Date story was published: Wednesday, December 4, 1985
Kentucky, which didn't suffer a lull in laid-back Hawaii last week, buried any suggestion of jet lag along with Cincinnati last night.
Kenny Walker, scoring 26 points, led the Wildcats to an 84-54 victory over Cincinnati at Rupp Arena.
The victory raised UK's record to 4-0. The Wildcats play next against Indiana here Saturday night.
Cincinnati, which trailed by as much as 31 (84-53) after falling behind for good with more than 11 minutes remaining in the first half, fell to 1-2.
Cincinnati made one charge at Kentucky. The Bearcats scored the first 10 points of the second half, closing to within three points.
With the UK lead down to 36-33, the Wildcats took off again. UK outscored Cincinnati 16-2, including a 14-point run that brought the lead back to 15 (50-35).
Another 9-2 run increased the lead to 59-37 and left no doubt which team would win this night.
Walker led both spurts.
He had six in the second-half run, including a layup in which he moved the ball out of danger once in the air and laid in home.
Walker duplicated the move for another layup. A foul on the move made it a three-point play, increasing UK's lead to 53-37.
After increasing the lead to 20 (57-37) at the 11:42 mark, Kentucky never allowed Cincinnati to get any closer.
A driving layup by Leroy Byrd increased the lead to 25 with 9:46 remaining.
Less than two minutes later, Byrd favoring his right leg, left the game after colliding with freshman Irving Thomas for a loose ball.
Byrd returned to the game at the 3:03 mark.
Defensive pressure and the resulting easy baskets were again a key in Kentucky blowing out to a big lead. This time it was as much as 15 in the opening 20 minutes before UK settled for a 36-23 halftime advantage.
As was the case in each of UK's first three victories, the Wildcats first tightened the screws defensively, then rode a wave of turnovers to a big lead.
The breakaway last night came midway through the first half. Cincinnati was held without a basket for more than six minutes.
In that time, a four-point Bearcat lead (13-9) melted away and was replaced by a commanding 28-15 UK lead.
Walker and Davender led the breakout.
Walker, who had 17 first-half points, did a bulk of the work offensively. The senior forward didn't score until the 13:46 mark. He scored eight straight points in one stretch and 10 of UK's points in a 19-2 breakaway.
Davender was again a defensive demon. His victim last night was Cincinnati's Roger McClendon. McClendon, who was UC's leading scorer with a 17.5 average, was held to four points in the half. Neither basket came against Davender. His first was a layup, courtesy of a pressured pass from Winston Bennett. His only baskets came when he launched a 20-footer in UC's early offense before UK could collect its man-to-man defense.
A deflection by Davender, which hit off McClendon out of bounds, helped ignite UK's run.
It came after Rob Lock posted up for a short jumper to cut the UK deficit to 13-11.
After Davender's deflection, UK tied it on the first of Walker's four straight baskets. The first was a 15-footer over the UC 2-3 zone.
Then, as UC continued to turn over the ball and missed forced shots, UK took off.
Walker's next basket gave Kentucky the lead and got the crowd going. Roger Harden took the ball from a well-named Romell Shorter (he's 5-5) and, with his back to the break, threw the ball over his shoulder in the direction of Walker. Walker took the ball near half-court, took a couple of dribbles and one-handed the ball about two feet over the basket before slamming in home.
The shot put UK up 15-13 with 11:14 remaining. The Cats never relinguished the lead.
UK started slowly and fell behind 13-9 in the first eight minutes.
The deficit could have been larger had Myron Hughes not charged on a fast break and received a technical foul.
Cincinnati was leading 9-6 when Hughes, a burly 6-7 forward, and Davender collided under the basket.
When the charge was called, Hughes did a little hop and ran downcourt. But before leading the referee, he said: "That was a horse-(bleep) call."
"If you didn't like that one," the ref replied, "you sure won't like this one."
Walker missed the technical free throw.