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Archive for Thursday, March 27, 1952

1952: Matchless Jayhawkers subdue powerful St. John’s of Brooklyn

Pressing tactics fail to stop winners; Lovellette of KU named outstanding player of tournament; both Big Clyde and Guard Dean Kelley make All-Stars

March 27, 1952

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— Pressed viciously and roughly, but in command all the way, Kansas University steadily ground down battling and foul-happy St. John's of Brooklyn 80 to 63 here Wednesday night to win the 1952 basketball championship of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

All-American Center Clyde Lovellette of the Jayhawkers, named the tournament's outstanding player by the sportswriters and sportscasters covering the meet, led his powerful club with 33 points. In so doing he set every individual scoring record connected with the 14th annual world series of major college basketball.

It was the first time in the history of the Bix Six and Big Seven Conferences that a representative team has copped the national cage crown. For KU Coach Dr. Forrest C. (Phog) Allen, the venerable 66-year-old maples magician of Mt. Oread, it was an honor that so far had escaped him during his 42-year coaching career. To the lovable kinghawk of the Kaw has come just about every plaudit connected with sport.

Once before an Allen-coached quintet had been in th NCAA finals only to lose. That was the 1940 crew that lost to Indiana in Kansas City.

NCAA Champion Kansas now goes to Kansas City Saturday night to play Southwest (Springfield) Missouri State, NAIB champion, in the first round of the U.S. Olympic playoffs. The Hawkers were scheduled to catch a plane out of here at 8:30 Thursday morning (10:30 a.m. Lawrence time.) They were due in Kansas City about 8:30 (Kansas City time) Thursday night. The Jay itinerary calls for the home stop in Lawrence about 10 p.m.

A school record

The victory was the 26th in 28 1951-52 starts for the Kansas club and set a new school record for number of games won in a single season. The 1909 aggregation also coached by Phog Allen, had a season mark of 25-3. Oddly enough, the terrific current championship season record of the Hawks was mounted on two 13-game winning streaks and a two-game slump sandwiched in between.

Kansas opened the current campaign with 13 straight wins, then lost Jan. 26 to Kansas State, 81 to 64, and Oklahoma A&M Jan. 30. In a comeback the likes of which the wearers of the Red and Blue had never seen, the Allenmen battled through 13 more contests to annex the greatest prize of big school basketball.


Lovellette, as always, was a fountain of points for Kansas, but he got timely assistance from his hustling mates. Forward Bob Kenney, senior forward from Winfield, came back to near the form he had displayed before a strep throat put him to bed near the end of the season. The dashing blond scored 12 points and was a ball-snatching demon and valuable floor performer throughout.

Senior Forward Bill Lienhard of Newton who has been slowed down through part of this season, particularly since a mild attack of pneumonia after starting 18 games, came through tremendously in the clutch and cranked in 12 gold-plated money points. Lienhard was also good on the floor and off the backboard.

Leg still bothers

Junior Guard Charlie Hoag, who has been a major power to the Jays lately, had another good night and Junio Guard Dean Kelley of McCune played his always fine game. Hoag contributed nine points to the title cause and Kelley came up with seven. Senior Guard Bill Hougland, playing valiantly despite a painful and hard-to-heal charley-horse, drove home five counters and came down with important rebounds six times. Lovellette snared 17 backboard bounces, but the courageous Hougland was the runnerup in that department for KU.

Showing the way for St. John's was Senior Center Bob (Zeke) Zawoluk, the handsome and graceful Redman ace, with 20 points. However, nine of those counters came after Lovellette, who was guarding him, got four fouls with 4:20 to go in the third quarter and had to slack off. Zawoluk on several occasions scored at will.

Number two in the scoring column for St John's, which now goes to New York's Madison Square Garden Saturday to meet LaSalle, NIT winner, in the Olympic playoffs, was Forward Jack McMahon with 13 tallies. Guard Ron McGilvray, the brilliant Brooklyn school rebounder despite his 6-1 stature, canned eight. McGilvray took 10 rebounds to be runner-up to Lovellette in that department.

KU's second win

St. John's and Kansas met during the 1950-51 season in New York with Kansas winning 52 to 51 in the last 15 seconds. The loss gave the Tribe a 24-5 season mark. The Brooklynites, termed "vicious alley-cats" after the New York game and again Wednesday night by Coach Allen of KU, earned their way into the final game by beating the nation's No. 1 -- Kentucky -- and No. 2 -- Illinois -- teams.

Kansas beat Texas Christian, St. Louis, Santa Clara and then St. John's in tourney play to gain the national crown.

Lovellette, of course is now a fable. The individual NCAA tournament scoring records show nothing but his name. The Big Turkey of the Jayhawker nest has crammed home 795 points in 28 games this year for a fabulous 28.4 average. In three years he has made 1,888 tallies. In four tourney games he canned 141 tallies for a 35.3 average. Here are the NCAA records he now holds:
Most points one game, 44.
Most points four-game series, 141.
Most points three-game series (in tournament play), 108.
Most points two-game series, 75.
Most field goals, one game, 16.
Most field goals, series, 53.
Most free throws, one game, 12.
Most free throws, series, 35.

Kansas at no time trailed in the game, but was dirtied up at thimes by the questionable tactics of the Redmen, as the Jays rumbled systematically to a 41-27 intermission lead.

The limping Hougland came off the bench despite his injury to add two important buckets to the tabulations. His rebounding also helped a lot.

A return to form

Lienhard, a fighter and a hustler all the way, much to the delight of Kansas fans and coaches, cranked in nine first-half points on his famed goose-neck twist.

The Mt. Oreadans ground relentlessly to an 18-13 first-quarter lead and were convincingly in front at the half.

While the Kansas rebounding in the first half wsn't as effective as it can be, mainly because of the pesky McGilvray's well-timed snags, the Hawk ball-stealing corps, captained by the hard-working Kenney, played a big role in the situation.

Again, and as usual, the scrappy, frustration jay defense rose to the occasion to keep the Redmen off balance and force them to abandon their fine outside shooting game and drive for the bucket or toss to Zawoluk. Lovellette got 16 first-half counters, Zawoluk six.

Zawoluk fouled out for St. John's while Lovellette stayed in with four until called to the bench near the end by his coach. Guard Phil Sagona of the Redmen fouled out, as did Hoag and Kelley of Kansas. The Johnnies out-fouled the Jays 35 to 25 and many of the sins appeared quite deliberate.

Clincher by Clyde

St. John's came back fighting in the third quarter and narrowed the Kansas margin to 11 points, 48-37. But Dean Kelley hit a charity and then Lovellette contribited a tip and two hooks to put the Jays back in easy-breathing status. at the end of the third stanza the score read an in-the-bag 60-41.

The last stanza was wild and rugged, with the Johnnies trying everything to get their hand on the ball. KU's largest margin of the game came with 8:26 left when they held a 21-point, 66-45 edge. The closest they came after that was 68-54.

Following the final gun, Coach Allen and his boys and St. John's Coach Frank McGuire and his giant-killing gang were called to the middle of the Edmunson Pavillion floor for the trophy presentations. It was after that that Lovellette was named the meet's top performer. KU's five seniors -- Lovellette, Hougland, Kenney, Lienhard and John Keller -- accepted the trophy.

Placed on the first-team all-star crew for the meet here were Forwards Zawoluk and Johnny Kerr of Illinois, Center Lovellette, and Guards McGilvray and Jim Bredar and Dean Kelley, the latter two tying.

Make Second Team

Hoag and Lienhard of Kansas made the second team, as did Jim Young and Herb Schoenstien of Santa Clara and McMahon of St. John's.

Coach Allen and his crew were deliriously happy and pounded each other, hugged and even planted a few jestful kisses after the event. One group of Kansas rooters, headed by Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy, rolled into a Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant. Allen was besieged with good wishes and many of the players, particularly Lovellette, had a hard time getting off the court because of the autograph seekers.

Allen and Assistant Coach Dick Harp, as well as several of the team members, remarked adversely about the terrific pounding the rugged Redmen gave them. Allen, as he did in New York, termed the opponents "alley-cats with little regard for the cleanliness of play of the game of basketball."

Lovellette got a good pounding, as usual, and, if possible, it topped the one the officials let him take Tuesday night against Santa Clara. That was something painful to witness and the Wednesday night event was even worse.

At one point, Kenney of Kansas threatened to level a Redman if he repeated what he did when he hit Bob from behind while the Winfielder was going for a steal layup.

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