As sand slithers through the hourglass, memories dim. We can recall, but we don't really remember. Specifics fade away.
During a holiday party conversation the other day, the inevitable topic of Kansas University men's basketball arose, and somehow the conversation led to me mentioning how the Jayhawks once scored 150 points in a game against Kentucky.
Jaws dropped. Eyes bugged.
"One hundred and 50 points???" "Against Kentucky???"
I assured them I wasn't woofing, that it really happened, that I would never forget the game. But then I couldn't even remember what year it was, or even very much about it, other than that Roy Williams was KU's coach and Rick Pitino was his Kentucky counterpart.
I knew Kansas scored 150 points, but I couldn't remember the Wildcats' total. So I figured I should do some homework, and, if you would like to relive that game, follow along.
The date was Dec. 9, 1989. The site was Allen Fieldhouse.
Roy Williams was in his second year at Kansas after struggling the year before with a probation-riddled program. Williams had replenished the larder, however, by adding junior-college transfer Terry Brown, Indiana transfer Rick Calloway and a 6-foot-10 center from Finland named Pekka Markkanen.
Meanwhile, Pitino had jumped the New York Knicks to take over a probation-riddled Kentucky program, inheriting only eight scholarship players. In other words, Pitino was facing the same problems Williams had battled the previous season.
There was one difference. Pitino was nationally known, and Roy Williams was a nobody. Some people still thought his name was Ray Williams. If you asked people around the country to name KU's coach, they would likely have replied: "It's some former obscure assistant from North Carolina. Ray or Roy something."
To set the stage a bit further, after assessing his personnel, Pitino had decided the Wildcats had the best chance to win if they played a freewheeling offense featuring a barrage of three-point goals.
As it turned out, Pitino's strategy played right into KU's hands because Williams had a stable of thoroughbreds, and he didn't believe in reins, much less the word "Whoa," and this one turned into a 40-minute horse race.
At halftime, Kansas led, 80-61, and I remember mentioning to
J-W beat writer Gary Bedore that we may never see a game like this again. Eighty points in one half? Unbelievable.
"I didn't think we could score 80 points in a half against St. Mary of the Western Plains," KU guard Kevin Pritchard said afterward.
Or 70 points in the second half, for that matter. But that's what the Jayhawks did on their way to a 150-95 romp.
Seven KU players scored in double figures, led by Brown, who made seven of 10 three-pointers and finished with 31 points. Calloway had 21, Mark Randall and Jeff Gueldner 19 apiece, Pritchard 17, Markkanen 16 and Mike Maddox 10.
In his first season at one of the nation's most prestigious basketball schools, Pitino had suffered the most lopsided defeat in school history, but he vowed he held no grudges.
"They weren't trying to hurt anyone," Pitino said of the Jayhawks. "They were just passing the ball and scoring. They just drilled us."