- Saturday, March 15 1975 -
NCAA Mideast Regional First Round (at Tuscaloosa, AL)
Kentucky - 76 (Head Coach: Joe B. Hall) - [Ranked 6th by AP]
|Jimmy Dan Conner||24||5||9||3||4||3||4||3||1||0||4||13|
|G. J. Smith||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Marquette - 54 (Head Coach: Al McGuire) - [Ranked 10th by AP]
Halftime Score: Marquette 28, Kentucky 25
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Mississippi State 118 - 80|||||Central Michigan 90 - 73|
Game Writeup - by Roger Jaynes, Milwaukee Journal
Beefy Wildcats Pummel MU
Tuscaloosa, Ala. - Kentucky was too big, too strong, too much for Marquette's quick but lightweight Warriors Saturday in the first game of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Mideast Regional basketball tournament.
Only once did Coach Al McGuire's team give the Wildcats cause to worry - when they charged ahead by eight points late in the first as Kentucky showed a crowd of 10,873 at the Alabama Coliseum and millions more watching on national television that they were too slow to play Marquette man to man.
But once Kentucky's Coach Joe Hall had determined the best way of utilizing all that towering beef - a 1-3-1 zone - Marquette's chances of winning slipped from slim to none, and only the final 76-54 score - the Warriors' worse beating of the season - remained to be determined.
"Wore Us Down"
"They just wore us down," said Lloyd Walton, Marquette's junior guard. "Those guys are monsters. Two or three of them would go out, two or three more big guys come in."
"While they were in the man to man, we could bring them out, go around them. But they went into the zone, and that was it."
Hall agreed with Walton's analysis. "The 1-3-1 zone was the main thing that bothered Marquette," he said. "They outscored us the first half, their quickness hurt. But we played the zone beautifully, forced the shots away from their good shooters."
"We're normally a man to man defense team. We experimented the first half a bit with the zone, but saved it for the second half."
That was when Kentucky, ranked fourth and sixth in the news service polls, put Marquette, rated fifth and sixth, out of business fast. The Wildcats started off with six straight points, and outscore the Warriors, 26-8, in 10 minutes 10 seconds.
So dominating was Kentucky that five timeouts - one by Kentucky, one for national television and three by McGuire - could not slow the pace during that stretch. So well did Rick Robey, 6 feet 11 inches, 235 pounds; Bob Guyette, 6-9, 225, and Kevin Grevey, 6-5, 205, block the middle that Bo Ellis was held scoreless and Jerry Homan got only two points. In all, Marquette took only eight shots in that 10 minute stretch.
Earl Tatum, the Warriors' 6-6 forward, wasn't around for the last 16 minutes of the game. Tatum, who had four fouls the first half, was called for reaching in on Grevey with 16:14 left after he had made two jump shots that left Marquette within a point, 33-32 at 16:28.
"That really hurt them because Tatum, I felt, was the man Marquette needed to hit from outside against the zone." Hall said.
Grevey did the most scoring damage during that crucial spurt, scoring seven points, and Jimmy Dan Connor, Kentucky's 6-4 guard, scored five in a row at one point. Guyette, who had 15 rebounds for the game, scored 4 in the stretch and had 14 for the game.
McGuire said that he felt the game was over about the time most of the Marquette fans were cheering hardest - when Marquette rallied behind Ellis to forge ahead, 25-17, with 6:42 left in the first half.
"The game was over then, because we had to stop playing," McGuire said. "Because of the foul situation, we couldn't play our game. Earl was in foul trouble, and Jerry. I figured we might not have a starting team around the second half. I don't go into delay games that early, ever. But right then, I was willing to give them the whole eight points, just to get in the half."
"I had no choice. I knew the game was over if I couldn't hold some sort of resemblance to my starting lineup the second half. So it was really over then, when we went to the delay just to stay alive."
The delay was partly successful, since Marquette went in at halftime ahead, 28-25. But the handwriting was on the wall. Tatum four fouls, Walton three, Homan two.
In the second half, after Tatum had fouled out, Marquette couldn't handle Kentucky on the boards. The Wildcats, outrebounded 22-15 in the first half, earned a 25-12 edge the second.
The last 10 minutes of the game merely gave McGuire a chance to play his reserves. With 2:14 left, he finally got up, walked quickly over to the Kentucky bench, and shook Hall's hand.
Thus did Kentucky win its 14th of the last 16 games, boosting its record to 23-4 and earning the right to play Central Michigan (21-5), which defeated Georgetown (18-9), in the second game here, 77-75. Marquette concluded its season with a 23-4 record. The defeat snapped a 12 game winning string by the Warriors, but McGuire said afterward that he still was pleased.
"We were just very glad to get t the NCAA this year," he said. "This team accomplished much more than I ever thought it would."
Half an hour after the game, the Warriors still were talking in amazed tones about Kentucky's size.
"There can't be too many teams in the country with more players than that who are 6-10, 250," Ellis said. "They really hurt us. So much size and weight in there. They really hammered us, got us in foul trouble early."
"I guess that was their strategy, wear us out. We're not that big, Heck. I'm 6-9, but I could be a guard for my weight."
Hall said that part of his decision to go to the zone was that he remembered that Kentucky had beaten Marquette, 85-69, three years ago in the Mideast Regional with it, when he was an assistant under Adolph Rupp.
"I remembered Marquette was vulnerable to the zone," Hall said. "Of course, that was a 2-3, and we used a 1-3-1 this time because we were more familiar with it."
Rick Robey tips off against Marquette's Bo Ellis
Action from the game
Rick Robey (#53) grabs the rebound in front of Mike Flynn (#24)