Remembering 150-95

I know that this is the worst loss in UK basketball in modern history, but I believe that this loss played a part in forming the unforgettables.    This game was played on December 9th, 1989, in Lawrence, Kansas, at Allen Field House, against the number two team in the country.  Because Kentucky was on probation, there was no live telecast of the game.  However, the local station in Lawrence recorded this game, and it is on youtube, split into eleven parts.   Rare footage of a colossal beat down, that also led to the hatred of Roy Williams by many UK fans.  This was in Pitino’s first season, and this was the fifth game of that season.  This game depicts how decimated this Kentucky team was from the probation.  This team was arguably the least talented team on paper, the fact that this team went to 14-14 was amazing.  They were not even supposed to win ten games.  They had no players above six-seven, while Kansas had two quality big men.  Employing the full court press, and bombing away from three was the only chance in which that particular team had at winning games. This NIT team would have beaten this team by 15 plus
(Let me tell you, this team was not very good).  Additionally, UK’s big man got into serious foul trouble, and fouled out with 15 minutes to play.  Two other player were disqualified in quick succession.  Pitino received two technical fouls in this game, but was not thrown out, because it took three technicals to warrant an ejection back then.  Pitino pressed, even when the game was out of reach.  Williams asked Pitino about slowing it down, and Pitino was not very nice.  This prompted Williams to run the score up as high as possible.  Even the Kansas announcers were bragging about it.  The Kansas announcers were as homer as any could be, but not very many people saw the game, so it didn’t matter.

I support Pitino in pressing, even while the game was out of hand, because he was trying to implement a new system, and this was only the fifth game of his tenure here, and it showed that the players would not quit, despite being down 30, and severly short handed, as they had only eight schollies playing (and three had fouled out).   I don’t support Williams in running up the score (if you decide to watch, it is obvious),as he claimed that he couldn’t slow it down because Pitino was pressing.  Hard to press when the other team is going on a 24-2 run.  Pressing comes after a made basket.   Additionally, the fans were celebrating as though they won a national championship, and the even the announcers were a bit mouthy.  Karma was a beeyotch, as that Kansas team failed to win their conference (Big Eight), conference tournament, and they lost in the second round.  Additionally, they were smacked in Rupp by a much improved UK team 88-71 the next year.  Pitino refuses to play Kansas because of this game.  I don’t like Roy Williams, and this is one of the reasons why.  Knowing that Kentucky was severely undersized and undermanned, he decided to score 150 (it is obvious, that he was trying to score as much as possible).  The 150 points was and still is a school record for points scored by Kansas.  It also broke the record for points scored in a half by Kansas (80).  Their previous record was 127 points against Iowa State during the previous season.

A quick run-down of the scoring:

UK scores the first five points of the game, and eventually leads 16-11.  Then Kansas goes on an 8-0 run, aided by a technical foul on Rick Pitino for throwing a towel, in protest of a travelling call.  UK ties it at 21, and the game stays close for a while.  Derrick Miller of Kentucky is hitting lots of threes, while Kansas’ Markkenenan is eating it up inside.  With 10:00 minutes to go, Kentucky is trailing by 5, 37-32.  Kansas goes on an 11-3 run, making the score 45-34 with about 8 minutes left in the first half (old broadcast, so the time was never shown, and the score was shown occasionally, the announcers would say the time that was left, only on occasion).  The lead is stretched out to 14, 56-42, as Kansas grabs plenty of offensive rebounds and uses their size to their advantage.  Again, UK has no player over 6’7″, and Reggie Hanson is in foul trouble.  UK starts to hit some more threes, especially Miller, who hit seven threes in the first half.  They get to within 7, 64-57, but Kansas makes a run.  When Miller hits a free-throw, the Kansas announcers mock him by saying ‘oh, he can do something besides hitting threes’, largely because Miller had hit seven threes at this point.  Terry Brown for Kansas hits a couple of threes, and Mark Randall, their leading scorer and big man gets an alley-oop.  The Jayhawks stretch the lead to 19, at 77-58, but Farmer hits a three, and then Terry Brown hits one for an 80-61 halftime score.  Kansas closed the half on a 16-4 run (was actually 13-1 before that exchange of threes).

In the second half, the game see-saws early, as Kentucky scores first, but Kansas pulls out to a 90-68 lead.  UK scores a basket to pull within 90-70.  Once again, Kansas goes on a run, aided by a Pitino technical foul, his second, but to my amazement he was not thrown out.  The Kansas crowd is loving it, and the announcers poke fun at Pitino.  They were wondering when the crowd would explode next, when Kansas breaks the 100 point mark, or when Pitino gets his THIRD technical foul, and subsequently ejected from the game.  Kansas goes on a 10-0 run, and makes the score 100-70, with a ridiculous 13:55 to play in the game.  Kentucky hits a pair of threes to make it 100-76.  Then Kansas goes on another run, that featured a couple of dunks, lots of layups, a Terry Brown three, and some free-throws.  This is an 18-3 run that makes it 118-79.  Pitino has used all of his timeouts, three players had fouled out, and Miller’s shot had completely left him.  the score stays even for a little while, as Miller hits his eighth and final three to make it 124-86 with six minutes left.  Then, Kansas breaks the press and dunks it to make it 126-86, and the announcers are talking about Pitino.  They were talking about Williams asking Pitino whether he had had enough, or not.  Williams was chirping, and the homer announcers were loving it.  They were also eluding to the fact that Pitino had not come out during pre-game until the starting line-ups were announced.  The score is 126-86, and Kentucky is dead tired.  They cannot hit any shots, and again the announcers were bragging about how Kentucky cannot stop it (with a timeout, or stop Williams from substituting).  Terry Brown, who hit seven threes and scores 31 points off the bench hits 3 three point baskets, along with a couple of dunks, and a three from another Kansas player (Gueldner, who was a starter, that particular three made it 146-90), and they go on a 24-2 run to make the score 150-90.  At this time, the crowd is going crazy, as if they won a championship, and the announcers were again, bragging about how the fans might stay all night (it was an afternoon game).  Kentucky misses a free-throw, much to the delight of the fans, and the announcers are talking about maybe a 70 point margin could happen.  It does not, as Kansas does not score again, and Kentucky scores five points to set the final margin at 150-95.  The coverage does not continue much longer, as the final score was stated, followed by a good bye, and that was it.

Kentucky launched 40 threes and hit 17.  The main difference was the points in the paint, and the free-throw line.  Kansas got roughly 110 points in the paint and at the free-throw line combined.  Kentucky only scored about 36 points with that combination.  Kansas got many offensive rebounds, and Kentucky committed 27 turnovers in the game.  This team was not good, but two seasons later, they were one shot from a final four.  Yes, the four unforgettables were in that game.  Richie Farmer had a nice game, 6-8 from the field, along with hitting 4-4 from three.  He had 19 points.  Miller was hot early, but tailed off late.  He was 10-26, and 8-19 from three, he had 32 points.    Pelphrey hit five threes on ten attempts on his way to 20 points.  Reggie Hanson, who scored 18 points per in the previous four games only scored two in 11 foul plagued minutes.  Leading the way for Kansas was Terry Brown who hit 7-10 threes and scored 31 points in only 19 minutes.   Guelder scored a career high 19 points, leading scorer Mark Randall scored 19, and Peka Markkanen scored 13 early ones on his way to 16 points.  Starting guard Calloway scored 21 points, Pritchard had 17, and Maddox chipped in 10.  In all, seven players scored in double figures for Kansas.

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