On This Date In UK History

Special Thanks To Big Blue Booyah

December 18th

a Freedom Hall record basketball crowd of 20,088 witnessed Patrick “Booger” Sparks hit three free throws with 0.6 seconds left in regulation to push #8 Kentucky past #13 Louisville, 60-58. Sparks had two Louisville big men running at him with time running out and (instead of getting blocked) faked a three-pointer to draw the most crucial foul of the afternoon. The day didn’t start out so great, though, as Kentucky shot 5-24 in the first half and trailed 32-16 at halftime. It tied the largest halftime deficit UK had overcome to win a game (with the 1994 Mardi Gras Miracle) in program history. Sparks was on fire from deep going 5-8 and finishing with 25 points and 5 rebounds. Kelenna Azubuike added 12 points and Chuck Hayes gave a solid 6 point - 9 rebound - 4 assist effort to keep everything under control down low. Tubby used his bench to the tune of thirteen players seeing floor time, compared to seven on the Rick Pitino side. The win stopped a two-game losing streak to Rick Pitino and the Restaurants.

Patrick Sparks Video

December 17th

legendary basketball coach Adolph Rupp got the first of his 876 wins as the head basketball coach of the University of Kentucky. The game occurred in Alumni Gymnasium v. Georgetown College and Big Blue dominated the Tigers 67-19. The break neck fast-break style of game led to many uncontested baskets for Kentucky as the outmanned Georgetown squad looked on in amazement. Harrodsburg, KY-native Forest “Aggie” Sale led the Wildcats that day with 19 points, further proving the point that you don’t mess with Mercer County. After dominating the first half 38-9, Georgetown rallied to only lose the second half 29-10 for the final tally. Coach Rupp went on to post a .961 winning percentage for the rest of his time in Alumni Gym and a career mark of 876-190 over 41 seasons (an .822 winning percentage). The Cats started Rupp’s first season with 10 straight wins and finished the season 15-3, losing in the Southern Conference Tournament Championship to Maryland, 29-27.

* - Actually happened on December 18th, but you have to include this, right? You’ll see why tomorrow.

December 16th

was the last time Kentucky beat Louisville in basketball. It was also Orlando “Tubby” Smith’s last time playing Louisville as the University of Kentucky head coach. The 61-49 victory wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win against those filthballs down I-64. Freshman Jodie Meeks scored a career-high 18 points HYPERLINK (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MfuwGMg48A) (4-7 from beyond the arc) and junior Ramel “Smooth” Bradley added 15 points and a team-high six rebounds to key the Wildcats. It was Tubby Smith’s third consecutive win in the series after starting an uneasy 3-4 against the Red Birds to start his UK coaching career. Tubby’s defense led the way, holding the Losers to 27% shooting (3-24 from 3 point-range). Randolph Morris was out of the game by the first TV timeout due to fouls, which allowed the Polish Nightmare Lukasz “Woo” Obrzut to get some quality minutes. His line: 3-5 FG - 6 points - 5 rebounds - 4 fouls. Solid.

December 15th

senior offensive extraordinaire Derek Abney was named a second team All-American by the Associated Press. He was named to the team as simply an all-purpose player, as you had to get him in the fold somehow. Abney led the Southeastern Conference in all-purpose yardage averaging just under 152 yards per game. Big Blue used Abney in almost every facet of the game, as he ran, caught, and returned his way to the record books. All of this came on the heels of a consensus selection as a first team everything across the board in 2002 (AP, ESPN, Football Writers, Walter Camp, CBS Sportsline, CNNSI, to name a few)after returning a record six kicks for touchdowns. Abney ended his career with five NCAA records, 11 Southeastern Conference records, and 14 University of Kentucky records for returns and all-purpose yards. He was also the first player in NCAA history to have 2,000 receiving yards, 2,000 kickoff return yards, and 1,000 punt return yards in a career.

Derek Abney

December 14th

your University of Kentucky Wildcats played their first ever basketball game in storied Alumni Gym, beating Cincinnati, 28-23. The Gym was completed for the 1924-25 season after the Board of Trustees complained the Barker’s Hall Buell Armory was unsafe for the amount of fans trying to see the game. Near riots occurred as fans were turned away game after game because of safety concerns. Known as the “White Elephant”, the 2,800 seat, $100,000 structure is considered the birthplace of Kentucky’s storied basketball tradition. In 1928, torrential downpours flooded downtown Lexington and Alumni Gymnasium, which included all of the basketball offices in its basement. Any and all records for Kentucky basketball were thus lost. (After a bit of research, I concluded that Kentucky basketball went 126-0 and won 22 National Championships.) In 1930, Adolph Rupp came in and started the official reign of dominance. In 19 seasons, Rupp’s record at Alumni Gym was 201-8.......seriously. The University’s overall record in 26 total seasons was 247-24, a .911 winning percentage.

December 13th

in a game that would be titled “Basketbowl”, your University of Kentucky Wildcats played the Michigan State Spartans at Detroit’s Ford Field. The reason the game was called “Basketbowl” was because the schools were attempting to set a World Record for basketball game attendance. And they did. The official attendance was 78,129, setting a mark unmatched by anyone else in the history of the Universe. Big Blue never trailed throughout the contest and won the game by a score of 79-74. Tubby Smith proclaimed, “We aren’t intimidated by this kind of atmosphere.” No word on whether 2009 Tubby would be intimidated by 2009 Detroit, a shell of its former self. The Wildcats were led by Gerald Fitch’s 25 points (4-6 shooting from 3-point range) and Chuck Hayes’ dominance down low (17 points - 12 rebounds - 4 assists - 2 blocks - 2 steals). The uncommon atmosphere proved no big deal for Kentucky, as they shot a fiery 60% from the field.

Basketbowl Youtube Video


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