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Defense Secretary Gets 'Realistic' Briefing on War; USC Stalls UCLA, March 9, 1969

March 9, 2009 |  6:00 am

I got carried away today, but this was one of our huge Sunday papers.

Councilman Tom Bradley didn't beat Mayor Sam Yorty--this time.

Bradley continued


Kevin Thomas talks to Alfred Hitchcock and Claude Jade about "Topaz."
Jade, continued

Jade, continued
The sports cover

O.J. Simpson
Jim Murray

Here's one of those stories that could not happen today.

USC defeated UCLA, 46-44, at Pauley Pavilion one night after the Bruins needed two overtimes at the Sports Arena to win, 61-55. Both nights, the Trojans used a stall -- they slowed the pace of the game -- which was possible before college basketball started using a shot clock. It was a classic old-school maneuver to try to upset a better team. And undefeated UCLA, led by Lew Alcindor, came into the two-game series as the top-ranked team in the nation.

How rare was a UCLA loss?

UCLA had won the first 51 games played at Pauley Pavilion and won 41 games in a row since losing to Houston in the Astrodome. The Bruins had beaten the Trojans 17 consecutive times. USC Coach Bob Boyd had never beaten a team coached by UCLA's John Wooden.

As for the drama, here's how The Times' Dwight Chapin reported the finish:

"With 1:55 to play Lew Alcindor stood there on the free throw line and dropped in the free throw that made it 44-44. Then USC got the ball. It had had it most of the night. The Trojans waited and looked, dribbled and passed until 19 seconds remained and then called time.

"Bob Boyd offered some simple instructions. He told his team to keep its court balance, set a screen for Ernie Powell, have him drive for it and 'put the ball in the basket.' The seconds dwindled."

Powell got his screen, made his shot and one last attempt by UCLA's Sidney Wicks fell off the rim.

"And the people were on the court," Chapin wrote. "They were USC people and their fingers were jabbing the air to signify they -- for the moment at least -- THEY were No. 1. It was Trojan Town."

In a sidebar by Chapin, Boyd was quoted telling his players after the game, "They're dammed lucky we didn't beat them twice."

Jim Murray's column was on Wooden and the Alcindor years: "There are those that sneer that this is a minor feat -- winning with Alcindor -- compared to his winning two in a row with a team that slept in standard-sized beds and didn't have to stoop over to shave in the bathroom mirror.

"I don't think so. I think his three Alcindor years is the more stupendous feat. I mean, anyone can win with a bunch of well-adjusted six-footers. With those seven-footers, those last 12 inches are sometimes all temperament."

--Keith Thursby