- Monday, December 28 1959 -
Ohio State - 93 (Head Coach: Fred Taylor) - [Ranked 3rd by AP]
Kentucky - 96 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Ranked 13th by AP]
Halftime Score: Ohio State 59, Kentucky 49
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|Temple 97 - 92|||||Georgia Tech 54 - 62|
Game Writeup - by Larry Boeck, Louisville Courier-Journal
U.K. Rally Surprises Ohio State 96 to 93
Lexington, Ky., Dec. 18 -- This time it was Kentucky's Bennie Coffman playing with a broken nose, yet he teamed with Bill Lickert to break the back of big Ohio State 96-93 here Monday night.
These guards scored 55 points between them to lead the Wildcats to victory in one of the most courageous comebacks ever seen on the Memorial Coliseum floor.
And there were a thundering 13,000 here to watch these gallant Cats overcome a 15-point Buckeye lead near the end of the second half and then win out in the final frantic five minutes, 13 seconds of play.
Paced by the remarkable Jerry Lucas and his 34 points, the rangy and powerful Buckeyes - firing incredibly - sped to a 57-42 margin with 1:50 left in the first half. Refusing to buckle here, the gritty Kentuckians sliced the margin to 59-49 at intermission behind Lickert and Coffman who, like Jerry West of West Virginia in the recent U.K. Invitational, had a great night playing with a busted nose.
Cats Hitting Well
The Cats were hitting well enough to be ahead at this point as they sank 51.3 of their field goal attempts, but the flaming Buckeyes at this juncture sizzled through an amazing 64.1 per cent.
Kentucky came out in the double pivot to start the second half. This slowed the tempo of the blitzing battle. The Cats began to dominate the boards and guards Lickert and Coffman - with 29 and 26 points respectively, for the night -- began to get slashing shots and other good ones.
Kentucky also began to hit with a fury. And the Buckeyes cooled off -- U.K. hitting 61.5 the second half and Ohio State 34.2.
Battling the Buckeyes to start the second half, Kentucky pulled within 67-66 with 13:58 left. However, Ohio State jumped back to an 80-72 margin with 9:07 remaining and seemingly had Kentucky on the ropes again.
But back stormed the Cats, dogging the Buckeyes relentlessly.
With 5:13 remaining, Coffman hit a 14-foot jump shot to give U.K. an 85-84 margin. Ohio State nudged ahead 86-85. Then Don Mills tied it at 86-86 with one free throw on the bonus. Moments later, again coming through in the clutch, Mills sank a spinner from the circle.
Never Lost Lead
Kentucky now led 88-86 with 3:06 remaining as the lead changed hands for the 10th and last time. The Cats never lost the lead thereafter. They built a 90-86 margin with 2:16 to go in this hectic thriller in which U.K. desperately stalled to protect the four-point bulge and Ohio State, just as desperately fouled to try to get the ball. The scrambling in the final minutes was blood-drumming and furious and felt like an eternity to U.K. followers.
Twice the Cats missed on the one-and-one in the clutch and Ohio State pulled within 90-89 in the final 45 seconds as the smooth, potentially great Lucas hit his 34th and last point on a free throw. However, Sid Cohen then sank frees, Carrol Burchett hit two at the charity line and Cohen came back with two more as the Cats hit six of six frees in the final 35 seconds to triumph.
Thus, in what Coach Adolph Rupp later described as one of the greatest games ever played here, Kentucky made its record 6-3 in knocking off the Buckeyes. Ohio State, rated No. 3 in the last Associated Press poll, is 7-2.
And helping to save Kentucky from an embarrassing December was senior Coffman. He had broken his nose - it's a hairline fracture - against West Virginia when the Cats lost to the Mountaineers in the U.K. tournament final here before Christmas.
West suffered a broken nose in that game, but scored 37 points.
Bill Lickert (#44) drives to the basket over Ohio State All-American Jerry Lucas
Ned Jennings shoots a hook from the center of the key over Lucas
Bill Lickert drives under the basket for a reverse shot