- Saturday, February 25 1950 -
Vanderbilt - 66 (Head Coach: Bob Polk) - [Unranked]
|Billy Joe Adcock||4||1||2||5||9|
Kentucky - 70 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Ranked 5th by AP]
Halftime Score: Vanderbilt 41, Kentucky 29
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Xavier 58 - 53|||||Mississippi State 56 - 46|
Game Writeup - by Larry Shropshire, Lexington Herald-Leader
Wildcats Rally to Edge Vanderbilt, 70-66, In Farewell Game at Alumni Gym
Kentuckians Forced to Win Hard Way in Season's Finale
Vanderbilt worked hard and smartly in the early stages to turn it into a house of horror, but won and weather-beaten old Alumni gymnasium was still a cozy Home, Sweet Home when Kentucky's fighting Wildcats gave it a farewell kiss last night with a hard-earned 70-66 triumph over the Commodores from Nashville.
it was a victory gained the hard, the Wildcats' 22nd of the campaign and their 11th in a row, and Kentucky couldn't have said goodbye to the ancient arena - to be abandoned in favor of spacious new Memorial Coliseum next fall - with a sweeter success earned largely through raw courage.
The Cats were behind at one time in the fray by 15 points, and they never stuck their collective nose in front until less than 10 minutes remained to play.
With Capt. Dale Barnstable and Jim Line finishing in a blaze of glory as they played for the last time on the court where Kentucky had gone undefeated through 84 consecutive games, the Big Blue came through with a torrid second half out of a mixture of sheer determination and deadly shooting.
The Vandy boys had been even hotter in shooting during the first half, and when they left the court with a 41-29 advantage at intermission, it looked like curtains for Kentucky's proud winning streaks - including one in which they had gone unbeaten by any Southeastern Conference rival on the home floor since Jan. 21, 1939, a string of 46 consecutive loop triumphs here.
If the impending upset had occurred, come to think of it, it might have served Kentucky right - the capacity student crowd looking on that is - certainly not the scrapping Wildcat gladiators themselves.
The onlookers, grieving over the inability of the Cats to keep pace with Vandy's torrid shooting in the first half, got so busy hooting at the officials that they also jeered, whistled and screamed every time a Vandy player stepped to the foul line for a free throw.
That kind of a thing has happened once or twice in a game on a few previous occasions, but probably never before in Alumni gymnasium has a visiting team been subjected to that kind of a display of poor sportsmanship.
The contest perhaps was as rough and hard-fought as any ever played in the old building, and in a few instances the struggle appeared to have gotten slightly out of hand, but the situation was not helped any by the hostile spectators and the almost-constant uproar with which they filled the hall.
The whistle duo Dan Tehan and Bowser Chest, two favorite whipping boys of UK crowds, had a job difficult enough at best as the two teams rated one-two for the conference championship tournament opening Thursday at Louisville tore into each other to see which would top the final SEC season standings.
Among the few observers who managed to remain at least partly calm during the vicious battle there was an opinion the officials didn't miss many more calls in favor of one team over the other.
Furthermore, if all the fouls committed had been called, the game would probably still be going on this morning.
As it was, Kentucky lost Bill Spivey on five fouls while Vandy lost Capt. Billy Joe Adcock and husky George Kelley, the latter the visitors' ace in this particular scrap, via the same route.
Appropriately, Barnstable and Line, only two seniors on the squad, were the most effective warriors in the Kentucky cause, and at the end of the uphill struggle they were carried off the floor on the shoulders of jubilant teammates.
Barney, with a pale average of only 5.5 for 25 previous games this winter, hit the hoops for 18 points, easily his best total of the season, while Line snapped the cords for 21 to run his total for the campaign to 326.
While coming from behind to nip the team that held them to a similar four-point edge at Nashville a month ago, Kentucky got very little assistance from Spivey, the long fellow who is a mile ahead of all rivals for the season tally crown in the SEC.
Outshone by Kelley when Vandy's plan of attack kept the pivotman along the sidelines and left the keyhole open for maneuver, Spivey saw his rival connect for five baskets in the first 10 minutes of play, an assault causing the seven-footer to be derricked in favor of Shelby Linville.
Spivey returned to action three minutes later, but by the time he was charged with his fifth personal after eight and a half minutes of the second half, he had added only 11 points to his previous total of 484. He had cashed seven straight free tosses, but had gotten only six shots from the court and netted but two baskets from them.
Vandy, sprinted into a 3-0 lead and made the margin 7-1 before Barnstable connected for Kentucky's first two-pointer.
Seeming to hit everything they heaved toward the hoop, from any stance and any angle, the Commodores raced on ahead and had a margin of 29-16 after 11 minutes. Continuing to outpoint the home forces, who didn't work the ball in too well through Vandy's aggressive defense, the visitors later had a 32-17 advantage, their widest edge of the fray, with seven minutes left, and only a rebound basket by Line and a set shot by Walt Hirsch in the final minute of the half kept the Commodores from having more than a 12-point margin at the halfway stage.
Vandy had cash all seven free chances and hit 17 of 36 flips for a shooting percentage of 47.2 for the period, while the Wildcats snared only 10 baskets from 35 tries for 28.5 average.
Changing their offensive tactics and driving harder, when they returned to the battle, the Cats began to cut into the deficit in a hurry - and at the same time reversed the target figures.
They tabbed 43.5 per cent in the second half, against Vandy's wild and weak 18.4, and ended up with a game average of 36.4 compared with Vandy's 32.4, each team getting 74 cracks at the hoops.
More than eight minutes had passed in the final frame before Kentucky pulled abreast of the Commodores for the first time, with Barney slamming home a rebound try to deadlock the count at 50-50.
Kelly hit from the corner to put Vandy on top again, but Line meshed a set shot and cash a foul a little later to give Kentucky its first lead at 53-52. Kelley knotted the tally again with a foul, but Bobby Watson arched a long shot, with about nine minutes remaining, to recapture the lead at 55-53 and Kentucky wasn't headed thereafter.
The Cats played rather recklessly through the next few minutes, taking some wild shots and giving up possession freely to Vandy's still-spirited rebounding, but managed to hold an edge of at least three points until going under the protection of the two-minute rule with a lead of 67-64.
Line applied the clincher when he took an overhead pass at mid-court and raced under the ring for a lay-up with 35 seconds left, and Kentucky thus finished with a conference record of 11-2 against Vanderbilt's second-best 11-3.
Kittens Set Record
The highest game total ever recorded by a Kentucky team in the 26-year-old arena had been registered by the brilliant U.K. freshman team in the preliminary contest.
The Kittens, notching their 14th victory of the year against a lone defeat since avenged, smothered an outclassed Jeffersonville (Ind.) American Legion independent team, 107-51, after breezing to a 54-22 halftime advantage.
Cliff Hagan, the ex-Owensboro lad with the golden touch, added the primary glitter to the fray by flipping through 35 points.
The Hoosiers, several of them members of the vaunted high school team of Jeffersonville now under suspension by the Indiana association, did not have the promised help of Kenny Reeves and Ish Combs, University of Louisville seniors, who were supposed to be special additions to the roster for the contest here.
Bill Spivey controls the tap against Vanderbilt
Bobby Watson(#38) sneaks in for a layup
Left-hander Jim Line shoots a hook shot good for two points. Defending him are Vanderbilt's Billy Joe Adcock (#33) and Hank Duvier while Dave Kardokus rushes in from the right and Dale Barnstable from the left