The frenzies of joy and despair displayed on the previous pages reached a figurative peak last season in a game between Cincinnati and Kansas State. Soul in torment at right is State Coach Tex Winter. With only one second to play (see clock, top of picture), and his team ahead 74-73, he nevertheless feels the cold clutch of defeat. Rival Cincinnati has just been awarded two free throws. Shooter is All-America Oscar Robertson. If he sinks one, the game is tied; if he sinks both, Cincinnati will certainly win. For a picture sequence of this most exciting game of the 1958 season, see the following five pages.
Cincinnati Strategy, expounded by Coach George Smith, above, was to spread State's defense, force them to play man-to-man, so that Robertson (12, foreground) could slip through for close-in scores, as he does in picture below. Despite State counterstrategy (see opposite), Robertson scored 18 points in first half and Cincinnati led 40-39.
Opposing All-Americas Boozer (with ball) and Robertson duel as Boozer maneuvers for his favorite jump shot at edge of circle. State took lead early in second half, and held it by slim margins until, with one second to go and State leading by one point, Robertson was fouled while shooting. Thus the stage was set for Coach Winter's despair (page 33) and Robertson's dramatic opportunity to win for Cincinnati with two free throws. To see what happened, turn the page.
State Strategy, planned in huddle (above), was to clog middle against Robertson's drives, use their greater height to control boards and set up umbrella around basket against easy shots—as Bob Boozer and Jack Parr (32) are doing below. They led in rebounds throughout game but could not stop Robertson's superb array of shots.
MADE THE FIRST: Robertson, relaxed for his first try, sank it cleanly, took time before second to reassure teammates (left). Then he noted referee near by making sure he shot again within 10-second limit. As State fans (below) gaped in hushed frustration and millions of others around radio and television sets crossed fingers anxiously, Robertson stepped quickly to free-throw line and fired.
MISSED THE SECOND: Robertson watches despairingly as second try sails high and to side. Alert State players prepare to grab rebound, preventing last ditch tip-in by Cincinnati which would also have won game. Fans still debate referee's use of seldom-enforced time limit on free throws, which obviously disturbed Robertson. With score tied, 74 all, game went into five-minute overtime.
Twisting Leap by graceful Boozer fails to disconcert Cincinnati's Connie Dierking on close jump shot. Robertson fouled out early in overtime period, but Cincinnati nevertheless gained the lead with only a minute and a half to go. Then Kansas State took charge. With Guard Roy DeWitz scoring his team's last four points, State, Ave minutes and one second after Coach Winter's black moment, won at last, 83-80.