Date story was published: Sunday, December 20, 1987
Ed Davender's two free throws and a controversial walking call helped Kentucky beat North Carolina-Charlotte 84-81 last night.
The victory improved UK's record to 6-0 and gave the Wildcats their 27th championship in the University of Kentucky Invitational Tournament's 35-year history.
When Byron Dinkins hit his sixth three-pointer of the night, Charlotte trailed only 82-81 with 1:06 left.
The 49ers, losing for the first time in seven games, got the ball back when Ed Davender missed a forced shot in the lane.
Dinkins came up lame during a timeout with 33 seconds left.
He entered the game after another UNCC timeout with 11 seconds left.
The strategy of getting the ball into Dinkins' hands was no surprise. The position was. He was under the basket.
As he rose for a shot or pass, he either was pushed or drifted out of bounds.
The walking call infuriated UNCC coach Jeff Mullins, who threw his glasses 10 feet onto the court.
Davender, who was fouled immediately, made two free throws with two seconds left to clinch the victory.
For the second time this young season, UK trailed at halftime. A flurry of three-pointers staked Charlotte to a 42-39 lead after the first 20 minutes.
The 49ers hit UK for six three-pointers in the half and 18 of 31 shots overall (58 percent). Three rapid-fire bombs pushed Charlotte to its largest lead, 42-35, with 1:47 left.
UK steadied itself with a timeout seven seconds later. Baskets by Winston Bennett and Richard Madison, both forces for UK throughout the half, cut the Cat deficit to three.
Bennett encored his career-high 28-point game Friday with 11 in the first half.
Madison replaced an ineffective Cedric Jenkins with 15:24 left. He had seven points and 11 rebounds, several in a crowd.
The game's early stages gave no hint of the three-pointers Charlotte would rain on the Cats.
Byron Dinkins, Charlotte's top scorer (20.8 ppg), hit only one shot -- a three-pointer -- in the first 16 minutes.
UK's top defender, Davender, took away Dinkins' drive. Twice when Dinkins went up for jumpers, Davender stripped him of the ball. Each play led to UK baskets.
Because Charlotte's big men outplayed UK's front line, the Cats couldn't build more than a five-point lead in the half.
That lead, 31-26, evaporated when Dinkins hit two three-pointers. Teammates Jeff West and Scott County native Frank Persley also hit three- pointers. Persley's came in Bennett's face, causing the UK forward to give a worried glance at the scoreboard.
It read 42-35, Charlotte's favor, with 1:47 left.
Charlotte showed no signs of cracking as the second half began. After missing their first two shots, the 49ers hit six straight.
One was yet another three-pointer by Dinkins -- his fourth and the team's seventh of the game. It staked Charlotte to a 53-52 lead that grew to 55-52 when Dan Plondke's post-up move produced a basket.
Defense carried UK to a 62-58 lead with 12:05 left.
Chapman sneaked from Dinkins' blind side as the Charlotte guard began a spin move in the lane. Chapman ripped the ball away and went off to a slam that pushed UK ahead 56-55.
After another Dinkins three-pointer tied it at 58-58, Chapman spun to a basket.
Then Davender stripped Dinkins of the ball as he rose for a shot -- the third time he made such a steal -- and Chapman was off to another fast-break dunk. It put UK ahead 62-58 and prompted a Charlotte timeout with 11:58 left.
Six minutes later, after the two teams exchanged big plays, the UK lead was 73-68.
UK went up 69-64 when Bennett rebounded Lock's missed dunk attempt.
But back-to-back baskets, the second off Ronnie Bellamy's steal and driving layup, cut the lead to 69-68.
UK answered when Chapman rebounded his own missed three-pointer and hit a leaner in the lane. Eric Manuel's steal and driving dunk followed, giving the Cats a 73-68 lead with 5:54 left.
After two Dinkins free throws, Persley's three-pointer tied it at 73-73 with 4:49 to go.
It was tied at 75-75 when West stripped Madison of the ball and drove to a flip in the lane that put Charlotte ahead 77-75 with 3:50 left.
UK called time at 3:37 to set up the final dramatics.