- Friday, March 18 1966 -
NCAA Final Four (at College Park, MD)
Kentucky - 83 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Final Rank 1st by AP]
Duke - 79 (Head Coach: Vic Bubas) - [Final Rank 2nd by AP and 2nd by UPI]
Halftime Score: Duke 42, Kentucky 41
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Michigan 84 - 77|||||Texas Western 65 - 72|
Game Writeup - by Gordon S. White, Jr., New York Times
Kentucky Tops Duke, Texas Western Beats Utah to Reach NCAA Final
WILDCATS SCORE 83-TO-79 VICTORY
COLLEGE PARK, Md., March 18 -- Kentucky demonstrated its right to the No. 1 ranking in the nation tonight by beating the No. 2 team, Duke, 83-79, in the semi-finals of the National Collegiate basketball championship.
The Wildcats are one step away from their fifth title in the N.C.A.A. event. In the final Kentucky will play Texas Western, which defeated Utah, 85-78, in the other semi-final match before 14,253 at the University of Maryland's Cole Fieldhouse.
No other team has won four championships. All the Kentucky title teams were coach by Adolph Rupp, who brought along this small team this season to its unexpected peak. The Wildcats had to rally to beat the Atlantic Coast Conference champion Blue Devils.
Both Kentucky and Duke were suffering the effects of illness that hit their players during the week.
Wildcats Hit Slump
Kentucky threatened to run away from Duke early in the game and nail down its right to the No. 1 ranking in the land rather easily. But the Wildcats, who couldn't miss at the start, ran into a slump of six minutes in the first half when they failed to score a field goal.
This set the stage for an exciting second half in the game that most experts felt would produce the eventual National Collegiate champion. Though exciting, the game had its ragged aspects making it a bit short of perfect match between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams.
Players on both sides were in trouble with personal fouls and Pat Riley and Thad Jaracz of Kentucky fouled out as did Steve Vacendak of Duke.
When Kentucky went into its first-half scoring slump, Duke moved from an 8-point deficit to a 5-point lead, the biggest margin the Blue Devils had in the game. Jaracz, the tallest Kentucky player at 6-5, was taken out with three personals when Kentucky started the slump. His absence gave Duke control of the boards until intermission.
When Jaracz returned to start the second half, Kentucky was on even terms under the boards and finished with four more rebounds.
Down the exciting stretch at the end, the game was tied six times before Larry Conley, the ill but valiant Kentuckian, sank a pair of free throws to give the Cats a 73-71 lead. They stayed ahead from then on and Conley's basket that made the count 79-72 with a minute remaining was the clincher.
Marin Top Scorer
Jack Marin of Duke led the scorers with 29 points. Louie Dampier paced Kentucky with 23.
Coach Vic Bubas had the Blue Devils start the game in a zone defense against this little team from Kentucky. But this was obviously not the answer as Kentucky got through the defense rather easily and shot over it quite well early in the game.
A switch to man-to-man by Duke did cut down the runaway Kentucky threatened and helped produce the 6-minute scoring drought the Wildcats suffered. But Duke never did fully contain Dampier, the 6-footer who scooted around defenders many times to score.
Texas Western never went far ahead of Utah, but never lost control of the situation. Twice the Miners had 10-point leads.
Despite their No. 3 ranking in the country, Texas Western's ability to continue in this tournament was questioned by many who felt the Miners had not played a difficult enough schedule to rate so highly. But tonight these speedy fellows had everything their way.
Orsten Artis led Texas Western with 22 points and little Bobby Joe Hill had 18. Hill is the smallest regular in the semi-finals at 5' 10".
Texas Western and Kentucky scored their 27th victories. If the Miners win tomorrow, it will be their first national basketball championship.
Sidebar - New York Times
KENTUCKY'S STAR RESIST ILLNESS
Conley Recovers from High Fever to Spark Quintet
(Special to The New York Times)
COLLEGE PARK, Md., March 18 -- At 10 o'clock last night Larry Conley, one of Kentucky's basketball stars, was running a fever of 102 degrees. He was given a chest rub, made to breath over a vaporizer for two hours and put to bed under three blankets. The fever broke around 2 A.M.
Less than 24 hours later, at about 9 o'clock tonight; Conley grabbed a rebound from a missed Duke shot, drove at top speed the length of the court and put the ball in the basket for the shot that his coach, Adolph Rupp, said "broke the game for us." It made the score 79-72 with a minute to go in the semi-final contest of the National Athletic Association Collegiate Tournament.
Conley showed no signs of the illness that affected him all week when he dribbled rapidly down the length of the floor at Cole Field House. He looked the part of a member of the nation's first-ranking team.
Took Himself Out
But after the game, the slim 6-foot-3-inch senior from Ashland, Ky., said he was weak. He said, "I felt dizzy a couple of times during the game and those two times I left the game I took myself out."
Conley pointed to himself and Rupp took him out. While he sat on the bench, the Kentucky trainer, Spike Kerns, had him breath over a cup full of Vicks. He inhaled this for a while and then re-entered the game.
Following the game, Conley was permitted to watch about half of the Texas Western-Utah contest before being taken back to the motel where Kentucky's team is staying. Put to bed under a couple of blankets, Conley had to breath over the vaporizer once again.
Conley wasn't the only player in this match between the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 teams recovering from illness. Bob Verga of Duke had been ill earlier in the week also. Verga lost about five pounds during his siege with flu Monday and Tuesday.
Star Off Target
The Duke guard was off target against Kentucky. He has been the Blue Devils' leading scorer all season. But tonight he managed to score only 4 points. His corner shots, along with those of Steve Vacendak late in the contest with Syracuse a week ago, had given Duke the victory that advanced the Blue Devils from the regional playoffs to the semi-finals of the national tourney tonight.
Duke once again came close but not close enough to win a championship. This was the third time in the last four seasons that Coach Vic Bubas's Blue Devils have managed to reach the semi-finals of the tournament. The best Duke has done was the second-place finish three years ago.
Louie Dampier (#10) probes the Duke defense as Thad Jaracz (#55) sets a pick
Thad Jaracz (#55) scores
Louie Dampier (#10) shoots