- Saturday, February 18 1950 -
Georgia Tech - 62 (Head Coach: Roy McArthur) - [Unranked]
Kentucky - 97 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Ranked 5th by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 50, Georgia Tech 29
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|Mississippi 90 - 50|||||Xavier 58 - 53|
Game Writeup - by Ed Ashford, Lexington Herald-Leader
Spivey Tabs 40 Points As Cats Win, 97 to 62
Groza's Record Falls; Other Scoring Marks Broken as Tech Loses
Bill Spivey, Kentucky's seven-foot sophomore sensation, shattered Alex Groza's Southeastern Conference scoring record last night by blistering the Alumni gym baskets for 40 points as the Wildcats made Georgia Tech their 20th victim of the season by a 97-62 score.
It was a record-breaking nigh. In addition to Spivey's individual mark, two other Southeastern Conference scoring records were broken and two more tied.
With his teammates passing up easy scoring chances to feed the ball to the elongated center, Spivey got the goal that tied Groza's mark with a minute and 35 seconds remaining.
Then with 26 seconds left, he fired in a one-handed push shot from back of the foul circle to break the record and become the first Southeastern Conference player to hit the 40-mark in scoring.
Georgia Tech, hopelessly behind, concentrated all its efforts in the closing minutes on the Georgia Pine. Playing one man behind him, one in front of him and one on the either side, Tech allowed the other Kentuckians to run loose.
Spivey was harassed repeatedly in his maneuvers to get open and he was almost exhausted at the finish. Several of his shots in the closing minutes hung tantalizingly on the rim and on other occasions his efforts fell short.
The crowd, sensing a possible record when Spivey left the floor at halftime with 20 points to his credit, kept up a constant roar during the closing minutes as the Cats tried to break their center loose.
With 3:55 left and Spivey having 34 points, Coach Adolph Rupp sent Walter Hirsch back into the game to feed the ball to the big boy. Hirsch, who played one of his best games of the season, had been taken out a few minutes earlier after racking up 18 points and sparking the Kentucky team.
The only shots taken by Kentuckians in the late stages were long shots fired with the hope that Spivey could get his needed points on tip-ins. When Kentucky lost possession, the Cats didn't guard too closely, letting the Tech netters shoot so Kentucky could get possession again.
With three minutes left Spivey sank a crip and was only two points behind the mark. For the next minute and 25 seconds the big boy could get few shots and the shots he did take were falling short.
Finally Skippy Whitaker got the ball at midcourt and started a fast break. He dashed under the basket, but didn't shoot. Instead he whirled around, tossed the ball to Len Pearson, who handed it to Spivey as the center drove for the basket.
The din was terrific as Spivey dropped the ball through the hoop for his 38th point. He was fouled on the shot by Melvin Dold, and you could hear a pin drop as he toed the 15-foot line to try for the record-breaking point.
The ball hit the rim and rolled off. Spivey winced and the crowd groaned. Coach Rupp started to send in a replacement for the big boy at this point, thinking he already had broken the mark, but after checking with the official scorer, left Spivey in.
Hirsch, who had been taken out before Spivey attempted his free throw, was rushed back into the game again.
The clock turned red as it entered the final minute and the crowd was yelling "Feed it to Spivey."
The Cats got possession. The ball was passed to Shelby Linville, standing under the basket. He was wide open, but he didn't shoo. Two more points mean nothing at this stage of the game unless the two points were scored by Spivey.
Nobody attempted to guard Linville. He held the ball on his hip and, seeing that Spivey was surrounded near the basket, motioned for the big boy to move back.
Spivey drifted back of the foul circle. Tech guarders were all around him. Linville shot a high pass which Spivey caught over his head. Then he leaned backward and fired a one-handed push shot toward the goal from 20 feet out.
The ball dropped through without touching the rim.
Pandemonium broke loose as the pellet swished through the nets. Coach Rupp jumped up, rushed Roger Layne into the game, and greeted the tired, but happy Spivey with a bear hug as he came to the bench.
It mattered little that Teeter Umstead lopped four points off Kentucky's lead in the few remaining seconds with two free throws and a field goal. Spivey had broken Big Alex's record and little else mattered at that point.
After the game was over, statisticians discovered that Spivey's individual one-game scoring record wasn't the only new mark set last night.
The last goal fired by Spivey also broke the team scoring mark for a Southeastern Conference game. Kentucky's 95 points against Georgia last year in the same game that saw Groza set the individual mark, was broken by two points.
Also broken was the two-team total for an SEC game. Kentucky's 97 points and Tech's 62 for a total of 159 was six points higher than the previous two-team mark of 153 set in 1949 when Tennessee defeated Louisiana State, 81 to 72.
Spivey, with 16 field goals, tied the record set by Billy Joe Adcock, who tossed in 16 for Vanderbilt against Mississippi State last year.
The two-team total of 61 field goals (38 by Kentucky and 23 by Tech) tied the record set by Tennessee and LSU last year. In that game Tennessee had 33 and LSU 28.
Kentucky's 38 field goals missed by one of equaling the SEC record of 39 set by Vanderbilt against Mississippi State last year.
Spivey's scoring was evenly divided between the first and second halves. In the opening stanza he hit eight fielders and sank four out of five from the free throw line. In the second frame he connected with eight from the field and sank four out of eight free throw attempts.
He was more accurate, both from the field and at the free throw line, in the first half. He was tiring rapidly at the finish and the pressure on him was terrific. In the first half he attempted 16 shots and hit eight - in the second he shot 26 times to get eight. His percentage from the field was 38.1.
Kentucky, as a team, had a shooting average of 39.5 while Georgia Tech hit for 23 per cent.
Although most of the shouting and applause was for Spivey, the fans didn't overlook the fine work of Walt Hirsch, Bobby Watson, Dale Barnstable and the others. It was only through their efforts that Big Bill's new mark was made possible.
Kentucky never trailed in chalking up its 82nd straight home-floor victory. His 20th in 24 starts this season and its 10th in 12 SEC games.
Spivey's one-hander sent the Cats away to a 2-0 lead after a minute, 15 seconds of unproductive play. Bill Cline hit a free throw for Tech's first point, but a gratis toss and fielder by Hirsch and a long shot by Watson upped the count to 7-1 and the Cats were on their way.
At the end of the first half the score was 50-29, and all interest from that point on was centered on Spivey's record-breaking try.
Cline, limited to two free throws in the first half, tossed in six fielders in the second stanza to take scoring honors for Tech with 14 points.
Spivey, who committed his fourth personal foul with 10 minutes remaining, played Cline loosely thereafter, not taking a chance of fouling out.
Tech's All-Southeastern forward, Colin Anderson and Guard Melvin Dold each racked up 13 points for the visitors.
Kentucky's next game will be against Xavier University here next Thursday night. The Cats will close their regular season against Vanderbilt here next Saturday in a game that probably will decide the season's leadership in the SEC standings.
Bill Spivey (#77) shoots
Lucian Whitaker (#32) can't get the rebound. Looking on is Shelby Linville (#11)
Referee Bobby Bowers keeps a close eye on the corner as the ball is near the out-of-bounds line. Shown are Kentucky's Walter Hirsch (#19) and Bill Spivey.