May-to-Buckner gets a workout

May-to-Buckner gets a workout

by Bob Hammel, H-T Sports Editor

February 24, 1976

From the February 24, 1976 Bloomington Daily Herald – Telephone

Scott May, Indiana’s scoring leader all year long, was delighted to move aside Monday night and let the spotlight shine on the co-cook-and-dishwasher in the two-man apartment he and Quinn Buckner share.

May and Buckner divide the domestic duties there, and their usual division of responsibilities on the basketball floor has May scoring and Buckner passing.

But Monday on the night when Buckner hit his season scoring high with 24 points in Indiana’s 101-81 victory over Iowa, May had six assists, his season high.

“Quinn played an outstanding game,” May said. “I was happy to see him have a game like that.”

The five jump shots Buckner threw in to get his big night started were okay, May indicated, but the Buckner play that got May excited was a driving lay-up with 8:42 to go in the half.

“That was a great play,” May said. “When I saw that, I said to myself, ‘He’s back.'”

At the time, May was sitting on the bench, his third foul coming less than a minute before.

“Of the fouls I had, two were really stupid,” he said. “The third one I was going for a steal and thought I had the guy beat. I touched the ball first, but they called the foul on me. It was a stupid play on my part. You have to play a lot smarter when you have some fouls.”

That was one of the messages Hoosier coach Bob Knight emphasized on a night when his primary emphasis was on positive thinking.

“I got to thinking after the Minnesota game on Saturday,” Knight said. “We were talking about a lot of negative things that happened in the ball game when really what happened was we went out and got a lead, let it get away, came back within one at the half, and then played some pretty good basketball in the second half and had things pretty well under control at the end.

“It was mentioned how often we’ve been behind at the half lately. But it seems like we’re always ahead at the end. We’ve all gotten into a bit of a rut, thinking in negative terms.”

Buckner’s shooting was among the most positive of Hoosier factors against Iowa, and Knight pronounced it the result of hard work.

“We’ve been talking with him about his shooting over a period of time now,” Knight said. “We didn’t use a magic wand.

“The strongest word for the situation is he persevered. Now he’s got the thing in a groove and hopefully he’ll keep it.”

From the February 24, 1976 Bloomington Daily Herald – Telephone

The parallel suggested to Buckner was with his IU record 13-for-14 game at Wisconsin last year, one that seemed to get him on track for what proved to be a strong finish to his junior season.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “My whole game felt better than the Wisconsin game. I shot well, but I seem to remember I had a lot of defensive trouble that night.”

A similarity, though, was that in each case he felt confidence the shots would start dropping although he had a relative off-game.

“Even the Purdue game,” he said, “I felt I was right on the basket, but the ball wasn’t going in.

“For the last four or five weeks, I’ve been trying to get the arch out of my shot – shoot straight at the basket. Oh, yeah, it helps to have some success in practice. The basket out there’s the same size in a game as it is in practice.”

Buckner verified the Iowa defensive game plan: “They did give me the shot,” he smiled, “and I did take it.”

He also passed off for eight assists, giving him a 40-point contribution in 26 playing minutes. His two assists against Minnesota Saturday had boosted his career total to 501, making him the first Hoosier officially to go over 1,000 points as a scorer and a passer.

Bob Wilkerson, IU’s assist leader for the season and No. 2 in the Big Ten to Iowa’s Cal Wulfsberg, had a 6-4 edge over Wulfsberg in that category Monday. Included in Wilkerson’s was an adroit maneuver into the middle of the Iowa zone setting up a pass to Tom Abernethy for a lay-up.

“I was just heading one way and taking the defensive man that way when Tommy was breaking the other way,” Wilkerson said. “It was just a matter of hitting him on the break.

“I like to get players open, set them up for an easy basket.”

Wilkerson said Knight’s emphasis on the positive for the Iowa game had a good effect overall.

“We didn’t play well the last game,” he said. “Why? Nobody knows. Everybody’s different.

“But we were concentrating on what we were doing wrong. We came into this game thinking the defense was going to dominate and the offense would come.”

“It was a lot better than Saturday,” May agreed.

“But we’ve got three more games left. I just want to take ’em one a time.”