- Monday, March 17 1947 -
NIT (at New York, NY)
Kentucky - 66 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp)
|J. Ed Parker||0||0||0||2||0|
Long Island - 62 (Head Coach: Clair Bee)
Halftime Score: Kentucky 34, Long Island 23
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Temple 68 - 29|||||N. C. State 60 - 42|
Game Writeup - by Louis Effrat, New York Times
WILDCATS CONQUER L.I.U. FIVE, 66 TO 62
How much chance does a team, trailing by 19 points with less than 15 minutes left to play, have in this modern era of streamlined basketball ? Very little, one would say, especially if he or she were at Madison Square Garden last night, watching Kentucky's Wildcats romp to a 49-30 lead over L.I.U. at 5:30 in the second half of their national invitation quarter-final meeting.
And yet, 18,474 fans, many of whom were ready to leave the arena early, will attest to the fact that Kentucky needed two baskets in the final fifteen seconds to save the victory that earlier had appeared so secure. Yes, Kentucky, last year's invitation winner and the top team in the nation this season, conquered L.I.U., 66-62, but to accomplish this, Adolph Rupp's powerhouse had to stop the most dramatic rally staged by any college team throughout the campaign.
Kentucky, wobbly at the finish, tired and none too elated over its success, joined Utah in victory and in the semi-final round of the tenth annual tourney. The Utes, 10 points down to Duquesne early, but holding a 22-21 edge at the half, came from behind again and handed the Dukes a 45-44 defeat. As a result, Utah will meet West Virginia and Kentucky will oppose North Carolina State in tomorrow night's semi-finals.
Loosely Played Battle
The Utah-Duquesne contest was a ragged, loosely played affair, which did not approach the stirring afterpiece. For the longest time, the Wildcats, deep with talent that presaged a sorry night for Clair Bee's Blackbirds, outran, outscored and outplayed the Long Islanders. From a 34-23 advantage at the intermission, the Kentuckians soared to 49-30. At 14:10, the Wildcats still were comfortable with a 56-42 edge.
But the terrific pace they had set began to tell. The Wildcats slowed down, incredible though that may sound, and the alert and desperate Blackbirds made the most of it. Dick Holub, Hank Baietti, Nat Miller and a couple of youngsters, Eddie Gard and Sig Banks, took over and their heroic efforts were rewarded when, at 19:30, Holub pivoted for the two-pointer that tied the score at 62 - all.
Turmoil, unmatched all year, followed. The fans went wild. It was the most remarkable comeback of the campaign - of any campaign. But Kentucky was not to be denied. As the seconds ticked away and only fifteen remained, Kentucky's Wah-Wah Jones poised himself in the Eighth Avenue and Forty-ninth Street corner of the floor and let go.
With that last gasp effort all of Long Island's gallantry fell by the wayside. For the ball swished down through the net and L.I.U. was crushed. That Jack Tingle scored again, ten seconds later, on a sleeper, meant little. The Wildcats were home.
For Long Island to bow to Kentucky was no disgrace. In Ralph Beard, Alex Groza, Jones and company, the Blackbirds faced an all-powerful squad that knows all the answers. It just was a pity that the mistakes they made earlier cost the Blackbirds so heavily in the end.
Those closing minutes, when the Long Island players, through their great floorwork, had forced the once-smooth and stylish Kentucky machine to collapse, will not soon be forgotten. Twice Banks intercepted the ball, leading to a pair of baskets. Miller and Gard also came through in similar style. The weary Wildcats never looked for so tough a battle.
In the matter of individual scoring, Holub was first, with 21 points, one more than Jones and five more than Beard. The latter, incidentally, would be an All-American on any team.