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Louisville celebrates ‘Dream Game’ win, 1983

Posted on March 26, 2018 | in Uncategorized | by

Louisville’s Lancaster Gordon celebrated March 26, 1983 after the Cardinals beat rival Kentucky, 80-68 in overtime, during the NCAA Mideast Regional Finals in Knoxville. Dubbed the “Dream Game,” it was an emotional, much anticipated battle before a capacity crowd of 12,489 at the University of Tennessee’s Stokely Athletics Center. The two schools had not meet on the hardwood since the 1959 NCAA Tournament and not in the regular season since 1922. Kentucky was following a policy set by Adolph Rupp; they refused to play other in-state foes regardless of the strength of their teams. By 1983, U of L coach Denny Crum had already taken Louisville to four Final Fours, won the 1980 national title and clearly built a program that, on the floor, was at the least UK’s equal if not its superior. Yet the Cats wouldn’t play the Cards, but on this day, they had to to advance to their ninth Final Four. U of L missed 16 of its first 20 shots but turned up their press in the second half. Within two minutes, an 11-point second-half UK lead was cut to one. Kentucky’s Jim Master made a game-tying shot to force overtime but the Cards scored the first 14 points of the extra period. Gordon led all scorers with 24 and was named Most Valuable Player of the Regional. Facing pressure from fans and even the state legislature, the teams renewed their regular season match-up the following season and have faced each other every year since. Click here to see more images from our archives from the first “Dream Game,” including Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown Jr., wearing a sport coat that was half Wildcats blue and half Cardinals red. Photo by Charles Bertram | staff

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