- Tuesday, March 1 1921 -
SIAA Tournament Championship (at Atlanta, GA)
Kentucky - 20 (Head Coach: George C. Buchheit)
Georgia - 19 (Head Coach: Herman J. Stegeman)
Halftime Score: Kentucky 8, Georgia 7
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Mississippi A & M 28 - 13|||||Georgetown College 17 - 26|
Game Writeup - Lexington Leader
THE GREAT VICTORY
ATLANTA, GA., March 2 -- The University of Kentucky Wildcats, champion basketeers of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association today were speeding back home heralded by all as one of the greatest basketball machines in the history of the South, following their epoch making victory Tuesday night over the University of Georgia by the score of 20-19.
The Kentucky team was considered a dark horse at the beginning of the tournament but "dark horses" as a rule are not taken seriously and the Wildcats were no exception. However when they defeated the Mississippi Aggies in the semifinals Monday and were slated to stack up against the University of Georgia, basket ball enthusiasts began looking up dope on the Bluegrass squad. And from the dope they learned that the Kentuckians were quite famous having lost only one contest and that to Centre College by a bare two points.
Came Tuesday night and the auditorium was packed to witness the championship event. And the thousands who gathered were more than rewarded. It was a game that will long live in the basket ball annals of the Southland and one which the University of Kentucky will never forget.
Every Minute Fast
Every minute of the contest was full of fight. First Kentucky would shoot a goal and then Georgia would show it was not to be outdone. It was a nerve racking contest, with victory perched uncertainly and seemingly unable to decide which quintet to favor.
When the end of the first half came the count was 8-7 in favor of the Kentuckians. The second half was equally as replete with thrills and the great auditorium fairly rocked with cheers for both teams.
Then came the grand finish. Twenty seconds of play remained when Cheeves, Georgia forward, fouled Atkins as he took a pass under the Kentucky basket and started to make a shot. The referee's whistle blew and just as Bill King started to make a foul try, the timer's pistol was discharged.
With the score tied, 19-19, King paused. He was allowed to make the shot and make it he did. His exhibition of nerve was wonderful, the sphere striking the basket perfectly and ending the contest in the Kentuckians' favor by the score of 20-19.
Expert guarding featured the game with Lavin as one of the outstanding heroes. His excellent work broke up pass after pass for the Georgia team. Ridgeway also came in for his share of honors in his playing against Anderson, Georgia's star forward, who was considered the best individual goal shooter in the South. He held Anderson safe throughout the game.
RETURNS FROM GAME
The basket ball court in the Atlanta auditorium was transferred, figuratively speaking to the Phoenix hotel Tuesday night where hundreds of Wildcat supporters listened in awed silence as telegrams, telling of the game's progress, were read and cheered their team loudly as the game see-sawed back and forth.
Certainly the huge crowd that witnessed the actual game was not more excited than were those gathered at the hotel, there to await the word that would make or break Kentucky's chances for the Southern championship.
"Game ready to start," the man with the megaphone read from the telegram handed him.
Then came thrilling news, news that Kentucky was in true form. "Adkins makes first goal. King second, outclassing the Georgians. Adkins repeats, Georgia scores. Three on fouls in favor of Kentucky."
The history-making contest was on in earnest and was being fought to the last ditch by both quintets. Then came more news of the kind that showed the game still was gripped in uncertainty, with every member of the teams fighting with the best that he had in him.
"Georgia substitutes forward. Adkins makes good. Georgia scores. Score end half: Kentucky 8, Georgia 7."
Then came a telegram announcing that "Georgia scores foul. Score 8-8, King makes good."
The crowd was agog with excitement. The biggest game of the South was dangling in the balance. Everyone was hoping -- some hoping against hope -- that the tired Wildcats would retain the lead. Then another telegram.
"Ridgeway shoots foul. So does Georgia. Georgia makes another on foul. Score: Kentucky 11, Georgia 10. King makes goal in foul. King makes long goal. King makes another on foul. Georgia makes goal."
In the final few minutes of play, bad news reached the crowd's ears to be dispelled a few seconds later with the announcement that "Bill" King had tossed a foul and Kentucky had won the championship of the S.I.A.A.
"King makes goal. Georgia makes goal. Georgia makes another. Score: Kentucky 17, Georgia 16. Georgia makes goal. Georgia scores on foul. Hayden ties score. King scores on one point. Final score: Kentucky 20, Georgia 19."
"Greatest game ever played." read another telegram and the Kentucky rooters were off to celebrate. The score was painted on the sidewalks in large letters and the students were off to stage a preliminary victory celebration.
Reprinted in 1922 Kentuckian - by Fuzzy Woodruff
U. of K. Defeats Georgia Bulldog
More red-blooded stuff was crowded into one brief minute last night, when Kentucky State University defeated the University of Georgia, 20 to 19, for the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association's first basketball championship, than comes to most men in a span of life.
There's less than a minute left to play. Georgia is leading by the scant margin of 19-17. Both teams are desperate. The Kentuckians are fighting with the courage born of despair. The throng watching the Homeric struggle is raving. Men are shouting in the hoarse combativeness of a struggle in which no mercy is expected or desired. Women are screaming in the fierce staccato battle-cry of motherhood defending its young. The athletes on the broad floor have aged a lifetime in a few brief minutes. They are no longer carefree, clean-limbed college boys. Their faces are drawn.. Their eyes are dull. They are fighting, but they are not fighting with the joyous lust of the charge. They are fighting the grim fight that men wage when their backs are against a wall, when hope seems just a mirage, fooling weary travelers into useless exertion of already spent bodies. But still they fight.
Georgia, for the second, forgets the tactics that so far have carried it to the lead. All through the tournament Hayden, the Kentucky captain, a blond Apollo, a Kentucky thoroughbred, if one ever stepped on the turf, has been the thorn in the side of Kentucky's opponents.
Coach Stegeman of Georgia has watched all the Kentucky games. He knows that danger lurks in Hayden's race horse anatomy. He has instructed his men to guard Hayden as they would guard their good names. And throughout twenty minutes of the first half and nineteen minutes of the second half, Hayden is kept as closely covered as the grand fleet kept the Kiel canal when civilization's future was the stake.
But Georgia forgot. The failing is human, and with less than a minute to play, and with the palm of victory almost extended to the Athenians, their forgetfulness gives him the opportunity for freedom.
He sees it and seizes it. He is down the court like a streak. He sweeps across the floor with the fleetness of a meteor. He is under the basket and the ball is hurled to him. All five of the Georgia players are now charging on him. They are late by the merest fraction of a split second. The ball hardly pauses in Hayden's hands. His shot is fast but accurate. It drops through the basket without hesitating. The score is tied. Georgia is 19, Kentucky is 19.
Possibly forty-five seconds of playing time are left. The ball is "tipped off." Little Lavin of Kentucky is on it with the swiftness and surety of a cat leaping for an elusive mouse. He sends it hurling down the court to King. Adkins, Kentucky's center, and the surest goal-shooter in the tourney, is back down the court and he is uncovered. The ball reaches him.
"Buck" Cheeves, Georgia's captain, sees the danger. Adkins must not shoot. Cheeves throws himself on him to intercept his throw. Adkins is bowled over, right under the basket. The referee's whistle sounds - he has declared a foul. Little King of Kentucky takes the ball as the players group themselves about the basket. "This decides the game," a thousand whispers say. The great building is suddenly stilled. No one talks. No one even breathes. No one dares to think.
Bang! It's the timer's signal that the twenty minutes of playing time has expired. The rules permit the attempt at goal, however. King takes a new stance. The crowd takes another breath, a deep one. King is coolness personified. He hasn't been particularly good on foul goals all night, and Georgia has hopes, though it fears for the, worst. The ball leaves his hands and King's eyes do not even follow it to the basket. It strikes a rim and then slowly falls over to the right through the network. In a second he is in the arms of his comrades and is being hoisted to their shoulders.
Atlanta Journal and Constitution - Frank A. Kopf
Little Lavan's Brilliant Playing Big Feature of Kentucky's Defeat of Ga.
It is remarkable what great things result from some seemingly insignificant occurrences. The great fire that swept Atlanta a few years ago all started from a little match, and the great World War from which we have not yet emerged was incited by the throwing of a single bomb by an anarchist or a Bolshevist.
Last night at the auditorium the mere act of Buck Cheeves putting his arm around the neck of a Kentucky man caused Georgia to lose the basketball championship of the south by a single point, making the score 20 to 19 in Kentucky's favor.
This was another game that words can not describe, and that the typewriter can not do justice to. Unlike the conditions that prevailed Monday night there was plenty of room in the Auditorium for more people, and if this sort of a hair-raising basketball match could have been guaranteed to B.P.P. perhaps every seat would have been filled. This was the most important game that has been played in Atlanta this year, and it is also the closest one.
Georgia led off by scoring one point as a result of a free throw, but Kentucky was not far behind, and a few seconds later the boys from Lexington made a field goal putting them one point in the lead. A minute later baskets by King and Adkins put Kentucky in the lead by five points, but a couple more free throws and a field goal by Anderson brought Georgia up to five. The five-man defense proved somewhat of a jinx to the visitors and they had to take a great many long shots at the basket. Before the half ended another score by Bennett brought Georgia up to 7 points and one by Adkins gave Kentucky 8.
Both teams came back the second half and played a faster brand of ball, though you certainly couldn't call that in the first period slow. Georgia must have received a talking to between halves, for they came back so hard that they ran up eight fouls, giving King a chance to score eight points. King did manage to ring four of them. Kentucky only made four fouls this half, but Anderson made every one of them count so the game was even from this standpoint. The shooting was about the same. In the first half Kentucky got forty-one shots, four of which scored and in the second half they got forty, and again four were scorers. Georgia did not have near the chances at the basket that Kentucky did. In the first half they tried twenty-three, two of which were successful, and in the second they increased it, making thirty-one trials and four of them going into the goal.
Anderson Shoots Well
In foul shooting Anderson made the great percentage, making seven out of eleven attempts which King only succeeded in placing four out of the same number. This is unusually poor for King who always used to get at least fifty per cent of his foul throws. But he did score the most important throw of the evening, or of the whole tournament for that matter.
The score was tied in the second half. Both teams were going at the pace that kills and playing fast ball. Georgia was even with her adversary for the first time since the start of the game and they knew the game was about over. Kentucky had been leading right along and the Kentucky boys knew that if they were going to win the tournament some scoring would have to be done right now to break the 19 to 19 tie. Kentucky worked the ball down under their basket in a position to shoot with Buck Cheeves standing between them and a good shot. Buck got a little too familiar with the Kentuck and slipped his arm around his neck, for some of that French stuff, I suppose. Then the whistle blew for a foul. While .... missing text ....... continued on next column ...... to be congratulated for making the earning of the laurels so hard.
No very good averages in basket shooting were made last night on account of the close guarding. Anderson, of Georgia, made the best record with two out of twelve shots. Murray made two out of sixteen. Bennett one out of ten and Owens one out of six. King, of Kentucky made the largest aggregate scoring, four out of twenty-nine shots, all of them long ones. Adkins made three out of thirty-one and Hayden one out of eleven.
Lavan a Big Star
In my opinion the best man on the floor or in the tournament was Lavan, of Kentucky, although his work would have been useless without King and Adkins to support him. Lavan is no doubt the fastest streak of lightning that ever graced the score book in the position of guard. In spite of the fact that the men he was guarding were taller and heavier than he was, he was able to intercept their passes and keep them from scoring most of the time.
Sidebar - Lexington Leader
Great Welcome Awaits Wildcats Here Tonight
BASKET BALL CHAMPIONS OF ALL THE SOUTH
Will Arrive at 6:30 O'clock and Lexington is Preparing To Celebrate with Team Greatest Athletic Victory A Kentucky Squad Has Ever Won
The Royal Palm which on Monday evening had as passengers President-elect and Mrs. Warren G. Harding will have more celebrities aboard when it chugs into the Southern station at 6:30 o'clock tonight.
The celebrities-passengers will be the University of Kentucky basket ball squad - undisputed champions of the South - who will return from Atlanta, where on Tuesday night they defeated the University of Georgia by a 20-19 score and won the championship of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
As conquering heroes they will return and as conquering heroes they will be welcomed, not alone by the student body and faculty members of the University, but by hundreds of friends of the institution - former students, athletic stars of previous years and other - all gathered to pay tribute to what has been described as the "greatest basket ball team ever assembled below the Mason and Dixon line."
A parade, banquet and speeches will be some of the features of the victors' home-coming. Tonight will witness the celebration of the greatest athletic victory that the University of Kentucky or any other Kentucky team for that matter, has ever accomplished.
Asked about the claim made by some for Centre college to the State basket ball championship and whether the University of Kentucky would not lay official claim to it, Mr. Boles said:
"Centre College is in the South and we're the champions of the South: we're not only the champions of Kentucky. I am reminded about the fellow who said 'What's the use of being Governor if you can be President?' We're the President now."
Centre did not participate in the tournament, having had an Eastern trip scheduled, but by the rules of the S.I.A.A., the winner of the tourney is the undisputed champion of the association. The road was open for Centre to take part.
Defeated Only Once
The Wildcats suffered only one defeat during the entire season and that was at the hands of the Centre College Colonels at Danville, the Boyle county collegians winning by the score of 29-27. Kentucky then came back in the University gymnasium and defeated the Colonels 20-13. The local newspapers claim that Kentucky was then the State championship team was disputed in some quarters.
Tired after the four-day rigid contest, but supremely happy over the great victory withal, the eight members of the squad, accompanied by Coach George Buchheit, left Atlanta over the Southern Railroad at 5:20 o'clock this morning.
Those who made the trip were: Hayden and King, forwards: Adkins, center: Lavin and Ridgeway, guards and Wilhelm, Poyntz and Smith, substitutes. This team will be intact next season with the exception of Captain Basil Hayden, who will be graduated in June. Following are a few facts about the squad:
Sketches of Players
Basil Hayden, captain and forward, hails from Paris, where he starred on the high school quintet. He has played on the squad for two years, winning letters both seasons, in addition to being awarded a letter in track last year. Hayden starred at Transylvania College, but entered the University fold after one year at Transy, where he was on the basket ball team. This is his last year at the University, where he has pursued a course in industrial chemistry. He is a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
William King, forward, is from Lexington, having been graduated from Senior high school after a brilliant athletic career. "Bill" is a freshman at the University and is a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
Paul Adkins, center, is from Williamsburg and is in his junior year in college. This is his first year at the University of Kentucky, however, since he took his first two years' work at Cumberland College, where he won a basket ball letter. He belongs to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
Sam Ridgeway, standing guard, claims Shepherdsville as his native habitat and came to Lexington two years ago to take a University education. He has played on the team two years, winning a letter last season and being entitled to another one this year. He belongs to the Sigma Nu fraternity.
Robert Lavin, like Captain Hayden, claims Paris as his home and has won his letter in basket ball two years. "Bobby," who is a junior, does not confine his athletic prowess to basketball ball, but was quarterback on the eleven last fall and won a gridiron letter. The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity claims him.
Gilbert K. Smith, substitute guard, is another Lexington product, having played on Senior high school team before entering the University, where he is a sophomore. He was on the squad last year and his playing this season when Lavin was hurt which gave him an opportunity to demonstrate his ability. He is a Kappa Alpha and doesn't care who knows it.
James E. Wilhelm, substitute center, isn't a bit ashamed to say he is from Paducah, where his friends have watched his playing with a great deal of interest. He has gotten a chance in several games and has made good. Jim is in his second year and is manager of the squad, in addition to belonging to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
William L. Poyntz, substitute forward, tells the world he is from Covington and isn't ashamed to add that this is his first year at the University. He has also been in several games and has shown excellent ability.
All Lexington, all Kentucky is proud of the Wildcats over their great victory in the four-day basket ball tournament at Atlanta. And the celebration tonight is expected to outdo any previous event ever staged for any home-coming team.
The entire student body, many faculty members and hundreds of other enthusiasts, headed by the University of Kentucky band playing "Dixie" and "My Old Kentucky Home," will meet the victory bearers at the Southern Station, where a cordial welcome will be extended.
McVey Is Absent
The only disappointing feature about the "spontaneous get-together rally" will be the absence of President Frank L. McVey, who is in Fort Thomas to address the Men's and Women's Clubs tonight and who will be unable to return until Thursday.
While today was not an official holiday at the University, the boys declared one of their own and went romping thru the halls, shouting and having a good time. Of course everyone was so elated over the victory that no one "had the heart" to attempt to stop them. And even had the attempt been made, indications were it was likely to fail. Some of the co-eds with visions of "A" grades attended classes but their minds likely were more on the homecoming team than on the Odes of Horace or the Masterpieces of English Literature.
Today was an epoch making one on the campus. Celebration of a basket ball championship can't be staged every day while classes -- well the boys figured they can be attended on less ceremonious days than this.
"Daddy" Boles Talks
"I think it is the biggest thing we have ever done," said Athletic Director "Daddy" Boles, whose long athletic experience and wise advice did much towards bringing about the event that all Kentuckians today are celebrating.
"It was a great event because it is the first time the University of Kentucky has ever won the undisputed championship of the South in any sport," continued "Daddy."
"I think I'm pretty safe in saying it is the first time any Kentucky team has ever won the undisputed championship of the South in any sport. For a team to go down to Atlanta and beat all the other teams in the South, well, I think it was about the biggest honor we ever have won.
Banquet at Phoenix
Members of the team will be met by automobiles and will be taken direct to the Phoenix hotel where a banquet will be given for them in the ballroom. The hundreds gathered to meet them will stage a parade to the hotel with the band playing popular airs and the students staging their best stunts.
Covers for 500 persons will be laid in the ballroom where the banquet will be in charge of the Boosters Club of the University. Everybody is invited to the banquet, tickets for which were being sold today for $1 each. Efforts are being made especially to have a good delegation of coeds present to show their appreciation to the basket ball champions.
"It will be a spontaneous get-together rally," said Herndon Evans, president of the club, who will preside at the meeting. "There will be no set speeches, but whenever we see anybody who looks like he has a speech bulging out, we'll take pains to see that he gets rid of it."
Various members of the gathering will be called upon to speak, will be assigned a subject and time limits and told to "go do it," Mr. Evans stated. The band will be on hand to do its best and students are arranging various kinds of stunts for the occasion.
Typical College Night
Tonight will be a typical college night and one that long will live in the memory of Lexington and of the University of Kentucky. Never before was a celebration planned on such a large scale for never before was that such a glorious event to celebrate.
Members of the team will be guests of honor. All of the banqueters will pay them homage for they have spread the University's fame far and wide over the Southland. The silver loving cup with "Champions of the South" engraved on it, will be brought back by the victors and will be on display at the banquet. The cup was presented by the Atlanta Athletic Club, which acted as host for the tournament.
Buchheit and Boles
When one speaks of the Kentuckians' victory, there is one man who certainly must not be overlooked. He is none other than the coach, George Buchheit, who has been in active charge of the victory squad for two seasons.
Buchheit's work has been untiring in his efforts to win laurels for the University of Kentucky and the long hours spent in training the team have been rewarded with interest. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, where he took part in foot ball, basket ball and track.
And of course, "Daddy" Boles comes in for his full share in the team's accomplishment. For years he has worked for the victory that is now the University's and the students give him a lot of the credit for the Southern championship.
That Kentucky's victory has won fame broad and wide is evidenced by the fact that the squad has been invited to participate in the National basket ball tournament of the American Athletic Union, soon to be held at Kansas City. This union is composed of athletic clubs, colleges and universities over the entire United States.
The invitation was wired to the team at Atlanta, but no action has yet been taken towards accepting it. The athletic fund soon will be called together to consider the matter, but it is considered unlikely the invitation will be accepted. Special permission had to be obtained for the team to remain away from classes for the time necessary to take part in the Atlanta tournament and some consider it unlikely that permission for additional time off would be granted. The athletic council also will soon take up the awarding of basketball letters.
Plans were being made this afternoon to prepare a victory float to transport members of the team and the athletic council from the Southern station to the Phoenix hotel.