Wednesday, January 08, 2014

December 27, 1957 - Utah vs. Washington

In 1957 we were 7-0 and ranked #9 in the nation heading into our first road trip of the season. We traveled to Corvallis, Oregon, to play in the Far West Classic. I can still remember my starting five at the time: Pearl Pollard, Gary Hale, DeLyle Condie, Dick Shores and Milt Kane. We loved to run and beat teams with our speed off the fast break.

L-R: Pollard, Hale, Condie, Shores and Kane
Our first opponent in Corvallis was the Washington Huskies. They were without their star center, Bruno Boin, that season and had played one of the toughest schedules in the country. So they relied heavily on their 6'7" center, Doug Smart, and his marvelous hook shot. Smart was famous for going toe-to-toe against Wilt Chamberlain of Kansas in a two-game series the year before. So I was worried about Smart and thought this Washington team was a sleeping giant.

Our game plan was thus: run on offense and make Smart try to beat us by himself. But Smart and his long hook shot were unstoppable. When he had the ball, we would sometimes double- or triple-team him -- but it was no use. Everyone in Gill Coliseum knew Smart would slide over and hoist up a hook shot. It's exactly what he did and it nearly always went in. There was simply nothing we could do except lock down the other Husky players and try to out-run them.

We trailed at halftime and through most of the second half, but managed to keep it close. Then with 2:20 left in the game, DeLyle Condie scored to give us the lead and we switched into slow-down mode for the first time. Milt Kane stole the ball away on Washington's next possession and we were able to freeze the ball for nearly two minutes. When the Huskies finally got the ball back with :35 seconds left, we played intense defense again and forced them to take a last-gasp shot at the buzzer -- which was no good.

Doug Smart was brilliant that night. He set a new career high in scoring with 30 points and added 15 rebounds as well. But we escaped victorious behind Pollard's 16, Kane's 14 and Condie's 13.

No comments:

Post a Comment