Syracuse Herald Journal- Fort Wayne Opens East Court Invasion In Syracuse

Zollners Tackle Nats At Memorial; Cervi Pupils Hope To Halt Slump

Fort Wayne’s first-place National Basketball Association team is in Syracuse today to open an eastern invasion which continues with two games against New York tomorrow and Saturday. Coach Charley Eckman, “holler guy” of the league, is out to give owner Fred Zollner his victory in history over a Nat team on a Syracuse floor. It may prove the ideal time. The Nats have dropped two in a row at home and four of their last five outings to surrender eastern leadership to Boston. Tonight the Celtics play the Knicks at Philadelphia, New York is only one game behind the Nats. Four of the Nats’ next five games are in the War Memorial with Rochester, Boston and New York following the Zollners into the auditorium. Lone road game comes Jan. 19, with the Nats playing Philadelphia at Hershey. Syracuse has won 26 of the 40 games in the all-time series with Fort Wayne. The Nats won 88-86 in Indiana early in November and one week later downed the Zollners here, 91-82. Eckman is hailed as the N.B.A. coach of the year for leading his club to new heights. He has stolen pages from the books of the old-time Nats, building the club around spirit and defense. League statistics also prove Fort Wayne has the best defense in the loop. Many of Syracuse’s loyal fans, including President Dan Biasone, insist the Nats’ trouble is lack of a spirited floor leader. Coach Al Cervi indicated a similar belief recently when he commented: “We could use a guy like Billy Gabor to light a fire for us once in a while.”

Simmons Hurt

Connie Simmons came off the western trip suffering a disc ailment in his back and isn’t expected to be able to play tonight, which will bring the Nats’ playing personnel to eight men for the battle with Fort Wayne.


Greenfield Recorder-Gazette- Celtics Bow Out Twice

Dolph Schayes of the Syracuse Nationals ranks today as the foremost scorer in professional basketball annals. The 29-year-old former New York University luminary eclipsed retired George Mikan's all-time pro cager scoring record by collecting 23 points as Syracuse drubbed the Detroit Pistons 135-109 yesterday. The 6-8, 220-pound Schayes now has scored 11,770 points in 10 years of pro play, including the 1948-49 season when Syracuse was in the National Basketball League. Mikan, now the Minneapolis coach, tallied 11,764 points in nine pro campaigns. In other games yesterday the Cincinnati Royals overwhelmed the Boston Celtics, 115-97, the Philadelphia Warriors, paced by Neil Johnston's 33 points, downed the New York Knicks 115-110 in overtime and the St. Louis Hawks turned back the Minneapolis Lakers, 111-105. Syracuse bolted top a 40-26 first quarter lead and never was threatened in posting its 11th straight home court success. Larry Costello headed the scoring parade for the Nats with 28 points while George Yardley topped Detroit with 25. Cincinnati built up a 56-38 halftime bulge and coasted the rest of the way against Boston. Jack Twyman, who hit on his first 11 field goal attempts, was high for the Royals with 26. The Celts saw their Eastern Division lead over the Syracuse cut to 4½ games. In games Saturday, St. Louis defeated Boston 102-98, Detroit overpowered Minneapolis 129-102 and Cincinnati bowled over Syracuse 105-100.


Auburn Citizen Advertiser- Syracuse Nats Setting Hot Pace In Spite Of Injuries

Syracuse, N.Y.—The Syracuse Nats are hurting agian, and are hurtling again toward the National Basketball Association. At the end of the 1953-54 season, the Nats came within 7 points of winning the NBA championship. A roster of injured increased during the playoffs. The Minneapolis Lakers beat the Nats in 4 of 7 games. This year, the Nats again are plagued with injuries. The league's all-time scoring leader, Dolph Schayes, has a broken cheek bone, all-star selection Larry Costello has a broken wrist and veteran Joe Graboski is sidelined with a back injury. The Nats, however, are riding on their longest winning streak of the campaign—4—and have won 7 of their last 8 games. They will receive an additional lift tonight when Schayes returns to action, although the veteran all-pro will be wearing a harness to protect the cheek bone, broken Dec. 26. The 33-year-old Schayes, whol holds the league endurance record of 706 consecutive league games and a total of 755 games in a row, including playoffs, has scored 18,214 points in his 14-year professional career. Graboski, purchased to fill in for Schayes, was ruled out of action Friday because of a severe strain or pinched nerve in the back. He apparently was injured Wednesday in the game against St. Louis and has been ordered to take a complete rest. Costello, wearing a bulky cast from elbow to hand on the injured arm, will miss the All-Star game Tuesday at St. Louis. Schayes, apparently will play, however. Costello's cast will be replaced with a smaller, lightweight cast when physicians permit him to play. Other NBA clubs have been having their problems. Los Angeles lost Elgin Baylor to the service. Cincinnati lost Oscar Robertson through injury. St. Louis' John McCarthy and Clyde Lovellette are suffering from injuries, and Cleo Hill is ill. Philadelphia's Al Attles and Tom Gola also are on the sidelines. But only Syracuse is on the crest of a winning streak in the midst of injuries. Syracuse is in third place in the NBA's Eastern Division, 4½ games behind Philadelphia. The top three teams in each division enter the post-season playoffs. Nat Coach Alex Hannum, commenting on Syracuse's resurgence, said: "When the odds get bigger, we get tougher. Whenever one of our key men is out, the others seem to put out even more than ever. Now, with two men out, they dig that much more."

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