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NCA MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT : Southeast Regional : Alabama, on Last Shot, and Kentucky Advance

March 17, 1986| From Times Wire Services

The way Lou Henson saw it, Alabama walked away with the victory.

Terry Coner hit an off-balance 12-footer with one second remaining Sunday to give Alabama a 58-56 victory over Henson's Fighting Illini in the second round of the NCAA Southeast Regional at Charlotte, N.C.

Henson maintains Coner traveled before the shot.

"I think the officials know they missed the traveling violation," Henson said. "There's no question he walked on the last play. Walking is a violation just like a foul. I want the officials to look at the film."

The Crimson Tide (24-8), which blew a 13-point lead in the first half, got its shot at the victory after Buck Johnson blocked a short baseline attempt by Illinois' Efrem Winters with 26 seconds left.

Alabama called a timeout with 19 seconds to play and, when play resumed, Coner held the ball near midcourt until starting his move with nine seconds left, taking Illinois defensive ace Bruce Douglas into the lane before hitting the game-winner.

"I didn't know if I walked," Coner said. "I couldn't really tell because I was in the act of shooting.

"We were set up to go down with four seconds left, unless we had a layup. I didn't see anyone open, so I just took the last one. I just tried to take Douglas one-on-one and tried to draw a foul."

The victory sends Alabama to the regional semifinals in Atlanta Thursday night against No. 3 Kentucky. The Crimson Tide is 0-3 against the Wildcats this season.

"For three of the last five years this team has been in the final 16, and to me that's a heck of an accomplishment," Alabama Coach Wimp Sanderson said.

Illinois (22-10) took its first lead of the game with 11:25 left when Scott Meents scored on a dunk that gave his team a 44-43 advantage.

The Illini built a 50-47 lead on another basket by Meents with 6:47 remaining before Alabama fought back into a 52-52 tie with 2:58 to go. Anthony Welch scored for the Illini at the 2:23 mark, and Jim Farmer countered for Alabama from the top of the key at 1:53.

Ken Norman's eight-footer from the left baseline gave Illinois a 56-54 lead, and Coner came back with a driving jumper in the lane with 56 seconds left. But his best was yet to come.

Kentucky 71, Western Kentucky 64--The Hilltoppers waited 15 years for another chance to show they can play with the Kentucky Wildcats. It wasn't so easy this time.

All-American Kenny Walker scored 32 points Sunday as the third-ranked Wildcats (31-3) won their 13th straight game.

This only other time the two teams from the Bluegrass State met was 1971, when Western Kentucky beat Kentucky, 107-83, in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Over the years, Western Kentucky has repeatedly tried to schedule games with Kentucky.

Walker struck for 18 first-half points on 9-for-9 shooting from the inside. The 6-foot 8-inch senior forward picked up most of his second-half points from the foul line as the Hilltoppers (24-8) pounded him with two defenders.

Walker was 11 for 11 from the floor.

"None of them were easy," said Walker, who tied Jack Givens as the No. 2 career scorer in Kentucky history with 2,038 points. "They got into a man-to-man defense, but I got up low in the paint, got the ball and just took it to the basket."

Kentucky led, 36-24, at halftime and was ahead by 15 points midway through the second half before the Hilltoppers made a belated stretch run.

"We played about as well in the first 20 minutes as we have in a long while," Kentucky coach Eddie Sutton said. "In the second half, we weren't as aggressive. We went to the zone and we didn't get after them."

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