- Saturday, March 22 1975 -
NCAA Mideast Regional Finals (at Dayton, OH)
Kentucky - 92 (Head Coach: Joe B. Hall) - [Ranked 5th by AP]
|Jimmy Dan Conner||31||8||20||1||3||5||0||5||17|
Indiana - 90 (Head Coach: Robert Knight) - [Ranked 1st by AP]
|Quinn Buckner (*)||37||3||11||2||2||7||5||4||8|
Halftime Score: Indiana 44, Kentucky 44
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Central Michigan 90 - 73|||||Syracuse 95 - 79|
Game Writeup - by Gordon S. White, Jr., New York Times
Kentucky Ends Indiana String of 34 Wins
DAYTON, Ohio, March 22, 1975 -- Kentucky's powerful team ended Indiana University's 34-game basketball victory streak, 92-90, today and moved to the semi-finals of the 37th National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.
Without a moment's letup in a game that carried a strong motive for revenge, the Southeastern Conference co-champions and Big Ten Conference champions waged basketball war. The biggest, strongest warriors beat out the normally quicker, more composed men of Bloomington, Ind., in this final of the Mideast Regional competition at the University of Dayton Arena. The Wildcats earned a place against Syracuse in the N.C.A.A. semi-final round next Saturday at San Diego.
Not since the Hoosiers lost a playoff with Michigan for the Big Ten title in March 1974, had the team coached by Bobby Knight known defeat. Now the team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation before today and the only previously unbeaten team, must step aside while Kentucky goes on as a probable favorite to win the national crown.
In a consolation game for third spot in the N.C.A.A.'s Mideast Region, Central Michigan defeated Oregon State, 88-87.
Kentucky is playing in its 22d N.C.A.A. championship, a record. The nearest to the Wildcats is U.C.L.A., which is taking part in its 16th N.C.A.A. championship.
Never before did a team from Lexington, Ky., come into one of these tourneys with such a mass of muscle and height. However, the big men from the Bluegrass Country were supposed to be too slow for Indiana. They were quite sluggish in their Mideast semi-final triumph over Central Michigan last Thursday night.
But they surprised the 13,458 fans in Dayton Arena and shocked Indiana's once mighty defense with agility that disrupted the composure of the Hoosiers. Kentucky forced them into 20 turnovers while committing only 14. Indiana had counted on such an edge in errors to win all of its previous 31 games this season.
The most impressive of the Kentucky giants down the stretch were the two 6-foot 10-inch freshmen, Rick Robey and Mike Phillips. The Wildcats and Hoosiers were racing along neck and neck until there were about 8 minutes to go. The fans kept wondering, "When will something break. They can't keep this up forever."
Then Robey and Kevin Grevey, a mere 6-foot-5, put together 8 straight points for the Wildcats and the pressure was suddenly heavy on the No. 1 team to come back with 5:32 remaining. Indiana just couldn't manage it, although the Hoosiers did spurt from an 89-81 deficit to the final 2-point difference in the last minutes and 45 seconds.
Phillips contributed 6 straight points for Kentucky just after Robey's and Grevey's scoring had put the Wildcats in command. The big youngster from Manchester, Ohio, fouled out a few seconds after his streak. But he and the other tall, husky Wildcats had done their job.
Robey also fouled out shortly before the end and Bob Guyette, Kentucky's 6-9 man of muscle, drew four personal fouls in his 22 minutes of play. Coach Joe B. Hall obviously sent his big men into the game in relays to play hard and rough under the boards.
Kentucky had enough of them to afford more fouls than Indiana could draw inside.
Kent Benson, a 6-foot-11 Hoosier who is more agile than any of the Wildcats' forwards, played all 40 minutes. He was the game's high scorer with 33 points and had only three personal fouls. But there were times when Kentucky charged the boards and successfully boxed Benson out.
Knight decided to start Scott May, the team's regular-season leading scorer, who broke his left wrist four weeks ago. It had been hoped that May's quickness and shooting would overcome any problems he had. He was wearing a cast over his left forearm. but Kentucky managed to neutralize May, particularly because Grevey kept scoring and getting the ball into the big men by going around May.
May was taken out after 7 minutes of play. He started the second half but played only a few more seconds.
The Hoosiers' chances came midway in the first half when they moved to a 7-point lead. They were cracking the Kentucky zone as the Wildcats appeared to take a slight pause under the boards to get their wind in a speed game.
Then Kentucky got the big men in motion again, sending the tall ones into the boards quickly while the Wildcat guards harried the Indiana defense by shooting successfully or moving the ball inside. The Wildcats tied the Hoosiers at intermission, 44-44, and the stage was set for the last 20 minutes that was nearly a bloody battle.
Bob Guyette (#45) looks on as Rick Robey battles IU's Kent Benson for a rebound
Mike Flynn (#24) drives in for a shot
Mike Flynn cuts down the net after the victory over the Hoosiers