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Original Issue

What it takes to be tops

The best college basketball player in the country, Jerry Lucas of Ohio State, led his team into Madison Square Garden's Holiday Festival last week and to victory over the nation's second-best team, St. John's. It was both a superbly played game and a preview of a highly probable meeting between these two teams in the NCAA championship next March. In his deadpan, seemingly effortless way, Lucas was implacable defensively (left) and unstoppable on offense (right). This poised, graceful youngster cannot be described adequately by the term All-America. He is one of the very finest players the game has yet seen, and his team provides a perfectly balanced supporting cast. Still, St. John's, playing cautiously and defending well, had a half-time lead of 10 points, chiefly because of Tony Jackson's outside shooting. In the second half Ohio State put on an aggressive zone defense that rattled St. John's and forced them into many errors. Lucas did the rest, floating in soft hooks, blocking shots and controlling the rebounds. State, best team in the land, won 70-65.

Surprise attack from the rear by OSU's hustling Larry Siegfried, who knocks ball out of Tony Jackson's grasp, leaves St. John's top scorer empty-handed and open-mouthed.

On the defensive, Ohio State's Jerry Lucas smothers layup attempt by St. John's Forward Willie Hall. He did this repeatedly to rival shooters and drivers.

On the offensive, Lucas times graceful leap over reaching hand and nudging elbow of St. John's Center Gary Marozas, deftly tips in two of his 23 points.