- Monday, January 6 1969 -
Kentucky - 91 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Ranked 3rd by AP]
Mississippi State - 72 (Head Coach: Joe Dan Gold) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 39, Mississippi State 30
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Mississippi 69 - 59|||||Florida 88 - 67|
Game Writeup - by Tev Laudeman, Louisville Courier-Journal
UK Destroys Mississippi State In 91-72 Pressure Triumph
STARKVILLE, Miss. - It was awesome . . . a thing of beauty . . . one of those great games Kentucky comes up with every so often under pressure.
Kentucky simply destroyed Mississippi State with deadly shooting by Dan Issel, Mike Casey and Mike Pratt to win an important Southeastern Conference basketball game 91-72 last night.
State was troublesome only in the first half, but with the big three of Issel, Casey and Pratt hitting from all angles, UK pulled away in the second half to win easily.
The UK players and coach Adolph Rupp sliced up a gigantic white cake afterwards in celebration of what Kentucky claimed as its 1,000th basketball victory.
But that's disputed since UK is claiming five victories won in 1966, in an international tournament in Israel. The National Collegiate Athletic association doesn't recognize those five wins.
According to NCAA figures, the University of Kansas - Rupp's alma mater - is almost certain to reach 1,000 first.
"The NCAA sent us to that tournament," Rupp said. "If they didn't want to count those games, why did they send us?"
Rupp wasn't really disturbed by the controversy. He was too delighted by the way his Wildcats brushed aside Mississippi State before a hostile crowd of 5,000.
He had a good many reasons to be pleased.
UK hit 53.5 per cent of its shots, many from long range.
Kentucky had 51 rebounds to 34 for Mississippi State, with Issel grabbing 14 and Casey 10.
Issel scored 26 points. Casey 25 and Pratt 19. Between them they hit 29 of 57 shots.
Kentucky, which was scouted in its close call against Ole Miss Saturday night, changed it offense and it seemed to catch State unprepared. Instead of its basic two-guards-out attack, UK used a one-four offense most of the game, with Argento staying out front to quarterback the plays.
Casey, who played to the side of the basket most of the time, and Issel and Pratt peppered the basket from 15 to 17 feet and there was little Mississippi State could do about it.
At times Issel was able to slip by his man, 6-foot-7 John Guyton, for layups.
Mississippi State Coach Joe Dan Gold was impressed to say the least. "Kentucky shot extremely well," said the native of Benton, Ky. "And they hit the boards to get those second and third shots."
Gold said he was satisfied with his team's play in the first half, except for "some bad shots we took," but said of the last half, "we don't play well at all."
UK led by nine at halftime 39-30 but had stretched the lead to 12 points after only four minutes of the final half. It was never in doubt from that point. Before it was over, Rupp had used all 12 players he brought on the trip.
UK made 11 errors to State's 10, but half of Kentucky's came in the last few minutes with reserves playing.
Along with its excellent shooting, UK showed a defense which allowed Mississippi State few good shots. Jim Martin, a 6-6 junior forward, and 6-4 guard Chuck Wade each scored 19 points.
Kentucky never trailed, although Mississippi State tied the score briefly at 19-19 with 9:40 in the first half on a driving, two-handed, over-the-head shot by Wade.
Then UK methodically pulled away, outscoring State 10-3 in the next four minutes with Pratt and Issel each scoring four points and Casey two. That made it 29-22, and although State cut the margin to five at one point UK controlled the game the rest of the half.
It was UK's eighth victory in 10 starts and kept the Wildcats on top in the SEC with a 2-0 record. UK returns home to play Florida Saturday night. State is 4-7 overall and 2-2 in the SEC.
Phil Argento (#13) jumps against MSU's #21 while Larry Steele (#25) defends