Pack Rolls over Vermont: Awaits Bruins
Dec. 5, 1973
BY TIM PEELER
RALEIGH, N.C. At least Vermont tried to make a game of it. The Catamounts played man-to-man defense, they didn’t try to slow down the tempo of the game against No. 2 NC State and they ran right at the Wolfpack.
And, in some ways, they succeeded, holding State’s All-American center Tommy Burleson to a mere four points. Even high-flying David Thompson didn’t crack 20 points. And the Cats scored twice as many points in the second half as the first.
Unfortunately for the out-manned visitors from up north, those were about the only positive things they could take away from the farcical romp Saturday night at Reynolds Coliseum, the Wolfpack’s final tune-up before it heads to St. Louis next Saturday to face top-ranked and seven-time national champion UCLA.
The second-ranked Wolfpack cruised to a 97-42 victory in front of 12,100. Vermont didn’t score in the game’s first seven minutes. At halftime, coach Peter Salzberg’s team had more turnovers (16) than points (14), as the Wolfpack led by 27.
Wolfpack coach Norm Sloan put in an all-freshman second unit 10 minutes into the game, just to mix things up and to give Steven Smith, Bruce Dayhuff, Bill Lake, Mike Buurma and Dwight Johnson a little collegiate playing time.
That made no difference for the Catamounts, who made just 21.7 percent of their first half shots and finished the game at 27.8 percent. Meanwhile, the Pack shot better than 50 percent in both halves.
State’s defense swarmed its opponent, creating 30 turnovers. Tiny point guard Monte Towe had seven steals to go along with his 15 points.
The Pack showed its force early in the second half by scoring 16 unanswered points, thrilling the near-sellout crowd.
“State got going in stretches and during those times they were awfully overpowering,” said Vermont coach Peter Salzberg. “That’s an understatement, really, they were absolutely unstoppable.”
Thompson led all scorers with 19, as the Pack had five players in double-digits. All 16 players on the Wolfpack roster played in the game, with all but Dayhuff and Craig Kuszmaul scoring points. Vermont's only player in double fitures was Warren Prehmus, who needed 19 shots to make three baskets and scored four points at the free-throw line.
The all-out blitz in a sloppily played game raises a question, of course: Will playing an obviously over-matched opponent prepare the Wolfpack to face John Wooden’s Bruins next weekend? The Pack breezed by Athletes in Action and East Carolina in the last week, as well.
“Our three opponents have not been real tough, but I feel we will be okay,” Sloan said after the game. “(We) have played tough teams before and in pressure situations. I think we will be all right.”
You may contact Tim Peeler at firstname.lastname@example.org.