- Saturday, March 14 1970 -
NCAA Mideast Regional Finals (at Columbus, OH)
Kentucky - 100 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Final Rank 1st by AP]
Jacksonville - 106 (Head Coach: Joe Williams) - [Final Rank 4th by AP and 5th by UPI]
Halftime Score: Jacksonville 52, Kentucky 45
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Notre Dame 109 - 99|||||Northwestern 115 - 100|
Game Writeup - by Tev Laudeman, Louisville Courier-Journal
End of the Trail: Jacksonville 106, UK 100
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Kentucky's No. 1 ranked basketball team played all season without being tagged with a special nickname.
Well, the Wildcats earned one for themselves yesterday -- the "Magnificent Ten."
Yes, "Ten," because even after four of coach Adolph Rupp's players fouled out, UK made an unbelievable effort with substitutes before bowing to Jacksonville 106-100 in the championship game of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Mideast Regional.
All-American Dan Issel, Mike Pratt, Larry Steele and Terry Mills were whistled to the sideline, but UK stayed in the game until the final nine seconds when Jacksonville scored on a layup.
Issel was the first to go out. He had played four minutes with four personals and he drew his fifth with 10:16 to play on a charging foul against Jacksonville guard Vaughn Wedeking.
Wedeking, who had a poor shooting day with only four field goals in 13 shots, cheerfully admitted that he deliberately lured Issel into the foul.
"I just got in front of him," Wedeking said, "so he'd run over me just like they did on Artis (Gilmore) earlier in the game."
Issel and Rupp both said the foul should have been called on Wedeking.
"They let him come five feet across the floor," Issel said. "I was coming at an angle. I ran into him and he fell down."
Said Rupp . "Dan was facing the basket and the kid got in his way. It was obvious to me that the foul was on the boy who got in his way."
Despite it all, UK's players hitched up their belts and found something extra. Trailing 78-70 when Issel went to the bench, Kentucky fell 10 points behind but then started a series of comebacks that kept the crowd of 13,865 in an uproar to the end.
UK cut the lead to six, but Jacksonville widened it to 10 again (90-80) with 5:56 left. By now, Pratt (8:07) and Mills (7:31) also had departed on fouls.
But the inspired Wildcats charged again and in less than a minute were within six at 92-86.
From that point on, sophomore forward Tom Parker carried the scoring load for UK as it kept bouncing back. Parker had 10 points in the last 4-1/2 minutes of play, all on shots of 10 feet or more.
Parker's 11-footer pulled UK to within 102-100 on the tall and versatile Jacksonville Dolphins with 52 seconds left, and it appeared that a miracle was in the making. But Jacksonville's Rex Morgan, a great player, got loose and Steele fouled him.
That was Steele's fifth foul and Morgan hit both free throws to make it 104-100 with 27 seconds left. Greg Nelson clinched it for Jacksonville when he got free for a long pass and an easy layup.
UK's defensive strategy was to assign Issel to guard Jacksonville's 7-foot-2 Gilmore and to drop other players in front of him. It worked well in keeping Gilmore from getting the ball, but there was a defensive leak that showed when Jacksonville coach Joe Williams sent Chip Dublin in at guard after seven minutes had elapsed in the first half.
At that point, UK led 16-12. But Dublin started driving for the basket for close-in shots and Jacksonville pulled to a 24-21 lead on his two free throws. UK never led again.
Jacksonville's strategy was to give UK the outside shots early in the game. UK< obviously tense, couldn't hit consistently in the first half.
Mills and Parker were UK's bet shooters int he second half, but they weren't enough.
Williams said Jacksonville used five different defenses on UK, including one that left Parker unguarded early in the game. But he said only a straight man-to-man worked satisfactorily.
UK went to a 1-3-1 zone midway in the second half.
"I think the mistake I made was in not going to it sooner," Rupp said. He added that it was a factor in UK's comeback.
But Rupp said the difference in the game was UK "shooting a lousy 44.9 (the team was shooting 50 per cent for the season), and they got tremendous shooting from Gilmore, Dublin and Morgan."
A half an hour after the game, Issel could hardly talk without a sob in his voice.
"I did about all I could with Gilmore," said Issel who scored 28 points and had 10 rebounds. "I tried to force him out. He scored 24 points, and I think that a little below his average (3 points below). When he gets the ball in close; there's no way to stop him."
Issel said Gilmore was the best center he played against in three years at UK.
Williams said he walked around all day Friday in a brown suit, "hoping an idea of how to play Kentucky would come to me." (a reference to Rupp's nickname of "The Man in the Brown Suit").
He said he got "too tricky" in trying the variety of defenses against UK.
"I feel like we play good defense but you seldom run into a team that shoots like Kentucky. I felt that taking their inside game away was the key for us."
The UK players were highly impressed with Jacksonville.
Parker said, "They got a hell of a ball club. But if we had caught them, it definitely would have put more pressure on them."
Wedeking, who drew Issel into foul No. 5, said he thought Kentucky played harder after Issel went out.
"All teams do that in big games," he said.
And although Rupp said this "was as disorganized a Kentucky team as we've put on the floor this year," he added: "Kentucky was one of the great teams in the country this year. We should have won, but didn't."
But he had a few words of praise for the five reserves he used.
"The subs really got in there and hustled," he said.
UK President Dr. Otis Singletary met Rupp in the locker room after the defeat, UK's second in 28 games, and said to the coach:
"I feel sorry for the university, and I feel sorry for the players, but most of all, Coach, I feel sorry for you. I would have liked to see you win another one."
Rupp replied, "So would I ... so would I ... because I don't see many more chances."
Jacksonville's Artis Gilmore looks to pass as he is defended by Dan Issel (#44) and Terry Mills (#21)