- Saturday, March 12 1955 -
NCAA East Regional [Consolation] (at Evanston, IL)
Kentucky - 84 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Final Rank 2nd by AP]
Penn State - 59 (Head Coach: John Egli) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 40, Penn State 28
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Marquette 71 - 79|||||Louisiana State 62 - 52|
Game Writeup - Centre Daily Times
Nittanies Bow to Kentucky, 84-59
[Special to the Times]
EVANSTON, Ill. - Penn State suffered its second overwhelming defeat in the midwestern regional NCAA basketball playoffs when Kentucky handed the Nittany Lions an 84-59 drubbing before a packed house at McGaw Memorial Field House here Saturday.
Jesse Arnelle's return to near regular season form, after being held in tight check Friday night by Iowa, was some consolation for the few Penn State fans who witnessed the game. Arnelle scored 25 field points on eight field goals and nine out of 12 fouls and grabbed 20 rebounds.
Arnelle now has 731 points for the season, a new school record by far, and his 25 points in his final game as a collegian increased the career total to 2,138 - the first Lion player in history to pass the 2,000-point mark.
The Lions although never in serious contention, showed a lot of fight against the highly rated Kentuckians, refusing to give up even in the face of terrific Wildcat shooting. But Kentucky was simply too well balanced, too speedy, and too tough defensively for Penn State to make the game close.
Kentucky scored first when highly touted Gayle Rose drove in for a layup and stretched the lead to 6-0 before Arnelle also scored on a drive in shot. The closest Penn State came in knotting the score was after eight minutes of play when Kentucky led at 13-11. Arnelle had scored seven of Penn State's points. With the score showing 19-14, Kentucky put on a 10-point burst which for all practical purposes decided the contest.
At the half, Penn State managed to trim the lead to 12 points at 40-28, but Kentucky opened strongly in the first minutes of the second half to run the count to 49-32.
A brief Penn State flurry reduced the lead to 11 points at 51-40 with six minutes gone but 20-foot jump shots by Kentucky's Jerry Bird, Gerry Calvert and John Brewer coupled with beautifully executed hooks and layups by Bob Burrow, snowed the Lions under.
Arnelle emerged as the game's high scorer with his 25 points, followed by Burrow (22), Calvert (19) and Bird (17. Ron Weidenhammer's jump shots from the side netted him 16 points for second place in Penn Sate scoring honors.
Some idea of Kentucky's great defensive play, which seldom gave the Lions a chance for a really good shot, shows in Penn State's very low 23 per cent shooting average. Kentucky hit 36 per cent of its attempts.
Coach John Egli, naturally disappointed over his team's defeats, gave credit to both Iowa and Kentucky for having well-balanced and smart aggregations.
"It was an honor for our boys to be in the tournament with teams such as these," he said. "Either one could go all the way in a tournament of this kind, they are that good.
"Both teams shot well, passed accurately and sharply, rebounded very well and played a tough defensive game. But neither team outgamed ours. I'm proud of all our boys."
Iowa proved its capabilities by downing Marquette in the finale of the tournament, 86-81, holding on to a slim lead in the waning minutes of the game. The Hawkeyes will have the dubious pleasure of meeting LaSalle in the semifinals of the tournament at Kansas City this week. LaSalle entered the semifinal round by topping Canisius, 99-64.