- Monday, March 31 1975 -
NCAA Championship (at San Diego, CA)
Kentucky - 85 (Head Coach: Joe B. Hall) - [Ranked 2nd by AP]
|Jimmy Dan Conner||38||4||12||1||2||5||1||6||2||0||1||9|
UCLA - 92 (Head Coach: John Wooden) - [Ranked 1st by AP and 2nd by UPI]
Halftime Score: UCLA 43, Kentucky 40
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Syracuse 95 - 79|||||Northwestern 77 - 89|
Game Writeup - by Gordon S. White, New York Times
U.C.L.A. five Beats Kentucky, 92-85
SAN DIEGO, March 31, 1975 -- The University of California, Los Angeles won the national collegiate basketball championship tonight for the 10th and last time under the direction of Coach John Wooden.
The Bruins, proving speed more valuable than muscle, raced up and down the court from start to finish to beat a powerful University of Kentucky team 92-85, in Wooden's final game before retirement.
When it was done, the crowd of 15,153 at the San Diego Arena remained to give Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood, a standing ovation for about four minutes.
In increasing their record of national basketball titles to 10 in the last 12 years and 8 in the last 9, the Bruins beat the school closest to them in national titles. The Wildcats have four.
Although he would not admit it, this victory in his final game of 27 seasons as the U.C.L.A. coach, may have been Wooden's most satisfying. This was a team not as strong as many of his former national champions -- one not rated certain of the crown when the season began.
Wooden said following the thrilling triumph, "To say I thought we would win (the title) back then would be stretching a point."
But Dave Meyers, the senior star of the team, said: "I wanted to do it for Coach all season. He's done a masterful job with the team that lost (Bill) Walton and (Keith) Wilkes," stars of the three preceding seasons.
Most unexpected of all, however, was the fact that U.C.L.A. beat Kentucky using only six players. This was the first time Wooden used only six players in a national championship game. It paid off as the half-dozen slim, tall men kept up an unusually fast pace and achieved what U.C.L.A. teams in 1964 and 1965, and from 1967 through 1973, had achieved. And those teams had such star players as Walt Hazzard, Lew Alcindor, Sidney Wicks and Bill Walton.
The mighty six who won this year's crown were Meyers, Marques Johnson, Rich Washington, Pete Trgovich, Andre McCarter and Ralph Drollinger, the man who came off the bench and had the finest game of his career.
The running Bruins took off against the strong but slower Wildcats and managed to go through 40 minutes of hard physical action without losing one man through personal fouls. However, Meyers, Washington, Trgovich and Drollinger finished with four fouls each - one short of banishment.
What they did was beat such big men as Bob Guyette, 6 feet 9 inches and 240 pounds; Rick Robey, 6-10 and 240; Mike Phillips, 6-10 and 235; and Dan Hall, 6-10 and 235.
They beat them because Washington and Drollinger gained position under the boards. In perhaps the most important statistics, U.C.L.A. out-rebounded Kentucky, 55 to 49. Most of this season, the Southeastern Conference co-champions had been beating teams off the boards.
Other winning factors involved the way Trgovich, a 6-foot-4 guard, defended against Jimmy Dan Conner, the pride of Kentucky's corps of strong, tall guards. Conner was limited to 9 points. Trgovich, meanwhile, had an excellent night on defense and scored 16.
Trgovich, a senior, scored 10 of U.C.L.A.'s 12 points in a five-minute period late in the first half when the Bruins took the lead for keeps. The Wildcats, however, moved within a point with 6 minutes left in the game.
Washington, voted the outstanding player of the tournament, paced U.C.L.A.'s scoring with 28 points. Many of these came on rebounds and the 6-foot-9 sophomore's shot field goal from the baseline with 1 minute 23 seconds to go gave U.C.L.A. an 88-83 lead to virtually assure the victory.
Meyers had 24 points, Drollinger 10, McCarter 8, and Johnson 6. It just didn't matter that Kevin Grevey, Kentucky's leading scorer, had 34. He was scoring well off screens set up for him. But the only big man on Kentucky who managed to score well was Guyette, the senior, who had 16 points.
Robey had only 2 points before fouling out. Phillips had only 4 and Hall only 2. Kentucky needed more from its big men.
Drollinger, the 7-foot-1 junior who has been criticized because he was not an Alcindor or Walton, was unusually strong under the boards. The frail Drollinger stood in there for 16 minutes and beat off the Kentucky rebounders Coach Joe B. Hall kept fresh by sending them into the game in relays.
The victory allowed the Bruins to forget some things, such as a 22-point loss to the University of Washington during the regular season that was the third worst defeat the 64 year-old Wooden suffered in his 40 years as a head coach in high school and college. For his last season, the Bruins won 28 and lost 3.
Indiana was the favorite to win the title game with Michigan. It was the first time since 1966, when U.C.L.A. was not in the tourney, that the Bruins were not picked to take the title.
U.C.L.A. had difficulty getting to the title game, winning a first-round game with Michigan in overtime, another game over Montana by just 3 points and the semi-final thriller with Louisville, 75-74, in overtime when Washington sank the winning basket with four seconds remaining.
Bob Guyette attacks against Dave Meyers
Jack Givens takes on nearly the entire UCLA team