26-0 and 1 to go as Indiana romps, 76-63

26-0 and 1 to go as Indiana romps, 76-63

by Bob Hammel, H-T Sports Editor

March 2, 1976

From the March 2, 1976 Bloomington Daily Herald – Telephone

EVANSTON, Ill. – Indiana had the look of a sleek machine on a check-out run most of the way Monday night as the Hoosiers raced along unbeaten with a 76-63 victory at Northwestern.

That one left one lap to go – against Ohio State Saturday at Assembly Hall – to send the already-crowned Big Ten champions into NCAA play with their second straight undefeated regular season.

The Hoosiers had a few pings and sputters in the second half – ironically, when Northwestern junked the zone defense that all opponents have been using against IU and went to a man-to-man.

Whether shock at finally seeing a non-zone had anything to do with the Hoosier problems, IU coach Bob Knight wasn’t sure. “It kinda hurt us,” he said of the switch.

“I thought the first half we played real good – I thought we were ready,” said Hoosier forward Scott May, the game’s scoring leader with 25 points. “We just lost it in the second half. Maybe that (the switch to a man-to-man’ did do something to us.”

“Could’ve been,” senior guard Quinn Buckner said. “But our offense against a man-to-man should be able to handle it.”

The tone of all three was more clinical than worrisome. This was a game the Hoosiers took charge of in the opening minutes and never let open up to Northwestern ambition.

May and Buckner got the Hoosiers ahead with first-minute baskets and May’s jump-shot at 17:56 broke a 4-4 tie and popped the Hoosiers ahead for good.

Guard Tim Teasley’s outside sniping kept Northwestern close, 18-16, before May contributed half the points in a 12-4 Hoosier spurt that put the Wildcats down 36-20.

Billy McKinney, Northwestern’s standout junior scorer who matched the Wildcat career point record later in his 20-point game, got his first field goal at 6:53 after being harassed into an 0-for-5 start by his bedeviling Hoosier friend, Bob Wilkerson.

But Indiana got that one back with a dazzler for the sellout crowd of 7,098, about a third of then Indiana backers.

Buckner ran down a rebound in the deep, left corner at Indiana’s defensive end. Almost teetering out of bounds, he saved possession with a behind-the-back flip to May, then hurried downcourt for a fast-break feed from May – the role reversal carried off perfectly at both ends.

From the March 2, 1976 Bloomington Daily Herald – Telephone

May’s seventh and eighth field goals of a 17-point half came in the final minute to boost Indiana’s lead at the break to 45-29.

Things never really got sticky in the second half. “I thought we got off to the kind of start we wanted to get off to,” Knight admitted. “If thee was any let-up, it was in the second half, not the first, and that’s a hell of a lot better for me.”

Kent Benson, one man who showed no adjustment problems at all in being sprung form the swarm normally around him in a zone, kept Northwestern from making much of a move by dominating the game for a five-minute mid-half stretch.

Three straight times, Benson ripped Northwestern masses off the Hoosiers’ defensive board – the sort of rebounds that resound in mind and memory.

Indiana didn’t get a point after any of those, the score stuck on 53-37. But when McKinney broke the stalemate with a jump shot for Northwestern, Benson hit a free throw and then ripped in three classic hook shots in a three-minute show that shot Indiana’s lead up to 63-43.

The edging for the exits and clearing of the bench began seconds later.

Benson finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, his most productive game since his 38-point explosion against Michigan State Feb. 9.

Both he and May could have helped themselves to fatter totals. Benson missed 4 of 11 free throws and May missed 3 of 4, including a 1-and-1 chance. As a team, the Hoosiers missed 12 free throws the last half alone, a problem more responsible than either Hoosier sloppiness or Northwestern defense for their fall-off in point production the second half.

Still, Indiana led by 19 with two minutes to go. Northwestern scored the game’s last six points to pare the margin but scare no one.

The Hoosiers got good overall results from their starters. Besides the scoring of May and Benson, the guards chipped in 16 points (10 by Buckner) and 16 assists (13 by Wilkerson, one below his team high for the season). Tom Abernethy, the fifth starter, had 8 points and 5 rebounds.

“We’re basically a man-to-man team,” Northwestern coach Tex Winter said. “I thought our game plan (using the zone) was sound, but we had only one way to practice for this game so we had to concoct a zone and then all we had time to do was give it lip service.”

Indiana shot a sub-par .469 and matched Northwestern in turnovers (17 each). But, the Hoosiers did have firm command of the boards, whipping the Wildcats, 46-28, in actual rebounds.

Guards McKinney and Teasley put up 42 of Northwestern’s 64 shots and scored 20 points each.

McKinney tied the Wildcat career record of 1,368 points (Jim Burns, 1967-69) with two free throws with 17 seconds to play. Racing the buzzer seconds later, he broke away for a lay-up try but hurried it and missed – his record-setting point waiting until the Wildcats’ season wind-up at Michigan Saturday.

For Indiana, it was the 26th straight victory this year, 17 in Big Ten play, and it stretched older strings to 36 in the league and 56 in regular-season play. It also closed a second straight year of winning in every Big Ten opponent’s arena … which no one else has ever done, or come close to doing.

INDIANA 76 M FG FT R A PF TP May, f 37 12-23 1-4 7 2 4 25 Abernethy, f 31 2-5 4-4 5 2 1 8 Benson, c 39 5-9 7-11 14 2 2 17 Buckner, g 22 5-9 0-4 7 3 4 10 Wilkerson, g 32 3-8 0-0 4 13 3 6 Crews 6 1-2 0-0 1 2 1 2 Radford 13 2-3 1-3 5 1 1 5 Valavicius 8 0-2 0-0 0 0 1 0 Wisman 6 0-1 3-5 1 1 1 3 Bender 3 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 Roberson 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0 Haymore 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Eells 1 0-2 0-0 1 0 0 0 Team 1 Totals 30-64 15-31 47 26 19 76 NORTHWESTERN 63 M FG FT R A PF TP Svete, f 34 3-6 0-0 6 2 2 6 Allen, f 15 0-2 0-0 1 1 2 0 Wallace, c 34 3-3 1-4 11 1 3 7 McKinney, g 35 7-19 6-6 4 5 0 20 Teasley, g 35 10-23 0-0 5 5 4 20 Hildebrand 13 0-2 0-1 2 1 4 0 Boesen 18 3-8 2-3 5 0 4 8 Klaas 15 1-1 0-0 1 1 1 2 Wall 1 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 Team 5 Totals 27-64 9-14 41 16 21 63 SCORE BY HALVES Indiana 45-31 76 Northwestern 29-34 63 Errors: Indiana 17, Northwestern 17 Blocked shots: Indiana 3 (Radford 2, Benson); Northwestern 3 (Wallace). Steals: Indiana 9 (Buckner 3, Abernethy 2, Radford 2, May, Wilkerson); Northwestern 6 (Wallace 3, McKinney 2, Boesen). Technical fouls: Northwestern bench 3. SHOOTING FG Pct. FT Pct. Indiana 30-64 .469 16-29 .516 Northwestern 37-64 .422 9-14 .643 Officials: Orlando Palesse, Ed Maracich and Ken Kulick. Attendance: 7,098 (capacity). TSN ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM SCOTT MAY, Indiana, 6-7, sr. Adrian Dantley, Notre Dame, 6-5, jr. John Lucas, Maryland, 6-2, sr. Robert Parish, Centenary, 6-11, sr. Phil Ford, North Carolina, 6-2 so. SECOND TEAM Kenny Carr, North Carolina State, 6-8, so. Richard Washington, UCLA, 6-11, jr. Leon Douglas, Alabama, 6-10, sr. Ronnie Lee, Oregon, 6-4, sr. Chuckie Williams, Kansas State, 6-2, sr. UPI ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM SCOTT MAY, Indiana, 6-7, sr. Adrian Dantley, Notre Dame, 6-5, jr. John Lucas, Maryland, 6-3, sr. Richard Washington, UCLA, 6-11, jr. KENT BENSON, Indiana, 6-11, jr. SECOND TEAM Phil Sellers, Rutgers Phil Ford, North Carolina Bernard King, Tennessee Mitch Kupchak, North Carolina Earl Tatum, Marquette THIRD TEAM Ernie Grunfeld, Tennessee Leon Douglas, Alabama Terry Furlow, Michigan State Kenny Carr, North Carolina State. Ron Lee, Oregon HONORABLE MENTION QUINN BUCKNER, Indiana Eddie Owens, Nevada-Las Vegas Marques Johnson, UCLA Willie Smith, Missouri Robert Parish, Centenary Lloyd Walton, Marquette Rickey Green, Michigan Mike Dabney, Rutgers Bo Ellis, Marquette Chuckie Williams, Kansas State AP ALL-BIG TEN FIRST TEAM SCOTT MAY, Indiana, 6-7 Terry Furlow, Michigan State, 6-5, sr. Kent Benson, Indiana, 6-11, jr. Rickey Green, Michigan, 6-2, jr. Michael Thompson, Minnesota, 6-11, jr. SECOND TEAM BOB WILKERSON, Indiana, 6-7, sr. Scott Thompson, Iowa, 6-3, sr. Eugene Parker, Purdue, 6-1, so. Billy McKinney, Northwestern, 6-0, jr. Ray Williams, Minnesota, 6-2, jr. HONORABLE MENTION TOM ABERNETHY, Indiana Steve Grote, Michigan Rich Adams, Illinois Phil Hubbard, Michigan Dan Frostt, Iowa Craig Taylor, Ohio State Bruce King, Iowa Walter Jordan, Purdue Cal Wulfsberg, Iowa Kyle Macy, Purdue Wayman Britt, Michigan Dale Koehler, Wisconsin