Date story was published: Sunday, December 10, 1989
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Whew!
Kansas 150, Kentucky 95.
At the press conference announcing his hiring as UK coach, Rick Pitino said he would not sacrifice style in deference to weaknesses. Never mind the short-handed roster and lack of size, he said, we'll run and press and shoot three-pointers.
"We're not going after close games," Pitino said on June 1. "I want to either win or lose by a great margin."
Yesterday, three days after a 111-75 victory over Tennessee Tech, Pitino delivered.
Showing total commitment to Pitino's style, Kentucky lost by a record margin.
Until yesterday, UK's worst loss in the modern era -- since Adolph Rupp became coach in 1930 -- had been an 89-50 pummeling against CCNY in the 1950 National Invitation Tournament.
What happened yesterday paled only beside an 87-17 loss Centre inflicted on Jan. 28, 1910.
"No one likes to lose by that many points," Pitino said. "It's hard to take. It's very, very embarrassing.
"I could have slowed it down, and not gotten anything out of it. We had to get our fannies drilled tonight. You have to learn lessons while rebuilding."
Kansas coach Roy Williams said he understood Pitino's position.
"Rick is a person who believes what he's doing is right," Williams said. ''I agree with that. I don't think he thinks today's game is more important than his whole program."
Asked what his team learned, Pitino cited a scatterbrain second half that saw Kansas more than double UK's scoring, 70-34. That followed a wild, but competitive, first half which had Kansas ahead 80-61 at the break.
"We did really good things in the first half," Pitino said. "I was very pleased. But in the second half, we tried to make up 10 points every 30 seconds. That's where they learned a lesson. Down 20, you can come back. But you'll have to take good shots against good teams. That's what we didn't do. It was one pass and throw it up. One pass and throw it up."
Records abounded, most of them negative from UK's perspective. The Jayhawks set five school records, including:
Most points in a game. The previous high was 127, against Iowa State last Jan. 7.
Most points in a half, with 80 in the first half. The previous high, 71, came in the second half against Iowa State.
Most field goals in a game, 52. The previous high was 50 against Missouri in 1974.
Most three-point goals made, 10. That was one more than nine scored against California in 1988.
Most assists in a game, 36. The previous high was 31 against Missouri in 1986.
Kentucky's record book will have to be edited, too.
The previous mark for points allowed was the 116 scored by Northwestern in a 118-116 UK victory in 1966.
That Northwestern game had been the school record for most points scored by two teams.
Depth, experience and size were against Kentucky from the beginning.
Kansas' starting five averaged 74.4 college games of experience and 52.8 college starts. Kentucky's starting five averaged 38.8 college games and 16.4 college starts.
UK's disadvantage grew worse when center Reggie Hanson picked up his third foul with 16:52 left in the first half. Hanson played only 11 minutes, scoring two points, before fouling out with 10:54 left.
"When Reggie Hanson goes out, we have a tremendous drop-off," Pitino said. "It's unfortunate, but there's nothing you can do."
Hanson's absence magnified the differences up front. Kansas dominated. It's starting front line outscored UK's 56-29. Overall, Kansas outrebounded UK 53-32.
"The rebounds were like a junior high team against a pro team," Pitino said, before adding, "We could not guard their low post. That's a matter of size. If we would front them, they'd do what they did to Vegas: back door plays and high-lows. We don't have the size to play behind them."
Another bind UK found itself in was defense. The Cats played almost exclusively man-to-man.
"We wanted to get in some work on the man-to-man for the future," Pitino said. "We tried to zone a little and they picked us apart. "We're too small to play zone against them."
Three-point shooting was UK's bright spot. The Cats made five of their first six three-point attempts, and 10 of their first 14.
The shooting kept Kentucky close. The Cats trailed only 57-51 with 5:15 left in the half.
Derrick Miller, who led UK with 32 points and a career-high eight three- pointers, scored 23 in the half.
Miller hit his first three three-point attempts, and six of his first nine. When he missed his 10th, the sellout crowd of 15,800 cheered.
"I don't pay any attention to the crowds," Miller said.
But Miller's sharpshooting got the attention of Kansas' chief three-point threat, Terry Brown.
"When I saw Derrick Miller hitting those, it kind of juiced me up," said Brown, who led Kansas with a career-high 31. "I said, 'If he can hit a few, so can I.' "
Brown hit a pair of treys to lead a 12-3 Kansas run that closed the half and extended a 68-58 lead to 80-61.
UK cooled off in the second half. The Cats made just 30 percent of their second-half shots (12 of 40) and finished at 41.1 percent.
Led by Brown's four second-half three-pointers and multiple waves of layups or dunks against UK's press, Kansas made 65 percent of its second-half shots (26 of 40).
"There were two keys," Williams said. "We had more weapons and our guys shot it in today. His guys didn't."
Eight Kansas players scored in double figures. None of the Jayhawks hit less than half his shots.
Kansas hit the 100-point mark with 13:58 left. The 125-point mark was crossed with 5:56 left.
Brown, who hit four three-pointers in the final 5:56, led the rush to 150.
Asked if Kansas poured it on, Pitino said: "No comment."
Williams insisted he did not, although the last three players on the Jayhawk bench played no more than four minutes.
"I didn't know what to do," Williams said. "Their style keeps you playing. You just can't stop. They won't let you stop. His team was the one that was pressing."