This is an article from the March 2, 1959 issue
The pressure was on at Lexington, and Auburn's Tigers, licking their chops after 30 straight victories, acted more like tabby cats as they lost to wily Kentucky 75-56. Using a jaw-to-jaw man-to-man, the Wildcats reduced the Auburn shuffle, which sets up a continual screen to force the opposition to switch on defense, to a mere walk and dropped the Tigers into a first-place SEC tie with Mississippi State, winner over Georgia 76-56 and LSU 75-67. Johnny Cox outjostled the smallish Tigers off the boards (see right) and tossed 18 points into the Kentucky pot while sophomore Billy Lickert held Auburn's frustrated Rex Frederick to five points and scored 18 of his own. Explained Coach Adolph Rupp: "We just stayed with them. We made them make a lot of mistakes they didn't want to make....It was superb defense."
North Carolina needed 10 points in the last two minutes by York Larese and Lee Shaffer to put down a late North Carolina State surge and shake off its most persistent pursuer 74-67 at Chapel Hill. But Coach Frank McGuire had a complaint about his Tar Heels: "They don't have the killer instinct. They're too nice." Three nights later, the league leaders were indeed too polite and found themselves upset by mediocre Maryland 69-51, as Jerry Bechtle scored 28 points.
West Virginia continued its ownership of the Southern Conference, drubbing VMI 91-55 and George Washington 89-86 for its fifth straight unbeaten league season. But the Mountaineers must do it all over again this week in the conference tournament to earn an NCAA bid. Eastern Kentucky, however, had its NCAA ticket after squeezing by Western Kentucky 72-70 to clinch the Ohio Valley crown.
Dartmouth placed one impatient foot on the threshold of the Ivy League championship, trapping Princeton 71-59 at Hanover for its 14th straight. The Indians stifled the Tigers with a choking zone and late freeze as Rudy La Russo, a jack rabbiting 6-7, dominated the boards and the scoring. But the Tigers still have a chance to get even when the two teams meet again Friday night at Princeton.
Navy moved toward its year-end tussle with Army (see page 8), whomping Georgetown 72-47 and Pitt 80-55, while the Cadets, after beating Williams 93-77, lost to slick Manhattan 94-77; St. Joseph's outhustled Bucknell 87-64 and La Salle 70-63 to all but clinch the Mid-Atlantic title; Providence surprised NIT-bound St. Bona venture 53-50; NYU and Fordham were tapped by the NIT after the late-blooming Violets bombed Villanova 78-60 and the Rams edged Canisius 66-62. Fordham also beat Detroit 93-73.
The fight was practically over in the Big Ten when Michigan State, the league's shortest-standing and tallest-jumping team, polished off Northwestern 71-68 and Purdue 94-87 to open up a cozy three-game bulge over the field. It was the same in the Big Eight, where Kansas State gained a near lock on the crown by beating Oklahoma 78-55 and Oklahoma State 62-50 for its 17th in a row.
Cincinnati was almost, but not quite, out of the woods in the Missouri Valley after Bradley snipped St. Louis' 14-game winning string 72-65 and Houston also caught the Billikens with their rebounds down and shocked them 64-57. Meanwhile, Cincinnati overpowered Miami (O.) 102-73 and Wichita 88-74 as Oscar Robertson piled up 77 points, but the Bearcats still must face second-place Bradley and St. Louis. NCAA-bound Marquette downed Xavier 79-70.
The title was up for grabs and Denver was very much in the running after shaking up Utah's Skyline leaders 67-62. The gasping Utes barely defeated New Mexico 68-55, while Denver rallied to tame stubborn Montana 74-70 and continue hot on the trail. California kept winning in the PCC, but so did Washington, now only a half-game behind the Bears. And though Idaho State lost to independent Seattle 75-69, it backed into its seventh Rocky Mountain crown when Colorado State split two with Adams State.
Harry Kirchner, who stands 6 feet 10 inches, may not be the most graceful player in the SWC, but he certainly owns the boards. And, because of his skill in that department, TCU owns the conference championship. With Kirchner stuffing rebounds back up for points, the muscular Frogs last week shrugged off pesky Rice 68-64 and trampled Texas 72-59, while Texas Tech eliminated SMU 72-64.
TV GAME OF THE WEEK: ARMY VS. NAVY
Sat., Feb. 28, NBC-TV, 3 p.m. (EST)
SCOUTING REPORT: Army fast-breaks when it can, otherwise sends Sager and Klosek inside to man twin posts, with Kouns, Darby and Kaiser working ball outside. Kouns, best scorer in Army history, is quick, moves well, drives hard and is deadly with jump shot. He gets scoring help from Darby, an excellent set shooter, and agile sophomore Sager, who is adept with hooks and fallaway jumps from pivot. Weak off their own boards, the rough and ready Cadets usually use man-to-man defense, sometimes get caught in their own switches against fast-moving pass patterns.
SCOUTING REPORT : Navy, tough to beat at Annapolis, has good balance and team speed, will look for chance to run against Army. Middies also work off double post against man-to-man and shoot well from outside against zone. Metzler, at 6 feet 6 inches the biggest man ever to play for the Academy, hooks with either hand, likes to jump-shoot from keyhole and is fine rebounder, but can be fooled on defense. Bower, team's top scorer, often will drive from outside in attempt to draw fouls. Navy uses both man-to-man and zone, may switch back and forth during game.