Date story was published: Sunday, December 6, 1987
INDIANAPOLIS -- Things seemed their darkest. Then a Rex Chapman bomb welcomed a dawn in Kentucky's white-hot 82-76 overtime victory over Indiana.
Call it the biggest three in the inaugural Big Four Classic.
UK had already lost a four-point lead in the final 25 seconds of regulation.
Then a three-point cushion early in overtime melted away. In its place was a 76-75 Indiana lead with less than two minutes to play.
Winston Bennett had long since fouled out. Because of foul trouble, he played exactly 120 seconds after intermission and UK paid a dear price on its defensive board. Of Indiana's 38 points after halftime, 21 came on second- and third-shot opportunities.
Worst still, Chapman had missed 12 of his 17 shots, the first two air balls.
It seemed to be Knight time, that portion of any Indiana game when coach Bob Knight takes it by the throat.
But this time it was Chapman who seized the moment.
The Cats had barely crossed midcourt. The next move in this test of patience seemed a half-minute or more in the future.
Suddenly, without hesitation, UK's super sophomore rose off the dribble and launched a three-pointer from just right of the top of the key.
"This is what I say at banquets," UK coach Eddie Sutton said of the shot. " 'Oh, no, no, no . . . heck of a shot, Rex.' "
The shot swished. And UK led 78-76 with 1:48 left.
"It was a spur of the moment thing," Chapman said. "I saw Cedric (Jenkins) set a pick and I just let it go."
Forgotten were all the earlier misses.
"I knew we needed it," Chapman said of the timely shot. "Maybe I concentrated more."
The Wildcats, 3-0 and looking to improve on a No. 2 ranking, did not trail again.
Not that Indiana, 2-1, didn't threaten. This game begged for heroes almost on a possession-by-possession basis. And usually got them.
Indiana's Keith Smart missed the first of a one-and-one with 1:32 left. But Todd Jadlow bulled for the rebound and laid up the potential tying basket.
Jenkins rejected the shot to a teammate.
"I should have blocked him out," Jenkins said. "I had to make up for it."
When Steve Eyl intercepted a Chapman pass, Indiana had another chance to tie.
But Smart, who labored through a five-point, six-turnover game, forgot the ball on a drive. Chapman dived on the loose ball and slung an outlet pass toward Richard Madison.
"I saw Richard flashing and he took care of the rest," Chapman said.
Madison, another of UK's many heroes, roared to a flying dunk. The lead was 80-76 with 33 seconds left.
When Smart missed a three-pointer, Madison skied above the fray for the rebound.
Victory, at last, was at hand.
"We certainly could have folded," Sutton said. "But we didn't. I'm very proud of our team."
UK had the game won in regulation. The Cats led 71-67 when Chapman made two free throws with 25 seconds left.
Dean Garrett, a force at both ends (20 points, nine rebounds and five blocks), hit his last turnaround in the post to make it 71-69 with 10 seconds to go.
IU called time and, two seconds later, fouled Rob Lock.
Before Lock could shoot the one-and-one, Indiana called another timeout. Lock's reaction was a curious smile.
"It was a situation you dream of being in," Lock said. "It was like living in a dream world. Indiana vs. Kentucky. Last-second free throw. You dream about that shooting in the backyard."
One problem: Lock, who was perfect from the line so far this season (16- of-16 overall, 8-of-8 yesterday), missed.
"I'll have to get a new dream," he said.
Indiana's Rick Calloway dribbled nearly the length of the court. His odyssey ended with a thud when he collided with a waiting Lock. The UK center sprawled to the floor. Calloway bounced awkwardly to the right. His shot, a half-throw, bounced harmlessly off the rim.
Charge? Foul? Nothing was called. Should the whistle have blown?
"Definitely," Lock said. "I got hammered on the back of my head (when he hit the floor). I blacked out."
In the instant that a crowd of 43,601 and both teams wondered about a call, freshman guard Jay Edwards picked up the loose ball and flipped in a 10- footer.
A second later, regulation ended.
By then, the two teams had gone through 14 lead changes. Four more would come in the five-minute overtime.
Neither team led by more than five in the first half. Indiana led 38-36 at halftime because Edwards tipped in a shot with two seconds left.
But where were the game's expected stars?
For much of the half, UK had to do without the usual contributions of Chapman and Bennett. IU's backcourt star, Smart, didn't even play in the final 8:06 of the half.
Ed Davender played a part in filling the void left by Chapman and Bennett, while causing Smart problems.
Davender scored 11 first-half points and finished with a team-high 22.
His defense limited Smart to nine shots, seven of them misses.
While Sutton praised Jenkins, who filled the void left by Bennett with 14 points and 10 rebounds, the UK coach reserved a special mention for Davender.
"I can't say enough about Cedric Jenkins," Sutton said. "Maybe the bigger key was Davender's defense on Smart."
The second half was more of the same. Each team threw mini-runs at the other.
Indiana went up 46-40 early in the second half. Garrett's rebound basket provided the lead, and it was one of four straight baskets the Hoosiers got off the offensive board.
UK's rebounding wasn't helped by Bennett's foul trouble. Already saddled with three first-half fouls, the senior forward picked up his fourth at the 18:27 mark when he pushed off on Smart fighting for a rebound.
Bennett left the game and didn't return until 6:38 remained. By then, UK had rallied to a 57-51 lead, thanks in part to three Jenkins baskets.
Bennett was around only 27 seconds when he received his fifth foul, again on a rebounding situation.
Indiana had no substitute for Garrett. The IU center dominated early, but he scored one basket in the game's final 12 minutes and 51 seconds.
"Our two best offensive players were 10-for-33 (Garrett eight of 24; Smart two of nine)," Knight said. "We just didn't get the things from Smart and Garrett we needed to have."