- Monday, December 5 1966 -
Illinois - 98 (Head Coach: Harry Combes) - [Preseason Unranked by AP]
Kentucky - 97 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Preseason Ranked 3rd by AP]
Halftime Score: Illinois 51, Kentucky 46
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|Virginia 104 - 84|||||Northwestern 118 - 116|
Game Writeup - by Dave Kindred, Louisville Courier-Journal
Illini Edge Cats 98-97 in Overtime Despite 40-Point Effort by Dampier
Riley Fouls Out, UK Never Leads as Jones Sparks Big Ten Team
LEXINGTON, KY - There came one reprieve; then came the inevitable.
Last night, for the first time in nearly two years, the University of Kentucky basketball team lost a game at home.
The score was Illinois 98, Kentucky 97. It was in one overtime period.
It hurt the 11,500 screaming Kentucky fans, who booed, in this order: Referee John McPherson, the public address announcer, referee Don Wedge and Illinois star Rich Jones.
It hurt Adolph Rupp, the Kentucky coach, who felt his team benefited less than Illinois from the officiating calls. Four UK players - including All-America Pat Riley, who played just 14 minutes - fouled out.
Asked about the officiating, Rupp said: "I'm going to put a lot of my impression in a report to the commissioner (Southeastern Conference boss Tonto Coleman)."
It hurt but did it mean Kentucky is not as good as last season's team which won 27 of 29 games and was runnerup in the National Collegiate tournament ?
Beaten on the Boards
Kentucky never led.
Illinois beat the Wildcats badly on the boards, although the statistics say it was just a four-rebound difference. Kentucky couldn't get the big basket late in the game, when Illinois was ahead by two points but scrambling for its life.
With Riley gone, Kentucky's only outside shooting threat was All-American Louie Dampier. And while Dampier was magnificent, scoring 40 points, he was not enough.
Illinois built a 51-46 halftime lead by getting a 13-2 bulge on free throws.
Riley incurred four fouls in the first six minutes of the game, then was taken out. When he returned at the start of the second half, Kentucky began a push that earned ties at 65, 67, and 69. Riley scored nine points that half, before getting his fifth foul with 11 minutes, 40 seconds to play.
Wildcats Trail by 12
Illinois built its lead back to four points - it once led by 12, at 47-35 - until in the final two minutes, UK earned its reprieve.
A layup by Thad Jaracz tied it at 83-83 with 1 minute, 37 seconds to play. And after Jones put Illinois on top with a jump shot, Jaracz made it 85-85 by sinking two free throws with 33 seconds left.
Then came the end.
Jones, a 6-foot-7 junior, put Illinois ahead in overtime when he tipped in his own miss. Dampier tied it, but then Illinois' Ron Dunlap, a 6-8 boy, dropped in a layup and Illinois was on top to stay.
Dampier's layup at the horn was uncontested.
So Kentucky lost before a Memorial Coliseum crowd for the first time since Vanderbilt won 97-79 on Jan. 5, 1965.
What did it prove ?
For one thing, and this is scarcely news, Kentucky needs Riley's shooting and rebounding to be worthy of the No. 3 rating it holds in the national polls.
Rupp Not Discouraged
For another...Well, listen to Rupp: "I don't feel discouraged at all. The kids fought back real well to have played without Riley for as long as they did. Still, you can't take anything away from Illinois."
And listen to Harry Combes, the Illinois coach, who saw his Big Ten contenders win their second game without defeat while UK was losing its first after one victory. "Kentucky's going to win a lot of games. Their losing Riley early would have been like us losing Jones."
Jones scored 32 points and had 11 rebounds.
Riley, playing one-third as long, scored 15 points and had four rebounds.
Pat Riley sneaks in for a layup over Rich Jones
Bob Tallent looks to pass
Thad Jaracz and Bob Tallent operate against the Illinois defense