Date story was published: February 25, 1988
Kentucky erased the memories of last year's blowout loss to Louisiana State and last week's two losses with a 95-69 victory last night.
UK could do little wrong in humbling LSU and reclaiming sole possession of first place in the Southeastern Conference.
UK improved to 11-5 in the SEC and 19-5 overall. LSU fell back to 9-6 in the league and 14-10 overall. Vanderbilt, tied with UK entering last night's game, lost 81-68 to Auburn and fell to 10-6 and 17-7. Florida lost 65-63 to Tennessee to fall to 9-6 in the SEC and 19-9 overall.
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At halftime, the winner was decided. The only question remaining was how badly would Kentucky beat LSU.
A UK victory to match the 76-41 embarrassment LSU put on the Cats here last season seemed possible.
UK led 55-32 at halftime.
"Eddie (Sutton) was kind," LSU coach Dale Brown said. "If he wanted to match the 35-point margin, he could have. He was a gentleman."
UK's only problem came with 4:33 left in the half. Rex Chapman, who had 11 first-half points, hit the floor hard on a fast-break layup. Television replays clearly showed Chapman charged into LSU reserve Lyle Mouton.
Chapman was twisting and lifting the ball to the basket as he hit Mouton. The collision sent Chapman out of control. He hit the floor flush on his back.
Chapman was taken to UK Medical Center, where preliminary X-rays showed a cracked transverse process, a small bone in the lower back. UK sports information director Brad Davis said Chapman was in a lot of pain and was very doubtful for Sunday's game against Syracuse. Team doctor Michael Ray said Chapman would be "very, very sore for two or three weeks. Beyond Sunday it's day to day."
Asked how serious the injury appeared, McCombs said, "These things vary with the amount of pain and the player involved. Rex is a competitor. I'd say he'd be back sooner than most."
An LSU comeback seemed doubtful. Three LSU starters -- center Jose Vargas, forward Wayne Sims and guard Darryl Joe -- all had three fouls. In the final four minutes, Ricky Blanton, a 6-foot-7 small forward, was at center.
Against an unbelievably small lineup, UK ran off a 9-2 run to establish the 23-point halftime margin, the Cats' largest lead of the half.
UK so dominated the first half it didn't seem Chapman was needed. UK hit 20 of 29 first-half shots (69 percent), including all four of its three-point attempts. Eric Manuel, who started in place of LeRon Ellis, and Chapman led the way. Manuel hit six of eight shots and matched his career-high of 12 in the first half alone.
Chapman it three of three from three-point territory.
Ed Davender and Winston Bennett also had hot halves. As he did at Baton Rouge last month, Bennett dominated Blanton. Bennett hit five of seven and had 10 points.
Davender was a fourth UK starter in double figures at the half. He added 11, on four-of-five shooting.
UK showed early it came to play. Bennett tipped away the game's first pass: a Joe pass intended for Simms out high.
The tip became an example to follow. UK's press forced turnovers in four of LSU's first seven possessions.