WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

1978 National Champions Celebrate 30th Anniversary

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The 1978 Kentucky men’s basketball national championship team will be honored at halftime of the Wildcats’ game against Alabama.
There will be an autograph session earlier in the day at the Kentucky Basketball Museum. One hundred fans will have an opportunity to get autographs from team members that participated in the 1978 NCAA championship season. The autograph session will take place Saturday, at 11:00 a.m. at the museum. Tickets will be distributed to the first 100 fans at the entrance of the museum on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. One ticket will be given per person and fans will be allowed one item to be autographed. Fans must have a ticket in order to receive autographs.

Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. with the game being broadcast on Raycom Sports, formerly Lincoln Financial.

The 1978 national championship marked Kentucky’s fifth NCAA crown. Regular-season losses to Alabama and LSU were the only blemishes on Kentucky's 1977-78 record, as UK and senior Jack Givens, who averaged 18.1 ppg, went 30-2 for their first NCAA title in 20 years. UK outscored its opponents by 459 points during the season and were aided by 14.4 points per game from 6-foot-10 center Rick Robey.

Originally hailed as an underachieving team, Kentucky overcame obstacles to win the SEC Championship and the first NCAA title under head coach Joe B. Hall. The Cats won their last eight regular-season games, including a 92-70 win over UNLV in the home finale, led by 26 points from Robey, and a 78-68 win over Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn. Characteristically, the Cats had no trouble with their early-round competition in the NCAA Tournament, as Florida State, Miami of Ohio and Michigan State fell along the way. UK met up with Arkansas in the national semifinal game, which they won 64-59 before defeating Duke, 94-88, in the championship final.

In the championship game, Givens put on one of the finest individual performances in NCAA Championship history in leading the Wildcats past the Blue Devils.

With many Kentucky fans among the crowd of 18,271 chanting “Goose, Goose,” Givens scored 41 points, three short of the record for a championship game, to help the Wildcats to their fifth NCAA title and first in 20 years.

Givens’ dominance was clearly evident in the first half as he scored 23 points, including UK’s last 16 of the half, to turn a 29-28 UK lead into a 45-38 cushion. It was a deficit from which the Blue Devils would not recover.

Overall, Givens made 18-of-27 field-goal attempts, five of eight free throws and added eight rebounds and three assists.


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