On This Date In UK History

Special Thanks To Big Blue Booyah

March 1st

your "dark horse" University of Kentucky Wildcats upset the Georgia Bulldogs to become the first ever Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) champions. The Champion Basketeers played "basket ball" like a machine and became one of the most heralded teams in all the South. It is believed to have been the first major basketball tournament in collegiate basketball history. The captain of the 1921 team, Basil Hayden, was the key cog during Kentucky's first ever tournament run. Later that spring, he would become the University's first ever All-American (Helm's). Hundreds of fans were gathered around getting play-by-play updates via telegraph. I think that's what people used before Al Gore and the Internet. Anyway, Hayden & Company would drive their horses back from Atlanta and were greeted by a raucous Big Blue Nation at Saddle Ridge, which was then located at the corner of Euclid and Woodland. Kentucky ended the season 13-1. Basil Hayden came back to coach Kentucky for one year (1927) and also has a jersey retired into Rupp's Rafters.

February 28th

your top-ranked University of Kentucky Wildcats outlasted a game Vanderbilt Commodore team, 90-86, in front of a sellout crowd at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington. The story of the game, though, was Kentucky All-American Dan Issel (31 points - 15 rebounds) crossed a barrier no other Wildcat had ever crossed. The Batavia, Illinois-native became the first player to score 2,000 points in the storied program’s history. Issel caught and blew past the top scorers on the career list halfway through his senior season and put enough distance between second place to let everyone know he planned on staying there a few years. Names such as Nash, Groza, Dampier, Beard, Hagan, and Riley were left in the scorer’s wake as he was making his own claim to be the best Wildcat ever. The victory moved the #1 Cats to 23-1 on the ‘70 season, leading to a top-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Rupp’s team would get upset in the Regional Finals by Jacksonville, letting a prime opportunity slip away in Issel final chance at a National Championship. Issel never made a Final Four in his three years at Kentucky, despite having some of the best teams in the nation.

February 27th

your #8 University of Kentucky Wildcats throttled the Georgia Bulldogs, 143-66, for the largest margin of victory in the basketball program’s history. The game was played at Louisville’s Jefferson County Armory, because even in the 50's there were more UK fans than Card fans in Louisville. By halftime, the game had been decided, as Adolph Rupp’s squad had built a 75-32 lead. The Cats made an absurd 60 field goals on the day, more than double that of the visiting Bulldogs. Of the 14 players seeing court action, 13 of them had at least two field goals. Jerry Bird (22 points), Bob Burrow (21 points), and Billy Ray Cassady (16 points) led the way for Kentucky, who moved their record to 18-5 on the season. The season was ended a few weeks later, as #4 Iowa upended Kentucky in the Midwest Regional Finals.......in Iowa City, Iowa, one game short of the bannerific Final Four. Once again showing the bias the corrupt NCAA has against our beloved program.

February 26th

your fifth-ranked University of Kentucky Wildcats stormed back from a 36-29 halftime deficit at #16 Alabama via the smoking hot shooting of Patrick “Booger” Sparks. The Western Kentucky transfer could do no wrong in the second stanza as he hit five three pointers (7-10 overall) to help Kentucky outscore Bama 49-35 after the break to win going away. Sparks ended the game with a season high 26 points, and the Cats as a team were a blistering 13-19 from behind the arc on the afternoon. One of the other highlights of the comeback was a Sparks’ assist on a fastbreak to the trailing Woo for a dunk I’m not even for sure Woo thought he had in him. It was a tomahawk slam from halfway down the lane that helped Big Blue Nation forget about the grenades he usually threw towards the backboard. Tubby’s squad shot 56% from the field, 68% from 3-point range, and 65% from the free throw line. Kelenna Azubuike had 15 points and super walk-on Ravi Moss was a perfect 3-3 for 10 huge points. But the day belonged to Sparks, as his NBA-range three’s will on point to get past the Elephants. The win clinched the SEC regular season title for the Cats, their 43rd overall, and our last.

February 25th

your ninth-ranked University of Kentucky Wildcats put a beating on visiting Tennessee, 92-60, in front a surprisingly average 23,201 at Rupp. The Buzz Peterson-led Volunteers didn’t even put up a fight, as the Cats had stretched the lead to 15 by intermission. No starter played over 29 minutes and fifteen of the sixteen players saw action. Freaky sophomore Kelenna Azubuike led the Cats with 17 points, with an efficient 7-10 shooting (3-4 from 3-point range). He was assisted by Erik Daniels (12 points - 4 rebounds - 6 assists), Chuck Hayes (14 points - 6 rebounds - 3 assists - 3 steals), Cliff Hawkins (15 points - 5 rebounds - 7 assists), and Antwan Barbour (16 points, 6-9 FG, 3-4 3PM). The win moved Tubby Smith to 10-3 in the SEC and 20-4 overall, the program’s 14th straight 20-win season. Big Blue would go on to win the SEC regular season and tournament titles, climb to #2 in the country, and earn a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. And then.....UAB.

February 24th

your #3 University of Kentucky Wildcats dramatically took out #5 LSU, 76-74 in overtime, as all-timer Kyle Macy hit a jumper as time expired. Macy, who was just 3-13 before the last shot, came through in the clutch with the final dagger. The point guard extraordinaire played the entire 45 minutes, finishing with 11 points - 5 rebounds - 8 assists. He also had the nerve to miss two free throws. The star of the game before the last shot was Fred Cowan, a 6'8" junior from Sturgis, Kentucky. The Union County-native tallied 27 points - 9 rebounds - 3 assists on 12-18 shooting. Freshman phenom and McDonald’s All-American Sam Bowie controlled the paint for most of the day, ending with 16 points. The victory would clinch the regular season title for UK and move the Cats to 26-4 on the season. The Tigers would get revenge a few weeks later in the SEC Championship, winning another squeaker, 80-78. Joe B. Hall’s team would still earn a #1 seed for the NCAA Tournament. You don’t want to know the rest.

February 23rd

your #2 University of Kentucky Wildcats won their 16th straight game with a 70-62 win over the #19 Mississippi State Bulldogs in Rupp Arena. The win pushed the Cats SEC record to a perfect 12-0 (22-3 overall), trying to become just the second team (1996 Kentucky) in SEC history to go undefeated in conference play. Big Blue came out on fire building a 19 point first half lead (32-13), before going into halftime with a 10 point lead. From there, Keith Bogans & Company controlled the visitors, fluctuating the lead from 16 points to five points during the second half. Bogans’ 18 points and seven rebounds led the way with Marquis Estill (10 points - 8 rebounds) and Chuck Hayes (4 points - 8 rebounds - 6 assists) providing some help. Cliff Hawkins was also an efficient 5-6 from the floor for 14 points and three assists. The difference in the game was how UK dominated the glass against the nation’s #2 rebounding team (37-25). At halftime, the University honored over 100 letterman, led by the fantasy five of: Kyle Macy, Tony Delk, Jamal Mashburn, Dan Issel, and Jack Givens. I’d take that team.


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March 1st, 1921
your "dark horse" University of Kentucky Wildcats upset the Georgia Bulldogs...
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