Searchable Databases


Date story was published: Thursday, February 4, 1988

What Kentucky used last night to smash Mississippi 94-65 was a 35-8 second-half run.

What the Cats didn't use was Ed Davender. UK's senior point guard did not play in the game's last 24 minutes as UK improved to 15-3 overall and 7-3 in the Southeastern Conference. The Cats remained tied for second with Vanderbilt in the SEC race, a half-game behind Florida (7-2).

"Ed really didn't do exactly what the coaching staff wanted," UK coach Eddie Sutton said. "We decided to let him see how he liked being on the bench in the second half. If we're going to be a good basketball team, everybody has to do exactly what the coaching staff says."

Asked where Davender lapsed, Sutton said: "Ed's a great player. He'll be back in the starting lineup Saturday.

"(But) on a couple plays he probably did not use good judgment. He didn't use good judgment when he said something at halftime on the way down the hall (to the locker room at halftime)."

Sutton refused to say what Davender had said. While being escorted out of Rupp Arena by Van Florence, the head of UK's Committee of 101, Davender declined to comment.

Davender was visibly upset when he was yanked from the game with 4:08 left in the first half. He was replaced by Sean Sutton after his feed inside to Winston Bennett was picked off.

It appeared the pass was on target. But Bennett had left the low post a split-second before the pass was made.

The play was Davender's only turnover in his 15 minutes of play. He scored six points, had two steals and three assists.

While Davender sat, the Cats broke from a 30-25 lead, established a 38-29 halftime edge and blew the game wide open after intermission.

Ahead 42-37, UK went on a 35-8 run to take a 77-45 lead with 8:15 left. The breakout included a 23-2 spurt that saw:

Ole Miss senior leader Rod Barnes hit with a technical foul.

Ole Miss coach Ed Murphy hit with a technical foul.

UK establish dominance inside, resulting in either points or free throws. The Cats were 24-of-30 from the line.

Ole Miss go more than three minutes without a point. In that time, UK expanded a 54-43 lead to 69-43. The Rebels scored but one basket in almost five minutes. By then, UK led 77-45.

"We played about as well as we can in that period," Sutton said. "We ran, got good shots and played good defense. I think the press fatigued them."

Kentucky appeared to deliver a knockout blow early with its 1-2-1 zone press. Ole Miss, which started three freshmen, committed six turnovers -- five on successive possessions -- in falling behind 15-4 in the first 4:20.

Typical of the early going was an ill-advised cross-court pass against the press. Rex Chapman, one of five Cats in double figures, picked it off and raced to a slam dunk. Rebel freshman Greg Turner was called for blocking on the dunk. The three-point play established a 12-4 lead.

Another three-point play revealed UK's other strength early: the inside game. Rob Lock rebounded a missed lob shot by LeRon Ellis and banked it in. Lock was fouled and the three-point play made it 15-4.

From the opening tap, UK showed its intention of pounding it inside against a Rebel team that started only one player taller than 6-foot-5. The exception was freshman center Sean Murphy.

In a play set before the game, Chapman took the tap and lofted a half- court lob for Ellis. The UK freshman couldn't control the pass and banged it off the glass. But a tone was set.

"We wanted them to know we'd make that pass," Sutton said. "We hadn't been throwing it much. (Plus) We wanted to get the crowd into the game. It was kind of a country club setting out there."

Fueled by the press and an inside-oriented attack, the Cats built the early lead to as much as 25-10.

The Rebels missed 14 of their first 18 shots, but Rod Barnes steadied the visitors with 11 first-half points.

Barnes' fadeaway jumper from the right corner sparked a comeback. He was fouled by Chapman on the play. The three-point play began a 15-5 run that cut the UK lead to 30-25. Barnes' jumper in the lane was the shot that cut the lead to five.

UK helped by drifting away from pushing the ball inside.

It was then, with 4:08 left, that Sutton replaced Davender with his son.

"Sean's not looking to score," the UK coach said. "He's looking to get the ball to people."

Twenty-nine seconds after entering the game, Sean Sutton fed Ellis on the low post. Ellis' turnaround was the first of four straight UK baskets from the lane that brought UK to a 38-29 halftime lead.

Ellis matched his season high of 14 points set in his first start, Sunday against Notre Dame.

"I was a little more calm," Ellis said. "The first time (against Notre Dame) I was real nervous."

UK began the second half with Eric Manuel in for Davender.

The Cats began uneasily, committing two early turnovers. On one, Barnes picked the ball from Chapman and fed Charles Prater for a dunk.

Ole Miss cut the lead to 42-37 with 15:59 left.

During a television timeout with 15:06 left "we got everybody regrouped," Sutton said.

The result was a 35-8 run that decided the game.

Fouls hurt Ole Miss, which fell to 8-10 overall and 2-7 in the SEC. At one point, UK was shooting the one-and-one and had yet to be charged with a foul.

"That's a lot of free throws and possessions back to people," Rebel coach Ed Murphy said. "Now, I don't want a letter from (SEC Commissioner) Mr. (Harvey) Schiller. I didn't say all 10 were bad fouls. If the fouls had been 0-0, Kentucky would have won. Kentucky's better than us. You don't have to be a genius to see that. There's not any opening to get through against them. All the 'i's' are dotted."

Chapman, who finished with 15, hit a three-pointer after the timeout to increase UK's lead to 47-37.

He later hit another three-pointer to make it 57-43.

"He's like a bomb the way he plays," Murphy said. "He's gotten better at gliding along and taking what you give him. Every good player becomes great when they do that."

Ole Miss' slim chances at a comeback ended with the technicals.

Barnes received a technical for complaining after he was bumped by Chapman going up for a shot. No foul was called.

"Rod's a nice kid, so don't get the wrong idea," Murphy said. "They didn't call several more for what I said. To call one for what he said is a joke. All he said was he thought he wasn't getting the same breaks they were. He said, 'why don't you call them at the other end." Isn't that a terrible thing to say?"

Chapman missed the technical free throw.

But four seconds later, at the 10:33 mark, Murphy received a technical.

Chapman made those two free throws. With the ensuing possession, Cedric Jenkins was fouled and made two more free throws. The four points pushed the lead to 65-43.