Date story was published: Sunday, February 17, 1985
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State weaved a little more home-court magic last night and made Kentucky's claim on sole possession of first place disappear.
Raising its home record to 11-1, State befuddled Kentucky 82-69 and remained the only Southeastern Conference's team to be undefeated at home against league competition. (Memphis State beat the Bulldogs here.)
Cheered by a sellout crowd at Humphrey Coliseum, State led from start to finish. UK's only consolation was that it wasn't the Cats' worst defeat this season. Tennessee beat UK by 16 (81-65).
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The loss, UK's first after five straight victories, dropped the Wildcats into a four-way tie for first place in the SEC. UK is now 9-5 in the league. Mississippi State, Georgia and Louisiana State are also 9-5.
UK mounted one serious second-half comeback. An 11-4 run, helped when MSU missed the front end of two one-and-ones, allowed the Wildcats to close within seven (58-51) with 8:10 remaining. Kentucky hadn't been that close since it trailed 13-7 with 13:27 left in the first half.
A strange three-point play by Kenny Walker brought UK within nine (58-49) for the first time since the 12:13 mark of the first half.
A Troy McKinley bomb cut the Bulldog lead to 58-51 with 8:10 remaining.
State called time at the 7:55 mark and rushed Chauncey Robinson back into the game. Robinson had picked up his fourth foul eight minutes earlier.
Raymond Brown rebounded Tracy Taylor's miss and put it home.
UK then missed three shots - Ed Davender's attempt from the foul line, Winston Bennett's try on a post-up and Paul Andrews' jumper.
When Chauncey Robinson made a quick move to the post and hit a layup, State was up by 11 (62-51). The Bulldogs never let UK close within 10 again.
Mississippi State put on a clinic in the first half, rolling to a 40-25 lead at intermission.
From start to finish, the first 20 minutes were one big Humphrey Coliseum celebration.
State got a three-point play on the game's first basket. Ken Harvey, who had 14 points in the half, took a lob and scored while being fouled by Winston Bennett. The play gave MSU a 3-0 lead at the 19:06 mark.
The half's final play also was an example of nothing going right for UK.
With 10 seconds remaining, Hall inserted Andrews for Roger Harden. Harden had just made two free throws and Hall seemed to want better defense. Moments earlier, State's Tracy Taylor had hit two jumpers over UK's 2-3 zone.
So what happened? Taylor herked and jerked and fired with Andrews right with him. The shot swished two seconds before the half ended.
Between those two plays, the Bulldogs had two other three-point plays and Harvey displayed an inspired brand of shooting and playmaking.
Harvey had missed the game between these two teams at Lexington. UK won that one 59-58.
Last night, the 6-5 guard hit six of nine shots. (He rebounded one of his own misses and put it home.)
Harvey also pump-faked and whipped passes inside for two other easy baskets.
Meanwhile, UK got little done on the offensive end.
State threw a mixture of 2-3 zone and man-to-man at the Wildcats. Once again, if Walker didn't score, it didn't get done.
Not counting Harden's two free throws at the half's end, UK's guards scored only four points in the half. Ed Davender, starting in Harden's place, hit two baskets on the fast breaks. That was it.
Walker finished the half with 12 points, all scored in a six-minute spurt midway in the half that kept UK from slipping into oblivion.
Walker scored his first basket with 8:05 remaining in the half. It came on a post-up move and cut MSU's lead to 21-9.
UK's deficit grew to 25-9 before Walker went to work. He scored Kentucky's next 10 points.
Those points did no more than keep UK's deficit from becoming larger because State was riddling the Cats' zone with outside jumpers. MSU hit 60.7 percent of its shots in the half.
State broke the game open with a 13-0 spurt early in the half.
Walker was shadowed by Chauncey Robinson and taken out of the UK offense. Without Walker, UK went scoreless for six minutes and nine seconds.
In the first three minutes of that span, MSU reeled off nine straight points to take a 15-5 lead. The streak began four seconds after a timeout when Tony Robinson was fouled on a lob. He made both free throws.
Harvey scored a layup and three-point play off a backdoor cut to up the lead to 11-5.
On MSU's next possession, Taylor took a fast-break pass, stopped, then leaned past a defender and hit a 15-footer.
The lead grew to 15-5 when freshman center Raymond Brown hit a shot from the foul line.
At that point, Kentucky called time with 12:05 remaining.
But instead of funneling the ball into Walker, other Wildcats shot and UK fell further behind.
Walker didn't take another shot until he made a basket at the 8:05 mark. James Blackmon, Bret Bearup, Harden, Davender and Bearup took the next five shots. Only Bearup hit.
MSU was running with the misses.
Taylor's layup off a fast break pass from harvey increased the lead to 17-5. Harvey rebounded his own miss to make it 19-5.
MSU led by as many as 17 (38-21) in the first half.