The 1962 college basketball season was down to its last week as the postseason tournaments moved toward the championship rounds. And for once the biggest, and usually the most unpredictable—the NCAA—followed form reasonably closely. Defending champion Cincinnati and Ohio State (its most persistent challenger), Wake Forest and UCLA (the only longshot winners) all moved through the regional eliminations on the way to this weekend's semifinals and final at Louisville (see page 20).
Meanwhile, the National Invitation Tournament went about its own business in New York's Madison Square Garden. After three hectic sessions, only two things were certain. There would be a new champion, and any one of the six teams still left had a chance to win. While seeded St. John's and Bradley waited patiently for their opening quarterfinal games Tuesday, unseeded Dayton and Loyola of Chicago, two of the boldest teams in the tournament, moved assuredly into Thursday's semifinals.
Dayton was perhaps the most impressive. Big, fast, aggressive and opportunistic, the Flyers, who usually have their troubles in New York, had rarely looked better as they bowled over Wichita 79-71 and Houston 94-77. Wichita tried to rattle the Flyers with a tough press but it never quite came off. Dayton beat it by bringing 6-foot-6 Gary Roggenburk up the sideline to help out Guards Gordy and Tom Hatton. Six-foot-10 Bill Chmielewski, a well-coordinated 235-pounder who had onlooking pro scouts drooling, moved to a high post and Wichita's press deteriorated into a mad scramble to catch the fast-driving Hatton boys. When Wichita retreated, Chmielewski left 6-foot-10 Gene Wiley gaping in the pivot as he rolled around him for lay-ups, hooked and jumped from outside. He even handled the ball expertly, while Gordy Hatton slithered in and around the embattled Shockers for 19 points. It was pretty much the same story against Houston. The Cougars' press was broken early by Dayton and they just couldn't handle Chmielewski, who roamed the pivot like an angry bull and scored 32 points. Gordy Hatton raced around tirelessly until he accumulated 24.
Defending champion Providence went down in the very first round, but not without a struggle. Satisfied that 6-foot-10 Jim Had-not would be too much for Temple's 6-foot-4 Russ Gordon off the boards, Providence Coach Joe Mullaney thought he could confuse the slick little Owls by opening with a man-to-man instead of the Friars' usual scrambling zone. But it didn't quite work that way. The graceful Gordon more than held his own with Hadnot, and little Bruce Drysdale's long-range two-hand set shots put Temple in front 36-30 at halftime. However Temple's hot hand turned cold when Providence returned to its familiar zone defense and ran off 16 straight points at the start of the second half. With 47 seconds to go, the Friars led 74-69 and the exuberant Providence rooters, who had kept the Garden jumping with cheers and music, were anticipating another NIT victory. But the Owls struck back swiftly to tie the score on Ed Devery's three points and Earl Proctor's medium jumper at the buzzer, and then won in overtime, 80-78.
For all Temple's skill and hustle, the Owls were no match for Loyola two nights later. The fast-breaking Ramblers dashed up and down the court with equal facility and the icy-cold Owls simply lacked the shots to match Loyola frontliners Jerry Harkness, Vic Rouse and Ron Miller, who flipped in a total of 49 points. Temple's shots hovered on the rim and dropped off, their usually impeccable zone defense scattered frantically when Loyola's John Egan and Mike Gavin invaded it with swift, driving thrusts, and Temple lost 75-64.
Duquesne and Holy Cross also scored first-round victories. The ambitious Dukes were never in serious trouble as they whipped Navy 70-58. The Middies moved the ball constantly in their beautifully disciplined patterns, but they just couldn't shoot worth a darn. They also couldn't stop Willie Somerset, a chunky little fellow who looks like a fireplug and moves like a jack rabbit. He led Navy a merry chase, barreling in to help big Clyde Arnold pick off rebounds, feeding off with whipping passes, and driving and jumping for 18 points.
Colorado State didn't have a chance against Holy Cross on St. Patrick's Day. The Crusaders started a lineup of Jack Foley, Bob Foley, Pat Gallagher, Joe Kelly and Pete O'Connor against the Rams, and these happy Irishmen celebrated by slipping past CSU 72-71. Jack Foley, a skinny stringbean with an unyielding desire to shoot and the eye to go with it, gunned in 34 points while Bob Foley added 21 more and a muscle job (mostly undetected by the officials) on CSU's 6-foot-6 Bill Green in the pivot. But Green slithered away from his tormentor to make all 14 of his field goal attempts, and nine of his 11 free throws, for 37 points.
THE SMALL COLLEGES
While the major colleges fired away in the big arenas, the NCAA small-college tournament in Evansville, Ind. and the NAIA championship in Kansas City were just as hectic.
Mount St. Mary's, a small school in Emmitsburg, Md., had done exceedingly well even before it got to Evansville. But the Mounties really blossomed there. First, they squeezed the ball even harder than defending champion Wittenberg and won 43-39. Then they turned to a zone defense to help them squeak by Southern Illinois 58-57 on little Ed Pfeiffer's 20-foot jump shot in the last second. In the final, Mount St. Mary's trailed Sacramento State 18-11 before Coach Jim Phelan resorted to an even more drastic measure. He went to the harassing zone press and it startled the Hornets enough to make them give ground. The teams finished in a 55-55 tie, and two free throws by Dick Talley and one by Pfeiffer in overtime gave the Mounties a 58-57 victory and their first NCAA small-college title. "We don't play great," explained Phelan, "just steady."
In Kansas City, the most intriguing sight for the 7,700 who turned up for the NAIA final was Prairie View A&M's 6-foot-8 Zelmo Beatty, a robust 230-pounder who had led the Panthers through the early rounds. Wheeling and dealing underneath like a big bear, Beatty had scored 101 points and snapped up 67 rebounds as Prairie View beat Ashland (Ohio) 73-64, Morris Harvey 85-70, Arizona State (Flagstaff) 86-48 and Western Illinois 80-68. Westminster thought it had Beatty cornered in the championship game. They screened him out underneath and surrounded him with sticky defenders, and he scored only six points in the first half. But Beatty adjusted his position in the second half, scored 22 points and finished with 29 rebounds, and the Panthers beat Westminster for the title 62-53. Coach Leroy Moore had only one complaint about Beatty: "He hasn't learned how to dance yet."