20-12 lead.
It was then that Rupp inserted the ailing Hagan. It was a move that may have proved the difference as the freshman forward sparked a rally that saw UK cut the Kansas State lead to 29-27 at the half.
Led by Hagan and Spivey, who dominated the boards, UK outscored Kansas State 41-29 in the second half to complete the come-from-behind victory.
Standing: Frank Ramsey, Shelby Linville, Bill Spivey, Roger Layne, Lou Tsioropoulos,
Read Morgan. Seated: Coach Adolph Rupp, Cliff Hagan, C.M. Newton, Walt Hirsch, Paul Lansaw, Dwight Price, Assistant Coach Harry Lancaster. Bottom Row: Lindle Castle, Lucian Whitaker, Bobby Watson, Guy Strong, T. Riddle.
Kentucky 84, Seattle 72 March 22, 1958 - Louisville
Senior Vernon Hatton scored 30 points and the Wildcats overcame a 25-point, 19-rebound performance by Elgin Baylor to capture their fourth NCAA championship.
Led by Hatton and Johnny Cox, who finished with 24 points, the Wildcats twice battled back from 11-point deficits to gain the victory.
Trailing for much of the game, UK grabbed its first lead with 6:08 left when Don Mills hit a hook shot to give the Wildcats a 61-60 lead. Moments later, Cox hit a jump shot to make it 63-60 and UK never trailed again.
John Crigler added 14 points and 14 rebounds for the victors. Mills and Adrian Smith finished with nine and seven points, respectively.
Aside from Baylor, Seattle received 17 points from Charley Brown and 16 from Jerry Frizzell.
Front Row: Coach Adolph Rupp, Adrian Smith, John Crigler, Ed Beck, Don Mills, Johnny Cox, Vernon Hatton, Assistant Coach Harry Lancaster. Second Row: Student Manager Jay Atkerson, Earl Adkins, Billy Smith,
Phil Johnson, Bill Cassady, Lincoln Collinsworth and Harold Ross
Senior Jack Givens put on one of the finest individual performances in NCAA Championship history in leading the Wildcats past the Blue Devils.
With many Kentucky fans among the crowd of 18,271 chanting "Goose, Goose," Givens scored 41 points, three short of the record for a championship game, to help the Wildcats to their fifth NCAA title and first in 20 years.
Givens' dominance was clearly evident in the first half as he scored 23 points, including UK's last 16 of the half, to turn a 29-28 UK lead into a 45-38 cushion. It was a deficit from which the Blue Devils would not recover.
Overall, Givens made 18 of 27 field goal attempts, five of eight free throws and added eight rebounds and three assists.
Front Row: Coach Joe Hall, Jay Shidler, Dwane Casey, Kyle Macy, Jack Givens, Tim Stephens,
Chris Gettelfinger, Truman Claytor, Assistant Coach Dick Parsons. Second Row: Assistant Trainer
Walt McCombs, Manager Don Sullivan, LaVon Williams, Scott Courts, Mike Phillips, Rick Robey,
Chuck Aleksinas, Fred Cowan, James Lee, Assistant Coach Leonard Hamilton, Assistant Coach Joe Dean Jr.
Kentucky 76, Syracuse 67 April 1, 1996 - East Rutherford, N.J.
Tony Delk tied a championship game record with seven three-pointers and the Wildcats withstood a late Orangemen rally to win UK's sixth national title before a capacity crowd of 19,229 in the Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands.
Delk, the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player, canned seven of 12 three-pointers to lead the Cats with 24 points. But after Syracuse had cut the lead to two, 64-62, with 4:46 remaining, a Delk misfire was tipped in by Walter McCarty to extend UK's lead to four. After holding the Orangemen on the next possession, Derek Anderson drained a three to push the lead to seven. SU would get no closer than five in the final minutes.
Delk was joined on the Final Four All-Tournament team by freshman Ron Mercer, who was sensational off the bench, scoring a career-high 20 points on 8-12 shooting from the field, including 3-4 from three-point range.
Front Row: Assistant Coach Delray Brooks, Head Coach Rick Pitino, Allen Edwards, Derek Anderson, Jeff Sheppard, Tony Delk, Anthony Epps, Cameron Mills, Wayne Turner, Associate Coach Jim O'Brien, Assistant Coach Winston Bennett. Standing: Equipment Manager Bill Keightley, Administrative Assistant George Barber, Jason Lathrem, Oliver Simmons, Nazr Mohammed, Mark Pope, Walter McCarty, Antoine Walker, Jared Prickett, Ron Mercer, Trainer Eddie Jamiel, Assistant Strength Coach Layne Kaufman, Strength Coach Shaun Brown.
Kentucky battled back from a 41-31 halftime deficit to Utah - the largest halftime margin ever overcome in an NCAA title game - to claim the school's seventh national championship before 40,509 fans in the Alamodome.
Utah was propelled to the early lead thanks to a 24-6 rebounding advantage in the first half. But Heshimu Evans sparked the "Comeback Cats" off the bench with seven straight points early in the second half. Later, Final Four Most Outstanding Player Jeff Sheppard canned a baseline jumper with 4:54 remaining to give UK a 65-64 lead. The exhausted Utes then missed 11 consecutive field goals as the Wildcats claimed their second NCAA Championship in three years.
Scott Padgett joined Sheppard on the All-Final Four team after scoring 17 points. UK outrebounded the Utes 18-15 in the second half.
Front Row: (L-R) Assistant Coach Mike Sutton, Head Coach Orlando "Tubby" Smith, Saul Smith, Cameron Mills, Jeff Sheppard, Wayne Turner, Steve Masiello, Assistant Coach George Felton, Assistant Coach Shawn Finney. Standing: Special Assistant Leon Smith, Administrative Assistant Simeon Mars, Equipment Manager Bill Keightley, Ryan Hogan, Heshimu Evans, Scott Padgett, Nazr Mohammed, Jamaal Magloire, Michael Bradley, Myron Anthony, Allen Edwards, Trainer Eddie Jamiel, Strength Coach Tom Boyd.