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Kentucky’s 1994 win over LSU named Greatest Comeback in Sports History by USA Today

Walter McCarty blocks the shot of LSU’s Jamie Brandon (Photo from

Walter McCarty blocks the shot of LSU's Jamie Brandon (Photo from

Walter McCarty blocks the shot of LSU’s Jamie Brandon (Photo from

When you hear the word “comeback,” what comes to mind? LL Cool J? Robert Downey Jr.? Odds are if you’re a Kentucky fan over the age of 30, it’s the UK/LSU game in 1994, otherwise known as “The Mardi Gras Miracle.” USA Today agrees, and named the game their greatest comeback in sports history:

1. Kentucky, 1994
The Wildcats rallied from 31 down with 15:30 left to win at LSU. Rick Pitino, Kentucky’s coach at the time, is likely still trying to figure out how it happened.

“I can’t believe it,” Pitino told The New York Times. “I know I’ve never, ever witnessed anything like it.”

The rest of the list:

2. Indianapolis Colts, 2003
3. Boston Red Sox, 2004
4. Duke, 2001
5. Buffalo Bills, 1993
6. Brigham Young, 1980
7. Indiana Pacers, 1995
8. Philadelphia Flyers, 2010
9. Southern California, 1974
10. U.S. men’s national team, 2010

Got 15 minutes to spare? Relive the comeback in all its glory below, or share your memories of it in the comments section.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

36 Comments for Kentucky’s 1994 win over LSU named Greatest Comeback in Sports History by USA Today

  1. Biglaw Dawgin'
    3:35 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    This was such an awesome moment. I remember leaving the room and periodically coming back seeing the score shrinking. The final 10 minutes was pure magic.

  2. Teachable Mo'
    3:36 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    Need consideration.

    UK coming back from 17 points down in the 2nd half to beat Duke in 1998.
    NC St coming back from 7 down in 2nd overtime to beat UCLA in 1974. No shot clock. No 3 point play.

  3. DT in DC
    3:41 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    I remember this vividly. Sophomore year at UK. Watched the first half of the game, then said enough of that mess and went to a Marti Gras party at the Newman Center on campus. Called some friends liars that came to the party later and said we came back and won. Next day, bought the t-shirt “It’s Gotta Be the Shorts”!

  4. bosshog
    3:46 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    Agree with #2-for a UK fan there is nothing that can top that moment in terms of comebacks. I was at the airport following the game and it was absolutely electric. And then we overcame a 10 pt. halftime deficit to beat Utah in the title game.

  5. tom
    3:49 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    Teachable – you beat me to it man. The 17 point Dook comeback, was against a much more quality team, on national TV and meant more being a Regional final. In addition, Tubby outcoached K on top of that!

  6. Real UK Fan
    3:56 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    I watched every minute of this game and I don’t believe I have ever seen a coach look more lost that Dale Brown did that day.

  7. Snowman
    3:57 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    How about the Ryder Cup comeback in the late 90’s when they were wearing those god awful shirts. Ben Crenshaw was captain, I remember Justin Leonard making a ridiculous putt from across a green. That was a pretty huge comeback. Probably top 10 worthy….

  8. Owned By:
    4:05 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties

  9. Wildcatsteeler
    4:09 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    I remember it well. I was at a friends and he kept wanting to turn the channel assuming it was over. I was already pissed from the game so I wasn’t havin it. I was sunk down in the couch watching the horror unfold. Then it started happening. I was literally jumping around in his living room like a maniac. It was truly magical. To go from feeling that low to total elation. This is why a lot of us old schoolers don’t hate Pitino. You young pups weren’t there when he took the program from absolute zero back to the pinnacle. I have nothing but respect for him and thank him for what he done for UK basketball.

  10. time
    4:14 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    what time did this game start

  11. ...
    4:17 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    The man the myth!

    Chris Harrison

  12. Brad
    4:20 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t forget we had just lost back to back games to Syracuse and Arkansas. Then down 31 to LSU, great gut check by that team which was very thin down low.

  13. Shawn
    4:27 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink


  14. Steve
    4:43 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    I remember staying up late to listen to this game on the radio because my parents wouldn’t let me stay up and watch it. My dad came in my room twice to turn the radio off because I had to pull the fake sleeping wait till he leaves the room then turn the radio back on. I remember staying up like 2 hours after the game because I was so pumped up that we came back. Still the best game I have ever listened to on the radio.

  15. Scott Baio
    4:54 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    Wasn’t there a really bad winter storm in southeastern KY during this game? I can’t remember if it was snow or ice? I was 10 at the time but remember watching it, it was amazing!!

  16. KYStout
    4:56 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    Gotta agree with 1998 and the comeback against Duke.

    Greatest sports high of my entire life.

  17. RexRox
    5:13 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    My son still gives me a hard time because I made him go to bed while the Cats were down big. After all, it was a school night and I thought the deficit was just too much to overcome. He’ll never let me forget that one!

  18. kadizkat
    5:14 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    Was watching the game with my wife, when we got down, she went to sleep. I stayed with them and saw one of the greatest comebacks ever. Her going to sleep on the Cats is one of the many reasons we are no longer together!!

  19. Jayhawks!!!
    5:38 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    No way. Our Jayhawks were down 20 to your loaded Cats team and Cut it down to 5 before MKG made that goaltending that they called a clean block. No way! We didn’t lose; we ran out of time!!!

  20. Megan
    5:40 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    The comeback that finished TODAY has to be right up there. Down 8-1 to Kiwis, with 9 wins needed to take the America’s Cup, the American team won 8 consecutive, including today’s race, to retain the Cup.

    No one – and I mean no one – thought it was possible. Did anyone here or at KSR watch? Any of the races? Giant 72-foot catamarans reaching speeds of 50 mph by dangerously flying across the water on elevated hydrofoils in windy San Francisco. Not your father’s America’s Cup.

  21. Megan
    5:45 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    America’s Cup isn’t a sport! Jayhawks comeback vs Cats is easily the best ever!

  22. pfife
    5:51 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    The only KY game I ever saw where the opposing coach called a timeout when their lead was cut to 25. Ol’ Dale Brown knew what was coming. haha

  23. YSR2KSR
    5:52 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    forgot how odd harrisons shot was. he never squared up. it was the damndest thing

  24. Cat Fan in Vegas
    6:32 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    I was just a few days away from my 20th birthday. I had just moved to Las Vegas. My dad drove out with me to help me get settled, and my best friend had decided to come to Vegas too. We were staying at the Riviera while we looked for a place to rent. That’s where we watched the game. The people in the rooms next to us must have thought we were out of our minds, because we damn near tore the room apart when Kentucky started making the comeback. God… memories!!! Just thinking about it makes me laugh my ass off. All three of us chewed tobacco at the time. We were running around the room spitting in our cups, jumping off the beds, throwing high fives, and dropping F bombs left and right. I swear to god I’m not making this next part up… We were so elated, that later that night, my dad drove my pickup truck down the Las Vegas Strip, with me and my friend in the back hoopin & hollerin. You can take the boys out of the woods, but you can’t take the woods out of the boys!!!

  25. Cat Fan in Vegas
    6:34 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    Oh… and to #9… everything you said about Pitino… totally agree.

  26. Rick Pitino
    7:18 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    I know some of you don’t like me. I DON’T CARE. Your school (UKAY2GAY) has always sucked and always will.

    Florida will put the beat down on you Saturday and my team will be in Russ Arena on December 28 to do the same thing.

    Later Biatches,

    We don’t play for lottery status here in Louisville. We play for team and continue to be functioning members of society in sports and in life –

    Rick Pitino, Louisville Basketball coach and Naismith Hall of Fame member.

  27. Sittin' Bull
    7:26 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    Was just goin watch a couple minutes of this at first, then had to watch the whole thing! Thanks for the memory!

  28. Kev-Tubby
    8:56 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    This was the FIRST ever Kentucky game I watched with my then new girlfriend / now beautiful wife. I remember trying to hold it all together in the first half. I never showed how mad I was, but I sure was happy when McCarty hit that 3!

  29. mlvei
    9:28 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    It was a late game and seemed like it went on forever. Seems like I had to go to work the next am, so as the lead got outrageous early in the second half I almost went to bed. No, I thought I’ll see if these guys can at least make a reasonable score out of it. As it went on I couldn’t stop watching this almost mesmerizing ebb and flow. I kept watching Dale Brown and it was obvious he got increasingly nervous and more frustrated. Finally, at the end, I thought Dale looked like a near nervous breakdown. Great one to watch over again. BTW, for the troll calling himself Rick Pitino, what was the greatest mistake you ever made in your life, according to you? Oh yeah, it was leaving UK, that’s what you said!

  30. John Ellis
    9:31 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    The 1998 win over Duke was greater. That Duke team had more talent than any before it in terms of pro talent, and it set up a national championship. Duke was the overwhelming favorite to win the title, UK ranked 8th or worse. LSU’s team was nothing special.

  31. JackB
    10:46 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    In law school at UK. I broke a footstool during the game, and my roommate prevented me from throwing my TV. Then we came back, and jumped higher than ever before. Possibly 4-5 inches off the floor.

  32. Dee W.
    11:06 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    U of L Troll: “Rick Pitino…Naismith Hall of Fame member.”

    And as the former UK Head Coach himself said, he would not be in but for his time and success at Kentucky – the “8 years of Camelot”

  33. Dee W.
    11:13 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    Real UK Fan: “I watched every minute of this game and I don’t believe I have ever seen a coach look more lost that Dale Brown did that day.”

    He looked pretty lost this day as well:

  34. Kyle
    12:47 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    The most amazing thing (with any old video) is the realization that the time and score wasn’t always on the screen. How did we watch games back then. Unbelievable.

    I was in high school then and we didn’t have cable. I listened to the whole game on the radio though. What a game.

  35. Joe b
    8:04 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    I watched the whole game. The announcers were talking about nonsense to fill time when one them said this may seem silly but kentucky is only down 20 points. First half LSU couldn’t miss, second half was a different story.

    8:49 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    I was stationed at Fort Campbell, KY at the time. All my friends were in my room watching it with me mainly because I had a bar in my room but also the way I acted during a Kentucky basketball game. The people in my room were from North Carolina, Iowa, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Michigan. Needless to say they were giving me a hard time during the first half but Jim Beam was easing the pain a little. But I refused to turn the game off. UK had “spurtability” as they called it back then. The comeback was sweet revenge for the taunting I took in the first half. Most of the room had started rooting for the Cats and all of the room was laughing watching the pure joy I was experiencing as it all unfolded. Special game that I’ll never forget and I got to watch it with special friends that I’ll never forget either.