After two time-outs during which the DePaul bench became "mass confusion," as the younger Meyer put it, the Demons barely got the ball in bounds to Skip Dillard, who acted as if it were the last thing he wanted. He was fouled anyway at :13. While Dillard, named "Money" for his .851 foul shooting, thought a while—"I've dreamed all my life about being in that situation," he said later—young whippersnapper Lynam set the Hawks up for what he called a "scramble situation": get the rebound, race downcourt, no time-out, spread yourselves, take a good shot. Which is exactly what happened after Money Dillard, dreaming, did indeed miss.
On the scorecards it was St. Joseph's Warrick racing on the dribble (as Aguirre gave up on him at midcourt in a "no más" defense) to freshman Lonnie McFarlan open at the right corner baseline to John Smith (you remembered) all alone underneath for the winning lay up. "Just an ordinary Fourth and Shunk [a Philly playground] number," said Smith, who had summoned McFarlan's pass by yelling, simply, "Please."
As Aguirre walked off toward downtown Dayton and probably the NBA with his stereo earphones shutting out the world, Ray Meyer could be forgiven if he was thinking. Thanks again, Mark, but please go ahead and turn pro and leave this marvelously talented team to fend for itself, find its soul elsewhere and maybe discover some character in the clutch.
"I'm supposed to have the team of my life," Meyer had said. "But I can't enjoy them. I never know whether these kids are going to loaf or put out. Honest to God, I never thought basketball was going to be this way again."
Que será, Ray. And so long, again.
For another old-timer, Oregon State's Ralph Miller, a better team may not pass his way than the Beavers who brought a two-year 52-4 regular-season record into the West sub-regional at Los Angeles. But they also lost primarily because of too much dependence on one man, he being the big moose with the big caboose, 6'10½" Center Steve Johnson. "We were too timid. We didn't play our game. I don't know what went wrong," said Johnson after Kansas State eliminated Oregon State 50-48.
Guard Ray Blume figured he knew. "We choked," he said.
Hold on and back up a bit. K-State Coach Jack Hartman's squad is in his image—quiet, colorless, collected; a friendly hardware dealer camouflaging the mind of a crafty terrorist. Down by 12 points against San Francisco, Hartman had replaced his struggling star, Rolando Blackman, with Brazil's own Eduardo Galvao, who despite being called "Edweirdo" by his teammates, was instrumental in the Wildcats' 64-60 victory. Then, against Oregon State, Hartman went from Edweirdo back to Rolando, who showed his appreciation by sinking the gamer with two seconds left.
Before that happened Kansas State plugged along 10 points in arrears until 6'7" Center Ed Nealy and his backup, Les Craft, wore down Johnson and forced him into fouls and turnovers so that the 'Cats could proceed on a 16-6 tear and tie the game at 48 with 3:23 to play, precisely the point at which Johnson fouled out for the 51st time in his career. "We were working our butts off," said Craft. Not to mention Johnson's, a feat of some magnitude.
Now it was a chess game between masters. And, as Miller said, "You don't beat a Jack Hartman team making mistakes. They're too smart." Miller elected to slow things down, but the Wildcats fouled Charlie Sitton, who, being a rookie, missed on the one-and-one. Kansas State then held the ball down to 10 seconds when Blackman, the Olympian from Brooklyn, backed Mark Radford to the baseline, where they were joined by Blume. "He made a good strong move and I cut him off," said Radford. "Then he made another strong move."