In 1959, Cohen helped lead Kentucky to the NCAA tournament, although they had finished second in the SEC (Southeastern Conference). Mississippi State, who had defeated Kentucky earlier in the season, won the conference title but did not participate in the NCAA because of state officials’ opposition to interracial games.
Birth and Death Dates:
One of the first Junior College transfers for Adolph Rupp and the University of Kentucky, Cohen joined the Wildcats after leading Kilgore (TX) Junior College (27-2) to the JC National Championship in 1958. Cohen's leadership earned him a first team JC All-America nod. A junior in 1959, Sid had an immediate impact on the defending NCAA Champion Wildcats. After scoring a total of only two points in Kentucky’s first two games, Cohen scored a game-high 19 points in the third game of the year, a 78-64 Kentucky victory over Duke.
During the 1958-59 season, Cohen was part of Kentucky's backcourt rotation that included Dick Parsons, Billy Ray Lickert, and Bennie Coffman. At the beginning of the season, Kentucky won its first seven games and by December 20 were ranked No. 2 in the country. That night, they played in the final of the Kentucky Invitational Tournament against No. 7 West Virginia, led by all-time great Jerry West. Cohen was brilliant in the game, grabbing three rebounds and scoring a team-high 23 points to help the the Wildcats to a 97-91 win.
After the victory, Kentucky moved up to No. 1 in the AP poll and won their next three games before falling to Vanderbilt, 75-66 (Cohen scored in double digits in five consecutive games at the end of the 11-game winning streak). The Wildcats briefly dropped to No. 2, but returned to the top spot by winning seven games in a row after the loss to Vandy. Ranked No. 1 with a 18-1 record in mid-February, Cohen and Kentucky lost to No. 11 Mississippi State and fell to second place in the SEC.
Kentucky won their final five games to finish 24-2 with a No. 2 national ranking, but only played in the NCAA tournament after SEC champion Mississippi State refused to accept the invitation. During the regular season, Cohen was an important member of the Wildcat team and averaged 8.1 points (fifth on the team) and 3.0 rebounds per game.
After a first round bye in the 1959 NCAA Tournament, they faced in-state rival Louisville in the Mideast Regional Semifinal. Cohen had five points and four rebounds for Kentucky, but the Cardinals were led by All-America forward Don Goldstein, who scored a game-high 19 points and helped Louisville overcome a 15-point deficit to win, 76-61. Kentucky then defeated Marquette, 98-69, in the Regional consolation game; Cohen scored four points and had five rebounds.
In 1960, Cohen returned for his senior year and played in all 25 regular season games for the Wildcats. Although he started the season slowly and was even benched for a short time, Cohen scored in double-digits in 13 of the final 14 games of the season, including 26 points in a 68-42 drubbing of Tulane that helped vault Kentucky into the top 20 for the second time that season (No. 17). Unfortunately the Wildcats lost three of those 14 games and finished third in the SEC with a 10-4 conference record (18-7 overall).
Cohen was named All-America honorable mention for the 1960 season after finishing as Kentucky’s third-leading scorer with a 10.7 average; he also increased his rebounding average to 3.9. Cohen finished his career at Kentucky with 50 career games, 471 points (9.4 average), and 172 rebounds (3.4). Cohen was drafted in the 4th round (32nd overall) by the Boston Celtics in 1960, but did not play in the NBA.
Brooklyn, New York
Cohen played college ball at Kilgore (TX) JC, and for the University of Kentucky from 1958-1960.
6'1", 175 pounds