In the Michigan game, Bradley was the underdog—Michigan was favored by a dozen points. And as he began to dominate all the action—not just for himself, but obviously inspiring his teammates—the whole Garden came alive for him. A conclave of Princeton students began to cheer "Go, Tiger, go!" which is how they cheer at Princeton, an affected use of the singular that originated, presumably, when there was only the Princeton Tiger and no Detroit Tigers or Clemson Tigers or Dick Tigers or tiger-in-the-tank tigers. But at the Garden the chant was picked up and carried, and the spectators—Madison Ave. and Lenox Ave. alike—made it the idiomatic plural, "Go, Tigers, go!"
Bradley scored 12 straight points for his team near the end of the first half to put Princeton in front 39-37. That gave him 23. Russell, bothered by a shoe that did not fit and a fine defensive job by Princeton's Don Rodenbach, was held to six points. But Rodenbach picked up two quick fouls at the start of the last half, and Bradley was moved to the back-court in his place.
Complete court majesty
Now Bradley also had to bring the ball up in addition to his other chores of scoring and rebounding and ball-hawking, which meant he was doing everything. The crowd began to cheer whenever he got his hands on the ball. He eventually finished with 41 points, nine rebounds and four assists, but his play-making and general floor skill—the man he guarded made one point and Bradley had several steals—were as outstanding.
"I didn't think that any one fellow on any club could dominate a game against another team," Michigan's Dave Strack said later. "I knew he was great—Cazzie had played with him in the Olympic trials and told me he was. We were willing to give him even 35 or 40 points, but I just never thought that one man could control a game like that."
But the effort tired Bradley. He actually missed two foul shots. Seconds later he was called for traveling, and shortly after that he reached around Oliver Dar-den—a foolish, tired man's move—and fouled out. There was 4:37 left and Princeton led 75-63. At 3:44 Princeton Guard Gary Walters drove through to make it 77-63, and the upset still seemed possible. But then Princeton collapsed.
Like a thwarted ghost out of Shakespeare, Bradley sat towel-shrouded on the bench and watched the undoing of his accomplishment. Michigan, which can be so overpowering, thrust out with irresistible momentum. Led by Russell, George Pomey and John Thompson, the Wolverines started scoring—three baskets in one stretch of 24 seconds—while allowing Princeton only one shot in the last three minutes of play. Michigan tied it with 51 seconds still to go and then, when Russell tossed in the winning basket from the left corner with three seconds left, it was a mercy killing of Princeton that kept the game from overtime.
Bill Buntin, the Michigan center, rushed to Bradley and hugged him—not in the exuberance of victory, but in admiration. Bradley hardly seemed to recognize the gesture, however, and hurried out, past where his mother sat and past where a few ordinary fans were crying for him. Strack came up in the gloomy hallway outside the Princeton locker room, where Bradley slumped against the wall, and put a hand on his shoulder and complimented him. "We didn't deserve that," Strack said. As he moved off, he repeated it, louder, so anyone could hear: "We didn't deserve that."
A few moments after her son ran by her, Mrs. Bradley said, not at all in tears, but proudly and enthusiastically: "It was a good game. It was a very good game, wasn't it?" It was that and much more. It may be the last of the great games they will reminisce about after this old Madison Square Garden is torn down two years from now and the new Garden rises on top of the Pennsylvania Railroad Station.
While UCLA was scrambling to a perfect 30-0 season and the undisputed national championship last year, California Athletic Director Pete Newell cracked: "Whenever they're in trouble they go to the insurance man." In Newell's vernacular the insurance man is the pressure player, the money player, the player any coach wants to have holding the ball in tense situations. The man who filled the bill for UCLA last year was Walt Hazzard, the gone-but-not-forgotten guard who brilliantly directed the Bruins' offensive efforts. At last week's Los Angeles Classic it was clear to see UCLA had found a 1965 model of the insurance man: Keith Erickson. With his fundamental help, the team won the tournament for the third straight, embarrassing time—and he was justly acclaimed the tournament's Most Valuable Player.