Date story was published: Friday, January 24, 1986
Kentucky "March-ed" to a 74-69 college basketball victory over Georgia last night at Rupp Arena.
The Wildcats came out like lions, roaring to an 8-0 lead at the start that grew to as much as 24 points.
But, alas, UK went out like lambs, Kenny Walker backed up against his own baseline, cradling an inbounds pass and fighting off a Georgia double-team.
Afterward, the Wildcats had some more marching to do, this time to Memorial Coliseum for an 11 p.m. practice.
"I hope our guys don't think this (the practice) is punishment," said Kentucky coach Eddie Sutton, upset over his team's play. "They've got some things to learn.
"We were happy to win the ball game, but we did not play well. I was not happy, and as a result we will practice tonight. I thought our defense in the first half was outstanding. I think we just really quit playing in the second half."
Sutton, who said he has conducted occasional post-game practices since he began coaching, promised no immediate results.
But, he added, "It's amazing what it does. It might not get results by Saturday (when UK plays Tennessee in Rupp Arena), but it will get results."
The Wildcats, maintaining their hold on first place in the Southeastern Conference, led from tipoff to final buzzer.
The lead grew to as much as 24 points in the second half as the Wildcats' man-to-man defense smothered Georgia.
"It was a lot better man-to-man than last year," said Joe Ward, Georgia's leading scorer. "They looked like us a little."
With one difference, an annoyed Georgia coach Hugh Durham said. He felt UK's aggressive defense went unchecked while the referees whistled his defenders for fouls.
"Our defense created fouls; their defense created turnovers," Durham said. "I think that is the story of the game."
UK forced 13 turnovers in the first half and shut down Georgia's offense twice for more than three minutes.
"In the first half our defense was incredible," Roger Harden said. "It was flawless."
Georgia was blanked from the 15:15 mark until 11:34 remained in the half, a stretch in which Kentucky pushed a 12-6 lead to 18-6.
Less than two minutes later, UK again kept Georgia off the scoreboard for more than three minutes. This time the Bulldogs went from 9:45 until 6:40 without a point and Kentucky's lead grew from 18-12 to 24-12.
"What they did was overplay our wings," Georgia's Horace McMillan said. "When our wings can't get the ball, it's hard for us to get into a set offense.
"I guess fatigue set in in the second half."
After pushing ahead 51-27 in the early moments of the second half, UK's defense became less stifling.
"The last 15 minutes we were just on the court," Sutton said.
Still ahead 55-33, UK called time with 14:18 remaining.
"I told them that if they didn't want to play, I'd put someone else in," Sutton said. "And they didn't do much better when they went back out."
Sutton waited less than 30 seconds for an improvement. He made a five-man substitution with 13:55 to play and UK up 55-35. He took out James Blackmon, Paul Andrews, Roger Harden, Winston Bennett and Richard Madison and put in Leroy Byrd, Ed Davender, Irving Thomas, Rob Lock and Cedric Jenkins.
Georgia sliced three points off the lead and gained a growing momentum that UK could not halt even though Sutton re-inserted his starters in two waves. Harden and Madison went back in with 11:48 remaining. Blackmon, Walker and Bennett returned with 11:23 showing.
Even with UK's starters back, Georgia continued to reduce the lead, four times closing to within nine points in the final 10 minutes.
Kentucky's lead first dwindled to nine with 8:53 left and could have been reduced further had not Chad Kessler and Willie Anderson each missed the front end of one-and-one free throw chances.
"The turning point, definitely," McMillan said.
Although UK missed the front end of three one-and-ones in the final six minutes, the Wildcats were able to hold on.
Kentucky improved to 6-1 in the SEC, one game ahead of Auburn and Alabama. The Cats are now 15-2 overall.
Georgia fell to 9-7 overall and 3-4 in the SEC. All four Bulldog league defeats have been on the road.
Kentucky seemed to dash any Georgia hopes of a comeback in the second half's first four minutes. In that time, Georgia committed four turnovers and missed a jump shot.
The turnovers included a charge, a walk when Ward tried to force a shot, and a five-second call. It was Georgia's third five-second violation of the game.
UK, meanwhile, was hitting its first four shots and zipping ahead 51-27. It was hardly a remarkable offensive feat, as all four shots were within two feet of the basket.
The fourth was one of Walker's few baskets, a slam off a fast-break pass that put Kentucky up 51-27. Walker, who made just four of 14 shots, was held to 11 points. (Although Georgia was blown out at Auburn last weekend, the Bulldogs held Chuck Person to 11, too.)
"That's an accomplishment," said McMillan, who guarded Walker much of the game. "I can't say I stopped him. I've got to say I contained him because I've got to play him again (in Athens next month) and I don't want to get him mad.
"What he likes to do is go from box to box (the two low posts). I just tried to beat him to the spots and make him start further out."
Shortly thereafter, Georgia strung together an 18-4 run. That streak brought Georgia to within nine (59-50) of UK with 8:53 remaining.
Willie Anderson led the run, scoring eight of the points and three straight baskets.
But Georgia muffed the front end of two bonus situations, and Bennett came off a Walker pick and hit a bank shot inside to put UK ahead 61-50. The shot came after Kentucky had gone two minutes without a point.
Georgia got to within nine again when McMillan hit a 10-footer with 6:22 remaining. But two Davender free throws and Bennett's layup off an inbounds pass gave Kentucky some much-needed breathing room.
Defense, a constant this season, and some improbable offense, put Kentucky ahead 43-27 at halftime.
Kentucky showed it meant business immediately.
The Wildcats slapped a full-court press on Georgia from the start and reaped turnovers on the Bulldogs' first three possessions. After the third turnover, the Rupp crowd responded with a standing ovation.
Kentucky converted each into points en route to an 8-0 lead.
Georgia finally scored when Donald Hartry hit from the left corner with 17:12 remaining. But his basket was only temporary relief for Georgia.
After an exchange of baskets, which left Kentucky ahead 12-4, the Wildcats held Georgia without a field goal for 4 minutes and 53 seconds.
In that span, when Georgia got only two free throws, the Bulldogs committed four more turnovers. Those included the second of two five-second violations in the first eight minutes.
UK inched ahead by as much as 12 in the early going, the 18-6 lead coming on a sequence when the Wildcats kept Georgia from taking a shot for 44 of the 45 seconds on the shot clock. With the last tick, UK deflected a Georgia pass off a Bulldog and out of bounds.
Before the turnover, leading scorer Ward had started a drive on Walker and was halted 25 feet from the basket. Ward's grimace was noticeable to all.
Later in the possession, Hartry's harried bounce pass went to midcourt before a teammate could retrieve it.
Then Georgia turned it over on the deflection as the new shot clock over the backboard's reached the one-second mark.
When time was called after the possession at the 12:06 mark, the Rupp crowd gave UK a standing ovation. Georgia was en route to 13 turnovers in the half.
When the intermission came, Georgia coach Hugh Durham had his starters out early to practice the team's patterns in its set offense.
After the second half, it was the Wildcats' turn to get in some extra practice.
"This will be our second late-night practice," said Harden, who noted the "Midnight Madness" exhibition that kicked off the pre-season at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 15.
"There won't be 10,000 there screaming," he said.
Probably only one person - Sutton - would be screaming this time, Harden was told.
"Uh huh," the point guard said.
Wake Forest has not given Mike Scott his release, but the 6-foot-11 freshman center's plans to eventually transfer to UK will not be affected, Cliff Hagan said last night.
"That's a personal matter between Mike and Wake Forest," said the UK athletics director.
Hagan said that because Scott had transferred to a junior college - Lexington Community College - he did not need a release from Wake Forest.
Scott, a star last year at Greenup County, can transfer to UK after earning a degree from LCC, Hagan said, and be eligible to play no sooner than Jan. 17.
Harvey Grant, a junior college player UK is recruiting, attended last night's game.
Grant is a 6-9 center-forward from Independence (Kansas) Junior College.