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HARDEN SCORES 12 POINTS, GETS 7 ASSISTS AS MVP

Date story was published: Tuesday, December 31, 1985

The Kentucky Wildcats - all the Kentucky Wildcats - drubbed outmanned Virginia Military Institute 93-55 here last night.

UK's annual game in Freedom Hall was hardly that as all 12 Wildcats rolled to their ninth victory in 10 outings. Every player scored except Leroy Byrd.

"I'm happy everybody played, but from now on we won't have that luxury in all likelihood," UK coach Eddie Sutton said.

Kentucky begins its Southeastern Conference schedule Saturday at Vanderbilt. V.M.I. fell to 5-3.

A crowd of 19,450 sat on its hands most of the night. At one point, a fan could be heard encouraging the Keydets, so bad was the mismatch.

How bad was it?

After being outscored 9-1 at the start of the second half to fall behind 48-22, V.M.I. called time with 17:29 remaining.

Upon its return, V.M.I. couldn't get the ball inbounds.

A minute later, an exchange of lobs symbolically punctuated the game.

At V.M.I.'s offensive end, Steven Dorsey fumbled a perfect lob pass away.

UK's Roger Harden retrieved the ball and floated a lob to Walker, who dunked it home for two of his team-high 18 points. The play pushed the Wildcats ahead 52-22 at the 15:27 mark.

Harden, who finished with 12 points (on six-for-six shooting) and seven assists was named the game's most valuable player.

It didn't take long for the non-competitive nature of the game to be revealed.

V.M.I. missed eight of its first 11 shots. The revealing thing was most of the 11 were makable attempts, many well within the perimeter.

Yet few fell against UK's relatively gentlemanly defense. The Wildcats were called for just six personal fouls in the half.

Less than nine minutes into the game, Kentucky had a 10-point lead (16-6). Making matters worse and the crowd settled deeply into its seats was the good chance UK's lead could grow by point-a-minute increments.

However, a 40-point (or better) slaughter was averted as Sutton generously dipped into his bench. Every UK player got into the game in the first 20 minutes. All but last-man Todd Ziegler played at least two minutes.

Ziegler got off the bench with 35 seconds left and UK ahead 37-20. When he got in with five seconds left, UK's halftime margin of 39-20 was set. (Sutton made it up to Ziegler by inserting the seldom-used sophomore with 9:02 left in the second half.)

How bad was it?

While UK nearly doubled its opponent's halftime score (the largest lead was the 19-point intermission edge), the Wildcats did shot more than twice as good as V.M.I.

UK made 17 of 32 shots. The Keydets hit just eight of 32 (25 percent). Gay Elmore, V.M.I.'s leading scorer (20.9 ppg), made just one of 10 and appeared throughourly rattled even against UK's subs. Late in the half, Elmore missed everything on a 10-footer from the baseline and suffered the indignanty of a "airball, airball" chant from the UK band.

Elmore, a slender 6-foot-5 forward, had his ego bruised again in the second half. When he was called for walking, the band chanted "Elmore, Elmore."

Ed Davender could boast of the half's most memorable play. The sophomore guard raced to the end line for Kenny Walker's outlet pass, then managed to stop immediately without walking and turn for the layup.

The move, which seemed to defy the laws of physics, gave UK a 4-2 lead.

However, most UK baskets were of the ordinary nature.

Harden simply dribbled to within 15 feet, almost shrugged, and hit to increase the lead to 12-4.

Winston Bennett hit three uncontested baseline shots, the second and third giving UK 12-point margins (18-6 and 24-12).

With the easy lead came a careless play or two.

Rob Lock went to the perimeter to deflect and retrieve one pass. Then, instead of giving the ball up and heading upcourt, he attempted to dribble all the way. The fourth dribble shot from his hands and Lock couldn't get it back before it bounced out of bounds.

The play, a frequent addition to "garbage time" at the end of routs, occurred with more than seven minutes remaining in the first half.

UK's shooting session yesterday morning, which is annually opened to the public, drew an estimated crowd of 14,000. . . . Officials of WHAS, the 50,000-watt clear channel Louisville radio station, were leary of the reception they would get from the crowd at the shoot-around. The mention of WHAS was greeted with loud boos at UK's midnight practice on Oct. 15. WHAS went into disfavor after it announced last fall this season would be the last for UK as its No. 1 team. WHAS also announced at that time it had signed a six-year contract making the University of Louisville as its No. 1 team. Yesterday, when the station wanted it announced it was giving away photographs of the Wildcats, it hoped to soften the boos by having UK's popular play-by-play announcer Cawood Ledford make the announcement. The crowd still booed. "They didn't boo me," Leford said later. "They booed WHAS."

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