"We were terribly tense all of a sudden," says Turner. "I don't think any of us had been to New York before. Most of us had never been out of California. We needed something to loosen us up. Mostly, we needed what we always seemed to get—something incredible from Hank."
The Blackbirds controlled the opening tap, and after a series of deft passes worked the ball under the basket to Hill-house, who scored easily. On Stanford's first possession Turner was fed a pass in the right corner. The ball was slightly behind him and he started to tumble out of bounds as he reached for it. Instinctively, he threw the ball toward the basket anyway. He quickly scrambled to his feet to assume his position on defense when he noticed that a center jump had been called.
"Did that thing go in?" he asked Moore. Moore said it had, and the entire Stanford team burst into laughter. The Laughing Boys were now in the proper frame of mind to play their game.
The score was 11-11 midway in the first half, but already it was apparent that LIU was bewildered by the "team defense," the fast-break offense and Luisetti, who seemed to be everywhere, stealing the ball, rebounding over Hillhouse, passing with accuracy and lofting his one-handers from every angle.
"The first one came after a fake and a pivot near the foul line," Luisetti recalls. "It was over their big man. He looked at me and said, 'You lucky so-and-so.' He didn't say a word when the next one dropped in."
The crowd, which had pulled hard for Long Island University's team early in the game, was suddenly entranced by the black-haired dervish and his carefree companions. When the Indians left the court with a 22-14 halftime lead, the fans awarded them a standing ovation.
The second half was no contest. LIU went a full seven minutes without scoring, and Luisetti was in complete control of the tempo. He shot only when it was an inescapable obligation, preferring to dazzle the spectators with the baffling variety of his passes. Still, he led all scorers with 15 points as Stanford eased to a 45-31 victory. Later he would be named the outstanding athlete to perform in the Garden that year. The cheering New York fans, helpless Indian captives, sensed they had just witnessed a revolution.
Indeed, they had, as the press acknowledged the following day. "Overnight, and with a suddenness as startling as Stanford's unorthodox tactics, it had become apparent today that New York's fundamental concept of basketball will have to be radically changed if the metropolitan district is to remain among the progressive centers of court culture in this country," Stanley Frank pontificated in the Post. "Every one of the amiable clean-cut Coast kids fired away with leaping one-handed shots which were impossible to stop."
New York Times
: "It seemed Luisetti could do nothing wrong. Some of his shots would have been deemed foolhardy if attempted by anybody else, but with Luisetti shooting, these were accepted by the enchanted crowd."
The Stanford-LIU game was no mere intersectional upset. It was a pivotal game in the sport's history, introducing the nation to modern basketball. Players throughout the country began shooting on the run and with one hand. The deliberate style of play would give way to the fast break, the man-to-man would yield to the zone and combination defenses, and the following season the center jump after goals would be abandoned forever. Scoring suddenly increased, and a game that had served, in many areas, merely to fill the gap between the baseball and football seasons abruptly began to enjoy widespread popularity of its own. For anything big to happen then, it had to happen in New York. Luisetti and the Laughing Boys happened there in the winter of 1936.