Date story was published: Wednesday, December 19, 1990
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- For the second straight year, Kentucky had something to smile about after a loss to Indiana.
UK lost to the Hoosiers 87-84 last night, but not before nearly overcoming the loss of Reggie Hanson and John Pelphrey to fouls.
With substitutes such as Gimel Martinez, UK did more than hang in there. The Cats erased an 11-point second-half deficit, silenced a roaring red throng of 17,204 and sent the game into a decisive final minute.
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Calbert Cheaney, the game's high scorer with 23 points, hit a short baseline jumper with 37 seconds left to give Indiana the lead for good. Fouled on the play (one of a season-high 35 fouls called on the Cats), Cheaney hit the free throw to make it 85-82.
UK had two chances to cut into the lead. Sean Woods missed a leaning 14- footer in the lane.
Deron Feldhaus scrapped for the rebound, pivoted as if readying a follow- up shot, then rushed a pass back outside. It went to Indiana's Jamal Meeks, who dribbled down to two clinching free throws with 14 seconds left.
"I heard Richie's voice," said Feldhaus, referring to Richie Farmer. "We needed a three."
He wanted to shoot, Feldhaus said, "but somebody cut me off and I'd been in the paint for a long time. I was thinking they might call three-seconds. I was just thinking too much."
UK coach Rick Pitino, a competitor first and foremost, could overlook Feldhaus' turnover and a painfully familiar loss to Indiana. Decided underdogs to Indiana in last year's Big Four Classic, UK lost 71-69 with Woods missing an 18-footer at the buzzer.
Last night's loss was much easier to swallow, Pitino said, than, say, the 84-81 come-from-ahead defeat last week at North Carolina.
"After North Carolina, that was about as disappointing a loss as you could possibly have," Pitino said. "We didn't execute. Tonight, I told the guys I've never been as proud of a team. To me, there's no such thing as a moral victory. But we can go away with our heads high. A winner is described as playing to his potential. We played up to our potential. I'm as pleased as any win we've had in two years."
Hanson, UK's indispensable man last season, picked up three fouls inside the first seven minutes and played only 15 minutes total. He finished with six points, his smallest contribution since a two-minute, no-point night at Alabama last season. Swinging a fist at Bama's Robert Horry prompted that no- show.
UK fell apart without Hanson last season. Fouls limited Hanson to 11 minutes and two points in UK's 150-95 loss at Kansas.
Last night, the Cats held together.
IU needed its veterans to hold off Kentucky's makeshift lineup.
Eric Anderson, a graybeard as a junior, made big plays at both ends down the stretch. He scored seven of his 15 points in the final six minutes.
Anderson, no gazelle at 6-foot-9, twice left his man to block Feldhaus layup attempts.
"Freak occurrences," Anderson said, smiling, about his four blocks in the game. "They're looking for an explanation. We're not supposed to leave our feet. But when you block it, it's a good play. I'm no blocking wizard. He probably thought he had uncontested layups."
Thanks in part to a half-court heave by Feldhaus that went in at the buzzer, Kentucky, somehow, trailed only 37-34 at halftime.
Serious foul trouble and a skittishness against Indiana's patented man-to- man defense plagued the Cats throughout the half.
Hanson had two fouls at the 17:31 mark. Going against his stated philosophy, Pitino left Hanson in the game. Hanson picked up his third foul with 13:28 left when he grabbed Anderson after losing the ball.
John Pelphrey and Jeff Brassow also picked up three first-half fouls. Pelphrey had two at the 15:54 mark. He got his third with 3:24 left, fueling a late Indiana charge that built a 37-31 lead.
"We fouled," Pitino said. "We deserved foul trouble."
Eventually, five UK players fouled out.
"It was consistent," Pitino said of the officiating. "It was called both ways. That's all you can ask."
Kentucky's situation grew more desperate when Jamal Mashburn turned freshman in the first half. Mashburn misfired on all five shots he took, twice missing everything.
"I am a freshman," Mashburn said. "People fail to realize that sometimes."
Freshman or not, Mashburn heard Pitino challenge him at halftime to take charge.
"I told him he was as good as any player on the floor," Pitino said. "I told him, 'If you don't physically take over, we have no chance to win.' "
Indiana missed its first six shots to open the second half but then built a 58-47 lead thanks mostly to freshman Damon Bailey and Cheaney.
Bailey, the darling of Indiana fans, hit a three-pointer to give IU a 46-43 lead. The shot prompted a UK timeout with 15:16 left.
The timeout slowed -- but did not stop -- Indiana's momentum.
After UK cut the deficit to 49-46, IU went on a 9-1 run that opened its 11-point lead. Cheaney hit a three-pointer then outfought the Cats for a rebound basket to account for the run's final five points.
"That's as well as we've played all year," Knight said. "To that point, I had to be pretty pleased."
Despite missing 10 straight three-point attempts in one stretch, Kentucky did not wilt.
"I told them, 'You'll have a run,' " Pitino said of a timeout with 11:24 left and UK down 58-47. " 'If you get frustrated and take bad shots and try to get back in the next minute, you won't get back. There's a lot of time left. Go for easy two-point shots. Wear them down. Wear them down and we'll come back.' "
UK did just that, cutting into the lead and going ahead 64-63 when Pelphrey ended the 0-for-10 three-point string with a trey from the left side.
The lead changed hands six times over the next two minutes, setting the stage for the final dramatics.