Highlights from the 1958-1959 Mountaineer Basketball Season


West Virginia’s athletic endeavors transfer from
Mountaineer field to Mountaineer
field house. There’s a great deal of
uncertainty as the season starts but
Fred Schaus works his coaching magic and the
team wins its first four games, though
not impressively. Now onto the floor
for the season highlights. At the field
house, it’s Duke against unbeaten West
Virginia. The Blue Devils aren’t so devilish
tonight. Duke’s offense is paced by its
sophomores but the shots won’t drop.
Luckily, WVU has no such trouble. Bob Clousson
tosses to Ronnie Retton, Retton to West,
and Jerry rips the Nets then their only
regular-season loss last year. Here you
see West rebounding Duke’s miss. Jerry
passes out to Retton. It goes over to
Bobby Joe Smith and the co-captain gets
two of his 26 points. A good night’s work.
out last Duke, tries to hang in there as
center Doug Kistler scores for the North
Carolinians, but they are already far behind.
Again Smitty takes the ball. He
dribbles into the lane and gets two more
for the Mountaineers. The crowd loves
every point of it. Howard Hurt tries for
Duke. His accuracy is hurting tonight, but
Fred Kast tips it in and here’s the
Mountaineer team. Scores to beat, 101 to 63.
basketball version of the Hatfields
versus McCoys. West Virginia plays
Kentucky in it’s own invitation tournament.
In 57, the Wildcats claw back. Sid Cohen
cans a field goal. Kentucky has seven
straight wins but the record holds no
fear for Jerry West, but his game.
Kentucky’s lead Mel says the second half
begins but WVU always battles back.
Cloussen blocks a wildcat pass. Jerry West
pounces on the ball he gives it down the
floor to Smith who passes to Bolyard
and Bucky scores. Fans at Lexington are
saying one of the best games ever played
at the col- but Kentucky wins. West
gets 36. Adolph Rupp calls Jerry one of
the greatest, and Schauss presents Rupp
with the championship trophy.
Two days after Christmas it’s back to basketball.
WVU battles Northwestern, one of the big
top 10 teams in the country at Chicago
Stadium. Thirteen thousand fans witness a
tremendous shooting display, both teams
are on and they battle neck and neck. Bucky
Bolyard and Bob Smith dazzle a
Big Ten crowd with this bit of action
which sees Smith score. Then more of the
same as Bolyard pours it on. Bucky
swipes the ball and the Aurora Borealis
shines brightly as he racks up a field
goal. Jerry West bows out before the game
ends at a tie. The first overtime ends
with the score still tied. The torrent
pace continues. Ronnie Retton races down
court, spots Willie Akers who scores.
Northwestern retaliates with a long pass
and a basket for the team from the Big
Ten. Stadium scoring records fall in one
of the year’s wildest games. West
Virginia tires, Northwestern scores and
it’s all over. The Wildcats win 118 to
109 in double overtime.
Watch as Penn and West Virginia engage in
a nip and tuck first half duel. The
Panthers hold a two-point lead at
intermission. Then West Virginia engineers
a comeback. West takes a pass from Akers,
drives, and scores. Ten All-American Don
Henson, number 25, has a bad night. He gets
only 13 points before fouling the game.
Akers is- over the court. He passes to
Bolyard. Bucky fakes beautifully, passes
to Clousson and Bob lays it in. The
Panthers hang on. They work the ball
around, move it to Hennon. He’s having a
rough time, but still displays why he’s a
respected ballplayer. West Virginia’s
fast-break features Smith and West. Jerry
gets only 16 points but these too are
executed with West typical finesse.
Defensively, Willie Akers picks the
Panthers to pieces. The game gets very
rough as West Virginia forges ahead.
Bucky Bolyard leads the Mountaineers with
22 points in the pine floor game such as
this bounce pass to West. WVU wins it
and the ancient athletic warfare ends
temporarily with a handshake. There’s a
fine crowd at Morgantown for the Holy
Cross game, and millions more are watching
on television. This is the first
nationally televised sports event ever
to originate in the state. West rebounds
a Holy Cross miss, fires it to Smith and
Smitty beats Bolyard for the score. The Mountaineers
are behind, as they have been in their
last four games, with a 10 game win
streak in danger. West is swiping the
ball, he teams up with Ronnie Retton to
go down and score for the West Virginia
Mountaineers. Watch them go. At one time
the Crusaders led by 15. They’re shooting
has been phenomenal, well over fifty
percent and it shots like this one that
helped the Crusaders build up a 12 point
lead after the first 20 minutes of play.
Now the Mountaineers move as Bolyard
waxes hot. West is going to try a fall away
shot. Here it is. He misses, but Jim
Ritchie is there to put it in. Holy Cross,
battling the zone, presses rattle. They
miss. West drives hard for the basket.
Watching shovel pass to Smith. There it
goes. Smitty scores. West finishes with
36, to lead West Virginia to its fifth come
from behind victory.
At Madison Square Garden, West Virginia’s
11 game winning streak is at stake
against NYU. For the seven and six record,
the New Yorkers are definite underdogs.
For a change, West Virginia takes an
early lead. Bob Smith leads the way to a
scoring advantage. The Violets tie the score
on occasion, but never gained the
lead, despite some great shooting. Smitty
has his best night as a Collegium, with the 29
points and a fine performance in general.
He sets up this two hand jumper by Bucky
Bolyard and it’s West Virginia leading
by six points at halftime. Jerry West is
recovering from the flu, but manages still
to score 20 points with a display of
beautiful shots. A miss by NYU gives
new yorkers a look at West Virginia’s
attack. Akers tosses down court to West.
Jerry- ends with a tie game. Trying
to regain the first half lead that
disappeared, West Virginia fights back.
Smith to Retton. Retton over to Joe Posch
and back to Ronnie who feeds Smitty
for the score, but the efforts aren’t
enough. NYU stops WVU’s 11-game streak,
72 to 70 in overtime.
A packed house sees West Virginia’s
final regular season game. It’s against
always rugged George Washington. GW
misses. Another try is blocked by Willie
Akers and the Mountaineers gallop. Claussen
passes out. Bolyard gives it to Lee Patrone
WVU misfires and the Colonials
gain control, only to lose it to West who
scores for West Virginia. Later, more
fireworks for the fans. Bucky Bolyard,
always exciting to watch, breaks down
court, spots West, passes to Jerry and
Cabin Creek’s pride gets two more. It’s
a slim halftime lead for WVU. West led the
first half scoring and he continues his
fine work in the second half. Now this is
a good GW club. They lead during much of
the game. Lee Patrone gets 19, but Jerry’s
35 is higher for the evening. It’s West
Virginia’s 47th straight Southern
Conference win and 33rd straight at the
field house. Winding up the regular
season with a record of 22 wins and four
defeats. Now coach Fred Schauss can take
time to worry about the tournaments that are
still ahead. WVU will battle William and
Mary- prince tournament semifinals.
This is nothing like the Mountaineers
Rob Davidson in the first game. The tall
Indians keep West Virginia hustling. Jerry
West picks up two points- constantly.
Again smooth forward by Bucky Bolyard and
Jim Ritchie sets the scoring stage for
Jerry. West of West Virginia gets two
more of his 38 points for the night. The
Indians have some fine players too, one of
them Big Jeff Cohen. Here you see Cohen
hitting on a real beauty. Then a rare
occurrence settles West Virginia fans
deep in whelm. Jerry West comes down the floor
takes the ball for a score. But on the
play a foul is called. It’s West’s fifth
personal. He leaves with 5 minutes still
to play. The crowd applauds his
performance. Later, gloom disappears as
sophomore Lee Patrone steps into the
breach to score. It’s Patrone’s jump shot
which eventually clinches the game,
upholstering victory for West Virginia.
It’s intermission time, the Southern
Conference Finals and WVU has a mere six
point lead but the second half is
distinctly- West Virginia’s Lee Patrone,
the semi-final hero, drives all the way
to score. The slow-moving Citadel
Bulldogs have a growl or two left.
Ray Graves gets a driving bucket. West
Virginia seeking a fifth straight
conference championship and the kings
of come back have the weapons to do the
job. West takes a long jumper. As Jerry
gets his 27 points, Patrone dizzily
racks up an even 20 for himself. Bob
Claussen loops a pass to hustling Lee, and
Patrone scores again on this long play
down the floor. Another trophy for WVU’s
Southern Conference champions.
Another tournament, another final. West
Virginia vs Boston U. The NCAA
eastern regional crown is at stake at
Charlotte, North Carolina and Jerry West
gets things underway with a score. The
surprising Carriers knocked off Navy
after the mid-east had shocked North
Carolina. A Mountaineer fast-break shows
Boston whats in store. Here it goes and
Jerry West scores again. It’s another
thriller for WVU fans. BU tries a fast
break against West Virginia, but Bolyard’s
sneak attack gets the ball. Bucky races
back down the floor toward the basket. He
passes off to Bob Smith and Smitty hits
for two points for West Virginia. WVU
got to the finals with a miraculous
comeback win over a rugged St. Joe’s
team from Philadelphia, and Boston looks
as tough. All-American honors are being
heaped on Jerry West and here is a very
good reason why. Watch Jerry. Late in the
game, the underrated boys from Boston
continue to make a battle of it, but they
began missing. Willie Akers rebounds, feeds
Smith who passes to Bolyard.
Bucky holds the ball. Then back over to
Smitty again for two points. Another win,
another championship, and onto Louisville.
An absolute sell-out as WVU meets Louisville.
The Mountaineers are seeking their 22nd
win in their last 23 games and Jerry
West gives them a two-point push toward
that goal. Louisville’s Cardinals are on
their home floor and they’re a slight favorite,
but the gold and blue look tremendous in
building a first-half lead. Here is a
goal from the corner by West. A big
halftime margin for West Virginia. Louisville
beat Kentucky and Michigan State, but
the Cardinals are out of their class
tonight. Akers rebounds to set the fuse
for another explosive goal by everyone’s
All-American Jerry West. It’s the end
of the line for Louisville’s rags to
riches club. The Cardinals are swamped.
West gets 38 points and plays a deadly
floor game. He feeds a two pointer to Jim
Ritchie. The Louisville fans are stunned,
West Virginia’s are jubilant. The round is
on as Ronnie Retton, Bob Smith, and West
combine talents. Finally a feed to Jerry
and he powers down the lane for another
score. WVU’s smashing triumph puts it in
the championship game.
The national championship is at stake as
West Virginia gets the opening tip
against California. These teams have
beaten everyone in their paths. Bob
Smith misses, but the dazzling Jerry West
follows up to score. Tension is the keynote
as Smitty takes control. He dribbles
skillfully, works the ball to Jerry, and
the incomparable West does it again. But
West Virginia blows a ten-point lead to
the deliberate Californians and with
Fitzpatrick and Dalton in the lead, the Bears
go in and Dalton scores on a jumper at the
half. California leads by six. West
Virginia’s attack is hampered as West
picks up three quick personal fouls.
The co-captain Smith nabs two points
with a sparkling shot. California’s lead
mounts to 13 points, then higher as
Dalton hits again. The valiant
Mountaineers climb back into contention
with scores such as this by Patrone.
Cali are just one point (ahead). Following an enemy
score, Retton grabs the ball, feeds Akers
and Willie scores. The crowd is in a frenzy
and so is the state of West Virginia.
Seconds to go, Cal misses a foul shot.
West grabs the ball, but the game is over.
The national crown is lost by one point.
And Jerry West is the tourney’s outstanding
player. He ties the record with 160
tournament points in five games as West
Virginia concludes-

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