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The Dealers roll to a title
Joe Jares
March 09, 1970
Led by 'J.J.' Johnson, Iowa's slick combo came on late with the acid to edge Purdue and take the Big Ten championship
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March 09, 1970

The Dealers Roll To A Title

Led by 'J.J.' Johnson, Iowa's slick combo came on late with the acid to edge Purdue and take the Big Ten championship

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"It's no secret, we've got to win the rest of our games," said King. "If Iowa beats us on our own floor, they'll be great champions. Our crowd will make the place jump, believe me."

In anticipation of the jumping, one more radio station sent an announcer to join the chorus, four TV stations picked up the telecast and the 14,123 capacity crowd jammed into the roundhouse that has never had an empty seat for a Boilermakers' game.

Mount began as if he were casually popping the ball in a pickup game. He got Purdue's first five baskets although the referees definitely were not protecting him. They weren't protecting anybody from Purdue. Junior Larry Weatherford was charged with his third foul after a little more than five minutes were gone, Mount with his second moments later, and the fans started throwing wadded paper on the floor. They were warned that the next missile would merit a technical on the home forces.

Both teams turned on their fast breaks at the slightest hint of an open space, but Purdue seemed to see more of them, building up a 10-point lead with 4:13 left in the half, then switching into a zone to keep from fouling. It was about then that Iowa got its break clicking. Aided by two three-point plays, the Hawkeyes grabbed the lead by halftime 49-47 despite Mount's 32 points, the most he had ever scored in a first half.

Miller never wavered in the second half, and seemingly Mount never missed. Back to a man-to-man, Purdue moved out into the lead again. When it was still close, a program—wadded into a ball—came bouncing out onto the floor, and a technical was called. Calabria, who had just been fouled while making a basket, put in the free throw for the foul and the free throw for the technical. Then it was Iowa's ball out of bounds, and Vidnovic hit a jumper—a six-point play.

Even so, it looked as though Iowa could pack up its microphones when Mount hit his 58th and 59th points, and moments later Weatherford's jump shot put Purdue up by nine with 4:36 left. But the Hawkeyes went into a three-two zone press and started to trim the lead. Brown made two free throws, Vidnovic hit a jumper after an Iowa steal and Brown made two jump shots in a row. With 1:39 left, Purdue led 103-100.

Helped by a Purdue charging violation, Iowa finally took over the lead 106-105 on Johnson's jumper. Purdue raced down, missed the shot and Mount purposely fouled Vidnovic with 10 seconds left. The Stick put both of them in, proving that LSU's Pete Maravich is not the only skinny Serb who can play under pressure. Leading 108-105, the Hawkeyes let Mount drive in for his last two points as time ran out.

At the end it seemed possible that the errant program had cost Purdue the game. Some local partisans, including George King, thought so, and they hinted darkly that the missile had come from one of Iowa's allotted 24 spectator seats.

Weatherford added 21 points to Mount's 61. But Iowa got 20 from Vidnovic, 23 from Brown, 25 from Calabria and 26 from Johnson. After Coach Miller finished talking to KXIC, KCRG and WMT, he still had breath enough to call this his best team, ever. And somewhere out in California, passing motorists were wondering about that strange fellow who was going happily berserk in his parked car.

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