Who was the better college center: Lew Alcindor or Bill Walton?
That will be determined, at least for one game, when the two giants of college basketball, both of whom starred for UCLA only a few years apart, meet in the championship game of the Unbeatens Only computer tournament.Alcindor scored 49 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked nine shots, leading the 1967 UCLA team to a 93-81 victory over the 1991 UNLV Runnin' Rebels, who are trying to become the first undefeated team since Indiana in 1976 to win the NCAA title game, in a semifinal game Wednesday.
In the other semifinal, Walton had 30 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks as his 1973 UCLA team edged his 1972 UCLA team 88-86.
The championship game will be played Thursday.
In opening-round games, UNLV scored a 78-70 victory over Indiana; Alcindor collected 33 points as the 1967 UCLA team defeated the 1957 North Carolina squad 82-66; Walton's 1972 UCLA team beat Bill Russell's 1956 San Francisco team 71-63, and Walton's 1973 UCLA team downed the 1964 UCLA team 80-73.
The games were produced for The Associated Press by Lance Haffner Computer Games as part of a tournament matching unbeaten UNLV against the seven teams that have won the NCAA championship with perfect records. The games are played without either a shot clock or 3-point field goals.
UNLV, led by All-American Larry Johnson, gave UCLA a strong run for the first 30 minutes before wilting under Alcindor's awesome scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking pressure.
Although Alcindor outshone Johnson in the first half, scoring 27 points on 10 of 13 field goal shooting and grabbing six rebounds, the Runnin' Rebels' forward had 19 points, hitting 9 of 11 field goals.
UNLV led at halftime 54-52.
Both teams were brilliant from the field in the opening half. UNLV was 22 of 34 for .647 percent, and UCLA hit 20 of 36 for .556.
The game remained close until midway in the second half. Then, a three-point play by Alcindor put UCLA ahead 75-72 with 9:48 remaining, and the Bruins increased their margin the rest of the way.
Lucius Allen finished with 16 points and Lynn Shackelford 12 for the Bruins. Johnson led UNLV with 34 points and 10 rebounds, and Anderson Hunt scored 13.
In the other semifinal, while the final margin was only two points and the game was close most of the way, the 1973 UCLA team trailed only once - 40-38 - when Walton completed a three-point play with 2:25 remaining in the first half.
Otherwise, the '73 team started quickly, taking a 4-0 lead at 1:19 on two field goals by Walton and widened its advantage to 23-16 at 9:20 on a basket by Larry Hollyfield. At halftime, the score was 44-44, with Walton scoring 23 points on 10 of 13 field goal shooting for the '73 team and 16 points for the '72 squad.
In the second half, two free throws by Larry Farmer gave the '73 team a 56-50 lead at 5:17, and a field goal by Walton with 6:42 remaining increased the advantage to 75-66, the largest lead of the game.
The '72 team got as close as three points, at 87-84, with 14 seconds left on a basket by Hollyfield. Then, Keith Wilkes made one of two free throws for the '73 team with six seconds to play, before Wilkes closed out the scoring for the '72 squad with a field goal at the buzzer.
Wilkes finished with 18 points for the '73 team, while Farmer had 13 and Hollyfield 12. Walton led the '72 team with 20 points and was followed by Wilkes with 18, Farmer with 14 and Swen Nater with 10.