5 Highlights of Nashville Then: Vanderbilt and Kentucky matchup Jan. 6, 1968

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Perry Wallace, a Vanderbilt alumnus who was the first African-American basketball player in the SEC, has died. Wochit

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Vanderbilt sophomore Perry Wallace (25) makes a move for a layup as Kentucky sophomore Dan Issel (44) defends. But it was Kentucky all the way in a 94-78 victory over the Commodores before 11,500 at Memorial Gym Jan. 6, 1968.(Photo: Bill Preston / The Tennessean)Buy Photo

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Rankings and Results

Kentucky, a young team, went into the game ranked No. 5 in the nation with a 7-1 record. Their only loss was to North Carolina on the road. Vanderbilt, a more experienced team, is ranked No. 4 in the AP rankings and No. 3 in the UPI poll. The Commodores went into the game with a 10-1 record, a victory over North Carolina, but a loss to Florida, that UK defeated. Labeled the nation’s No. 1 college basketball game of the night, the duel disintegrated as Kentucky marksmen devastated the favored Commodores 94-78 before a crowd of more than 11,500 at Memorial Gym. Mike Casey and Phil Argento finished as the Wildcats‘ top scorers with 25 apiece and Mike Pratt added 20. Dan Issel dominated the boards with 22 rebounds. Tommy “Gun” Hagan, who fouled out with 3:43 left, led the Commodores with 21 points and co-captains Bob Warren and Bo Wyenandt furnished with 15 apiece.

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Buy Photo Mike Casey, left, Dan Issel and Mike Pratt, three sophomores and newcomers that have helped push Kentucky Wildcats to the No. 5 spot in the nation, are lounging in a Nashville hotel lobby Jan. 5, 1968 for their matchup next night against Vanderbilt at Memorial Gym.  Joe Rudis / The TennesseanBuy Photo Former Vanderbilt basketball star Dr. A. Brant (Pinky) Lipscomb, left, and Kentucky head coach Adolph Rupp recall the days when they were SEC rivals in the early 1940s Jan. 5, 1968. Lipscomb was named to Rupp‘s all-time, all-opponent team. Coach Rupp brings his Wildcats into Memorial Gym the next night to face Vanderbilt in a battle of nationally-ranked teams.  Bill Preston / The TennesseanBuy Photo An overflow crowd of 11,500 and Vanderbilt players stand for playing of national anthem before the big SEC game against Kentucky at Memorial Gym Jan. 6, 1968. The crowd, officially listed at capacity 11,094, was much higher due to an overflow in the student section and school officials believe to be the largest ever to see a Commodores home game.  Bill Preston / The TennesseanBuy Photo Two sophomores, Vanderbilt‘s Perry Wallace (25) and Kentucky‘s Dan Issel (44) goes all out for the rebound among their teammates. Kentucky hit 15 of their first 18 shots on their way to a 94-78 victory over the Commodores before 11,500 at Memorial Gym Jan. 6, 1968.  Frank Empson / The TennesseanBuy Photo Vanderbilt guard Tommy Hagan (34) draws the attention of Kentucky defenders Phil Argento (13) and Dan Issel (44) as he moves inside for a shot. But it was Kentucky all the way in a 94-78 victory over the Commodores Jan. 6, 1968.  Frank Empson / The TennesseanBuy Photo Kentucky sharpshooter guard Phil Argento (13) moves in for two of his 25 points against Vanderbilt forward Bo Wyenandt (41). Kentucky hit 15 of their first 18 shots on their way to a 94-78 victory over the Commodores Jan. 6, 1968.  Bill Preston / The TennesseanBuy Photo Vanderbilt guard Tom Hagan (34) goes for a shot while Kentucky guard Mike Casey (34) hangs all over him. But it was Kentucky all the way in a 94-78 victory over the Commodores Jan. 6, 1968.  Bill Preston / The TennesseanBuy Photo Kentucky guard Phil Argento (13) catches everyone flatfooted as he goes up for two against Vanderbilt. Kentucky hit 15 of their first 18 shots on their way to a 94-78 victory over the Commodores before 11,500 at Memorial Gym Jan. 6, 1968.  Frank Empson / The TennesseanBuy Photo An overcrowded Vanderbilt student section didn‘t have a whole lot to cheer for as Kentucky came in and left with a 94-78 victory over the Commodores at Memorial Gym Jan. 6, 1968.  Bill Preston / The TennesseanBuy Photo Vanderbilt forward Bob Warren (21) looks on as Kentucky center Dan Issel (44) blocked his shot. Kentucky hit 15 of their first 18 shots on their way to a 94-78 victory over the Commodores Jan. 6, 1968.  Bill Preston / The TennesseanBuy Photo Kentucky master coach Adolph Rupp, who was given a standing ovation by the Vanderbilt crowd prior to the game, is directing his team to a 94-78 victory over the Commodores at Memorial Gym Jan. 6, 1968.  Frank Empson / The TennesseanBuy Photo Kentucky center Dan Issel (44) goes outside for a shot against Vanderbilt. Issel only scored 7 points, but pulled down 22 rebounds in the Wildcats 94-78 victory over the Commodores Jan. 6, 1968.  Frank Empson / The TennesseanBuy Photo Vanderbilt sophomore Perry Wallace (25) makes a move for a layup as Kentucky sophomore Dan Issel (44) defends. But it was Kentucky all the way in a 94-78 victory over the Commodores before 11,500 at Memorial Gym Jan. 6, 1968.  Bill Preston / The TennesseanBuy Photo Vanderbilt teammates Bo Warren (21) and Perry Wallace (25) both go for the rebound on a missed shot against Kentucky. But it was Kentucky all the way in a 94-78 victory over the Commodores Jan. 6, 1968.  Frank Empson / The TennesseanBuy Photo Kentucky Mike Pratt (22), Mike Casey (34), Phil Argento (13), Dan Issel (44), Thad Jaracz (55) and others walks off the floor of Memorial Gym after their 94-78 victory over host Vanderbilt Jan. 6, 1968.  Frank Empson / The Tennessean

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“The Baron”

Premier basketball coach Adolph Rupp brought his Kentucky Wildcats to Nashville for his 35th meeting with the Vanderbilt Commodores here in his 38th season as skipper of Kentucky. He came with an unparalleled record of 772 victories against 166 defeats. Coach Rupp, 67, arrived in town wearing a bright blue blazer bearing the insignia of UK. “What’s this? No brown suit this trip?” a visitor at his hotel suite asked. “Don’t worry, I’ll have it on tomorrow night,” Rupp said with a smile. The Baron was given a standing ovation by the Vanderbilt crowd prior to the game.

Perry Wallace

Wallace, the first African-American varsity athlete to play basketball under an athletic scholarship in the SEC at Vanderbilt, was a sophomore forward facing the Kentucky Wildcats for the first time in the game (Freshmen weren’t allowed to play with the varsity team back then). Wallace is going into the game averaging 11.1 points a game, third highest for the Commodores. Before the game, Kentucky Coach Rupp had this remark of him: “Wallace is a fast mover who blocks shots.”

Kentucky‘s three starting sophomores

Kentucky first year starters are Mike Casey, Dan Issel and Mike Pratt. Going into the game, Casey (6-4) leads the team with a scoring average of 17.9, while Issel (6-8½) was second with 13.6 and Pratt (6-4) was fifth with 10.6 mark. Casey poured in 28 points in the opener against Michigan for the high scoring mark of the year for any of the Cats. Issel, who is averaging 14.5 a game in rebounds, grabbed 24 against Florida for the high of the season so far.

“Pinky”

Dr. A. Brant “Pinky” Lipscomb was the Vanderbilt team physician and an outstanding surgeon and was a star player with the Commodores in 1940-41. Kentucky head coach Adolph Rupp had dinner with Dr. Lipscomb the night before their game at Memorial Gym. Coach Rupp said Pinky “caused me as much worry as any player we ever faced.” When Coach Rupp was asked to put together his 10-man, all-time, all-opponent team a couple of years ago, Dr. Lipscomb was one of the first he considered and then added to the team. “As a basketball player, he had tremendously strong and quick hands and was a most intelligent player,” Coach Rupp said. “He also took the longest steps and got to the basket with less wasted motion than just about any man you can name.”

Source: The Tennessean

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