The Day No One Would Out Score the Hoosiers
Written By: Bill Murphy
That February day in 1959 would prove to be a Hoosier classic. Up until that point in the season, the highest point total came in the third game of the season against 19th ranked Missouri 87 to 72, behind the scoring of hall of Famer Walt Bellamy.
However, on that February 2, 1959 Indiana would epitomize the Hurry'in Hoosiers under head coach Branch McCracken as they never had before. The 7 and 6 Hoosiers would travel to Columbus Ohio to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. The starting lineup that day included Walt Bellamy, Frank Radovich, Leroy Johnson, Herbie Lee, and Gary Long.
The opening tip belong to the Hoosiers as Long brought the ball into the frontcourt to play, a Lee rebound of a missed shot resulted in a Lee 15 foot jump shot from the left and a 2 point Hoosier lead. Baskets by Bellamy, Johnson, Lee, and Long provided Indiana with a 10 to 4 lead with 16:42 to go in the first half. Both teams continued to score at a fast pace as Ohio State ran right along with the Hoosiers. In the game, Ohio State Buckeyes were added in their scoring by foul shots as the Hoosiers committed several fouls along the way. In the first half, with Radovich and Bellamy rebounding and sending quick outlet passes to Lee Johnson, and Long the fast break was on and Indiana was scoring at will. With 4:11 to go in the first half the score read Ohio State 38 and Indiana 35. A Radovich free throw and a long jumper by Long tied the score at 38. Bellamy would tie the score at 42 and a long jump shot by Lee tied the game at 44. With time running out in the first half a hook shot by Bellamy tied the score at 48 and both teams would go into halftime tied at 48 all.
Ohio State controlled the tip in the second half and converted a free throw to take an early lead 49 to 48 in the second half. The Buckeye lead was short lived as Indiana behind a Johnson jumper regained the lead 50 to 49. A series of baskets by both teams capped off by two underhand free throws by Long put the score at Indiana 81 Ohio State 71 with 10:28 left in the game. What resulted next would see Indiana score 41 points to Ohio States 21. A steal by Long and a basket by Johnson with 7:17 to go made the score 94 to 77 Hoosiers. A Long feed to Johnson and another Hoosier score made the scoreboard read Indiana 102 and Ohio State 79 as Buckeye fans began to head for the exits. A Bellamy three point play followed by two free throws by Bell and two more free throws by Long and both coaches began to empty their benches.
Gene Flowers would rebound his own missed free throw and score to make it Indiana 115 to Ohio States 92. Bob Reinhart hit two free throws to put Indiana in front 118 to 92, then Al Schlegelmilch fast break bucket capped off the scoring 122 to 92.
The 122 points would be the most ever scored in Indiana history, with Indiana scoring 72 points in the second half. Now of course to have a game like this a team must shoot very well which Indiana did. The other team must run as well which the Buckeyes did, and Ohio State took a lot of long shots which resulted in long rebounds which Indiana converted into fast break points. For the game, Indiana was led in scoring by Gary Long with 29 points, followed by 25 for Herbie Lee, 20 by Leroy Johnson, 16 by Walt Bellamy and 12 by Frank Radovich. Captain Gene Flowers had 10, and Ron Horn had 4, Al Schlegelmilch had 2, Lee Aldridge had 2 as did Bob Reinhart.
It was indeed a game to remember.