1977-1978 National Champions

Sitting: Coach Joe Hall, Jay Shidler, , Kyle Macy, Jack Givens, Tim Stephens, Chris Gettelfinger, Truman Claytor, Assistant Coach Dick Parsons Standing: Assistant Trainer , Manager Don Sullivan, , Scott Courts, Mike Phillips, Rick Robey, Chuck Aleksinas, Fred Cowan, , Assistant Coach Leonard Hamilton, Assistant Coach Jr.

NCAA Championship #5
94, 88
March 27 1978
St. Louis

Season Recap

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 points per game, went 30-2 for its 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 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 in Nashville, .

Characteristically, the Cats had no trouble with their early-round competition in the NCAA Tournament, as Florida State, Miami (Ohio) and Michigan State fell along the way.  UK met up with Arkansas in the national semifinal game, which the Wildcats won 64-59, before defeating Duke, 94-88, in the championship final.

Championship Game

Senior Jack 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.

Boxscore

KENTUCKY

PLAYER    MIN  FGM  FGA  FTM  FTA  REB  A  PF  TP
Givens     37   18   27    5    8    8  3   4  41
Robey      32    8   11    4    6   11  0   2  20
Phillips   11    1    4    2    2    2  1   5   4
Macy       36    3    3    3    4    0  8   1   9
Claytor    24    3    5    2    4    0  3   2   8
Lee        20    4    8    0    0    4  2   4   8
Shidler    16    1    5    0    1    1  3   3   2
Aleksinas   1    0    0    0    0    0  0   1   0
Williams   10    1    3    0    0    4  0   2   2
Cowan       8    0    2    0    0    2  0   1   0
Stephens    1    0    0    0    0    0  0   0   0
Courts      1    0    0    0    0    0  0   0   0
Gettelfngr  1    0    0    0    0    0  0   0   0
Casey       1    0    0    0    0    0  0   1   0
Team                                 0	

TOTALS	   200   39   68   16   25   32 20  26  94

DUKE

PLAYER    MIN  FGM  FGA  FTM  FTA  REB  A  PF  TP
Banks      37    6    2   10   12    8  2   2  22
Dennard    30    5    7    0    0    6  2   5   2
Gminski    57    6   16    6    6   12  2   3  20
Harrell    24    2    2    0    0    0  1   3   4
Spanarkel  40    6   16    5    6    2  1   4  21
Suddidth    9    1    3    2    3    2  0   1   2
Bender     17    1    2    5    5    1  4   3   7
Goetsch     6    0    1    0    0    1  0   1   0
Team                                 0

TOTALS    200   29   59   10   34   35 14  22  88

Technicals - Duke Bench Att. -- 18,271

HALFTIME:
UK 45, Duke 38

Most Outstanding Player: Jack Givens – game-high 41 points on 18-of-27 shooting with eight rebounds

1978 NCAA Tournament Bracket