IU hurdles Marquette; Finals next

IU hurdles Marquette; Finals next

by Bob Hammel, H-T Sports Editor

March 21, 1976

From the March 21, 1976 Bloomington Daily Herald – Telephone

BATON ROUGE, La. – Indiana’s unbeaten Hoosiers turned back one more challenge Saturday afternoon and qualified for the ultimate one in college basketball’s national championship round by turning back Marquette, 65-56, for the Mideast Regional championship.

It qualified them to meet defending champion UCLA next Saturday in Philadelphia in Final Four play – Big Ten runner-up Michigan playing unbeaten Rutgers in the other game. The winners meet Monday night, March 29 for the 1976 championship.

Indiana survived 13 minutes without Scott May Saturday but had the senior all-American at the end. The Hoosiers winning their 30th game this year, had another thing then too – poise. The nine-point margin came on an 8-2 Hoosier edge in the last 25 seconds, the game 57-54 and pressure-packed until then.

“It was the type of game true championship teams win,” Marquette coach Al McGuire said.

It had to be won several times because the Warriors, 27-1 with a 23-game winning streak kept clawing back. But they had no corner on tenacity, Indiana’s grandest show of it coming in the first half when fouls pinned May to the bench.

Marquette went after May and Indiana with the same defense that keyed its late-season victory at Notre Dame – a four-man zone with quick, little Lloyd Walton flea-like sticking to May where ever he went just as he had with Notre Dame all-American Adrian Dantley at South Bend.

We figured we would see it,” said Hoosier coach Bob Knight who spent a good portion of Friday’s practice preparing for the defense that Indiana had met only once before – in the early minutes of the Columbia game in the Holiday Festival last December.

May found some openings, even with the special attention. He shot Indiana ahead in the first 20 seconds with a jump shot from behind a screen on the side.

But Indiana’s feasting spot was in the middle, the rigged defense’s most vulnerable spot as 6-11 all-American Kent Benson – named with May as co-winners of the regional’s outstanding player award – repeatedly swept across for hook shots.

From the March 21, 1976 Bloomington Daily Herald – Telephone

Benson hit two of those in the first two minutes and the Hoosiers hit their first five shots to jump ahead, 10-5. But trouble came quickly. On the first Indiana miss, May was called for a rebounding foul – his second personal with co-captain Quinn Buckner already tagged with two by then too.

The Indiana lead was 20-15 when May got by Walton and one man on the zone but crashed into another Warrior after he had launched a shot – a charging foul than was No. 3 for May. Before Knight could get him out of the game (replaced by Wayne Radford), the Marquette all-American to whom May had been assigned on defense, 6-4 Earl Tatum, slipped way for a basket that cut the Hoosier edge to 20-17 with 13:23 to go in the half.

Changes were profound and fast not all of them expectable. Indiana reacted to May’s loss by jolting Marquette for eight straight points and a 30-19 lead with 9:49 to go in the half, the Hoosiers’ biggest spread.

Without May in the game, Marquette reverted to a defense less vulnerable to Benson, a 1-2-2 zone pinched into the middle. Benson had five field goals and Indiana was 14 for 19 after the spurt that opened the 11-point lead.

But points came hard for every Hoosier the rest of the half as Tatum led Marquette on a 10-point run that shaved the lead to 30-29 with 5:45 still left in the half.

“There was no way I could put May back in,” Knight said. “We had just made up our minds we wanted to get to the half even. Unquestionably, our play in that stretch (closing out the half’ was what enabled us to stay in the game.”

The Hoosiers never did lose the lead, the half closing with Indiana ahead 36-35. Butch Lee gave Marquette its first lead with a base-line jump shot opening the second half, but Indiana freed May for three straight jump shots to reclaim command.

MARQUETTE 56 M FG FT R A PF TP Ellis, f 36 4-6 1-2 7 3 3 9 Tatum, f 36 10-15 2-2 6 2 5 22 Whitehead, c 35 3-10 1-2 9 0 4 7 Lee, g 31 4-18 0-0 2 0 1 8 Walton, g 40 1-9 0-0 2 2 3 2 Rosenberger 8 1-2 0-1 1 1 2 2 Toone 8 2-5 2-2 4 0 0 6 Neary 6 0-1 0-0 2 0 0 0 Team 1 Totals 25-6 6-9 34 8 18 56 INDIANA 65 M FG FT R A PF TP May, f 27 7-10 1-2 3 2 3 15 Abernethy, f 40 4-7 4-5 5 1 2 12 Benson, c 40 8-12 2-2 9 0 2 18 Buckner, g 40 4-9 1-2 8 5 2 9 Wilkerson, g 23 2-3 2-2 3 7 1 6 Radford 7 1-4 0-0 0 1 0 2 Valavicius 6 0-0 1-2 2 0 0 1 Crews 17 1-2 0-0 1 3 1 2 Team 2 Totals 27-47 11-15 33 19 11 65 SCORE BY HALVES Indiana 36 29 65 Marquette 35 21 56 Errors: Indiana 19, Marquette 12 Blocked shots: Indiana 1 (Benson), Marquette 3 (Tatum, Whitehead, Walton). Steals: Marquette 1 (Toone). SHOOTING FG Pct. FT Pct. Indiana 37-47 .574 11-15 .733 Marquette 25-66 .379 6-9 .667 Officials: Jack Ditty and Irv Brown Attendance: 14,150 (capacity)