Date story was published: Friday, February 28, 1986
It wasn't easy, but at least it happened.
After failure in 12 of its last 13 trips to the Stokely Athletic Center, Kentucky finally beat Tennessee.
Kenny Walker's 32 points and enough clutch free throws in the final minutes lifted UK to a 62-60 victory over the Volunteers.
James Blackmon missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw situation and the back end of another in the final 1:28.
However, Blackmon made two other free throws to keep Kentucky in front.
The Wildcats, now 25-3 overall and 16-1 in the Southeastern Conference, also benefited from a rare off night by Tennessee's Tony White.
White, the SEC's leading scorer, missed two jump shots with UK clinging to a 60-58 lead. The first was a shot from the foul line and the second was a bank shot from the left side after Tennessee's other players cleared the floor to let White go one-on-one against Ed Davender.
After White's misses, Blackmon and Roger Harden hit one free throw each to inch UK ahead 62-58 with nine seconds left.
White's layup cut the margin to 62-60 with two seconds to go.
After a timeout at the one-second mark, Harden inbounded to Winston Bennett to seal the long-sought-after victory.
Tennessee, losing its third straight home game, fell to 5-11 in the SEC and 12-14 overall.
Walker's three-point play moved Kentucky ahead 47-41 with 10:42 remaining.
But in this game, no lead was safe. Rob Jones hit two free throws to cut the margin to 47-43.
Then, Anthony Richardson, who had 11 points in the first 11 minutes of the second half, hit a shot inside to draw Tennessee to within two, 47-45, with 9:51 to go.
With UK ahead 49-45, Tennessee seemed to spend its last bullets.
After a Kentucky timeout that resulted in a Blackmon miss from the baseline, Tennessee came down with a chance to cut Kentucky's game-long lead to two.
However, White missed two shots, a 15-footer and a rebound off the miss in traffic. The misses capped a frustrating night for White and allowed UK to regroup.
Walker led that effort, scoring five straight points to push the lead back to 54-47 with 6:29 left.
UK opened up its largest lead of the game, 36-28, in the early moments of the second half. Two defensive plays keyed a 6-0 run that produced the eight- point margin.
Blackmon came from behind to slap the ball away from Jones and feed Winston Bennett for a fastbreak layup to put UK ahead 34-28.
On the next Tennessee possession, Elvin Brown fumbled the ball away. Blackmon gathered it in and roared for a dunk that put the Wildcats ahead 36-28.
Brown was injured on the play when Roger Harden fell on him and had to leave the game.
Despite the big lead, storm clouds gathered. Bennett picked up his third and fourth fouls in a 30-second span and left the game with 16:07 remaining.
Fourteen seconds later, Walker got his third foul.
Tennessee immediately began directing its offense to the low post. Jones scored five quick points.
Mark Griffin's outside jumper, his only basket to that time, pulled Tennessee to within two at 38-36 with 14:36 remaining.
However, two baskets by Cedric Jenkins kept the Vols at bay for the moment.
Kentucky held White to a single field goal in the first half and took a 26-23 lead into intermission.
UK needed all its defense because Tennessee was preventing Walker's teammates from providing the usual help.
The result was a first 20 minutes of missed opportunities being traded back and forth as each team blunted the other's chances of breaking it open.
Neither team shot well. UK made seven of 19 shots, 36.8 percent. Tennessee was even worse at 7 of 26, 26.9 percent.
White was particularly cold, making only one of eight shots.
Bennett was the coldest of the Cats, hitting one of six. But no UK player, other than Walker, had more than one field goal in the first 20 minutes.
Turnovers also plagued both teams. The two combined for 18.
With Walker scoring 14 first-half points, UK never trailed in the opening half. However, the Wildcats couldn't take more than a six-point lead in the first half.
That margin, 14-8, was built on a 12-6 string. Walker had 10 of those points.
Tennessee's only hot-shooting period pof the half quickly closed the gap. The Vols hit three straight shots to close within 16-14. The third of the string was a 10-footer off the fastbreak by White. It was hit first and only basket of the half and came with 9:03 remaining.
Otherwise, the SEC's leading scorer had one of his poorest scoring halves of the season.
As Eddie Sutton promised, the Wildcat guards took turns hounding White. The strategy met with great success.
White, who entered the game with a 22.4-point scoring average, missed his first four shots. He also had a five-second call go against him when trapped by Harden. Harden also stripped the ball away once, a play indicative of UK's success in getting to Tennessee shots before they could be launched.