- Monday, January 2 1950 -
Kentucky - 57 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp)
Arkansas - 53 (Head Coach: Presley Askew)
Halftime Score: Arkansas 27, Kentucky 25
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Game Writeup - by Orville Henry, Arkansas Gazette
Arkansas Nosed Out by Ruppmen, 57-53
Porkers Stay in Running Until Final Three Seconds
An altered Arkansas offense turned the Razorbacks loose for pot shots at the wicket from anywhere and a startled team of Kentucky Wildcats had to hustle for points all the way in just shading the Porkers, 57 to 53, here last night.
A sellout crowd of 2,500 - held to that by the Auditorium capacity - screamed down to the final three seconds. It wasn't until that point that Adolph Rupp's defending National champs were able to draw an easy breath.
Tops on the scoreboard most of the game, the Razorbacks got life for the last two minutes when Bob Ambler, seemingly fired up after a listless 10 minutes of play at the start, wheeled under seven-foot Bill Spivey for a lay-up shot. That left Arkansas trailing by just 51-49.
It was up for Spivey to all but cinch the victory. He pushed in a two-pointer from under the rim for a 53-49 edge. But Norman Price matched that one with a follow-up shot for Arkansas. Spivey also got a bat-in after a miss - the simplest sort of shot for him - and the Wildcats again paced by two buckets.
There was hope for the Porks, though, as Gerald Hudspeth whipped in a swisher from the side. Kentucky went down the court with a minute left and two points in the lead.
The stall lasted 50 seconds. Finally Spivey was left in the clear near the hoop. His easy shove shot rimmed, however, and there was a scramble for the ball. Dale Barnstable came up with it, came up shooting, and the try was good. Arkansas barely got the ball into the forecourt at the gun.
Spivey and Watson
It was a wonderful team performance for the Porkers, by far their best game of the season, but a two-man job for Kentucky. Rupp's old hands failed him. They were anything but aggressive and it was left to two sophomores, Spivey and stubby Bobby Watson, a 5-10 Beard-like guard, to carry the load.
Arkansas held a 27-to-25 halftime lead, and Spivey contributed 33 of the Kentucky total at that point.
Then came Watson, and how he came. Rupp told Watson to start shooting after John Borgsmiller, brilliant Porker soph. who played pivot most of the game, fired over Spivey's head for a 32-to-26 Arkansas edge after six minutes of the last half.
Watson's first try popped the net from 25 feet out. Barnstable sank a crip shot, and then Watson, speedy play-maker, got loose for a solo dribble and lay-up. That tied it at 34-all. Watson, fouled while driving, dunked two free shots and Arkansas was behind for keeps. Watson added four more swishers from 25 to 30 feet out and after his last one the Porks were behind by 49-40.
But Kentucky seemed to get complacent and the Hogs started outfighting them for the ball. Hudspeth pushed in one of his specialties, added a free throw, and the invaluable D.L. Miller dropped a follow shot from the side. Hudspeth jumped and his for two points from the circle. Ambler got his pivot shot from Spivey, the Wildcats made two free throws, and they were ready for the two-minute swap-out.
During Watson's hot spell the Razorbacks were out-scored, 16-2, but Kentucky also suffered a drought. That was midway in the first half, when the Porkers flipped in 10 straight points to assume a 19-11 edge that was later 22-12, the widest difference of the night. The Hogs were firing from every angle.
Cathcart Out Early
Jim Cathcart fouled out with five minutes left in the first half, after making eight points, and the Hogs cooled off. Spivey cut the gap to two points at halftime.
Arkansas actually out-shot the Kentuckians, 23 to 20 in field goals, but the Wildcats pitched in 17 of their 24 charity shots while the Porkers made just seven, out of 13 efforts.
Both Spivey, with 22 points, and Watson, with 20 (16 in the last half) had six one-pointers apiece.
The Wildcats weren't prepared for the Porker attack, which was devised during an all-day practice at Fayetteville on Saturday. Coach Presley Askew (1) told his boys to shoot far more often than they have been accustomed in their ball-control system, and (2) move the ball from the outside. In previous game the defense has jammed the area in front of the bucket, where the Porks were wont to work the ball.
Hudspeth, with 13 points, and Miller, with 10, were Arkansas standouts along with Borgsmiller, who had little trouble with Spivey, Smith and Price.
Spivey was no Kurland, but his natural height proved a big obstacle for Arkansas. He was often fooled, but too often he had the ball under the basket and there was nothing to do but foul him or yield two points. Spivey's slowness also seemed to limit the effectiveness of the Wildcats' fast break.
But there was nothing wrong with Watson, who is sure to be heard from much more.
Rupp didn't smile until the game was over, when he told officials Johnny Mauer and Harry Anderson it was the best-worked game he had seen this year. The whistle-tooters did do a good job, at that.