IU hangs Seminoles on defense, 83-59

IU hangs Seminoles on defense, 83-59

by Bob Hammel, H-T Sports Editor

December 9, 1975

From the December 9, 1975 Bloomington Daily Herald – Telephone

INDIANAPOLIS – Long ago, Bob Knight convinced Indiana basketball zealots that defense is not a nasty word. And now, it’s an inadequate word.

Defense connotes wagons in a circle, at best a strike back after being struck. Knight redefined it, IU-style, few weeks ago: “We just consider it offense without the ball.” Florida State learned Monday night the man wasn’t kidding.

The Hoosiers stormed at the Seminoles with “How dare you!” outrage each time one committed the gaffe of possessing the basketball. ‘Twas done in innocence. The visitors thought rules of the game said it belonged to them after Indiana scores. That part’s been redefined, too; in Knight’s basketball version of newspeak.

The opening tip threw the Seminoles into an angry sea of red, from every direction a blur of great white silk coming their way to slash at the basketball unit it was removed, with surgical neatness and no blood nor pain. There were those in the 17,526 who filled Market Square Arena last night who will pull out the program from this 83-59 Hoosier victory in some far-off day and tell a wide-eyed grandchild, “You should have seen that team play defense.”

There will be other programs and other witnesses, other arenas and other victims, because Knight has built something close to the ultimate defensive weapon, one icily efficient but raging in emotion, schooled in his demanding techniques and disciplined to outwill humanly tail-offs with pride. Innate, but instilled.

“I knew they only had 6 points kinda late in the game,” Hoosier guard Quinn Buckner said, adding with a grin: “But Coach Knight doesn’t settle for that.”

The game was 12 minutes along and Indiana was 18 ahead when Florida State finally got off 6. It had been stuck there for 5 1/2 minutes and it hadn’t been easy getting that far. The Seminoles had the ball seven times before they scored at all, losing it four of those times without getting a shot away. They stayed at 6 through six more possessions, four of those terminated without luxury of a shot.

There was a beauty to it, five-man orchestration that blended the sensational and the subtle – steals and interceptions with the slight but dissuading moves that checked advances and created mistakes.

It was all there in this one, stretching beyond five men to include nine rushed into the assault to guarantee no let-up, no-gasping for air.

The pressure stayed on until the Seminoles were thoroughly cracked at halftime, 47-20. The peak was 79-41 – this against a veteran team used to winning and harboring its own NCAA tourney hopes.

“Our defense is moving in the direction we want to go,” Knight said. “If we have an objective, it’s to be as good as we can possibly be defensively.”

From the December 9, 1975 Bloomington Daily Herald – Telephone

Florida State – tall, supple and quick – plays defense, too, and for a time it looked like a game of first-basket wins. The Seminoles missed their first five shots and Indiana its first seven, but IU was getting them more frequently and finally got one to stick on a close-in Kent Benson hook shot with 3:13 gone. Buckner followed with two baskets (one a lay-up after a steal) and Scott May one in a 70-second spurt that opened a 10-2 lead an drove Florida State coach Hugh Durham to a time out. “I would say it was kind of a perilous 10-2 lead,” Knight said. “It could have been theirs if they hadn’t started off shooting poorly.”

The peril vanished quickly. Buckner, who had three driving lay-ups before he finally got one to go in, jammed in six shots in a row, the May machine went to work and spewed out 14 points and Benson exploited the middle area for 12 in fashioning the first-half knockout.

May finished with 24 points and Benson, hitting 10 of 15 shots; had 22. Buckner also reached double figures with 15 points, plus 6 assists, while Bob Wilkerson had 3 of the Hoosiers’ 11 steals and Tom Abernethy (9) rebounds combined with Benson (9) and May (11) to lead IU’s 43-37 control of the boards.

Indiana shot .500 despite its poor start. The Hoosiers even provided Knight with ample fodder for lecturing with 26 turnovers, 16 the last half.

“We got to playing kinda ratty at times,” Knight said. “I don’t care who we’ve got out there, I just don’t like to see breakdowns like we had at the end of the ball game.”

By then, they were affordable, although the committers may find that point argued in Hoosier practices this week.

Now 2-9, the Hoosiers finally make their debut at home Thursday when they play Notre Dame, 4-0 and eighth-ranked nationally after a 72-64 victory at Kansas Monday night.

The Irish were the last visiting team to win a game at Assembly Hall – two years and 23 games ago. Indiana paid that one back a year ago at South Bend, and Thursday’s starters will include lots of veterans of both games.

FLORIDA STATE 59 FG FT R A PF TP Perkins, f 1-4 0-0 5 2 4 2 Thompson, f 3-8 0-0 7 2 2 4 Grady, c 1-5 0-1 3 1 1 2 Warren, g 4-13 4-6 4 2 1 12 Smalls, g 4-9 2-3 1 2 3 10 Smith 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 Davis 5-7 0-1 2 1 0 10 Harris 4-7 1-2 4 1 3 9 Allen 4-7 0-0 0 0 2 8 Team 10 Totals 26-60 7-13 37 11 17 59 INDIANA 83 FG FT R A PF TP May, f 10-19 4-5 11 5 1 24 Abernethy, f 1-3 1-2 9 2 1 3 Benson, c 10-15 2-2 9 1 3 22 Buckner, g 7-15 1-2 3 4 3 15 Wilkerson, 3-8 0-0 3 4 2 6 Crews 2-2 2-2 0 0 2 6 Radford 0-0 0-0 2 2 1 0 Valavicius 1-4 0-1 0 0 1 2 Wisman 0-2 1-2 1 1 1 1 Bender 0-1 2-2 0 0 0 2 Roberson 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 Haymore 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 Eells 1-2 0-0 0 0 1 2 Team 3 Totals 35-70 13-18 43 22 14 83

Florida State 20-39 59 Indiana 47-36 83

Errors: Florida State 27, Indiana 24 Blocked shots: Florida State 3 (Grady, 2, Perkins 1); Indiana 1 (Valavicius). Steals: Florida State 8 (Thompson 3, Warren 2, Grady 1, Smalls 1, Davis 1);Indiana 11 (Wilkerson 3, Buckner 3, Abernethy 3, May 1, Benson 1, Radford 1, Wisman 1).

SHOOTING FG Pct. FT Pct. Florida State 26-60 .433 7-13 .538 Indiana 35-70 .500 13-18 .722 Attendance: 17,526 Officials: Robert Showalter and Bill Henderson