World Kent’s; Big Ten IU’s

World Kent’s; Big Ten IU’s

by Bob Hammel, H-T Sports Editor

February 10, 1976

From the February 10, 1976 Bloomington Daily Herald – Telephone

“There are times,” Kent Benson says, “when you go out there and feel like the world is yours.

“Other times, it’s a struggle.”

The world has seldom been more Benson-owned than it was Monday night, when his 38 points led Indiana to an 85-70 victory over Michigan State – another big step for the Hoosiers toward a possible fourth straight Big Ten basketball championship.

“I’d just like to borrow him for one quarter,” Michigan State coach Gus Ganakas said. “He plays like he’s in the NBA … and they let him play like he is.”

The officiating tolerance Ganakas implied wasn’t nearly so obvious to the 17,681 Hoosier loyalists in the Assembly Hall stands as the way the Big Red’s “Big Red” was eating Spartans alive in the middle to keep Indiana safely out of catching range for the game’s last 23 minutes.

Benson’s big night stands as second-high for a Hoosier at Assembly Hall – Steve Downing’s 41 against Illinois in 1973 a record that withstood assault by Michigan State’s Terry Furlow as well as Benson Monday.

Furlow – firing freely particularly in the last half when Indiana appeared uncatchable – totaled 40 points. The previous high by a Hoosier opponent at the Hall was 34 by Iowa’s Kevin Kunhert in 1972. Kunhert’s team didn’t win either.

But Benson was the deciding factor in this game, the high for his IU career and the first really “hot” one he has enjoyed at Assembly Hall. His previous high games of 33 points came in last year’s NCAA Regional game against Kentucky and this year’s 80-74 victory at Michigan. If Bennie doesn’t make anything else, in Michigan he ought to be all-state.

Hoosier coach Bob Knight said Benson “did a good job of moving to get the ball. And (Rich) Valavicius, (Tom) Abernethy and (Scott) May screened well for him.”

There was a hint early in the game that Benson was headed for of a struggle than a glory day. He was the first Hoosier pulled by Knight, Abernethy – bumped from the starting lineup for the first time this year as sophomore Wayne Radford moved in – coming in with the game only 3 1/2 minutes old to give Benson a 3-minute stretch on the bench, complete with counseling.

“The first half, he was coming out too far on the floor,” Knight said. “We wanted to use him as much as we could because he’s a little bit stronger than their post people.”

Indiana actually passed Michigan State with Benson on the sidelines – the score 11-8 for Michigan State when he departed and 16-15 for Indiana when he returned.

And his presence on the court didn’t drastically change things for a while. Furlow, collecting free throws faster than field goals, rallied the Spartans to a 26-22 lead before Benson contributed eight points to a surge that put Indiana in strong shape at halftime – up 46-37.

From the February 10, 1976 Bloomington Daily Herald – Telephone

When Benson drilled his first four shots of the second half, the Indiana lead was 56-43 and Spartan organization was disappearing faster than their victory chance.

Furlow, who had 22 first -half points, threatened for a time to make the Hoosier crowd choke on its challenging chant that rang out every time Furlow touched the basketball: “Shoot! Shoot!” Terry obliged ’em every time he could, launching 30 shots in all and hitting 13 in his fifth 40-point game this year – a total topped in Knight’s five Hoosier years by only South Carolina guard Kevin Joyce’s 41-point explosion against IU in December, 1972.

“Furlow is probably the best shooter we’ve faced since I’ve been here,” Knight said. “But one guy taking that many shots (36, counting six two-shot fouls he drew on other attempts), isn’t going to beat you very many times.”

Furlow, insisted he “wasn’t giving too much attention to the crowd. I was taking the ball to a spot where I could get off a good shot.”

But Ganakas said, “We went one-on-one too much the second half. I didn’t like that. By then, though, the game was pretty well decided.”

Indiana trailed for most of the first 12 minutes before catching up on a Benson basket at 7:45 of the half, 28-28.

The Hoosiers cracked them a little right there with three straight Michigan State turnovers – Indiana spurting out to a 33-28 lead.

Radford had two baskets and May one in the last 75 seconds for a 46-37 Hoosier lead at halftime.

Indiana’s 10-6 push opening the second half – eight of the points on Benson field goals – put the Hoosiers in firm command. Michigan State got the lead under 10 only once after that (56-47 with 15:25 left). By the nine-minute mark, the lead was 66-51 and Spartan guards Bennie White and Bob Chapman were gone on fouls.

Greg Kelser, the 6-6 freshman assigned to Benson when the Spartans were playing man-to-man defense, was on his way. He left at 7:48, Benson scoring 10 points after that before Knight pulled him to a standing ovation at 1:40.

Benson also led both teams with 12 rebounds (Kelser, the conference leader, had six for Michigan State), but the Spartans did win the rebound battle with 55 to IU’s 53.

May was Indiana’s only other double figure scorer. He had 22, and he’d have had company except brand-new starter Wayne Radford drawing his third and fourth fouls only 17 seconds apart in the first two minutes of the second half. Furlow was the only double-figure man for Michigan State, which spread its other 30 points among seven players.

The game evened out all of Indiana’s winning streaks. Now, the Hoosiers have won 20 in a row this year, 30 in a row at home and in Big Ten play, and 50 straight regularly-scheduled games.

Michigan State had a five-game Big Ten winning streak going as the Spartans headed into one of their big games of the year – at home against Michigan Saturday.

Michigan remained second in the Big Ten standings, three defeats back of IU with a 9-3 record by routing Ohio State at Columbus, 90-66. Indiana is 11-0 in the league.

MICHIGAN STATE 70 M FG FT R A PF TP Furlow, f 39 13-30 14-18 9 2 3 40 Wilson, f 35 1-3 5-6 2 1 4 7 Kelser, c 21 3-5 2-4 6 0 5 8 White, g 28 1-2 0-0 3 3 5 2 Chapman, g 26 2-6 2-2 3 0 5 6 Rivers 11 0-0 0-0 4 0 0 0 Riewald 15 1-2 1-2 4 0 1 3 Wiley 9 1-3 0-1 1 0 0 2 Vandenbussche 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Webb 8 0-1 0-0 0 0 2 0 Nash 5 1-2 0-0 3 0 0 2 Team 10 Totals 23-54 24-33 45 6 25 70 INDIANA 85 M FG FT R A PF TP May, f 37 9-15 4-4 6 0 3 22 Radford, f 21 4-6 1-4 2 3 4 9 Benson, c 34 16-26 6-8 12 3 1 38 Buckner, g 18 0-5 1-4 2 5 3 1 Wilkerson, g 14 3-8 0-0 2 3 1 6 Abernethy 21 3-7 0-0 5 2 3 6 Valavicius 20 1-2 0-0 3 0 4 2 Wisman 24 0-1 1-2 1 6 1 1 Crews 4 0-2 0-0 0 1 0 0 Roberson 3 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 Bender 2 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 Eells 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Haymore 1 0-1 0-0 1 0 0 0 Team 7 Totals 36-74 13-23 43 19 25 85 SCORE BY HALVES Michigan State 37-33 70 Indiana 46-39 85 Errors: Michigan State 17, Indiana. Blocked shots: Indiana 5 (Benson 3, Buckner, Crews). Steals: Michigan State 5 (Furlow, Kelser, White, Wiley, Wilson); Indiana 8 (Benson 2, Buckner 2, Wisman 2, Radford, Wilkerson). SHOOTING FG Pct. FT Pct. Michigan State 23-54 .426 24-33 .727 Indiana 36-74 .406 13-23 .565 Officials: Art White, Gary Muncy and Carel Cosby Attendance: 17,681 (capacity)