Grainy, silent, black-and-white footage? Sped-up layup lines? Hiked-up shorts? No three-pointers? Ah, those were the days.
When the Maryland basketball team tips off against Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Tuesday night in Evanston, Ill., it will mark the first time the two teams have faced off since Dec. 6, 1958. Actually, it was the only previous meeting between the Terrapins and the Wildcats, which Northwestern won 66-62.
Luckily for you, there’s video of the game, courtesy of the Northwestern University archives. And boy, is it awesome.
Just so many wonderful things there. Forty-three minutes of nostalgia. Feathery jumpers, dribble-handoffs and sky hooks. Stick around for the cheerleaders’ celebration at the end, with pom-poms roughly the size of truffula trees. Also, at 23:33, the greatest shooting form ever.
The Chicago Tribune for its Sunday edition covered the game, which was the sports section’s lead headline, right above “Tigers Obtain Yost, Bridges from Senators” and “Rams Upset Colts 30-28; Unitas Sets Pass Record.” Here’s the article by Richard Dozer, headlined, “Late Attack of Maryland Fails, 66-62″
Northwestern recovered from a sluggish start Saturday night and drew away from highly ranked Maryland in the second half before settling for a 66 to 62 victory. It was the Wildcats’ second success of the infant basketball season.
Maryland, a highly skilled defensive team, made life miserable for N.U.’s Joe Ruklick in the first half, but stratospheric Joe poured 17 points thru the hoop after the rest stop. He sparked the Wildcats to a lead that reached 65 to 52, before the Terps made a late bid that everyone in the crowd of 6,2000 knew would fall short.
Ruklick, matched against Al Bunge, a huskier center of his own 6 foot 9 inch stature, got only four shots away in the entire first half, but the Wildcats trailed only twice therein, largely because of the superior accuracy on the few shots they did manage to earn.
Rucklick made all four of his first half shots, but one was disallowed due to a prior infraction.
Northwestern carried a three point lead into the second half, but in the first four minutes thereafter Jerry Bechtle sank four outside shots and Maryland was quickly in front, 41 to 35. It took another four minutes for N.U. to deadlock the score, climaxed by Ruklick’s basket and free throw.
A close battle to the wire seemed probably until Ruklick, Willie Jones, Nick Mantis, and Phil Warren contributed 12 points without a Maryland answer in a four minute span that ended with a basket by Bechtle with only 1:55 to play.
Then the Wildcats, who displayed shoddy passing much of the night, tried to slow things, but displayed pressing need for additional work on the control phase of the game, Maryland pecked away heavily as N.U. coughed up the ball repeatedly in the final moments.
It was that kind of game — played in spurts of offensive sharpness by both clubs.
Two quick asides, a question and some history.
First: “6,2000.” You just don’t see numbers written like that anymore. Either that’s a typo or a misplaced comma. If it’s the latter, then a bunch of people cared about Northwestern basketball in 1958.
Second: I wonder if Dez Wells would object to being called “Stratospheric Dez.”
A quick question: What would the score be if Mark Turgeon’s bunch played these Terps?
Now, the history: In the 1958-59 season, Maryland finished 7-7 in the ACC and 10-13 overall, losing to Virginia in the conference tournament’s first round in Raleigh as the fourth seed, one season after they reached the NCAA tournament Elite Eight and won the ACC tournament, becoming the only team outside of North Carolina to do so in the 1950s and 1960s.
According to the University of Maryland Digital Collections, however, seven of the Terps’ losses in the 1958-59 season came by four points or less. So at least it was a close sub-.500 record.
Maryland was coached by the late Bud Millikan who, among others, had Gary Williams play underneath him. Millikan also had his players huddle during timeouts like this: