1995-96 National Champions

Front Row: Assistant Coach Delray Brooks, Head Coach Rick Pitino, Allen Edwards, Derek Anderson, , Tony Delk, Anthony Epps, , Wayne Turner, Associate Coach Jim O’Brien, Assistant Coach Back Row: Equipment Manager Bill Keightley, Administrative Assistant George Barber, , Oliver Simmons, Nazr Mohammed, Mark Pope, Walter McCarty, Antoine Walker, Jared Prickett, Ron Mercer, Trainer , Assistant Strength Coach Layne Kaufman, Strength Coach

NCAA Championship #6
76, SYRACUSE 67
April 1,1996
East Rutherford, N.J.

Season Recap

Kentucky strung together 25 consecutive wins, including a 16-0 mark in Southeastern Conference play, midway through the 1995-96 season and rolled to its sixth national championship, the first under head coach Rick Pitino. The dynamic duo of Tony Delk (17.8 ppg) and Antoine Walker (15.2 ppg) led the team dubbed “The Untouchables” by Pitino.

A 10-point loss to UMass in the second game of the season would be the only smudge on the Wildcats’ schedule as they entered SEC Tournament play. UK posted dominating wins over Florida (100-76) and Arkansas (95-75) in the first two rounds of the tournament, but an upstart Mississippi State team shot 60 percent from the 3-point arc to hand UK a shocking 84-73 loss in the title game.

Kentucky still earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament’s Dallas Regional and stomped San Jose State and Virginia Tech to easily advance to the Sweet 16. The competition proved no tougher in the next two rounds as the Wildcats outscored Utah and by a combined 62 points. A rematch with UMass awaited in the national semifinal, but Kentucky had no with ’s Minutemen, surpassing them 81-74. The Wildcats, behind six first-half 3-pointers by Delk, defeated Syracuse, 76-67, in the national title game.

Championship Game

Tony Delk tied a championship game record with seven three-pointers and the Wildcats withstood a late Orangemen rally to win their sixth national title before a capacity crowd of 19,229 in the Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands. Delk, the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, canned seven of 12 three-pointers to lead the Cats with 24 points. But after Syracuse had cut the lead to two, 64-62, with 4:46 remaining, a Delk misfire was tipped in by Walter McCarty to extend UK’s lead to four. After holding the Orangemen on the next possession, Derek Anderson drained a three to push the lead to seven. SU would get no closer than five in the final minutes. Delk was joined on the Final Four All-Tournament team by freshman Ron Mercer, who was sensational off the bench, scoring a career-high 20 points on 8-12 shooting from the field, including 3-4 from three-point range.

KENTUCKY

PLAYER     FG   3FG  FT   R  F  A  TO B  S  TP
Anderson  4-8   2-3  1-1  4  2  1  2  0  3  11
Walker   4-12   0-1  3-6  9  2  4  0  0  4  11
McCarty   2-6   0-0  0-0  7  3  3  1  0  0   4
Delk     8-20  7-12  1-2  7  2  2  3  1  2  24
Epps      0-6   0-3  0-0  4  1  7  1  0  0   0
Pope      1-6   0-2  2-2  3  3  2  4  0  1   4
Mercer   8-12   3-4  1-1  2  3  2  0  0  1  20
Shepard   1-2   0-1  0-1  2  3  0  3  0  0   2
Edwards   0-1   0-1  0-0  0  0  1  1  0  0   0
Team                      1

TOTALS  28-73 12-27 8-13  40 19 22 15 1 11  76

SYRACUSE

PLAYER     FG   3FG  FT   R  F  A  TO B  S  TP
Burgan   7-10   3-5  2-5  8  5  1  3  0  1  19
Wallace 11-19   2-3  5-5 10  5  1  6  1  0  29
Hill      3-9   0-0  1-1 10  2  1  3  1  0   7
Sims      2-5   1-4  1-2  2  2  7  7  0  1   6
Cipolla   3-8   0-3  0-0  1  1  2  2  0  4   6
Reafsnydr 0-1   0-0  0-0  4  0  0  1  0  0   0
Janulis   0-0   0-0  0-0  2  2  0  0  0  0   0
Nelson    0-0   0-0  0-0  0  0  0  0  0  0   0
Team                      2

TOTALS  26-52  6-15 9-13 38 17 12 24  2  6  67

HALFTIME:
UK 42, Syracuse 33

Most Outstanding Player: Tony Delk – national championship record 7-pointers and a team-high 24 points

 

1996 NCAA Tournament Bracket