Date story was published: Sunday, December 8, 1985
Fortunately for Kentucky, similar circumstances brought familiar results.
Heavily favored Kentucky beat underdog Indiana.
In a game strikingly similar to one these two teams played here two years ago, Kentucky outlasted Indiana 63-58 last night.
The five-point margin matched the result in 1983, when a UK team blessed with the Twin Towers of Sam Bowie and Melvin Turpin fought off a freshman-dominated Indiana team 59-54.
Last night, it was the NCAA, in a ruling from its ivory tower, that placed Kentucky in what Kenny Walker called a "no win situation."
The NCAA's eligibility committee hit Indiana's leading scorer, Steve Alford, with a one-game suspension. Alford, who matched his career-high of 32 points Tuesday night, violated an NCAA rule forbidding a student-athlete from allowing his name or likeness from being used commercially. Alford posed for a calendar used in an on-campus sorority's charity fund-raiser.
Alford's absence did not prevent these longtime rivals from engaging in a what's come to be expected: a no-holds-barred affair drenched with matching defensive intensity for 40 minutes.
The struggle - "I thought we were going to have a wrestling match out there," UK coach Eddie Sutton said - wasn't decided until the final 90 seconds.
Fittingly, Kentucky had to hit the deck to secure victory.
With the Wildcats holding the ball and nursing a 59-56 lead, Indiana's Andre Harris stripped the ball from Ed Davender and took off upcourt.
IU had a two-on-one when Stew Robinson, Alford's replacement, joined Harris in the fast break.
Near the foul line, Harris passed to Robinson on the left side.
Robinson didn't hesitate, gliding toward the basket.
Waiting for the senior guard, however, was UK's Roger Harden, seemingly nailed to the floor near the basket.
"I thought, 'Feet don't fail me now,' " Harden said.
Robinson plowed into Harden with 1:02 remaining.
"I saw Ed (Davender) coming back to take the other man (Harris), so I knew I could take the charge," Harden said. "I felt Stew wouldn't pull up because he didn't know Ed was coming from behind. He (Robinson) felt I had to made a decision (on which man to cover) when really I didn't."
The charging call took away what Indiana coach Bob Knight thought was a certain two points via either a blocking foul on Harden or a goaltending on UK's Winston Bennett (who blocked the shot).
"That was probably the most important play in the game," Knight said.
Saved by the charge, UK preserved its fifth victory without a loss this season.
Indiana fell to 1-2.
Davender, benefiting from Indiana's defensive attention to Kenny Walker, led UK with 22 points.
Walker, limited to just 11 shots, added 16 points.
Indiana was led by freshman Ricky Calloway. Calloway scored 22 points.
Defense and taking another charge got Kentucky the lead for good.
From a deadlock at 42-42, Kentucky ran off nine straight points. The roll was fueled by two plays preached by Sutton since he took the Kentucky job: backcourt defense and a willingness to take a charge.
With UK ahead 44-42, courtesy of a post-up move by Cedric Jenkins, the Wildcats struck from, of all things, a zone defense that was used most of the second half.
"We played more zone than we will all year," said Sutton, who, of course, is a man-to-man man. "I was afraid if we stayed in a man we might be too exhausted at the end and they could pull it out."
Harden and Ed Davender sprang from UK's 2-3 zone. Davender slapped the ball from IU's Winston Morgan and Harden grabbed the loose ball and fed Davender for the layup.
On Indiana's next possession, the Hoosiers worked patiently for a shot inside and got one.
But in his haste, Daryl Thomas didn't notice Winston Bennett waiting as he leaned hard to the basket.
Thomas was called for a charge, which erased the basket that would have cut Kentucky's lead to 46-44 with 10 minutes remaining.
"It was what we call our 'shell game' defense," Bennett said. "When the offense is on the weak side, I will take the weak side. When they put it on the strong side, I'm supposed to give help. That's what happened. It turned everything around for us. It was the turning point of the game."
The call preserved UK's string of nine straight points that pushed Indiana into a 51-42 deficit with less than seven minutes remaining.
After Thomas' charge, Kentucky got five more points (a Walker post-up, Davender's hoop off a cut and a free throw by Walker) while Indiana was missing twice against UK's zone.
"When we let them go back up by 10 again (actually 51-42), that was the deciding point of the game," Knight said. "We just couldn't let them get any kind of spread. We were able to stay within reach for 30 minutes."
Kentucky ran off eight straight points early in the second half to take a 42-36 lead. Indiana's poor shooting helped Kentucky get the lead.
Then, UK turned cold and Indiana knotted the score at 42-42; with 12 minutes remaining.
When Indiana was cold, the Hoosiers were ice cold. (IU, which came into the game shooting 59.6 percent, hit only 46.7 percent.) Even a perfect lob over the basket to Calloway couldn't be put down.
Davender's cut for a layup (with an assist by Harden) gave UK a 42-36 lead with 13:51.
Indiana got back-to-back fast-break layups to tie it at 42-42. The first came off poor UK shot selection (a James Blackmon jumper from the top of the key with plenty of time left on the shot clock).
A feed that Walker couldn't reach because he was pushed gave Indiana the second fast-break opportunity.
Indiana's rough stuff seemed to backfire in the early minutes of the second half and UK was able to forge a two-point lead (38-36) with 16:14 to play.
Walker got the go-ahead basket, a layup, much to the delight of the crowd.
Walker had to survive a constant bumping by IU reserve Todd Jadlow before getting the hoop.
Jadlow pushed and pushed, the crowd pleading for a foul. Finally, Jadlow was called for a foul after leaning into Walker with his lowered shoulder.
On the inbounds, Walker lost Jadlow for a layup.
The game took on a good-versus-evil complexion midway through the first half.
Knight stirred the crowd's passions by his continual arguing with the referees. The officials fueled the flames with back-to-back calls that outraged the Rupp Arena faithful.
To further anger the crowd, the calls came as Indiana erased Kentucky's largest lead of the half (21-14) and forged a four-point margin (28-24) of its own.
The calls came in the middle of an Indiana 14-3 run.
Calloway, who scored all 14 of Indiana's points in the run and finished with 16 in the half, benefited from the first officiating controversy.
The 6-6 guard took a fast-break pass in the lane and lofted a floater five feet from the basket.
When James Blackmon swatted the ball away on its downward flight, a goaltending call was immediately made. That gave Indiana a 23-22 edge.
Controversy arose when Winston Bennett was also called for a fouling Calloway. The freshman made the free throw.
The crowd and Knight erupted again on Indiana's next possession.
With the 45-second clock down to its final tick, IU's Winston Morgan leaned into the Kentucky defender along the baseline and tried to draw a foul as he shot.
One ref, Paul Galvan, a Southeastern Conference regular, called the foul and the crowd booed with fury. But another SEC ref, John Clougherty, ruled that the 45-second clock had expired before the foul.
Then it was Knight's turn to erupt.
Calloway, who made seven of 11 first-half shots, hit back-to-back baskets to give Indiana its largest lead of the first 20 minutes, 28-24, with 4:18 to play.
The Indiana lead was still four (32-28) when Kentucky tied the score on a rare four-point play.
Ed Davender's drive off a pick cut the lead to two. He was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw.
Roger Harden, who went down the lane to the basket, was the right man at the right time and lifted in the rebound to tie at with 1:40 remaining.
The rest of the half was a fitting conclusion. Turnovers (two for IU and one for UK) and missed shots (one for each time) ruled, as they did for much of this defensive struggle.
UK shot only 40.7 percent in the half (11 of 27). Indiana was only marginally better at 46.7 percent (14 of 30).
As expected, Walker drew special attention from IU's collapsing man-to-man. He was held to seven shots. Walker made four and led UK with nine points at the half.