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Nicholas Grisanti on Kentucky-Georgetown 1912


We are still looking for our next Blogger and have moved onto Round 2. The topic for this round was “Description of your favorite Kentucky REGULAR SEASON basketball game.” Everyone had free reign to go about it in their own chosen manner. Here is an entry:

Our beloved Cats have played some epic contests in their glorious years. Whether it was Pitino’s Bombinos finding new ways to embarrass LSU in the mid-90s, Rex, Tayshuan, and Jodie lighting up our biggest rivals, or Mike Davis auditioning for the circus in Freedom Hall.

But the easy choice for me was the legendary 19 to 18 victory by previously-named State College over those punks from Georgetown College in 1912. It was a packed house on that chilly March 1st at Georgetown Gymnasium, and a simpler time then: no jumbotrons telling us when to cheer, no hot sideline reporters being exploited, and no federal extortion cases. (Maybe a little point shaving, but who’s counting?) Our State College boys from Lexington trotted up I-75 sporting a perfect 8-0 mark, and were hungry with a chance to close the season with an unblemished record.

Led by the fiery coach Edwin R. Sweetland, Kentucky had already dismantled the Georgetown squad 38-12 in Buell Armory Gymnasium back in January, proving that even without a shot clock or the 3-pointer they could’ve hung with the 2009 Big Ten. Sweetland, in fact, was Kentucky’s first paid coach, who agreed to a salary on a simple handshake deal with the university’s president. (Oh, the good ole days). G’town was coached by coach Robert Hinton, who enraged some Cats fans by blowing off Sweetland´s post-game handshake in the first meeting.

The game was a heated contest of set shots and crisp chest passes. Kentucky took it to Georgetown early, powered by a pair of field goals by the sharp shooter W.C. Harrison. Our boys doubled up the enemy in the first half, taking a 13-6 lead into locker room. If I recall correctly, no one tweeted any halftime reports ala Charlie Villanueva, but several cigarettes were probably smoked.

In the second half Georgetown stormed out with a one-man scoring attack by a fella named Dawes (unsure if he was related to Calvin Coolidge’s VP Charles G. Dawes). Apparently the guy had the refs in his back pocket, because he made 14 free throws, chipped in one bucket, and accounted for 16 or his squad’s 18 points, a ball-hogging performance that could make even Kobe blush.

Yet, State wouldn’t back down and sustained their lead with a balanced scoring attack. Bluegrass hero Brinkley Barnett led Kentucky with 9 points, including 7 freebies. Derrill Hart, Jake Gaiser, and R.C. Preston also contributed a solid 2 points each. The Cats hung on for the nail biting one-point win after running the vaunted four corners offense for the last 7:35 after taking a 19-18 lead. Broadcaster William Packer Sr. said running the table for a perfect 9-0 was the most impressive performance of the 1912 season.

State College returned to Lexington as conquering heroes. Seriously, there were girls showing the players their bare ankles that night at Two Keys. It was wild. Unfortunately there is no surviving footage of this game to provide you with a Youtube clip. All tapes were confiscated by the G’town staff when Brinkley Barnett threw down a monster dunk on Dawes. (Zing! That joke was teed up like a Pro V).

In conclusion, I will never forget that memorable night in Wildcat lore. And I hope you all take some time to reminisce about the pre-ESPN days of college hoops

MATT’s TAKE: I have to say that I liked this a lot. Initially, I love the idea of taking a game from 1912. That is a brilliant move. Second, the execution is solid…lots of good lines and relevant references (Billy Clyde’s contract and Lebron’s dunk tape) and references to Vice President Clarence Dawes. Great stuff.

You have the unfortunate task of being in a solid group, but this was a great effort.

Article written by Matt Jones