- Saturday, December 21 1946 -
(at New York, NY)
Kentucky - 70 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp)
|J. Ed Parker||1||0||1||1||2|
St. Johns - 50 (Head Coach: Joe Lapchick)
Halftime Score: Kentucky 35, St. Johns 26
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Miami (OH) 62 - 49|||||Baylor 75 - 34|
Game Writeup - by Joe Reichler, Lexington Herald-Leader
Wildcats Trounce St. John's 70-50 in GardenNEW YORK, Dec. 21 (AP) - Kentucky's power-packed basketball team stretched its consecutive two-season winning streak to 24 tonight by defeating St. John's University of Brooklyn, 70-50, in the second half of an invitational college double-header before a record crowd of 18,493 fans at Madison Square Garden.
Long Island University, taking advantage of some dismal set shooting by its opponents, gave he metropolitans an even break by whipping Tennessee, 42-32, in the opener.
The Wildcats, who ended the 1945-46 season with 15 straight wins and added eight more before tonight, lived up to all their advance notices - and then some - as they handed a good Redmen team its worst licking in years.
It was the longest winning streak ever enjoyed by a Kentucky five. The Wildcats' previous best streak was 23 in the 1932-33 season.
Touted as the 'greatest college quintet in the nation,' Kentucky was slow to get started, but once it got going it was just a question of how big the Cats margin would be.
Score 35-26 At Halftime
Held to a 4-4 tie after four minutes of play, Kentucky broke away for a 19-9 lead midway in the first half and led by 35-26 at intermission time as St. John's kept doggedly on the Wildcats' heels.
Three consecutive baskets by Frank Frascella narrowed Kentucky's margin to 37-32 with three minutes gone in the second half, but the talent-loaded Southerners, apparently getting their second wind, broke loose for two scoring spurts of nine and seven points to wade out in front by 54-36 midway in the session and make a runaway race of it.
"Greatest to Visit Garden"
The Wildcats' 20-point winning margin, although below their 30-point average in their first eight games, was six points better than the score by which the 1945-46 squad defeated St. John's. The unanimous opinion among the biggest crowd that ever attended a Garden double-header in its 13-year history was that the Wildcats were the greatest aggregation ever to visit the Eighth Avenue arena, even greater than last season's entry which won 28 of 30 games, including the National Invitation tournament here.
Lapchick Praises Ruppmen
Coach Joe Lapchick of St. John's stated enthusiastically after the game that the current Kentucky five was the greatest college team he ever had played against. Even Adolph Rupp, Kentucky's conservative coach, admitted it was the "finest team I ever have coached," adding that St. John's was the "toughest team we have met thus far."
No player actually stood out for the Wildcats, who, employing a lightning fast break, literally ran under-manned St. John's to the ground, and scored almost at will against their dog-tired opponents in the second half.
Rupp used 12 players with the scoring evenly divided among four of them. Starters Joe Holland and Ken Rollins led with 14 points, one more than Ralph Beard scored and two more than Alex Groza's total. However, six-foot, nine-inch Harry Boykoff, St. John's towering center, took scoring honors with 16 points, 11 in the first half.
Cats Start Innocently
The Wildcats started innocently enough. With five minutes of the first half gone, they held only a 6-4 lead as Jack Tingle connected with a long one-hander to break the 4-4 tie. Groza and Boykoff had exchanged two pivot shots each to account for the first scores.
The Wildcats widened their lead to 9-4 on an angle set and free throw by Beard. After Boykoff dropped in his third straight pivot shot. Beard converted a penalty throw and added his fourth uninterrupted tally by rimming an easy lay-up after stealing the ball and dribbling down unmolested.
Score Seven Straight
After a free throw by Frank Sebest and another two-pointer by Boykoff had enabled St. John's to move to within three points, the closest it ever came to overtaking Kentucky, the Wildcats scored seven straight points to forge ahead by 19-9.
With both teams hitting as soon as they got the ball, the score rose to 30-19 before St. John's, with Dick McGuire breaking through for three successive baskets, whittled Kentucky's lead to 30-26, but two baskets by Beard and another by Groza enabled the Ruppcats to enjoy a nine-point advantage during intermission time.
St. John's made its dying bid early in the second half, drawing to within 37-32 after four minutes. That was the last time the Redmen were in the game as a nine-point spree by Kentucky took all the starch out of the weary Redmen.
Game Writeup - by Joseph M. Sheehan, New York Times
Kentucky's basketball team arrived here billed as the top candidate for national honors this season. That glowing appraisal seemed almost modest after the breath-taking show Coach Adolph Rupp's "pore little mountain boys" put on at Madison Square Garden last night in routing a capable St. John's quintet, 70 to 50.
There was little doubt in the minds of the record gathering of 18,493 spectators that they were witnessing one of the great combinations of all-time in this big, fast, skilled band of hardwood thoroughbreds from the Bluegrass country. It was a truly brilliant display by a team that had all the earmarks of greatness.
Out in front, all the way after the first few minutes, Kentucky built up a 35-26 margin at halftime and handled the Redmen with ridiculous ease in the second half. Rupp sent in a continuous stream of substitutes without any apparent diminution of his team's effectiveness. All the Wildcats were good.
It was the twenty-fourth straight triumph for Kentucky, which has been a stranger to defeat since it dropped a close decision to Notre Dame last January. St. John's was the ninth victim of the Lexington quintet, in its all-winning career this season. Joe Lapchick's Redmen have seldom been treated so roughly.
Comparing the Teams
Long Island University salvaged some of the tattered metropolitan New York prestige by turning back Tennessee, 42 to 32, in the opener. The Volunteers, like the Wildcats, belong to the Southeastern Conference, but on what Tennessee showed last night they certainly do not belong in the same league with Kentucky.
That same statement applied equally to St. John's and probably could be extended to include almost any other pretender to national honors. From Joe Holland, Ken Rollins, Ralph Beard, Alex Groza and Jack Tingle down through such 'reserves' as Jim Jordan, twice an All-America at North Carolina, the Wildcats were terrific.
The Garden, which somehow crammed in ten more onlookers than were on hand in the previous record turnout at the Kentucky-Arizona, Syracuse - Muhlenberg double-header in last winter's national invitation tournament, has seldom seen the equal of the all-around excellence displayed by the Wildcats.
Kentucky had speed to burn. Rollins, Beard and Holland breezed past the St. John's defenders as though they were standing still. Under the basket, the big and agile visitors dominated the play. They passed crisply, shot with deadly accuracy from inside and out and, to complete the picture, covered closely on the defense.
Boykoff is Hemmed In
Harry Boykoff, towering St. John's center, kept the Redmen in the running in the first half. While he wound up as the game's high scorer with sixteen points, he was not much of a factor in the second period. Kentucky double-teamed him so effectively after the intermission that he was shut out from the floor.
With their big gun silenced, the Brooklynites did not have much to offer in rebuttal to the relentless Wildcats, who kept driving at breakneck pace all the way. St. John's made a game fight of it and won the post-game praise of Rupp as "the best team we have faced." But they were never really in the contest after the first few minutes.
Kentucky broke loose after the score had been tied twice in the early going and built up a 25-14 edge. The Wildcat advantage hovered around 11 points until shortly before the half when Frank McGuire, a grand performer for St. John's, sparked a late rally by the Redmen.
After the resumption of play Frank Frascella gave the St. John's supporters a brief infusion of hope by hitting with three quick baskets. But the Redmen never drew closer than seven points and faded rapidly from the picture after an eight-point Kentucky spurt.
It was a team triumph for the Wildcats. Holland and Rollins each getting fourteen points, Beard thirteen and Groza twelve. Tingle, the other starter, made only five points, but contributed five assists and played a tremendous game underneath the basket.
A late flurry by Tennessee that produced ten straight points was all that saved the opening game from being a total washout. . . .
Ralph Beard (12) defends SJU's Dick McGuire while Jack Tingle (19) and Joe Holland (14) look on.
Alex Groza (15) grabs a rebound while Joe Holland (14), Jack Tingle and Ralph Beard (12) look on