- Tuesday, December 22 1953 -
LaSalle - 60 (Head Coach: Ken Loeffler) - [Ranked 20th by AP]
Kentucky - 73 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Ranked 2nd by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 32, LaSalle 27
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Duke 85 - 69|||||Minnesota 74 - 59|
Game Writeup - by Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer
Unbeaten Kentucky Trips LaSalle, 73-60; Hagan Scores 28 Points, Gola Held to 16
Explorers Lose 13-4 Lead Early; UCLA Tops Duke
LEXINGTON, Ky., Dec. 22 (AP) -- Undefeated Kentucky checked LaSalle's Tom Gola and turned loose its own Cliff Hagan tonight to score a 73-60 victory and gain the championship of the University of Kentucky's first invitational basketball tournament.
In the battle of the All-Americans, Gola was held to five points through the first three quarters by Lou Tsioropoulos, but finished with 16 when the defenses relaxed late in the game. Hagan, meanwhile, hit for 28.
In the consolation game, UCLA's towering Bruins came from behind and erased a 14-point deficit to defeat Duke, 72-67, and win runner-up honors.
LaSalle, tagged Kentucky's "toughest opponent of the year" by the Wildcats' head coach, Adolph Rupp, just after the game, made the Nation's No. 2 team fight for every point and remained in contention until Kentucky spread its sails in the last quarter.
The Wildcats led, 16-13, after one quarter. They outscored LaSalle, 12-0, in a first-period spree that wiped out the Explorers' 13-4 early lead.
Kentucky picked up two more points in the second quarter, but led by an insecure 32-27 at halftime. The issue remained in doubt after three periods, with Kentucky leading, 45-38.
But the tide turned abruptly and the Wildcats soon had a seemingly safe lead of 65-50. They coasted in to their sixth straight victory of the season and their 114th without a loss over a period of years on their home floor. LaSalle now has lost twice in eight games.
Tsioropoulos, while holding Gola to 16, scored 18 himself for Kentucky.
Kentucky sank 32.1 percent of its field goal shots, while LaSalle's percentage was almost identical, 31.9. However, Kentucky dominated the rebounding and had a greater number of shots.
UCLA STORMS BACK
In the consolation game, Duke cooled off after a second-quarter spurt that carried it to a 30-18 lead and it was UCLA's turn to start hitting. The Bruins outscored Duke, 11-1, in one streak to go into the lead, 39-37. They controlled the trend of play the rest of the way until Duke threatened in the closing minutes.
UCLA's six-point lead was cut to 68-67, but the pressure shooting of big Willie Naulls in the closing seconds saved the game. Held scoreless until that points, Naulls sank two free throws and hit a driving crip at times when Duke seemed determined to come back.
Ron Livingston was UCLA's big offensive gun with 19 points, 11 of them on free throws. Rudy D'Emilio scored 25 for Duke and was the spark of Duke's futile closing rush.
Cliff Hagan drives against a LaSalle defender