Syracuse Herald American- Fort Wayne Hands Nats Rude Setback

After a hectic first half which saw the score change hands or be deadlocked 15 times, the Fort Wayne Zollners dimmed the Syracuse Nationals playoff hopes by emerging with a 68-62 victory before 2,600 at the Jefferson Street Armory last night. The Zollners put a tremendous height advantage to good use in gaining control of the ball off the boards when the Syracuse shots missed and pulled away to a 15-point advantage during the third period after Syracuse led at half-time 38-37. The Syracuse offense stalled in the third period with baskets by Gee, Rizzo and Exel plus foul shots by Dugger and Novak accounting for eight points. At this same time Fort Wayne tallied 23 points and led at the end of the period, 60-46. Syracuse started a belated offensive in the fourth when Novak, Chaney and Rizzo clicked for a series of baskets to cut the deficit to 62-57 at the six-minute mark. From then on Fort Wayne matched Syracuse basket for basket to take the 68-62 decision. SYRACUSE: Chaney, f (3-2-8), Sharkey, f (1-6-8), Novak, c (6-5-17), Rizzo, g (5-5-15), Nelmark, g (2-0-4), Exel, g (1-2-4), Dugger, g (0-2-2), Gee, g (1-2-4) TOTALS (19-24-62). Fort Wayne: Towery, (5-0-10), Kinney, f (2-1-5), Armstrong, f (6-8-20), Pelkington, c (3-1-7), Komenich, c (0-1-1), Reiser, g (3-2-8), Tough, g (2-1-5), Niemiera, g (6-0-12), Gates, g (0-0-0) TOTALS (27-14-68).


Syracuse Herald Journal- Nats Finals Dates Set

Playoff dates of the Eastern Division finals in the National Basketball Association between the Syracuse Nationals and the semi-final survivor were announced here today. The Nats will open the final divisional best three of five game series at the War Memorial March 22. The second game will be at their rivals court March 23 with the third game here March 24. If fourth and fifth tests are necessary they will be away from home March 26 and here March 27. Either New York or Boston looms as logical foe of the Nats. The best two of three game semi-final series will be played during the week of March 14-20.

Cervi Leads Eastern Court Champs To Rochester

Nats Invade Edgerton Park Court; Syracuse Has Won 7 Of 8 Meetings

The Syracuse Nats meet their favorite “cousins” in the National Basketball Association tonight when they journey to Edgerton Park to meet the Rochester Royals. Syracuse and Fort Wayne, respective champions of the Eastern and Western Divisions, jointly hold the longest winning streaks of the season at seven. The Nats equaled this mark in beating Philadelphia Sunday and seek to establish a seasonal high tonight. Coach Les Harrison’s aggregation had been beaten in seven of eight games with Syracuse this year. Further abetting the cause of the Nats is the fact that Rochester in turn beat New York five times in eight starts and broke even with Boston in a similar number of games. They also won four of 12 with Fort Wayne. The Nats plan to trek to Rochester by automobile via the thruway this afternoon returning home after the game. Tomorrow the club  will fly to New York to play Minneapolis in the first game of a doubleheader which sees the Knicks and Celts open a three game series in the nightcap. There is a scant possibility that Paul Seymour may achieve an individual honor tonight, one that he appears certain of attaining before the season ends. In Paul’s long career with the Nats he never has come up with a 1,000 point campaign. He lacks only 28 of reaching that total this year.

Kerr And Farley, Nationals Star Rookies, Like Pro Ball

John Kerr and Dick Farley, season long Nat rookies, agree defense is stressed in more in pro play than in the college type of game. Strangely enough, Sunday marked the first time either had fouled out of a National Basketball Association game. Kerr, graduate of University of Illinois in the Big 10, says there are new developments in the pro game all the time, but that the toughest assignment was getting accustomed to the 12-foot foul lane. He commented: “That 12-foot lane meant I had to learn position all over again. Another important element in pro ball is to know what moves a teammate will make to be in the correct position. In college, we just concentrated on scoring. Up here we have to stop the other fellow, too.” Kerr points to a series of body bruises and a loss of 30 pounds this season to refute the charge basketball is no longer a contact game. The carrot-topped cager is an adept entertainer and jitterbug on the dance floor. He recalls his first fisticuffs in the loop by remarking: “My wife cried and bawled me out for fighting with Felix. She insisted I was supposed to play ball and not fight. Now, even she has changed. She sees the elbows and butting taking place and is always telling not to take it lying down but to get rough.” Farley concurs with Kerr’s defensive theories and adds: “Another tough phase of pro ball is the continuous grind with no breathers. Every team is capable of beating us on any one night and we have to be good all the time.” Dick played his college ball at Indiana and said that his coach used him mainly on the side, and then added: “Cervi believes I should be out in front. That made quite a difference to me until I became adapted to the new position.” In referring to the fact that both he and Kerr fouled out of the Philadelphia game, Farley quipped: “The bad part of the deal is that Biebel (one of the officials) is a Midwesterner and a good friend of Kerr’s dad. Maybe he was watching us too closely.” Farley decided Bob Cousy is the most difficult man to whom he has been assigned this year, and then added: “Bob Pettit is the most improved of all the players now in the loop whom I played against in college ball.” Other former collegiate opponents now in the pro ranks as rivals include Dick Rosenthal, Frank Selvy and Frank Ramsey.

From Highlighting Sports By Jack Slattery

In the National Basketball Associates statistics released by Haskell Cohen several of the figures and the first-place position of the Syracuse Nationals present paradoxes. Only one team in the league, Milwaukee, has scored fewer goals. The Hawks have totaled 2,120 field goals so far. The Nats have 2,220. Every other team in the league has a better percentage in the field goal department except Milwaukee. The Hawks sport a 36.1average and the Nats 36.9. In free throws the Nats run second only to the Boston Celtics, having converted 75.1 of their free throws while the Celts show a 77.3 conversion average. Fort Wayne, which is second to the Nats in the N.B.A. overall standings, shows a slightly superior defense. The Zollners permitted their foes an average of 89.4 per game while the Nats allowed 89.6.  No other team in the league held its opponents below 90 per game. Milwaukee came closest with 90.7. The Celtics displayed a slight knowledge of the art of defense with their opponents scoring an average of 101.5 per game.

Nats Lead In Only One Place

Carry it on down to the individual performances, the Nats again aren’t represented in the select groups. Philadelphia, last place team in the Eastern Division, has both Neil Johnston and Paul Arizin in the top 10. Milwaukee, holding down a like position in the Western Division, has Bob Pettit and Frank Selvy in the top bracket. Only Dolph Schayes of the Nats managed to break into the first 10 scorers in the league. Ed Macauley and Bob Cousy finished high, but the same can’t be said for the Boston team. It is necessary to read down to the 15th name before running into the only other National player listed among scoring leaders. Paul Seymour is No. 15. Among the first 24, all that are listed, Syracuse has but Schayes and Seymour rated. Oddly enough, teams not even in the same class with the Nationals have two and in several cases more than two men among the first 24. The New York Knickerbockers have five men among the leaders- Carl Braun, Harry Gallatin, Ray Felix, Jim Baechtold and Sweetwater Clifton. Lowly Rochester has three- Bobby Wanzer, Jack Coleman and Bobby Davies. The Lakers have three- Vern Mikkelsen, Clyde Lovellette and Slater Martin. Boston also has three- Macauley, Cousy and Bill Sharman. Joe Graboski brings the Warriors’ total to three along with Johnston and Arizin. Larry Foust, George Yardley and Mel Hutchins give Fort Wayne three.

What Do Figures Prove?

So only Milwaukee with its two brilliant rookies, Pettit and Selvy, and Syracuse with its two veterans stars, Schayes and Seymour, have but two players apiece in the top 24 scorers in the league. What does that prove? Probably that the Nats have the only “real” team in the league. If the name stars on those other clubs go sour the teams fall apart. If one of the Nats runs into a rough spell any one of the men on the bench goes into a game and takes up the slack. If probably proves, too, that figures can and often do lie. According to these figures, showing the Nats failing to lead in any one of the departments mentioned, the club wouldn’t figure to be running way ahead of the pack as it is. And in spite of the fact that the Nats are playing brilliantly and providing the fans with the best basketball team ever, the gate after the first 25 home games was off more than $5,000 compared with the 1953-54 season. The average per game gate last year after 25 games was $4,516. This season it is $4,282.

Kerr A Halftime Threat

A rehash of the post-game party Sunday at Danny Biasone’s Eastwood Sports Center finds it unanimously agreed that it was one of the most enjoyable ever. The entertainment supplied by Ed Peterson, Johnny Kerr and Bob Sexton was top grade. At first Peterson was billed as a trio, but the former Cornell and Nats star just entertained as well as three people might. Kerr’s vocal and clowning contributions would net the Nats a sellout if ever he performed in the War Memorial. The surprise of the night was Bob Sexton. Bob was called back for two encores and when I asked how come so much talent so long hidden he replied, “That’s the way I paid my way through college. Sang in a night club three nights a week and had a radio show.” A conversation with Tom Higgins appraising the party led into several discussions of the sport scene in Syracuse and the great Orange two-mile relay team. “I’ve been here 17 years and it’s the best, the most winning team ever to represent the Hill. Holy smokes, if they were being pressed every week they’d be the greatest ever. I saw them in New York and they won so easily that it was difficult for them to do their best. It mentioned this to Vic Hanson and Vic finally had to admit, judging the team just on its record of victories and the number of records it has established, it must be the best team to represent Bill Orange.”


Utica Daily Press- Nats' Team Attack Wallops Warriors

Syracuse—The Syracuse Nationals romped to a 133-103 victory over the Philadelphia Warriors in a meaningless National Basketball Assn., game yesterday which saw Vern Hatton score 30 points for the losers. Philadelphia played without Paul Arizin, who'll miss the last two regular season games because of a severe arm injury. Although the Warriors had three hot scorers as Andy Johnson hit for 28 and Joe Graboski netted 20, the Nats gave the full squad a workout and put seven men in double figures. Hal Greer, hitting on seven of 10 shots from the floor, led the winners with 22 points. Outshot and out-rebounded all the way, the Warriors not only missed Arizin sorely, but also were unable to stand the pressure of the Syracuse running attack. It was the Nats' eighth win in the 12-game series against Philadelphia. Dolph Schayes, who scored 18 points, tied a record held by Arnie Risen by playing his 758th pro game.

PHILADELPHIA: Graboski (8-4-20), Sauldsberry (1-0-2), Sparrow (0-0-0), Johnston (1-5-7), Johnson (11-6-28), Gola (2-7-11), Rodgers (0-3-3), Beck (1-0-2), Hatton (12-6-30) TOTALS (36-31-103). SYRACUSE: Schayes (6-6-18), Palazzi (4-1-9), Yardley (4-2-10), Dierking (4-5-13), Kerr (8-2-18), Hopkins (3-2-8), Costello (5-7-17), Greer (7-8-22), Bianchi (6-0-12), Dempsey (3-0-6), TOTALS (50-33-133).