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Kentucky fans stormed the court in 1973



Thanks to Oscar Combs’ memory and some heavy digging by @KaptialCat in the wayback machine, we now know that Kentucky fans rushed the court following a Senior Day win over Tennessee in 1973. It was an 86-81 victory for the Cats in the final game of the 1972-73 season in Memorial Coliseum. Kevin Grevey led all scorers with 28 points, followed by Jimmy Dan Conner’s 23 and 19 from Jim Andrews. Mike Flynn and Ronnie Lyons were the only two other Wildcats to score with 10 and 6 respectively.

Act like you’ve been there before?

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

72 responses to “Kentucky fans stormed the court in 1973”


    Well that sucks

  2. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

    I’m not advocating court-storming at Rupp, but I remember that we had a pretty big rivalry wtih UT at the time. They beat us more than other SEC teams, and I remember my dad saying during one game then, “We seem to have a mental block with Tennessee!” when we weren’t playing well. I even remember that Ronnie Lyons was playing in the game when he said it. One of my earliest memories of watching UK basketball! Dan Issel was the earliest.

  3. Blasphemy

    ….. and one of the most embarrassing moments in UK history……… loss of words…….

  4. paducahfan

    Look at the bell bottom pants and short shorts!

  5. B-Lord

    We had 4 then. We have 8 now. We’ve grown up. Let’s not do it again.

  6. Brandon

    So what you’re saying is UK fans have never stormed the court at Rupp Arena. Got it.

  7. ChicagoCat

    Hipster Cats. We rushed the court before it was cool and got you on ESPN.

    Seriously though, the fact that we have to reach back to 1973 to find an example just shows how we never do it. There must have been extenuating emotional circumstances for this court rush.

  8. Reality

    Wasn’t this around the same time the student center cafeteria let crates of oranges spoil before every UT game so the students could throw them at the Vols on their way into Memorial? We people have always been crazy, but our meds seem to be working more recently.

    1. beavis

      I remember Tennessee had those guys that performed at half time on unicycles. Saw one of them get knocked off his by a orange. After that little episode the conference made them stop performing in the opponents gyms.

  9. beavis

    Hey Drew,,,your point escapes me. Are you saying we should not make fun of teams like Indiana when they storm the court and hang banners after mediocre wins because we stormed the court at Memorial 40 years ago ?

    1. CATSRUS

      UNC fans stormed the court last night after beating Duke. Can’t blame them.
      I’ve been thinking of Duke and their struggles this year. Is there any coincidence that K depends a lot on a Freshman. Parker is terrific but K also depends on Hood in his first year at Duke. I hope they continue to struggle.

    2. colonelcat

      Sounds like a problem best solved by critical thinking. It is what you make it?

  10. Another quaalude

    The storming of the court in 1973 had way more to do with acid .. Way less to do with the game. I took part in this and had no clue a basketball game was going on.

  11. PassThe'Ludes

    Huh? What? Far out man.

  12. sincitycat

    I worked at the Complex Cafeteria in the early 70’s and while our oranges didn’t spoil we did not put them out the week of the UT game. Count me (even in my younger days) as one who thought throwing anything on the floor was classless and our ushers did eject students who were caught.

  13. Boogie

    Damn 40 years ago…..we’re just like indiana now

  14. M

    All of those fans currently occupy the lower section of Rupp. They’ve matured from their youthful days.

  15. Ben

    I was at that game and a student at the time. It was a Thursday night game and we got in line on Tuesday night. I had to make up a chemistry exam, but it was well worth it. I am in Mexico withy son listening to KSR right now!

    1. Scout

      That line was wrapped around MemCol twice. I remember Mrs. Singletary brought cookies. Students were actually excited about UK basketball then…

    2. I remember!!!!!

      I was there too, and when they opened the doors it was almost a stampede. Kinda scary when you’re 5 feet tall and weigh 100 lbs!!!

  16. U guys and ur logic


    1. Greg

      Rupp opened un 1977

    2. Melvit

      I read it that way at first, but after a reread, he meant it was the last home game of that season.

  17. TANK

    Trendsetters. Probably the first court storming ever. Just saying.

  18. LSD

    It was the early 70’s – they were all on Acid, it doesn’t count.

  19. Jim Woods

    That is a young me in the center of the picture in the bell bottom jeans shaking the players hand. The tickets were first come first serve in those days and I spent many nights outside waiting in line to get front row seats. This was a great experience spending time with like minded fans! Thanks for the picture. It brings back a lot of great memories!

    1. Teachable Mo'

      The ’74 UT game wasn’t quite so joyous. The atmosphere was venomous and as loud as a jet take-off. Whenever, Ernie or Bernie touched the ball the already-loud crowd would get painful. But then the crowd would cut-off their screams when the ball went through the net. The crowd didn’t realize it, but they were helping the Tennessee players shoot by giving them a rhythm reference.


      (I wasn’t screaming because I was with two friends who rarely went to a game, and they were drunk and laughing at the intensity of the noise. Ah, youth.)

  20. HungryEyes

    Has Drew Franklin gone completely rogue? I mean I knew he was not a huge UK sports fan before but giving up on the team halfway through and posting embarrassing UK photos? Lou Franklin? How long before there is a @NotDrewFranklin twitter handle crushing all things UK?

  21. Don

    Rupp opened in 1976 Greg.

    Can it technically be storming with 10K or less people high on shrooms? Just askin’

    Leave it to Drew to dig up dumb shit.

    1. DH

      Drew did not dig this up.

  22. rick

    I see nothing wrong with storming the court. I can’t figure out why people think college kids shouldn’t have fun after a big win. Old people like i quess KSR and most of the readers must be to old to remember having fun .

    1. bigblue091812

      Because someone is going to get hurt or worse. You have a team coming off the court who just lost a game, maybe the biggest game of the year for them or the game that keeps them out of the NCAA’s, something is said to a player, he reacts and all hell breaks lose. If the NCAA doesn’t stop it now I promise there will be an ugly deal happen. Would you want the CATS trying to get off the floor without getting hurt, the hell beat out of them or some drunk LOSERVILLE fan stab them. I’m not against it because of who it is, or who they’ve beaten but some nut is going to start a hell of a fight or someone is going to get injured. I even wouldn’t want a DUKE player get hurt like this. It needs to stop now.

  23. rick

    By the way i am the ref in the picture above.

    1. Ref

      If that’s a true statement, it’s good to know that Burl Crowell is a reader of KSR.

  24. Chicago Chris

    I get the safety issue, but otherwise, so what? It looks like fun. The more “kids” bother you, the older you are getting.

  25. HipsterCat

    Drew’s on point. Comparing last night with 41 straight years of not storming the court puts us at an equal level with UNC.

    Great logic, Drew.

    As always.

  26. JackB

    For all we know, Duke, KU and UL have done it too if you go back far enough. The fact we haven’t done it since 1973 and haven’t been in trouble since 1987 is, as far as I’m concerned, good enough to say it never happened.

    1. JackB

      From twitter – Duke stormed in 2005 – against a lousy team. Off the list.

    2. JackB
    3. JackB

      Kansas fans stormed the court after a home win in the mid-70’s also according to this article:

  27. JackB


    This is why it is OK for UK football fans to storm the field, but not its basketball fans. Storming means you were not only the underdog, but also so far from a top program that you must celebrate a win like it was never expected or possible. The worst example was when No. 1 (I think, but certainly top 3) Auburn (back in the Chris Porter days) beat a much lower ranked UK team at home, and stormed the court. Uh, you were the favorite Auburn. But this example proves my point – when a low program has its occasional good team and beats a lower ranked team from a top program – they storm the court. You say as much as about your view of your program when you storm as anything.

    UK fans should know better – and apparently since LSD has become less popular, they have done it right.

  28. rick

    Have fun storm the court, don’t listen to these old guys. Drink some beer be a kid and go for it.

  29. Ukclassof93

    Yeah but that was four titles ago!

  30. Gmax

    I was there and I honestly don’t remember fans storming the court, certainly not enough to fill the court completely. Obviously by this photo there were some that did but not like today’s standards.

  31. 1daysoon

    This win finished our season at 13-13. A loss would have given us our first losing season since before Rupp became coach in 1930.

    1. michael76

      1daysoon, you are incorrect. That was the following year (the 1973-74 season). We clinched the SEC title winning this game. There was no SEC tournament back then. I was a Freshman at UK and was AT this game.

    2. 1daysoon

      My bad. You are correct Michael76. Thanks for setting me straight.

  32. bung

    apparently you were not at the game when Red Hagan hit the game winner and the crowd rushed the floor and carried him off on their shoulders while the governor drove a nail in the floor where the shot was made…how many governors come to games with hammers and nails nowadays…

    1. NailsInTheFloor

      If Jimmy Dykes were Governor….

    2. bung
    3. Melvit

      It was before integration, so it doesn’t count.

    4. Ukfan


      Do you apply that same analogy to the NBA before it was introduced to the world or are you a hypocrite?

  33. UTisKnownFor

    Butt Chugging in their spare time. So they should shut up about anything

  34. Dan Owens

    I remember the game well and was there! Students camped out all night to get tickets! UK won the SEC with the victory. However, if it was indeed the last game in Memorial Coliseum, it was in 1974. Rupp Arena opened in 1974-75 season!

    1. Michael76

      Incorrect Dan. I graduated from UK in May 1976. We played in Memorial through the 1975-76 season.

  35. Greg Mellin

    We rushed the court when Lea Wise, Valerie Still, and Patty Jo Hedges beat Old Dominion in memorial coliseum in 1982. OD was ranked #1 and The Lady Cats were an up and coming program. It was fun! I think Cliff Hagan may have even joined us.

  36. Caveman2

    Think things might have changed in 40 years Drew… Storming the court is dangerous. A player will get seriously injured one day and rushing the court will come to an end.

    Our program is the best of the best and we shouldn’t storm the court for anything but a national championship and that is a bit suspect.

  37. tuxedo park

    So Duke was #5 before the loss to UNC,,, So next week will they move up to #1?

  38. IsItJustMe

    I see about 12-15 college kids on the floor and the rest in the stands behind the basket????

    Its the 70s, I’d say this was more about kids at the height of their trip than storming court.

  39. Dan Owens

    I stand corrected-Rupp opened in 1976. The game against Tennessee was in the spring of 1974! I really do not remember the court storming, but it was a huge win to win the SEC!

  40. Rixter

    I hear the Romans also stormed the Colosseum when Caesar Augustus was upset in a joust by Vespasian in the year 73.

  41. Dan

    Wrong again- the game was in 1973! My apologies! I still do not remember storming the court!

  42. JayOne

    Today’s UK fan is very quite compared to those of old. Tennessee once was our main rival and I have a photo of the Kentucky State Police guarding a Tennessee player as he was shooting free throws in Memorial Coliseum. The troopers were standing right beside him and the crowd was crazy with oranges flying out of the stands. You young folks are very nice.

  43. Wide Tackle 5.9

    I think the Indiana fans should storm the court! These people aren’t dumb! I too would rather risk being trampled on the floor versus the head injury from falling debris.

  44. not convinced

    we didn’t storm the stinkin court … this is clearly footage from an early precursor to DanceBlue

  45. Truth

    hey Jack8 – Sanctimonious much? (And I’m a uk fan)

  46. Melvit

    I get the feeling that Drew really isn’t a fan of UK.

  47. jaws2

    I was a senior in high school and my brother was a freshman at UK. This was my first UK game, got in on a student ID that looked nothing like me and no one cared. The line pre-game was wrapped around Memorial TWICE to get in first come first served. We got in early enough to sit on the 3rd row! When the TN bus pulled in it was pelted with oranges. We detested that garbage man orange uniforms (still do), those damn pregame unicycles, and Ray Mears in that orange plaid coat! Damn, those were the days my friend.

    1. Michael76

      Yes, those were the days jaws2. I was a freshman at UK in 1972-73 as well. Remember Leon Douglas of Alabama? He was a very skilled center. We students used to chant “Leon the Peon” during warm ups. I can also remember attending the Henry Clay vs. Bryan Station High School basketball game at Memorial. Us UK students kept yelling for James Lee and Jack Givens to come to UK. They did and we won the 1978 NCAA Championship!

  48. serdi

    I was a Freshman at the time at UK. Students starting camping out 3 days before that game. At the time UK played at Memorial Coliseum (the best basketball venue in the United States) in its pre 1977 configuration), students gained admission to games by their student ID. You came into the front of the Coliseum and went up the ramp to the right. At the top of the ramp there were turnstiles where you showed your ID, and then your received a ticket. At the beginning of the second day of camping out, UKAA starting giving students fouchers so that they could go back to their dorms and sleep, shower, and even go to class. By the day of the game, the Ave of Champions was basically shut off from Harrison to Rose. It was warm. No body was going to class, it was one big party. It was the only time during my time at UK, that students were actually turned away, and they set up close curcuit televison in the White Hall Classroom building for the overflow. About an hour or so before the game, there were student boosting each other through the windows on the backside of the Coliseum to get in (on the side of the coliseum where the pool was and closest to Rose. By the time the game started, students were sitting three deep on the floor at the Ave of Champions end of the Coliseum and if there were 20 seats to a row on the student side of the Coliseum, there were 25-30 sitting on the row (bench seating). There was standing room 4 deep in the corridor between the lower level and and the balcony at the College View end of the Coliseum. Official attendance for the Coliseum at the time was 11,500. Estimates were that night somewhere in the neighborhood 14,000 were in there. If there had been a fire, we would have been in trouble.
    The place was always electric, but that night it was incredible. I think the circumstance of basically a multiday drunk, the SEC Championship on the line against our archrival, and the fact that there were already a couple thousand students sitting on the floor evolved into a somewhat rush to the floor. It was nothing like the rushing the floor that we see in today’s game or what was witnessed by North Academic Fraud Carolina last night. The ref in the picture was long-time SEC basketball official Burrell Crowell.

  49. musrat59

    That was Coach Hall’s first season and we went 20-8 losing to them damn Hoosiers twice. Even Vandy beat us twice that year.

  50. Free Oranges

    The oranges were piled up in bowls on the tables in the cafeterias. All you had to do was have a meal plan to get one. UT players and unemployed carny sideshow guys would juggle basketballs, ride unicycles, do tricks during warmup. The fans would boo at a display which was so embarrassing the Globetrotters would not have allowed the Washington Generals to perform it. That is why the fans threw oranges; the ridiculous sideshow Ray Mears put on was simply embarrassing to any real basketball fan. My friend John and I didn’t bother trying to go to the game because it would be impossible. We went to the display at the Classroom Building but somehow decided it would be better on LSD. As we were sitting there peaking, the tv monitor displayed the cameramen practicing their intro moves with the players names at the bottom as the camera panned from the bench area to the center court with no one in frame, just the name! We were both giving it “Cheech and Chong” style “Oh, wow man!” responses and giggling. Guess you had to be there with the right pre game prep to get the full effect.