- Saturday, March 22 1958 -
NCAA Championship (at Louisville, KY)
Kentucky - 84 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Final Rank 9th by AP]
Seattle - 72 (Head Coach: John Castellani) - [Final Rank 18th by AP and 19th by UPI]
Halftime Score: Seattle 39, Kentucky 36
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Temple 61 - 60|||||Florida State 91 - 68|
Game Writeup - by Larry Boeck, Louisville Courier-Journal
UK Stops Seattle, 84-72, for its 4th N.C.A.A. Title
LOUISVILLE, March 22, 1958 -- Kentucky's "Fiddling Five" came right out of the barnyard to join the "Fabulous Five" and other great UK teams as champions of college basketball.
Described by Coach Adolph Rupp early in the season as "fiddlers, not violinists," battling Kentucky poured forth symphonic strains last night conquer Seattle, 84-72.
In another come-from-behind victory, these kings of basketball erased an 11-point Seattle lead to triumph in the N.C.A.A. final.
Trailing almost all the way until only 6 minutes remained in the second half, sophomore Don Mills sank a short hook shot to put UK ahead, 61-60.
The N.C.A.A. title is Kentucky's fourth.
UK captured this title in a heroic uphill struggle -- one typical of its season as a whole -- before a record N.C.A.A. crowd of 18,803 who roared approval at Freedom Hall. Vernon Hatton, the UK guard, led all scorers with 30 points.
Stamped as a mediocre team, one not in the great tradition of past Kentucky teams, after compiling a 19 and 6 regular-season record, the Wildcats caught fire in the N.C.A.A. tourney.
After annexing their 19th Southeastern Conference title in one of the toughest fights for a Wildcat team in many years, UK swept on to win two regional games at Lexington and then two more here.
Thus the bunch regarded as fiddlers -- Rupp had said he needed violinists for a "Carnegie Hall schedule" -- ended the season blissfully and sounding like Hiefetz playing Brahms on a Stradivarius.
Running their overall season mark to 23-6, this senior club had a tough time getting started.
A team that never has quit, UK battled back when, during a cold streak, Seattle streaked to a 29-18 lead with 7:44 to go in the first half.
Seattle then went into a zone and Kentucky managed to cut the margin to 39-36 at the halftime.
Seattle had slowed down play, Chieftain coach John Castellani said, because star Elgin Baylor -- who collected 25 points -- had injured ribs.
Nonetheless, Seattle pushed its lead to 44-38 with 16:44 left in the game.
Then Baylor picked up a fourth personal foul, and Johnny Cox -- who had a bruised shooting hand -- began to hit from outside as Seattle, after switching from the zone to a man-to-man defense, went back into a zone to protect Baylor.
The Wildcats began to hit the free throws and outfight the tiring Chieftains on the boards.
And, despite the fact that Mills had to play the last 17 minutes 44 seconds after Ed Beck collected his fourth foul, Kentucky started to crack away. Mills helped tremendously on the boards and hit the shot that gave UK the 61-60 lead. Cox immediately followed this with a push shot from the circle. Adrian Smith added a free throw to make it 64-60. Hatton then sank a free throw to make it 65-60, missed the second free throw, but grabbed the rebound and fired in a field goal. That made it 67-60 with 4:18 remaining. Suddenly, the Chieftains began to collapse. Seattle would make one last threat with 3:14 left when it came within 68-65, but Cox hit two free throws to put the victory out of Seattle's reach.
Led by all-American Baylor, Charlie Brown, a transfer from Indiana U., and Jerry Frizzel, Seattle played poised basketball until those final frantic 6 minutes.
The tournament grind -- the Chieftains had to play one more game than the other teams and travel farther in getting here -- told near the end.
The game was the last for UK starters Hatton, Beck, Smith and John Crigler.
Crigler wound up with 14 points. Most of these came in the first half and allowed Kentucky to stay reasonably close to Seattle.
UK outrebounded Seattle, 55 to 46. It was one of the rare times that Seattle, one of the nation's rebounding leaders, had been beaten on the boards.
Moreover, Kentucky won with Seattle having something of a "home-floor" edge. True, most fans at vast Freedom Hall were for the Cats, but the 2-point underdog Chieftains had a rather large and vocal gathering for the game, which was tied six times and in which the lead changed hands five times.
But Seattle was playing its fourth game on the Freedom Hall floor, having played twice here during the Bluegrass Tournament.
With that record crowd of 18,803 -- Friday night's 18,56 had broken the N.C.A.A. Madison Square Garden attendance of 18,479 set in 1946 -- the tourney as a whole set a mark of 176,878.
Kentucky outshot the Chieftains 41.2 percent to 36 percent.
Cox had 24 points, 16 in the last 15 minutes of play.
Seattle, in its fifth N.C.A.A. final, was led by Baylor with 25.
A cold-shooting Kentucky, with no one scoring field goals except Crigler - on driving crips - fell behind, 18-10 after 10 minutes and then by a perilous 11 points at 29-18.
Then Seattle slowed down the pace and went into a semi-stall, but it didn't work.
For Kentucky, which caught fire after trailing, 29-18, with 7:44 to go in the first half, began getting help from Hatton. Chopping away at the Chieftains, the Cats finally pulled to 33-32 with 2:37 remaining in the half.
Once more, though -running a bit again -- Seattle pulled to a 7-point margin at 39-32 with 1:12 left.
Kentucky battled back and went into the intermission trailing by 3 points at 39-36.
The Cats weren't able to stop Baylor, who had 12 points and Frizzel and Brown were causing trouble with 12 and 9 points, respectively.
Hatton had 13 for UK, Crigler 11, and Cox with 6 as Kentucky -- which went almost 5 minutes without a field goal when Seattle compiled its first lead -- hit 39.4 of its shots.
Seattle, outscored by one field goal, hit 40.7 and had a free throw edge on Kentucky. The Cats missed three straight charity shots near the half's end.
Both teams were in trouble on fouls.
Don Mills guards Seattle's Elgin Baylor
Ed Beck (34) challenged the All-American
Johnny Cox glides in a for a lay-up attempt