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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: What is the Best Half of Basketball UK has Played?

Let’s take a look at little more small picture on the best UK performances of all-time.  We often talk about the greatest games/seasons/eras of UK basketball, but what about the best HALVES?  This year, we saw one of the more alarming halftime scores in UK history when UK routed UCLA 41-7 in the first half of their game in Chicago.  These 3 games immediately come to mind when asked about the best half:

1996: Kentucky 86, LSU 42 (1st half)
2003: Kentucky 46, Vanderbilt 16 (2nd half)
2014: Kentucky 41, UCLA 7 (1st half)

But my pick would go back even further.  I would say the first half of the 1993 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game against Wake Forest would be the best half I have ever seen Kentucky play.  Not only did it come in a more pressure-packed tournament game, but I think this was the absolute peak performance of a Pitino team.  Yes the 1996 team was a better team and had some dominating performances, but I feel the high pressure, 3-point shooting style Pitino implemented was on full showcase in this game.  So without further ado:

Kentucky 60, Wake Forest 26

Article written by Bryan the Intern

24 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: What is the Best Half of Basketball UK has Played?



  1. 8 god
    9:11 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    Mardi Gras Miracle.



    • hater
      9:48 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

      Agreed



  2. Huey Lewis
    9:16 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    MARTY MCFLY!



  3. Mark
    9:19 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    1994 comeback against LSU



  4. cracka
    9:19 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    great post considering i was watching the 96 team last night on ukbasketballlive. i remember growing up the game we always talked about as a blowout was 101-40 against tennessee in the sec tourney. we held allan houston to 1-15 shooting, had 7 guys in double figures, 8 different guys hit a 3 and had 30 assists to tn’s 30 turnovers. not sure how that game compares.



  5. scr3amingeagle
    9:29 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    1993 SEC Tournament vs Tennessee – UK scored 60 pts in the 2nd half holding the vols to 23. Of course being there might make me bias.



    • cracka
      9:45 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

      that’s the game I was talking about



  6. J-Dub421
    9:47 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    1998 Elite Eight, we were down 17 to Duke with ten and a half minutes to go, and came back and won, avenging the 1992 Elite Eight loss to Duke, plus we went on to win the title.



    • Mike
      2:09 pm July 22, 2015 Permalink

      Considering it was Duke and in the NCAA’s, and considering how the 1998 tourney ended up, I think this was the best half ever.



  7. Cayts
    9:59 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    The ’93 team… Mash ’em! Dent ’em! Hit ’em with a Brown Ford!



  8. RC
    10:01 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    86 points. First half. At LSU.

    Let that roll around in your head for a second. Then think of the number 7.

    7 is the number of games this past season that UK scored 86 points or more for an entire game. All were at home or on in the SEC tourney. Two of those were against an atrocious Auburn team. One was against Ole Miss in OT. One was against Mizzou and three were against early season cupcakes.

    This past team was considered (wrongly) by many fans to be the “greatest Kentucky team ever assembled.” I argued all year that the 1996 team would wipe the floor with those guys. And I used the 86 point first half as my proof.

    The 1993 game against Wake Forest is a close 2nd and the Mardi Gras Miracle is also worth mentioning. But for my money, no better half of flawless basketball has ever been played by a Kentucky team than the night in Baton Rouge when they dropped 86 points in the first half. Period.



    • cracka
      10:25 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

      it is so much fun to watch how fast those teams played, I really thought that’s what we were going to do this year after seeing the platoons in the Bahamas, but that’s not what we got



  9. CatBlue in LR
    10:31 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    This is a no-brainer. Eight-six points at LSU. You could almost count on one hand the number of times LSU made it past half-court. It was utter domination. The others were good, too. Especially enjoyed the Wake Forest game. After that game, I didn’t think anybody could stop us.



  10. Thomas
    11:13 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    So does ‘best’ equal lopsided? Apparently to this journalism 100 student it does. So then you just have to pick the most lopsided half. If you want to use analytics to make a stronger argument then maybe fivethirtyeight can get some one to help you.



  11. Biglaw Dawgin'
    11:15 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    One commenter said it already: 1994 2nd-half comeback at LSU. The difference in this game was that we started out the half down 31, with probably a 99% chance we were going to lose. Then to come back and win by 4? That was a miracle.

    It’s one thing to get up by 20 in the first half and then the other team gives up and you blow their brains out. That happens all the time in college. But to be down by so much to start the half, and then play out of your mind when there’s a only a 1% chance to win is amazing. How could that not be our best half ever?



    • memphis wildcat
      12:28 pm July 22, 2015 Permalink

      I agree on Mardi Gras Miracle. However the half time score was 48-32. UK got down another 15 to make it down 31 with 15 minutes to play…makes it the best 15 minutes of UK basketball



    • somerset bill
      5:41 pm July 22, 2015 Permalink

      memphis, i thought about this, too. my first thought was the 31 point comeback, but then i remembered the fact that we spent part of the second half playing even worse than we did the first half. dropping 15 points in 5 minutes is some pretty bad basketball.



  12. Captain Wildcat
    11:31 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    This was one of my all time favs. Such fun to watch live. Thought we were well on our way to another championship.



  13. Dark Helmut
    11:59 am July 22, 2015 Permalink

    1st half of the 2009 North Carolina game was one of the most fun halves I can remember watching. Not as dominating as some of the others mentioned, but the sheer joy experienced watching the game and hearing the crowd go crazy, we were back and it was fun.



  14. Richeee
    12:05 pm July 22, 2015 Permalink

    2003 – 1st half v. Florida – destroyed #1 ranked Gators in Rupp. Loudest most electric crowd I have ever heard in Rupp.



  15. Catnik
    1:31 pm July 22, 2015 Permalink

    Best half I’ve seen in person would be against St. Louis at the Georgia Dome during the 2nd round of the 1998 tourney. Cats went on a 19 or 20 pt run to put them ahead 46-18 at the half.



  16. gobigblue42071
    4:10 pm July 22, 2015 Permalink

    Watching on TV- LSU 1994 ….watching in person UCLA 2014. LSU game was unbelievable but I don’t think I have ever seen a team more on their game than last years route at Chicago… I guess we peaked at that moment because that night we would have beaten several NBA teams.. no kidding!