By LARRY VAUGHT
It has been almost 30 years since Kentucky scored a somewhat miraculous 100-95 victory over No. 12 LSU in Rupp Arena in what was one of coach Rick Pitino’s first big wins.
LSU had a freshman named Shaquille O’Neal who obviously developed into a star. Same for guard Chris Jackson. The Tigers also had Stanley Roberts, another 7-footer.
Kentucky was on probation for transgressions when Eddie Sutton was coach, but that win helped show that UK basketball was going to come back under Pitino.
“That’s one every fan talks about that game. We beat them Rick’s first year,” Hanson said. “The great thing about Rick is you have to work so hard and put in so much time getting better that when we went on the court we were confident no matter who we played.”
Hanson and his younger teammates were not intimidated despite having lost 94-81 at LSU earlier in a game where Pitino got into a heated argument with LSU coach Dale Brown at midcourt.
Kentucky got 29 points from Derrick Miller and 24 points and 10 rebounds from Deron Feldhaus in the win. Pitino’s Bombinos forced 17 first-half turnovers and went on a 32-10 run in the first half. Jackson led a 22-7 second-half surge for LSU that cut the lead to 94-92 before Richie Farmer clinched the win at the foul line for Kentucky.
One of the game’s biggest cheers came when Hanson, 6-7, managed to block O’Neal’s shot and frustrated him to where he slammed the ball into the floor much to the delight of UK fans.
“We knew LSU had a great team, great players,” Hanson said. “Winning that game was huge for us personally and for the program. We ended that first year under Rick 14-14 and then won the SEC championship the next year. That win got us going and that’s why fans are still talking about that game the way they do.”