Date story was published: Wednesday, December 3, 1986
If a child was to lead Kentucky this season, it was supposed to be Rex Chapman, the freshman flash from Owensboro.
Last night, however, it was UK's other freshman, Derrick Miller, who hit two clutch three-pointers to help the Wildcats hold off Texas Tech 66-60.
Miller, who struggled in Kentucky's opener against Austin Peay Saturday night (no points and three turnovers), hit a three-pointer to push the Cats ahead 50-43 with 7:22 remaining.
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Another three-pointer at the 5:31 mark pushed Kentucky ahead 56-47.
But the persistent Red Raiders wouldn't go away, even though another Miller basket allowed UK to match its largest lead of the night (60-49) with 3:50 remaining.
Tech free throws fueled the comeback. The Red Raiders made six of six to spark an 8-2 run that cut UK's gamelong lead to 60-55.
When Mike Nelson hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds left, Tech closed to within 63-60.
But Ed Davender and Irv Thomas combined for three free throws in the final seven seconds to secure the victory.
UK improved to 2-0, the record it will take to Indiana Saturday. The Hoosiers also went to 2-0 with a 67-62 victory at Notre DAme.
With the exception of Rob Lock, UK in the first half hardly resembled the team that struggled past Austin Peay Saturday night.
Gone was the offensive confusion that marred UK's opener. More good news for Wildcat fans came in the form of a tenacious man-to-man defense that made its first appearance of 1986-87.
However, Lock, the Cats' lone big man until Cedric Jenkins and (probably) Mike Scott come aboard, continued to struggle.
Lock, the 6-foot-11 Californian, entered the game with 12:58 to go. In 78 seconds, he had two fouls. With 11:05 remaining, he picked up a third and left.
Tech didn't get much out of its big man either. Kent Wojciechoski, a 7- footer senior, had two fouls at the 18:16 mark. When he picked up his third three minutes later and didn't reappear for the rest of the half.
That left the game up to the guards and forwards.
In that matchup, UK had the upper hand for much of a streaky half that saw the Wildcats lead by 11, have the gap cut to two and then extend it to 32-22 at intermission.
Ed Davender scored eight of his 14 first-half points in early going to fuel Kentucky's early rush to a 15-4 lead.
Davender also had two of his three first-half steals in the early going, the second leading to his layup to set the 15-4 lead.
Once ahead, however, UK went cold. The Cats had made seven of their first 11 shots. Kentucky then missed five straight as its offense dissolved into one-on-one forays and three-point launches.
Tech scored eight straight points to cut UK's lead to 15-12. The Red Raiders got within two at 16-14 and had a chance to tie it, but Wes Lowe missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Defense and a return of good shooting pushed UK further ahead.
After Rex Chapman hit a jumper, his only basket of the half, to make the lead 18-14, Davender cashed in a steal with a layup to put UK ahead by six.
Later, James Blackmon capped a 10-2 rush with a steal and driving layup to make it 26-15.
Except for a referee's call that was reversed, Tech got no closer than eight the rest of the half.
Tech briefly cut Kentucky's lead to 26-19 when an goaltending call was made as a Red Raider free throw spun on the rim.
First, the call was for two points. But after Sutton charged the referees, it was changed to one.