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Bailey threw three dunks against Ohio State, the last of which proved to be the game-winner. He also chipped in with a key basket that tied the game at 90-90 and sent it into the third overtime. In all, he scored 31 points, but the best he could do was share the Most Valuable Player award with Ransey, who finished with 38 points.
The Festival was supposed to be a coming-out party for Duke. The Blue Devils had been No. 1 in most people's minds since they finished second in last year's NCAA tournament, but five of their first six games had been played in North Carolina and the sixth in Bowling Green, Ky. The players were anxious to show what they could do in Madison Square Garden. What's more, with the Duke stars, Forward Gene Banks, Guard Jim Spanarkel and Center Mike Gminski, all hailing from the Northeast, Friday's crowd of 18,589 sounded as if it were equal parts Philadelphia, Jersey City and Connecticut.
Ohio State, on the other hand, arrived from Columbus nearly without support. At tip-off time more than 10,000 Buckeye fans were down in Jacksonville, Fla. awaiting the kickoff of the Gator Bowl game featuring Ohio State and Woody Hayes against Clemson. But if the Buckeye basketball players were discouraged by their lack of backing, they kept it a secret from Duke. And now, in beating the Blue Devils, they have exposed several weaknesses that could prevent Duke from even being a contender for the national title.
For one thing, an inability to blow out an opponent when it is already reeling has plagued Duke since last year. The reason may be that the Devils' zone gives the opponents too many good shots. And Duke doesn't play man-to-man very well. This may prevent the team from raising the level of its game when it gets behind or needs to protect a lead.
Of perhaps even greater concern to Foster were the performances of Gminski and Banks. Gminski was up to snuff statistically, getting 48 points and 16 rebounds in the two games, yet when he needed to stop Ohio State's 6'11" sophomore Herb Williams from scoring late in the game, he failed. Gminski allowed Williams to set up as low as he wanted, never fronted him and didn't go very far out of his way to contest Williams' pet 10-foot hook shot.
More disturbing to Foster than Gminski's lack of combativeness was Banks' weekend walkabout. The touted sophomore shot seven for 26 from the field and played much as he had in his first games as a freshman—a little too bodacious on offense, a little too macho on the boards. Against Ohio State he was guilty of two unpardonable sins. Dribbling near midcourt late in the game, Banks turned and gazed nonchalantly at the Duke bench to see if he was doing what he was supposed to be doing. Good-by ball, hello stuff shot. The Buckeyes' Carter Scott came around Banks' blind side for a steal and a basket that cut the Duke lead to 69-65. Then at 75-70 and the Blue Devils' No. 1 ranking still looking fairly safe with only 1:51 on the clock, Banks exploded out of Duke's semistall offense and took a 10-footer that didn't drop. "I don't know what happened to us," said Foster, whose team might have been able to retain its No. 1 ranking—in light of No. 2 Notre Dame's loss Saturday to Kentucky—if it had won the consolation game against St. John's. But again the Blue Devils foundered. With 18:33 to go in the second half, they led 42-23; with 9:27 to play, St. John's had gone ahead, largely because of the shooting and board work of a 6'5" sophomore substitute with two sore knees, Frank Gilroy, whose 20 points and eight rebounds were both career highs. As it had against Ohio State, Duke seemed to lose its enthusiasm for the battle once it got way ahead. And, as it had against Ohio State, the Blue Devils' inability to play man-to-man or pressing defense effectively made it all but impossible for them to regain the lead once they had fallen behind.
For his part, Rutgers Coach Tom Young appeared more relieved than ecstatic. "I thought we had won and lost the championship game three different times down the stretch," he said. "This isn't my biggest win at Rutgers, but maybe we'll have a better feeling now about ourselves than if we'd lost."
And if he has any doubts, all Young has to do is ask somebody from Durham. Anybody.