- Wednesday, March 31 1948 -
Olympic Trials (at New York, NY)
Kentucky - 49 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp)
Phillips Oilers - 53 (Head Coach: Omar Browning)
Halftime Score: Kentucky 26, Phillips Oilers 26
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|Baylor 77 - 59|||||Indiana Central 74 - 38|
Game Writeup - by Louis Effrat, New York Times
A.A.U. Squad Defeats Cats in Olympic Trials Final
NEW YORK, March 31, 1948 -- As the fourteenth season of college basketball at Madison Square Garden ended last night, and 18,475 fans filed out of the arena, the buzzing was not about the 53-49 victory of the Phillips 66ers over the University of Kentucky. It did not concern individual exploits, nor did it speculate about the personnel that will emerge from the Olympic Trials to wear our colors at London next summer.
"Greatest game of all time !"
These five words that cover a lot of years and a lot of thrills were heard all over the Garden, undisputed by anyone. For this finale, pitting the best of the A.A.U. and collegiate quintets, was, indeed, more than an exciting, tense, spectacular contest, in which fortunes rose, sagged and rose again. It was basketball at its very best -- sharp, smart, daringly aggressive.
Only the tremendous height-advantage of the amateur champions from Bartlesville, Okla., prevented this game from winding up in a dead heat. The Wildcats, because they were unable to cope with Bob Kurland's 7-foot frame, forfeited a 47-45 edge six minutes before the finish. Kurland was a menace, contributing three vital field goals in the final six minutes.
Without Kurland, the 66ers, though endowed with remarkable talent -- Jesse Renick, Gordon Carpenter, Gerald Tucker, etc. -- might have been upset. But Kurland's 20 points for the night proved the crusher, even if Ralph Beard netted 23 points for Kentucky. Nothing that Beard could accomplish, and that was plenty, sufficed to minimize the importance of Kurland's scoring and rebounding.
A seven-time national A.A.U. ruler, including the last six years, the 66ers, surrounded by superb players, who formerly starred on college courts, did not wilt under the terrific pace set by the Kentuckians.
Unruffled at any time, though they were behind, 20-13, at the 12-minute mark in the opening period, the 66ers did not lose their poise. Rather, it was the Wildcats who bogged down, the Oklahomans clicking eleven straight points within the next five minutes for a 24-20 advantage. Kentucky, it appeared, had tightened and paid heavily for its attack of jitters.
A bad break for Kentucky came at 9:20 in the first half. Cliff Barker, a magnificent performer who had just fed Beard for an electrifying field goal, suffered a fractured nose and had to retire. The Wildcats missed Barker immeasurably. In the second stanza Wallace (Wah Wah) Jones fouled out and his absence, too, was felt.
Intermission found the teams deadlocked at 26-all, but Kurland and Renick sparked the 66ers to a 10-point, 37-27 spread within the first five minutes after play was resumed. Then it was up to Kentucky to prove its mettle. Could the Wildcats erase this mountainous deficit ? They did.
With Beard, a speedy guard, turning in a sensational exhibition of set- and drive-in shooting, the Kentuckians slowly supplied the answer. At 13:44, Beard, an all-American if ever there was one, drove in with a sensational one-hander. Fouled on the play, he added the points and now Kentucky was on top, 47-45.
The 66ers could have cracked right there, but did not. At the fourteen-minute mark, Kurland hit from under the bucket, tying the issue. Fouls by Tucker and Renick followed and exactly at sixteen minutes, Kurland again succeeded form the keyhole, so that the Oilers enjoyed a 51-47 advantage.
Now the Oklahomans, feeling none too secure, adopted sound tactics. They went into a freeze. This they achieved in masterful fashion and with 43 seconds left, Kurland scooted underneath with a sleeper-pass from Renick. Eight seconds later Dale Barnstable came through with an angle shot, but the Wildcats had no time to draw closer.
Kentucky's Ralph Beard applies pressure to the Oilers' Lew Beck.
Alex Groza (15) blocks the shot of Phillips Oiler Martin Nash while Ralph Beard (12) looks on
A closer view in color