IU batters Badgers for Big Ten record

IU batters Badgers for Big Ten record

by Bob Hammel, H-T Sports Editor

February 1, 1976

From the February 1, 1976 Bloomington Daily Herald – Telephone

The Big Ten record for consecutive basketball victories is solely owned by Indiana now, after a 114-61 wipe-out of Wisconsin Saturday.

But the new recordholders aren’t exactly breathless about their feat. Exasperated was a better word for Scott May, the leader again Saturday with a 30-point show in 25 minutes of playing time, when a questioner refused to believe May and his teammates were as blase as they claimed to be about breaking Ohio State’s 14-year-old record for consecutive Big Ten victories.

“It’s halfway through the season man,” May said. “We can’t be thinking about records. We’ve got the rest of the season to go.”

The rest of it – nine league games and perhaps some extras, if present trends continue – looked a little merrier to IU’s archcritic, coach Bob Knight, Saturday.

Even in sailing along unbeaten, Knight said, “I think in some phases of play we were somewhat sporadic. I hope we can see a characteristic emerging where we are as tough as we can be defensively. I don’t think we have been until the last three games.

“If we can continue, it will be a real good defensive team.”

Wisconsin coach John Powless summed up the Hoosiers he ran into Saturday with only one word: “Awesome.

“They’re just awesome. We used kind of funny little defense there at the start and thought we were giving them some trouble with it. They don’t score for three minutes; and they only have 12 after six minutes.

“But we only have 4 ourselves. They didn’t let us do anything.”

Indiana did get away to its slowest offensive start of the year, missing its first five shots and drawing a blank until May drilled a jump shot at 17:01 of the first half.

But the Hoosier defense hadn’t tarried on take-off at all. The only shots Wisconsin was getting were hurried outside flings by the Badger guards and it took more than 11 minutes before one of those hit the mark.

By then, Indiana was gone.

Bob Wilkerson, who came out of Minnesota and Iowa last weekend with his shootin’ hand hot, started the Hoosiers in that direction by swishing a couple of shots over the Badgers’ 1-3-1 zone.

That got the 17,587 in residence properly stirred for some emotional peaks that were to follow.

Wilkerson delivered one by stealing the ball in midcourt and dashing in for a layup that rolled off the front of the rim – just in time for 6-11 Kent Benson to bang it into the hole and touch off bedlam.

From the February 1, 1976 Bloomington Daily Herald – Telephone

Seconds later, Brian Colbert of Wisconsin worked free from Hoosier Quinn Buckner only to run into Tom Abernethy, who smashed Colbert’s shot back in his face.

Buckner said thanks for the assist by delivering one of his own at the other end, pulling one whole three-man side of the Badger zone in on himself and flipping a behind-the-back pass to Abernethy, alone in the corner. His jump shot from there opened 14-4 daylight for the Hoosiers and Wisconsin never got that close again.

The Hoosiers kept the score doubled on Wisconsin the rest of the half, although Knight started substituting early.

By halftime, 11 Hoosiers had played and 9 had scored … and the Indiana lead was massive, 62-30.

The Hoosiers may have gone on from there adequately, anyway. But when Knight saw Wisconsin forward Dale Koehler shove and an official peering across the floor viewed it as a Buckner foul, the Hoosier coach let the caller know of his disagreement (cost: one technical foul) and mentioned the oversight to another of the three-man officiating team, too (cost: a second technical).

Of the next eight times Wisconsin had the basketball, the Badgers lost it seven without getting a shot as suddenly renewed Hoosier zeal flashed all over the court.

It was 80-39 with more than 13 minutes remaining when Knight started pulling his regulars for the last time.

That didn’t check the momentum. The reserves were as challenging on defense as the starters, and the lead kept growing.

Wayne Radford, who had such a frolic under the basket that – at 6-3 in a game involving 16 men taller than that – he shared rebounding honors with Benson with 9, delivered the Hoosiers’ 100th point with 4:58 to go.

Rich Valavicius, who joined Radford and three starters in double figures, to the 114th point with a basket at 0:46. That was the one that broke the Assembly Hall scoring record, established in a 113-60 season-opening victory over Tennessee Tech last year.

The 53-point margin tied IU’s record for a Big Ten game, set in a 102-49 victory over Iowa last year.

But the item of history with the greatest import was the one dismissed so cavalierly by May.

This was Indiana’s 28th straight Big Ten triumph, pushing into second place the 27-game conference string that Ohio State put together in Knight’s playing days, 1960-62.

It also was the Hoosiers’ 28th straight home-court victory and 48th in a row in regular-season play. “Ohio State had 50 of those in a row in that 1960-62 stretch, but the significant Buckeye streaks were the 27 in league play and 32 overall – the latter wiped out by IU’s 34-game string of 1974-75.

That data, of course, is for (1) historians and (2) fans, not (3) players or (4) coaches with half a season to go.

Besides May’s 30 points (achieved in 25 minutes with 13-for-20 shooting), Indiana got 23 from Benson (in 23 minutes), 14 from Wilkerson and Radford and 12 from Valavicius. The Hoosiers continued to shoot well, finishing at .573 with Wisconsin confined to .349 – Colbert leading Badger scorers with 14 points.

Indiana also had a 52-40 rebounding edge in finishing its first lap around the conference with a 9-0 league mark and 18-0 overall.

The Hoosiers get Monday night off before starting lap No. 2 with home games against Michigan Saturday and Michigan State the next Monday. Michigan preserved second place in the league with a 104-95 victory over Iowa Saturday. The Wolverines are 7-2 in the conference and 13-4 overall, and all other teams have lost at least four league games.

Wisconsin left town 2-7 in the conference and 8-9 overall.

WISCONSIN 61 M FG FT R A PF TPKoehler, f 31 3-11 5-7 2 0 5 11Pearson, f 21 4-5 0-0 1 0 2 8Johnson, c 22 1-3 2-4 4 1 4 4J Smith, g 22 0-4 1-4 5 5 3 1Colbert, g 34 6-19 2-3 3 4 4 14Falk 14 1-6 0-0 3 0 1 2Rudd 24 4-6 3-3 0 0 5 11B Smith 23 2-6 2-3 1 1 0 6Brey 9 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 2Anderson 4 0-1 0-1 0 0 0 0Faurote 3 0-0 0-0 3 0 0 0Newburg 2 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 0Team 10Totals 22-63 17-27 40 11 24 61

INDIANA 114 M FG FT R A PF TPMay, f 25 13-20 4-5 4 2 8 30Abernethy, f 20 1-6 2-2 5 2 3 4Benson, c 23 10-15 3-5 9 0 2 23Buckner, g 17 3-4 1-1 3 9 2 7Wilkerson, g 21 7-11 0-0 3 3 3 14Wisman 18 0-1 2-3 0 3 3 2Radford 20 5-9 4-4 9 5 3 14Valavicius 18 5-5 2-3 4 0 2 12Crews 8 0-0 0-0 0 2 0 0Bender 13 1-3 0-0 2 2 5 2Roberson 4 1-1 0-0 1 0 1 2Haymore 10 1-4 0-0 5 1 2 2Eells 5 0-3 2-3 2 0 0 2Team 5Totals 47-82 20-26 52 30 26 114

SCORE BY HALVES Wisconsin 30-31 61Indiana 62-52 114

Errors: Wisconsin 34, Indiana 20.Blocked shots: Wisconsin 1 (Rudd),Indiana 7 (Abernethy 3, Benson, Haymore, May, Wilkerson).Steals: Wisconsin 8 (Colbert 3, B. Smith 2, J. Smith 2, Johnson 11;Indiana 20 (Wilkerson 6, Benson 3, May 3, Abernethy 2, Buckner 2,Radford 2, Roberson, Valavicius).Technical fouls: Wisconsin coach Powless; Indiana coach Knight 2.

SHOOTING FG Pct. FT Pct.Wisconsin 22-63 .349 17-27 .630Indiana 47-82 .573 20-26 .769

Officials: Orlando Palesse, Ed Maracich, Ken Kulic. Attendance: 17,587.

BIG TEN STANDINGS Conf. AG INDIANA 9-0 18-0 Michigan 7-2 13-4 Michigan State 5-4 9-9 Iowa 4-4 13-5 Purdue 4-4 9-8 Illinois 4-5 11-7 Northwestern 4-5 9-9 Minnesota 3-6 11-6 Wisconsin 2-7 8-9 Ohio State 2-7 6-11