- Wednesday, February 8 1939 -
Kentucky - 41 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp)
Xavier - 31 (Head Coach: Clem Crowe)
Halftime Score: Kentucky 17, Xavier 14
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Game Writeup - by Bob Bohne, Cincinnati Enquirer
Kentucky Takes Measure of Xavier Quintet by 41-31 Score
Play Ragged Game
WILDCATS DRAW AWAY IN CLOSING MINUTES
As 3,000 Spectators Look On - Thompson and Curtis Star for Visiting Quintet
Drawing away fast in the final minutes, the University of Kentucky defeated Xavier University 41-31, last night, before 3,000 fans at the fieldhouse.
The game, closely fought throughout, was punctuated with ragged play by both teams. The ten-point margin the Blue Grass cagers piled up just before the final gun was the widest at any stage of the contest.
Xavier's downfall in the final analysis was due to the inability of the Musketeers to stop Tiny Thompson, towering Wildcat center, and Fred Curtis. The pair, utilizing the pivot hook and overhead one-handed toss to the fullest extent, connected for 24 points.
Early in the ball game the Musketeers flashed a fancy brand of floor work and ball handling that gave promise of downing the Kentuckians.
But in the important item of putting the ball through the hoop they failed miserably.
At that, they managed to keep the game close until the final stages. Twice in the first half the Crowe-coached hoopsters fought their way to the front and at the half were within three points of the visitors at 17-14.
They cut the margin to one point soon after the intermission and with only seven minutes remaining still were a serious threat, although on the short end of a 30-27 score.
It was at this point that Kentucky, featuring Thompson and Curtis, began to go places. Aided by a short "fielder" by Keith Farnsley the pair tallied 11 points, while holding Xavier to a pair of "two-pointers."
A superiority the Kentuckians showed from the foul line also helped the winner's cause materially. The Wildcats rang the bell with 7 out of 11 trys, while the best the Xavier marksmen could do was 5 out of 15.
Play of the Kentuckians improved in all phases soon after the second half got under way. They lacked aggressiveness in the opening half and early in the second half missed at least 15 or 20 trys for the basket. Then they began to improve both in intercepting the Musketeer passes and in hitting the hoop.
Two long set shots by Lee Huber that sandwiched a short fielder by Farnsley put the Kentuckians into an early 6-1 lead. Xavier fought back to deadlock the score at nine-all and went into the lead when Roy Neary caged his only field goal of the game.
Thompson cashed in on a follow shot to tie the score at 11-11, and Curtis, fouled by Al Geselbracht, made good with one of two charity tosses to put Kentucky ahead at 13-11.
Donovan came right back with a "fielder" and a foul shot to give Xavier a 14-12 lead.
WILDCATS TO FRONT
Bernie Opper made good with a foul shot and Lee Huber got a field goal out of a scramble under the basket to put Kentucky ahead at 15-14. The Kentuckians never were headed thereafter. Just before the half, Thompson increased the lead to 17-14 with a pivot hook shot.
Closest Xavier could come to Kentucky thereafter was soon after the second canto got under way. Geselbracht scored once and Don Carroll twice to draw to within one point of the Wildcats at 20-19. Kentucky then made eight points while holding Xavier to one field goal. This gave the Wildcats a seven-point lead and although they were pressed at time thereafter they were never dangerously threatened.
As in the Indiana game, Donovan again was the standout for Xavier. He led the team in the scoring column with 10 points along with turning in the best guarding game.
NEARLY IN SLUMP
Carroll, who was off stride against the Hoosiers showed flashes of returning to his best form at moments, but couldn't find the basket with any consistency. Failure of Neary to snap out of his slump didn't help Xavier a bit either.
One of the foul shots missed by Xavier was a technical toss that Referee Frank Lane called against Coach Adolph Rupp in the second half, when the Kentucky coach walked onto the floor during a time out.
Kentucky's Fred Curtis flies through the air for a field goal. Looking on include Xavier's Al Geselbracht (#32), Al Howe (#33) and Pat Donovan (#31). UK's Keith Farnsley stands to the left of Geselbracht and Bernie Opper*#3) and Xavier's Roy Neary (#34) stand to the extreme right