1958: A K-State-KU Game for the Ages

Editor's Note: The following story appeared in Tuesday's editon of Kansas State Official Sports Report and was written by OSR writer Mark Janssen. To receive the daily email newsletter go to www.kansasstateosr.com.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The date was Feb. 3, 1958, when No. 4 Kansas State visited No. 2 Kansas and came home with a 79-75 double-overtime victory in Allen Fieldhouse.

Not since then - 52 years ago - have the Wildcats and the Jayhawks matched talents with each owning a national ranking of at least No. 5, as they will Wednesday night.

Kansas State (24-4) moved up to No. 5 in the national polls Monday, marking its highest Associated Press ranking since being No. 3 on March 7, 1962. In the same poll, Kansas (27-2) slipped to No. 2 after losing Saturday to Oklahoma State.

Can these players of Frank Martin and Bill Self today possibly match the game provided by the players of Tex Winter and Dick Harp in 1958?

That would be nearly impossible.

Let's revisit that game by stepping back in time and entering Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 3, 1958, when 17,000 were on hand for the meeting between 14-1 K-State and 12-2 Kansas.

It was earlier in the season at the Big 7 Holiday Tournament that the No. 2 Jayhawks cruised to a 79-65 victory over No. 3 K-State in Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium.

Of that game, Hayden Abbott reflects, "I remember that game because I was back in the Muehlebach Hotel with some type of virus, and by halftime Bob (Boozer) was back at the hotel with me with the same bug."

While there was the normal Sunflower hype for the next game in Lawrence, Abbott says it was before games were televised, so there was no extra pressure.

Prior to the game, Abbott recalls, "Tex came into practice and literally told us that he had a dream on how we could beat KU. I was going to be at Wilt's (Chamberlain) belt buckle, while Bob (Boozer) and Jack (Parr) would be on each shoulder. Tex said if Wilt goes to the bathroom, it was going to be with this triangle around him."

Now, let's call a quick timeout, because the memories of these Wildcats in their mid-70s today isn't what it used to be, and even a box score of the game is tough to come by.

Boozer, 6-foot-8, called the defense a 1-3-1 with the 6-9 Parr in front of the 7-2 Chamberlain, while he played behind the KU giant.

"Tex created a brilliant defense that created a sandwich around him," said Parr.

Don Matuszak said of the defense. "Roy DeWitz was on Ron Loneski, Boozer was behind Chamberlain and Parr was in front of him, and Hayden and I zoned the other three guys."

Perhaps it was a defensive combination of all of the memories, but for sure, as Boozer said, "The defense worked to perfection."

And even that is somewhat questionable as Chamberlain did score 25 points, but that was six under his season average of 30.1 points per game.

Boozer scored 32 in the game, while Parr and Abbott added 15 and 13, respectively. While Chamberlain had 14 rebounds, DeWitz was high for the game with 15.

K-State opened a 41-28 lead at the half by, as Boozer said, "We were a big team, but we were a running team. If someone was open, Matuszak was going to put it on you."

 But then as Matuszak recalls, "We ran at every opportunity in the first half, but then Tex wanted to slow it down in the second half and we almost slowed it down too much."

Reports say that K-State ran 2:33 off the clock at the end of regulation, but missed the shot to leave the game tied at 60-60.

Abbott didn't remember the stall, but did say, "We did have a motion offense where we really went looking to score."

The first OT was a defensive struggle at 5-5, which included a pivotal blocked shot by Parr on Chamberlain that was whistled as a jump ball.

In a day where they really did have jump balls, Parr proudly recalls, "I got the tip," and then Abbott finished the play.

"I turned and drove right at Wilt and flipped the shot off the backboard and it went in," Abbott said. "People tell me Tex was up shouting, 'No, no, no, no-no-no-no ... great shot!' Had it not gone in I might have never played again."

The shot moved the game into the second OT when K-State's free throw shooting took over with Parr making seven one-pointers in a row after Boozer had fouled out.

Asked if he ever wanted to tell coach Winter that he was willing to take Chamberlain straight up, Boozer was quick with a "... no, no, no, no ... don't even go there. I didn't have that cocky attitude. We were a team."

Plus, Boozer said, "He was 7-2 and I was 6-8. When he got you in the low post, you were dead. When he went to dunk, you made sure your hand was out of the way because he was going to break it. From the waist up, he had the body of a weight lifter."

Matuszak remembers dining in Lawrence after the game and returning for a pep rally in Ahearn Field House: "Students exceeded curfew that night!"

Already crowned Big 7 champions, K-State would lose the final two games of the season to Nebraska and to Kansas in Ahearn Field House, 61-44.

"We had already won the conference so I'm guessing it was a mental lapse and we just went into a funk waiting for the (NCAA) tournament to start," said Abbott. "I know Tex wasn't real happy."

K-State, 22-5 for the year, defeated Cincinnati and Oklahoma State in the NCAA Regionals, but then lost to Seattle and Temple in the Final Four staged in Louisville, Ky.