Date story published: Thursday, March 2, 1989
A clean-shaven Richie Farmer hit a three-pointer with two seconds left -- his only points of the game -- to lift Kentucky to a 70-69 victory over Mississippi last night.
The shot also elevated Coach Eddie Sutton, who leaped about the Rupp Arena floor as delirious UK players piled on Farmer.
"The way I jumped around it looked like I was on a pogo stick; but I wasn't going in that pile. I might have gotten mugged," Sutton said. "You'd have thought we just won the (Southeastern) conference championship."
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Instead, Kentucky, 13-17, moved into sole possession of sixth place, the final spot that rates a first-round bye in next week's SEC Tournament. Ole Miss, which had been tied for sixth, fell to 13-13 overall and 7-10.
Farmer, who shaved his mustache Tuesday for the first time in four years, had not made a three-pointer since UK's game at Georgia Feb. 5. He'd had only four since the UKIT last December.
Farmer became a hero because Kentucky's last-second play broke down. Center LeRon Ellis was double teamed on the low post and had to pass the ball back out to Farmer, who had entered the game with 21 seconds left.
Ole Miss point guard John Matthews, who stepped toward Ellis when the ball went inside, leaped back to challenge Farmer's shot from slightly right of the top of the key. "I was close enough to him I could have touched the ball," Matthews said. Asked why he didn't go ahead and touch it, Matthews said, "His quick release got it off."
Farmer put a higher arc on the ball. "That was something my daddy (Richard) used to tell me," Farmer said. "If you're not hitting well, put a little more arc on the shot." In his limited role, Farmer made just two of 14 shots in February.
Last night's game-winner swished. In the resulting pandemonium, Ole Miss couldn't get a timeout called.
"It did feel like in the state finals the year we won it," said Farmer, who led Clay County High to the 1987 State championship. "I'll be beat and battered tomorrow, but it was worth it."
Farmer's shot prevented UK from losing its final home game for the first time since 1964. The Cats lost 67-60 to St. Louis that year.
"We've won games like that, but not this year," Sutton said. "Maybe that's why I got excited. These guys deserved a win like that. It's almost like being on your death bed and a shot like that brings life back into you."
Ole Miss star forward Gerald Glass did all he could to beat Kentucky. For the fifth straight game, Glass scored 30 or more points. He finished with 35 points, the most scored by an opposing player against UK this season. Chris Jackson scored 34 against UK at Baton Rouge last month.
Twenty-three of Glass's points came in a spectacular second half. His only assist came in the second half, meaning Glass had a hand in all but 10 of Ole Miss' 35 second-half points.
"He played about as well as any player has played against a Kentucky team since I've been here," Sutton said.
But as Ole Miss coach Ed Murphy noted, Glass has made the spectacular routine.
"I think I was right about Gerald Glass when I told you he could play," said Murphy, who raised eyebrows in the pre-season when he called Glass an All-SEC player. "This probably hasn't happened in a long time. In a Kentucky- Mississippi game, Mississippi had the best player."
Glass hit nine of 13 second-half shots in a performance that kept UK behind for most of the half.
Another three-pointer, this one by Sean Sutton, gave UK its only second- half lead: 54-52 with 7:20 left. Twenty-one seconds later, Glass erased the lead with a twisting baseline jumper and free throw. He was fouled by Chris Mills and made the free throw.
UK did not lead again until Farmer's three-pointer.
Kentucky rode the emotion of Seniors' Night to take the early lead. A hook shot by Mike Scott, one of two seniors playing their final home game, helped UK to an 11-9 lead.
It was then that the other senior, former walk-on Jeff Ginnan, left the game. Ginnan didn't score, but met his personal expectations. "I wanted the team to be up when I left," Ginnan said. "That was my goal."
Because of Glass, who scored 12 first-half points, the Rebels got the lead. Ole Miss led throughout the final 11 minutes.
A leaner in the lane by Glass put Ole Miss ahead 27-18 at the 6:44 mark. But Glass was called for charging on the play and went to the bench. It was his third foul.
"When Gerald went out with his third and we led by five at halftime (34-29) I was pretty encouraged," Murphy said. "I would have settled for a tie."
The Rebels led by as much as 29-18 in the first half before UK rallied.
Chris Mills, who led UK with 19 points and nine rebounds, posted up for a three-point play that cut the Cats' halftime deficit to five.
With Deron Feldhaus taking advantage of Glass' reluctance to pick up a fourth foul, Kentucky tied it early in the second half. Feldhaus scored two of UK's first three baskets, the second tying it at 35-35.
Glass answered with a jumper.
In one stretch, Glass scored 14 of 18 points for his team.
UK trailed by as many as seven in the second half. A three-pointer by Glass put UK behind 66-59 with 3:50 left.
"I knew we had to have this game," Glass said. "I came ready to play."
But Glass forced his hand on the next two possessions. He missed a jumper contested by Mills and then walked.
UK scored six straight points to get close.
Glass answered with a free throw and then a 15-footer off the dribble. The latter gave Ole Miss a 69-65 lead with 1:05 left.
Derrick Miller, who added 14 points for UK, hit a leaner with 47 seconds left to cut it to 69-67.
"He really hit a tough shot," Murphy said. "You can't guard him any better."
When Tim Jumper missed a free throw with 21 seconds left, Kentucky had a chance to tie it or win. Farmer delivered.
"If you're going to coach basketball, these things will happen to you," Murphy said. "If you don't want them to happen to you, you've got to do something else."