Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


This date 1983: UK vs UC and Stall Ball

Stall Ball

Dec. 20, 1983 at Riverfront Coliseum

Final: Kentucky 24 Cincinnati 11

A national television audience watched on ESPN. Can you imagine it happening tonight? Can you imagine the reaction on social media?

What happened:

Tony Yates was in his first year as UC coach and the Bearcats were a big underdog vs the then-No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats. UC was rebuilding and would finish the season 3-25. 

Kentucky came to town with 7-foot-1 Bowie, 6-10 Turpin, 6-8 Kenny Walker and 6-7 Winston Bennett. UK would finish the season 29-5 and advance to the Final Four. 

Yates figured the Bearcats best and only chance to compete was to slow the game down. So, UC held the ball. They stalled. They made 22 passes on their first possession of the game. At one point, UC held the ball without taking a shot for 7-minutes and 22-seconds.

The Wildcats led 11-7 at the half. 

UC took 12 shots in the game, UK 19. No player in the game took more than four shots from the field.

The Wildcats were 4 of 8 at the free-throw line. The Bearcats hit 1 of 2.

UK was led in scoring by Sam Bowie (6) and Melvin Turpin (6). UC was led by Mark Dorris (5).

Looking back

Mike DeCourcy reflected on the game a few years ago.

In 40 minutes of basketball, the teams attempted just 31 shots and made 15 field goals. Mostly, they dribbled and passed and stood on the court.

They set basketball back 50 years and maybe moved it forward, as well. It was a game that had a lasting effect on the sport and on the UK-UC rivalry, such as it is, and still is debated as often as any of the 467 games the Bearcats have played since.

From the New York Times

Joe B. Hall, the Kentucky coach, said, ''I feel sorry for the fans and for the players who didn't get to play. He added that the Wildcats switched to the slow play themselves because ''we chose to play their way.

The Cincinnati coach, Tony Yates, said: ''This was the only way we could play them. I'm so proud of the control our players had.''

Lexington Herald Leader Its architect called it good strategy, its victim called it bad business. On several occasions, those in attendance gave it a resounding review of boorrriiinnnggg! Whichever, for the large contingent of Kentucky fans that helped fill Riverfront Coliseum last night for a glimpse at their Wildcats, it was downright robbery.


Here is the boxscore of the game

The shot-clock (:45) was voted into full-time use for the 1985-86 season.

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