- Tuesday, December 30 1958 -
(at Louisville, KY)
Kentucky - 76 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Ranked 1st by AP]
Illinois - 75 (Head Coach: Harry Combes) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Illinois 37, Kentucky 37
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Navy 82 - 69|||||Georgia Tech 72 - 62|
Game Writeup - by Larry Boeck, Louisville Courier-Journal
Record 18,274 See U.K. Nip Illini 76-75 for 10th Win in Row
Ring out the old,
Ring in the new-
U.K. fans will
And with a "Whew!".
Kentucky ended one of the most successful and surprising years in its fabulous basketball history with a 76-75 victory over Illinois here last night.
Sid Cohen, the Brooklyn cowboy, led the embattled Kentuckians to their 10th triumph but the Cats barely hung on to victory in a rodeo finish to a wild game.
The aptly-named Fightin' Illini almost threw the Wildcats in the last frantic 46 seconds of play before a record Freedom Hall crowd of 18,274.
Ahead by seven points, unbeaten Kentucky almost collapsed in the face of a defiant Illinois and its all-court press in the those fading seconds.
The battling Illini cut the U.K. lead from 76-69 to 76-75 with 14 seconds left and Kentucky in possession of the ball. Swarming the Cats, the Illini seized an erratic pass. Govoner Vaughn got off a 20-foot jumping push shot at a 45-degree angle to the basket.
The ball bounced around the hoop two or three times, circled it once agonizingly and then dropped off. If the ball had gone through, though, the basket would not have counted. For, said official timer Bob Wellman, Vaughn had launched the shot after the buzzer had sounded.
Few of the howling fans at the game - a heart-pumper from the opening buzzer to the final one - could hear the game-ending sound because of the bedlam after Illinois stormed back from a 71-61 deficit with 4:40 left in the game.
With Brooklyn's Cohen, a transfer student from Kilgore Texas, Junior College, in the saddle as playmaker, defensive stalwart and producer of clutch points from the field and free throw line, error-plagued Kentucky thus finally overcame the stubborn Illini.
And Kentucky, too, ended the year of 1958 as it began it - on a suspenseful note but successfully (10-0 now) and a surprise.
The Wildcats stunned the basketball world in March of this year when , with their most mediocre team of the last decade, they won the N.C.A.A. championship before a record crowd for the tournament at Freedom Hall. Then, a final seconds field goal beat Temple in the semi-finals and U.K. erased a big Seattle lead in the title game.
Last night, before the biggest crowd ever to see a single, regular-season game in the South, U.K. ended 1958 as a surprise team. For these Wildcats are young, with only one regular back from the N.C.A.A. quintet, and few observers - if any - expected them to go through December with a 10-0 record. For 1958, they are 25-3 and have won 15 straight.
Last night's crowd was a few hundred short of the N.C.A.A. record mob. At that, however, Fairgrounds Director H. Clyde Reeves estimated several thousand fans were turned away at the box office. ... rest of article missing ...
The Courier Journal shows Illinois' Govoner Vaughn's (#35) last-second shot hit the rim and bounce off.
Kentucky's Don Mills (#52) flies in and slams a shot over Illinois defenders after being fouled by John Wessels (10). Also in the photo are Kentucky's Johnny Cox (under basket), Bill Lickert (44) along with Illinois players Mannie Jackson (30), Al Gosnell (33) and Govoner Vaughn (35).