Kenny Walker scored 29 points to boost Kentucky to a 66-58 victory over Washington in the first round of the NCAA West basketball tournament Thursday night, ending the 40-year college coaching career of Washington's Marv Harshman.
The victory propelled 12th-seeded Kentucky into the NCAA West second round Saturday against ninth-ranked Nevada-Las Vegas, an 85-80 winner over San Diego State earlier Thursday night.
Harshman had announced earlier that he would retire at age 67 at the end of this season. His career ended with 642 wins and 448 losses, seventh place in all-time wins behind UCLA John Wooden.
Kentucky, which had the poorest record of any tournament at-large team, sank 17 of 21 free-throw attempts in the last four minutes to earn the victory and improve the Wildcats' record to 17-12. Walker, who had a game-high 10 rebounds, hit six of six free throws in those waning minutes.
Pacific-10 champion Washington, 22-10, trailed throughout most of the game, but closed to within 53-52 on a jumper by Paul Fortier with 2:25 remaining. However, four free throws by Ed Davender and two each by Roger Harden and Richard Madison kept the Wildcats safely ahead.
In the first half, no more than six points separated the two teams. But Washington went nearly five minutes without a field goal and the Wildcats of the Southeastern Conference took a 27-24 lead into intermission.
Kentucky, which has made more NCAA Tournament appearances than any other team--30--built eight-point leads midway through the second half, but Fortier's shooting kept the Huskies close until Kentucky zeroed in at the foul line.
Joining Walker in double figures was Madison with 10. For fifth-seeded Washington, senior forward Detlef Schrempf and Fortier were high with 16 and center Chris Welp added 10.