- Friday, March 22 1985 -
NCAA West Regional Semifinals (at Denver, CO)
Kentucky - 70 (Head Coach: Joe B. Hall) - [Final Unranked by AP]
St. Johns - 86 (Head Coach: Lou Carnesecca) - [Final Rank 3rd by AP and 3rd by UPI]
Halftime Score: St. Johns 39, Kentucky 38
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|UNLV 64 - 61|||||Northwestern State 77 - 58|
Game Writeup - by William C. Rhoden, New York Times
Redmen of St. John's Defeat Kentucky, 86-70
DENVER, March 22, 1985 -- Playing one of its most physical games of the season, St. John's moved a step closer to the Final Four tonight, defeating Kentucky 86-70, in a West Regional semi-final.
The Redmen, relentlessly exploiting the Wildcats' weaknesses in the middle, simply took over the offensive boards in the second half and ended the Wildcats' brief reign as the Regional's Cinderella team.
After the game, Joe B. Hall ended his 13-year career as Kentucky coach, announcing his resignation.
Chris Mullin, scoring at will from the outside, and adding a few punches to the middle, scored a game-high 30 points and made 7 assists and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Walter Berry added 22 points and had a game-high 11 rebounds as the Redmen earned a berth in the Regional final Sunday against North Carolina State. The Wolfpack beat Alabama, 61-55, in the first game here tonight.
Mark Jackson, a reserve guard, played one of his best games, scoring 12 points and adding 4 assists.
Bill Wennington added 10 points, 2 assists, but only 3 rebounds.
"I think we played excellent defense in the second half," said Lou Carnesecca, the Redmen coach, "and we hit the offensive boards."
"I think our guys did a helluva job off the bench," added Carnesecca, singling out Willie Glass and Jackson. "They gave us the lift we needed."
The Redmen could not stop Kenny Walker, Kentucky's 6-foot-8 all-American, who scored 23 points even though he was hampered for most of the game with a swollen right eye.
The Redmen outrebounded the Wildcats, 36-27 -- including 26-14 in the second half.
Both teams shots 63 percent in the first half. St. John's finished with 53.6 percent and Kentucky with 52.5.
"That was the key," said Hall after the game. "They did a great job of going to the boards against our zone."
St. John's led at the half by 38-39 and by only 49-47 with 15:20 left. Then Wennington hit a hook shot and Glass went flying across the lane to rebound and slam it home for a 53-47 lead. Soon after, Glass rose over 240-pound Wildcat center Bret Bearup for a tip-in and a 57-51 lead.
The Wildcats started quickly in the opening half and created problems for St. John's.
The Redmen were damaged by the outside shooting of Roger Harden and Troy McKinley, who combined for 19 points in the first 20 minutes. With 11:16 left in the half, Kentucky led, 18-13. But then St. John's came back, taking a 39-38 lead in what was one of the most physical halves the Redmen have played all season, even rivaling the games against Patrick Ewing and Georgetown.
Midway through the half, Mike Moses, the Redman point guard, ran into a brutal pick set by Walker and was forced to leave the game.
Moments after the Moses mishap, Mullin decked Bearup, who was setting a pick.
At another point, Mullin, who had been helping out on Walker, came around from the back while Walker was holding the ball and took a swipe at it. Instead of the basketball, all Mullin got was Walker's right eye.
Walker recoiled in pain and spent the next three minutes on the bench.
When he returned, with 8:12 left, St. John's had closed the game to 22-19.
The problem of how to contain Walker had preoccupied the Redmen all week. Glass, the 6-foot-6 sophomore, started out on Walker with help from Wennington and Mullin. Walker scored 8 points in the half.
In Walker's absence, the Redmen established a strong inside presence. With Walker back in the lineup, his eye swollen shut, the Redmen continued their comeback.
After Winston Bennett hit a jumper to make it 24-19, Mullin, who hit 6 of 11 shots for 15 points in the half, connected over Walker to make it 24-21.
Walker scored on a goaltending call by Berry. After the teams exchanged misses, Berry hit and drew the foul , but missed the foul shot.
After another Kentucky foul, Wennington slammed home a miss by Berry to make it 26-25 with 6:23 left.
Chris Mullin passes in front of Ed Davender