Date story was published: Thursday, January 3, 1985
After the dramatics of Monday night, Kentucky's 68-61 victory over Auburn was a letdown.
But that was all Wildcat fans could complain about.
UK, suddenly on a roll with four straight victories, led all the way last night in successfully beginning its Southeastern Conference season.
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Now 5-4 overall, Kentucky took the lead for good in the first 90 seconds. Thereafter, Auburn could close to within one only once - with eight minutes left in the first half.
Otherwise, Kentucky's lead fluxuated between 13 and six points in the final 25 minutes.
Kenny Walker again led Kentucky, scoring 24 points and controlling the backboards with 13 rebounds.
Walker's performance contrasted with the subpar game of Auburn's main weapon, Chuck Person.
Hounded by the various UK zone defenses, Person scored 14 hard-earned points. That total extended his streak of double-figure scoring games to 44, but Person didn't get his 10th point until he hit a jumper with 4:46 remaining in the game.
That went a long way toward explaining why Auburn lost for the second time in 10 games.
In the duel of standout forwards, Kentucky enjoyed a huge advantage in the first half, and not so coincidentally took a 33-25 lead into the locker room.
Walker, who was coming off a career-high 36-point performance in UK's 92-89 upset of Kansas on Monday, appeared headed similar statistics last night.
The 6-foot-8 junior from Roberta, Ga., pumped in 17 first-half points and was clearly the dominant player on the floor.
Person, who entered the game with similar stats (24.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game), had only four points at the half. Person, also a 6-8 junior, got off only five shots in the half as UK's shifting zones kept the ball away from the Auburn big man.
Despite Person's relatively quiet half, Auburn managed to hang tough. Kentucky led throughout the first 20 minutes, but the Wildcats never led by more than eight.
The Cats, who had been shooting poorly (43 percent) this season, came out hot. UK hit its first four shots (all by different players). The fifth shot, a jumper by James Blackmon, was rebounded and put in by Bret Bearup.
Still, it was Walker who once again came to the fore. Walker was most effective inside, where Auburn has had trouble defending.
The crowd (still not capacity) particularly enjoyed a slam dunk by Walker off a fast-break feed from freshman Ed Davender. The dunk, complete with a shake-and-bake move, pushed UK ahead 18-12.
The Cats shot only 43.3 percent for the half, but used a late 11-4 spurt to take the lead.
Auburn, which had gotten a lift (and six points) from freshman guard Terrance Howard, closed to within one (22-21) on a Howard jumper.
Then Walker scored seven straight points to push UK out of danger.