IU’s Champions Host NU Tonight

IU’s Champions Host NU Tonight

Rip Illini, 91-79, to Cop First Undisputed Title

by George Bolinger, Daily Herald-Telephone

March 2, 1953

From the March 2, 1953 Bloomington Daily Herald-Telephone

If Coach Branch McCracken and his Hurryin’ Hoosiers come down from the clouds for a few hours this evening, the new Big Ten champions will make their second-last appearance of the season before the home folks, opposing Northwestern at the Fieldhouse here – after wrapping up the first undisputed Conference crown in history at Champaign Saturday night.

Tonight’s engagement is not to be taken lightly, the Wildcats having bowed to IU by only four points, 88-84, at Evanston recently, and also being one of the few clubs to visit Minnesota and come off with a victory.

But should the ‘Cats cop this one, they’d probably be ridden out of town on a rail by Hoosier fans, who are equally as jubilant as the towering McCracken and his great Hoosier players.

Pulled Away In 2nd Half

From the March 2, 1953 Bloomington Daily Herald-Telephone

Indiana has won many a “big” game in the past, including the one that brought a national championship in 1940. But it is highly doubtful that any IU victory was ever more thoroughly enjoyed than Saturday’s rout of the Illini on their own floor, 91-79.

The setting was perfect: Indiana facing the 1950-51 and 1951-52 title-holders in their own lair, with the hosts the only team with even a mathematical chance to win or tie for the crown. Only one Big Ten team had won at Champaign in the last five years, and that was another powerful IU contingent, on Feb. 13, 1950, by 83-72.

But this one wasn’t even close after the first three minutes of the second half, when Indiana leaped to a 52-37 advantage and the hosts began to fall apart.

Now Eye 18 Loop Wins

Thus McCracken cashed in on “naturals,” winning the title in his 11th season here, after being runner-up on no less than seven occasions.

In the dressing room, following the game, McCracken praised his players as long as he had an audience. But, at the same time, he was asking them to make it “18 in a row” – meaning 18 straight Big Ten wins this season, the first in which the Conference has ever played so staggering a loop schedule.

Northwestern finished with a rush in the meeting at Evanston, almost overtaking Indiana in the closing minutes.

‘Cats Are Dangerous

The Wildcats feature shooting from the outside by Larry Kurka that can rival IU’s Bob Leonard’s work upon occasion; and they have a top-notch pivotman in smooth Frank Petrancek. They have a great all-around player in Larry Dellafield and strong performers in Don Blaha and John Biever, who will round out the starting five.

From the March 2, 1953 Bloomington Daily Herald-Telephone

Saturday’s triumph was especially sweet to Hoosiers as it was televised to many points throughout the Midwest and radioed across the nation. And seldom have Indiana teams looked better – even against only token competition.

The win set all kinds of records for the Hoosiers – the undisputed title the most important one. It was their 15th straight league win and their 19th in the Conference counting four straight at the end of last season.

Indiana has shared three titles in the past – the most recent in 1936 (with Purdue).

Trio Gets Solid Support

From the March 2, 1953 Bloomington Daily Herald-Telephone

Schlundt, guard Bob Leonard, and forward Dick Farley turned in spectacular performances, each probably hitting his peak for his career – considering the importance of the game and the caliber of competition.

But, as always, it took solid supporting work to clinche the triumph. These were forthcoming from rebounder Charlie Kraak, speedster Burke Scott, and two subs who sparkled in relief roles – Jim DeaKyne and Paul Poff.

DeaKyne was surprisingly efficient, after coming in for Kraak late in the first stanza. Charlies had drawn three personals by then, and Indiana’s lead was hardly safe at the time. Within five minutes DeaKyne had snatched three defensive rebounds to demonstrate that Kraak’s absence was no major calamity in this game.

Schlundt, who went at top speed for 35 minutes, broke the Illini backs with 33 points, including 5 at the foul line. Leonard thoroughly demoralized the opponents and their fans with remarkable long shooting that eventually resulted in 23 points. And Farley picked up 19, including several solo baskets on which he thoroughly embarrassed the hosts with his clever dribbling and foot-work.

21-13 Lead At Quarter

Illinois’ fading hopes were fanned on the first offensive maneuver of the game, when center Bob Peterson dunked a rebound for a 2-0 lead, Schlundt, slow coming from the front court when Indiana lost possession, tallied a cripple when a teammate stole the ball and fed him.

Clive Follmer sneaked beneath for a lay-up to make it 4-2, Illinois. But Farley, starting from the corner, dribbled past two defenders for a lay-up to tie it. Schlundt canned a free throw – and Indiana never was headed again.

Schlundt notched 9 in the first period and Farley and Leonard six each (Farley on only three shots) as Indiana led by 21-13.

Leonard missed his first two long attempts. Some of the Illini fans (who evidently read the Indianapolis Star) urged him to, “Shoot, shoot.” Shoot Leonard did – and soon the cries were changed to, “Don’t let him shoot.”

Bob hit three of nine in the first quarter, each from far out on the court. He lost a 45-footer from the side when the officials decided it hadn’t left his hands before time ran out – although even some of the home fans disagreed with that decision.

In the second stanza, he connected on four of eight, in the third two of five, and in the fourth, one of two. Only one was from in close, when he drove past his surprised foe for a lay-up.

Farley, operating from in close more effectively than any of thje taller players, hit four-for-five in the first hald, four-for-six in the last half. He worked in the pivot the last four minutes of the half, after Schlundt had picked up his third personal. It was 38-28 when Schlundt departed, and Illinois trimmed it to 43-37 at halftime.

Starting the second half, Farley drifted loose for the easiest kind of a lay-up. Scott worked loos for anoteher cripple, Leonard drove under to score. And DeKyne threw in a long overhead two-hander from the side. Schlundt added a free throw.

Hoosiers hit 34 of 81

Illinois fans gasped as the scoreboard read 52-37.

Indiana went on to score 30 points in the quarter, 17 by Schlundt.

The Hoosiers’ widest lead was 76-56, in the first minute of the fourth quarter. It was 87-70 with 3:15 remaining, but the Hoosiers decided to play it safe rather than shoot for the 100-mark once again.

Indiana hit a remarkable .420 from the field. The Hoosiers cashed 23 of 30 free throws for .767. Illinois had .293 from the field and .750 from the free throw line, hitting 21 of 28.

Big 10 Standings

W L PF OP W LINDIANA 15 0 1,231 1,034 17 2Illinois 11 4 1,197 1,026 15 4Mich. State 10 5 937 921 12 7Minnesota 10 6 1,163 1,079 13 7Wisconsin 8 8 1,024 1,014 11 9Iowa 7 8 1,049 1,068 10 9Ohio State 6 10 1,100 1,173 9 11Northwestern 5 10 1,072 1,118 6 13Purdue 3 13 1,083 1,235 4 15Michigan 2 13 1,025 1,222 5 14Tonight's gamesNorthwestern at IndianaPurdue at MichiganMichigan State at IllinoisMinnesota at Iowa

Box Score

INDIANA (91) fga fg ft ftm pf tpDick Farley, f-c 11 8 3 0 3 19Charlie Kraak, f 7 3 0 0 4 6Jim Dea Kyne, f 8 2 1 0 2 5Don Schlundt, c 23 9 15 4 5 33Bob Leonard, g 24 10 3 3 0 23Burke Scott, g 9 2 0 0 3 4Paul Poff, g 0 0 1 0 1 1TOTALS 31 34 23 7 18 91

ILLINOIS (79) fga fg ft ftm pf tpClive Follmer, f 16 9 3 3 5 21Max Hooper, f 9 1 3 0 0 5Ed Makovsky, f 0 0 0 0 0 0Jim Schuldt, f 1 0 0 0 0 0Bob Peterson, g 5 3 3 0 2 9John Kerr, c 27 9 1 2 4 19Jim Bredar, g 15 2 0 0 4 4Irv Bemoras, g 19 3 11 2 4 17Jim Wright, g 7 2 0 0 1 4TOTALS 99 29 21 7 20 79

Score By Quarters:Indiana 21 22 20 18 - 91Illinois 13 24 19 23 - 79Field Goal Averages: Ind. .420; Ill. .293.Free Throw Averages: Ind. .767; Ill. .759.

LineupsWildcats Pos. HoosiersDellefield (6-4) F (6-5) KraakBlaha (6-2) F (6-3) FarleyPetrancek (6-8) C (6-9) SchlundtBiever (6-0) G (6-3) LeonardKurka (6-1) G (6-1) ScottTip-Off: 7:35 p.m., IU Fieldhouse.Broadcast: WTTS, WFIU, at 7:30.Television. WTTV, at 7:30.