|#10||Layton Rouse (L)||G||Sr.||6-1||169||Ludlow, KY||All-SEC [First Team]; All-SEC Tournament;|
|#4||Keith Farnsley (L)||F||Jr.||6-2||162||New Albany, IN||All-SEC [Second Team]; All-SEC Tournament;|
|#12||Marion Cluggish (L)||C||Sr.||6-8||235||Corbin, KY||-|
|#3||Lee Huber (L)||G||Jr.||6-0||175||Louisville, KY (St. Xavier)||-|
|#17||Carl Combs (L)||G||Jr.||-||-||Hazard, KY||-|
|#5||James King (L)||G||So.||6-3||180||Sharpe, KY (High)||-|
|#14||Donald Orme||F||Jr.||-||-||Indianapolis, IN||-|
|#18||Ermal Allen (L)||F||So.||5-10||160||Morristown, TN||-|
|#19||Waller White (L)||F||So.||6-1||160||Lawrenceburg, KY||-|
|#15||Stan Cluggish||F||So.||6-6||-||Corbin, KY||-|
|#23||Harry Denham||C||Sr.||6-0||168||Maysville, KY (High)||-|
|#16||Carl Staker (L)||G||So.||6-3||193||Maysville, KY||-|
| Schedule | Player Statistics | Game Statistics |
Seated (l to r): Head Coach Adolph Rupp, Carl Combs, Ermal Allen, Keith Farnsley, Layton Rouse, Lee Huber, Waller White, Donald Orme, Assistant Coach Paul McBrayer.
Season Review - Basketball (Kentuckian)
To the various critics, who stated that expecting Kentucky to successfully defend its Southeastern Conference title was like sending an invitation to someone you knew couldn't come to the party, the Cats' ultimate victory in the tourney came as a severe shock.
At the start of the season Kentucky was rated as one of the greatest teams ever to spring from Dixie, with tested talent three deep in every position. Just the sort of club, wise guys concluded, to handle the cut-throat schedule Kentucky had drawn up -- games against the cream of six different conferences, including champions from three.
Things indeed looked bright for Coach Adolph Rupp, the old tournament monopolist, who was starting his ninth season as Cat cage fuehrer.
When the season had ended, the Cat record, including their three wins in marching to the conference title, showed 15 wins against six losses. While to most coaches six losses would be regarded as a banner season, to Rupp, who has set such a standard of performances in his years at Kentucky, such a record marked a new high in losses for a season. But behind those six losses is a hard luck story unparalleled in basketball.
In the opening tilt on their 18-game schedule, the Cats, with every man on the squad contributing to the total, rolled over the Berea College Mountaineers by a top-heavy score of 74-24. Once the high-pressure, Kentucky offense began to click, the outclassed but game, Mountaineers found trying to halt the avalanche as futile as yelling "whoa" at a tornado. Sophomore Jim King, who entered the game as a substitute center, led the scoring with 18 points.
The Wildcats rocked the basketball world from rafters to cellar when, in their second game, they dropped a morbid, listless 39-30 decision to the University of Cincinnati, a team that was not rated within 30 points of Kentucky. At no time did the Cats resemble the team that had dismembered Berea.
However, in their third game the Cats snapped back to winning form as Lee Huber dropped through 17 points to pace them in a glistening 55-31 win over Clemson, champion of the Southern Conference. The game, played in Asheville, N.C., found Kentucky looking like the team authorities had showered with superlatives earlier in the season.
Still hotter than a feather bed in the tropics, Kentucky continued its victory march by spanking Ohio State, Big Ten Conference titalist, by a 36-30 margin in the New Orleans Sugar Bowl game before a crowd of 8,000. Layton Rouse burned the hemp with 12 points to head the attack that netted Kentucky its second Sugar Bowl title in the five years that the classic has been staged.
From the fast Big Six Conference came Kentucky's next opponent and the Cats turned on the offensive heat to send Kansas State heading for home with a 53-26 spanking.
Looking more like the change from a dime than the South's top cage team, Kentucky nosed out, a fighting, slugging, scratching team of Xavier Musketeers in one overtime period by a 42-41 count in Cincinnati. From the start of the game it was apparent that it simply wasn't Kentucky's night as time and time again the Cats swept down the floor on their fast break only to poop out with a man open under the basket. Trailing by two points in the overtime, Waller White, sophomore forward, dropped in a field goal and a foul to provide the margin.
Kentucky, playing a brand of ball that was alternately hot and cold, showed an offense that was little save tireless in outscoring a slow-moving University of West Virginia team by a 48-37 margin for its fifth successive win. Both teams were overanxious and 35 fouls were called. Rouse and Marion Cluggish led the Cat point makers, each with 12.
At intervals showing a return to early season form, Kentucky opened defense of its conference crown with an action-filled 35-26 win over the Tennessee Vols. Presenting a Maginot Line defense that once again featured the work of Huber and Rouse, the Cats took the lead in the first three minutes and never let go. Huber led the scoring with 12 points, while Rouse added 11.
With the team again clicking in high, the furrows began to leave Coach Rupp's brow, but not for long. At this point, Fate entered the game on the side of the Cat opponents and the hard luck started. Influenza, an eventual and deadly termite, began to undermine the team and gradually it started to fall apart until it best could be described by borrowing that lovely phrase, "all shot to h--I." First to go was Huber, who was leading the team in scoring, then in order went King, Staker, White, and Orme.
Keith Farnsley, with his basket eye as deadly as Robin Hood's bow, sent 18 points through the cord as Kentucky snapped from its private win-depression with a clear-cut 51-45 win over Marquette before 7,000 wild-eyed customers in Milwaukee. Strangely enough, although the game was a catch-as-catch-can affair from start to finish, only nine fouls were called against the Cats.
Marion Cluggish returned from the legion of forgotten basketball men to spark an aroused Kentucky team to a smashing 46-18 conference win over Alabama. Out to avenge an earlier defeat with as little filibustering as possible, the Cats took command from the very start as the cloud-bumping Cluggish held Alabama's high scoring George Prather to 3 points. In fact, the entire Cat defense was on edge and allowed just four field goals to be scored by the Southerners all night.
Offensively speaking, Kentucky was colder than an Eskimo's kiss; but the Cats made up in power what they lacked in poise to nose out the Xavier Muskies, alias Bert Robben, by a score of 37-29 for their 10th win of the season. Except for Robben, who scored 18 points, the Muskie scorers were kept under lock and key. Cluggish and Rouse set the pattern for Kentucky point makers with 11 and 10 points.
Returning to the basketball doldrums, an erratic shooting team of Cats hit their offensive low of the season in dropping a rough conference game to Tennessee by 27-23 in Knoxville. As usual, Referee Chest was on hand. As usual, also, Kentucky held a marked edge in personal fouling by 18-13. Kentucky held the lead in field goals, 9-7.
Still afflicted with foulitis, Kentucky dropped a miserable 44-39 decision to the Georgia Tech Engineers in Atlanta to conclude a disastrous two-game southern trip. Chest, the Simon Legree of basketball, once again presided at the whistle and Kentucky's 23 fouls marked a high for the year. Kentucky's sputtering offense was led by Farnsley and Rouse with 11 and 9 points.
With Marion Cluggish shouldering the scoring burden, - the Cats curtained their 1939-40 season by nipping a lightning-geared Vanderbilt team by 43-38 in Alumni Gym. While the other team members were sadly off keel in their shooting, Cluggish, making his final showing, dumped in points from all angles for a night's total of 22.
It was a gasping and battered Kentucky squad that packed up its troubles in the old kit bag and moved to Knoxville to defend its conference title. But it was a fighting and determined team, one that refused to believe what the crepe hangers said about their chances.
The tournament was practically ended in the semi-final round when the Cats eliminated Tennessee and 2,500 Vol fans with a hair-greying 30-29 overtime decision. At the end of regulation playing time the score stood at 27-all. Early in the extra round Bernie Mehen, brilliant Vol forward, dropped in a long field goal and the Vols, favored by the smart money for the title, shot into the lead. The margin was then sliced as Keith Farnsley converted with a foul.
With 15 seconds to play, Farnsley skipped down the floor, took a long pass and wheeled in a left-handed pivot shot to provide the final margin of victory.
Climaxing their typical Horatio Alger "from rags to riches" climb, the Cats retained their conference title with an easy 51-43 win over the University of Georgia in the final round of the tourney. From the very start of the game it was apparent that the Cats were in no humor to be stopped and after five minutes of play held a 15-5 lead. From then on it was a breeze as Farnsley, Rouse, White, and Cluggish led the scoring.
Kentucky's captain and leading point maker of the season, Layton Rouse, was voted a guard position on the Associated Press seventh annual all-conference team that was picked after the final tournament game. Keith Farnsley rated a second team berth, while Cluggish, Allen, and Carl Combs, who so ably filled in for Huber in the latter stages of the season, received honorable mention.