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LATE SPURT IN SECOND HALF SECURES UK'S 53-43 VICTORY

Date story was published: Friday, February 1, 1985

Joe Hall asked for patience and Kentucky delivered in more ways than one last night.

The Wildcats, snapping a three-game losing streak, waited until the latter stages of the second half before a 53-43 victory over mistake-prone Louisiana State could be secured.

The victory, which improved UK's overall record to 10-8, also allowed the Cats to climb into a tie for sixth place in the Southeastern Conference.

LSU, which had won its last three, dropped to 13-5 overall and 7-4 in the SEC.

As of this morning, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Florida share first place at 6-3.

The patience Hall wanted was exhibited by the Kentucky offense. The Wildcats milked the 45-second shot clock throughout the game.

Combined with LSU's turnovers and poor shooting, along with Kentucky's patience, the two teams did not cross the 30-point mark until more than 30 minutes had been played.

Kentucky had to wait until the last minutes of the second half to take control of the game.

Tied at 33-33, Kentucky ran off seven straight points to take a 40-33 lead with 4:23 remaining.

Winston Bennett's post-up basket with less than eight seconds on the shot clock put UK ahead 35-33.

After a walk against Derrick Taylor, UK increased its lead to four points when Walker posted for a basket.

The lead jumped to seven following an LSU miss.

Bret Bearup, fouled on a layup attempt, made one free throw with 4:36 remaining. The second bounced off the front of the rim, and was tapped to a teammate by Walker.

Later in the series, Walker was fouled while posting up and made both ends of the one-and-one. Those free throws gave UK a 40-33 lead with 4:26 to go.

If there were any doubts about a Wildcat victory, they were erased when Roger Harden fired in an old-fashioned push shot with two seconds on the shot clock. That basket put UK ahead 42-35.

Then, with 2:29 remaining, LSU's leading scorer, center Nikita Wilson, fouled out while attempting to deny a feed inside to Walker.

UK lost its first-half lead in the first 11 minutes of the second. In that time the Wildcats could score only six points.

Wilson led the LSU charge, scoring eight points in the first 12 minutes of the second half. It was Wilson's basket off a rebound that knotted the score at 33-33 with 7:54 remaining.

In the first half, Kentucky displayed the kind of offensive patience Joe Hall asked for earlier this week.

LSU should have been so deliberate.

The Tigers, advertised as playing their best ball of the season coming into the game, were sloppy throughout the opening 20 minutes.

As a result, UK claimed a 25-16 halftime lead.

Hall had asked the Wildcats to make a second effort to get the ball to Walker. The Cats did and Walker had 11 first-half points.

LSU looked precision-like on its first possession, quickly feeding Wilson for a post-up jumper. That shot put LSU up 2-0, which not so coincidentally was the Tigers' only lead of the half.

In its next seven possessions, LSU turned the ball over five times. At the 11:39 mark, the Tigers already had seven turnovers.

In that span, Kentucky outscored LSU 12-2. UK's lead expanded to as much as 10 points twice, the last time being 18-8.

While UK's patience paid off, several of LSU's turnovers seemed unforced.

Particularly unglued was Jerry Reynolds. The 6-8 forward-guard was guilty of four turnovers (two walks and two dribbles off his own foot). Reynolds was also called for an offensive foul, nullifying another LSU possession.

UK guarded its possessions carefully. The Cats took only 16 shots in the first half.

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