Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in The Eagle on Jan. 12, 1971.
When Wichita State and Loyola get together on the basketball court it’s usually a rough and tough scramble with everything but brass knuckles allowed. Those ambulances outside are ready to go.
And emerging as Mr. Tough on a typical night between the two at Levitt Arena Monday night was Terry Benton. The 6-foot-8 Shocker junior was by far the difference between the two teams as the Shockers came from behind to record a scorching, 82-74 victory.
Oftimes after great contests, individual heroes are awarded such things as the game ball. It was obvious after this one, Wichita State’s second straight win and sixth victory to go with seven defeats, that WSU coach Gary Thompson would have liked to awarded Benton both backboards.
Benton broke a nine-year-old Shocker rebound record by scooping 28 off both ends of the court. The 28th grab, taken with just 19 seconds of time remaining, erased the mark of 27 set by 6-foot-11 Gene Wiley against Bradley on Jan. 20, 1962.
Junior Benton, meanwhile, spiced his rebounds with 23 points and seven assists, another junior, Ron Harris, scored 25 points while Preston Carrington, coming off the bench in a reserve role, contributed 13 points and some very key steals.
Loyola, seeing its record drop to 2-11 for the season, saw 6-foot-9 Larue Martin, hampered by injures as he is, outscored by Benton, 23-14, and outrebounded, 28-13. But Rich Ford, a 6-foot-1 junior from Washington, D.C., came on to lead George Ireland’s quick-handed crew with 24 points.
Despite the fantastic showing of Benton, who led the team in three important categories, the game wasn’t won until the Shockers, showing new composure, out-battled the struggling Ramblers, who took 85 shots to WSU’s 59, down the stretch.
Wichita State had started out its usual shot-missing, turnovering self and with 9 1/2 minutes left in the first half Ford and 6-foot-5 Bill Moody had led Loyola off to a 22-8 lead.
It was here that Benton, harrassed and battered in his operations inside, stepped in and asserted his authority.
The Shockers outscored Loyola, 36-21, the rest of the half and owned a 44-43 lead going into intermission.
That sudden momentum, however, didn’t shake the invaders, who appeared to be at a new high for the season.
With 10,125 fans again raising the roof of the Roundhouse to a high level, the two teams battled through 13 lead exchanges and three deadlocks during the torrid second half.
Twice the Shockers, down by five and then three points, had an opportunity to fold. They were down by 51-46 early in the half. Then, with six minutes remaining, they trailed by 70-67 after letting a 67-66 lead slip away.
But come back they did.
A steal by reserve Dave Dahl set Carrington up for a drive which chiseled the lead to a point. Benton then stole the ball after a missed free throw by Dahl and the Shockers were back in front, 71-70.
Two free throws by Carrington made the lead 73-70.
Loyola, however, had one last gasp. Despite the loss of Moody on fouls, the Ramblers tied the score 73-73 on a free throw by Ernie Lewis and a jump shot by reserve Ron Black.
But that was the end of the line for Loyola.
Harris, shaking loose on the right side of the lane, connected at 2:22 to give WSU a 75-73 lead.
Carrington scored and it was 77-73 at two minutes. The Shockers then held on and used free throws as Loyola fouled attempting to get possession against a slow down to ride out to the final 82-74 margin.
“Benton was superb on the boards,” praised Thompson after the game. “He’s just getting tougher and tougher out there all the time. And this was a physical battle.
“And the team maintained its composure the second half,” he continued. “ I think that they are becoming convinced that they can win the close ones. There is just a little different look about them. Even those on the bench.”
The Shockers outshot the invaders 44.1 and 35.3. Of more importance, outscored from the field by four field goals, they cashed in on 30 of 36 free throws (83.3 percent) while Loyola hit only 14 of 26.
And in the fierce, brutal battle of the boards, it was the Shockers by 54-43.