- Saturday, March 1 1952 -
SEC Tournament (at Louisville, KY)
Kentucky - 81 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Ranked 1st by AP]
Tennessee - 66 (Head Coach: Emmett Lowery) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 43, Tennessee 40
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Tulane 85 - 61|||||Louisiana State 44 - 43|
Game Writeup - by Ed Ashford, Lexington Herald-Leader
Hagan's Record-Shattering 42 Points Pace Cats to Semi-Final Victory
Vols Beaten, 81-66, As Kentucky Pulls Away in Late Stages
LOUISVILLE, March 1 - Faced by a record-shattering performance by the agile Cliff Hagan, Kentucky's Wildcats trounced Tennessee, 81-66, this morning to enter the finals of the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament for the 14th consecutive year. Louisiana State whipped upset-minded Florida, 77-69, in the other semifinal game, aided by Bobby Pettit's 25 points.
A sleepy-eyed crowd of 7,600 basketball fans in Jefferson County Armory cheered Hagan on as the Owensboro junior found the hoops for 42 points in a game that was not decided until the closing minutes of play, despite the final 15-point margin.
Hagan's outburst surpassed by five points the previous high individual total in a tournament game. The old mark of 37 was set by Alex Groza of Kentucky against Tulane in 1949 and equaled by Kentucky's Bill Spivey against Tennessee in 1950. Hagan's 42 points also was the highest total ever posted by a UK player and topped by one point his high-school tourney mark set in 1949 on the same floor.
With less than two and one-half minutes to play Kentucky led by only a shaky 68-63 margin and another basket or two at this point by Coach Emmett Lowery's fired-up Volunteers might have set the stage for one of the tournament's biggest upsets.
Wildcats Get Hot
But Hagan and his mates came through when the chips were down and blasted the game wide open in the closing seconds, leaving the bewildered Volunteers far behind.
In the final two minutes, 20 seconds, Kentucky scored 13 points, nine of them by Hagan, while Tennessee was able to connect with only one field goal and one free throw.
Hagan go the rally under way himself by the simple process of grabbing the ball out of the hands of a Volunteer guard and dropping it in the basket. With 1:35 to play, Cliff hit a jump shot to tie the old record and boost Kentucky's lead to 72-63.
Bobby Watson got into the act at this point and sank a long shot with 1:10 to go and a fast-break crip with 52 seconds left. This put the game on ice for Kentucky and shifted the crowd's interest to Hagan's attempt for the record.
With 42 seconds left, Billy Evans missed a free toss but Hagan tipped the ball in the hoop and a new mark was set. Joe Treadway sank a shot for Tennessee and Kentucky surged back up the floor. Hagan was wide open under the basket and scored one of his easiest goals of the night.
Final Point for Hagan
He was fouled on the shot by Hank Bertelkamp, Louisville boy playing with Tennessee, and added the final point a second before the end to a mounting roar of applause when it was announced a new record had been set. A free throw by Treadway ended the scoring.
Hagan's last-second field goal gave him a total of 16 for the game, breaking the previous record for number of field goals in a tournament contest held jointly by Joe Bill Adcock of Louisiana State (1949), Spivey (1950) and LSU's Pettit, who made his mark against Mississippi State in the tournament opener Thursday.
Tennessee, turning in one of its greatest performances of the season, gave Kentucky all it could handle. The Volunteers, trailing by 15 points at one time during the second quarter, just wouldn't roll over and play dead. They made Kentucky work for every point and Coach Lowery by frequent and judicious substitutions, managed to keep a fresh group of boys in the game at all times.
Kentucky grabbed the lead at the outset and was on top by 12-3 before the Vols showed any signs of offensive strength. At the end of the first quarter the count was 22-15 and when the Cats upped their margin to 40-25 midway of the second quarter, it appeared the Vols were finished.
Volunteers Surge Back
But during the next five minutes it was all Tennessee. Treadway, Bertelkamp and Center Norb Neff led an attack that had the Wildcats hanging on the ropes. With Treadway accounting for eight points, Bertelkamp for five and Neff for two, the Volunteers outscored Kentucky,15-3, to cut the Cats' lead to 43-40 at the intermission.
Coach Adolph Rupp's boys couldn't buy a field goal during that stretch, their only points being on free throws by Skippy Whitaker, Frank Ramsey and Watson.
Coming back in the second half Kentucky always managed to stay ahead but the Cats never got farther in front than nine points until the final uprising and once were only one point ahead - at 49-48 after four minutes of play in the third quarter.
In the closing stages Tennessee fought so desperately to stem the tide that it lost four men on personal fouls. Neff was the first to go, departing with 5:59 remaining. Bob Parmenter went out with 5:47 left, Capt. Tommy Bartlett retired with 3:05 remaining and Bertelkamp was banished with one second to go.
Lowery used 12 men while Rupp called on only seven. Ramsey with 13 points and Watson with 12 followed Hagan in the Kentucky scoring column with Whitaker next in line with eight.
For Tennessee, Treadway showed the way with 15 points but Bertelkamp and Dick Bowers were close behind with 14 and 12 respectively.
Torrid First Half
The Vols hit a torrid 43.2 percent in the first half and wound up with a 35.5 mark on 27 successful tries out of 76 heaves. Kentucky hit 28 times in 85 shots for a 32.9 mark.
Hagan shot 29 times from the field and connected on 16. He his 10 of 12 free throw attempts.
In the second game, Florida showed a lot of fight and ability in the first half but lost the range after intermission....
Cliff Hagan (#6) scores 2 of his 42 points in front of Tennessee's Herb Neff (#22)
Hagan tries to cut off a drive by Hank Bertelkamp (#18)
Tennessee's Dick Bowers and Herb Neff double-team Hagan