1949-50

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At a Glance
NCAA/NIT Champion--CCNY (24-5; coached by Nat Holman/31st of 37 seasons with Beavers).
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Paul Arizin, F, Sr., Villanova (25.3 ppg); Bob Cousy, G, Sr., Holy Cross (19.4 ppg); Dick Schnittker, F, Sr., Ohio State (21.3 ppg); Bill Sharman, G, Sr., Southern California (18.6 ppg, 80.6 FT%); Paul Unruh, F, Sr., Bradley (12.8 ppg).

Senior Paul Arizin, who couldn't earn a spot on his high school squad and didn't bother to try out as a Villanova freshman, led the nation in scoring average. Arizin's outbursts helped Villanova end Rhode Island State's streak of 14 consecutive seasons leading the nation in offense. The Wildcats averaged 72.8 points per game.

Holy Cross won its first 26 assignments until bowing at Columbia, 61-54. . . . Holy Cross All-American guard Bob Cousy went on to win more than three-fourths of his games in six seasons as Boston College's coach from 1963-64 through 1968-69. . . . Rhode Island captured the Yankee Conference championship, however. It was the only season in a 13-year stretch from 1947-48 through 1959-60 that Connecticut did not win the Yankee title. . . . Bob Zawoluk's school-record 65 points for St. John's against St. Peter's was the top one-game barrage during the season. LIU's Sherman White came close with a school-record 63 points against John Marshall. White's teammate, Eddie Gard, contributed 27 assists in the contest. . . . Frank Adams concluded his six-year stint at Fordham with a 68-71 record. He was the first of Fordham's initial 15 coaches to compile a losing career mark at the school. . . . Syracuse snapped Niagara's 51-game homecourt winning streak, 60-55. . . . Rutgers' 61-59 win at Seton Hall was the only victory for the Scarlet Knights in 28 games against eventual Big East Conference members in the first 16 seasons after World War II through 1960-61. . . . Ray Van Cleef, who averaged 2.8 ppg for Rutgers, went on to become College World Series Most Outstanding Player as a 5-6 outfielder for the third-place Scarlet. . . . St. Bonaventure's Sam Urzetta led the nation in free-throw accuracy for the second time in three seasons. Urzetta also went on to win the U.S. Amateur golf title. . . . Bob MacKinnon led Canisius in scoring before eventually coaching his alma mater for 14 seasons from 1958-59 through 1971-72 and later the ABA's Spirits of St. Louis. . . . St. Francis (N.Y.) compiled a 6-18 record for its only losing season in a 26-year span from 1932-33 through 1957-58. . . . Paul Senesky, leading St. Joseph's in scoring for the third consecutive year by averaging more than 18 points per game each season, is a younger brother of George Senesky, who played for the same school in 1942-43 when he led the nation in scoring (23.4 ppg). Paul finished national runner-up to Arizin. . . . Princeton (14-9), coached by Cappy Cappon, lost seven straight games early in the campaign before winning five consecutive EIBL contests by a total of 11 points. Cappon won 60 percent of his outings decided by fewer than five points (63-42) in 20 seasons at the Tigers' helm to 1960-61.

Ohio State forward Dick Schnittker earned consensus All-American honors after starting as an end for Ohio State's conference co-championship football squad that defeated California, 17-14, in the Rose Bowl. . . . Michigan defeated archrival Michigan State for the 37th time in their last 49 meetings. . . . Northwestern posted its lone victory over Notre Dame (66-56) in a 21-game stretch of their series from 1946 through 1956. . . . Butler's Ralph "Buckshot" O'Brien, a 5-9, 150-pound guard, averaged 25.3 points per game in seven games against Big Nine teams. O'Brien was the only four-time All-Mid-American Conference first-team selection in the 20th Century. . . . Tay Baker, averaging four points per game for Cincinnati's last two Mid-American champions, eventually coached his alma mater for seven seasons from 1965-66 through 1971-72, including the NCAA playoffs in his first campaign. . . . Indiana senior guard Lou Watson, an All-Big Nine first-team selection who averaged 12.2 points per game, went on to coach his alma mater in the 1967 NCAA Tournament as Bob Knight's predecessor. . . . Notre Dame's Kevin O'Shea finished his career as the only four-time All-American since the start of national postseason competition in the late 1930s never to appear in the NCAA Tournament or NIT. . . . Bradley (32-5/coached by Forddy Anderson) had its winningest season in school history. Holy Cross (27-4/Buster Sheary) tied its school record for most victories in a single season. Bradley backup Joe Stowell, who hit 15 of 27 field-goal attempts, went on to coach his alma mater for 13 seasons from 1965-66 through 1977-78.

Two future teammates with the Boston Celtics for four seasons led the PCC in scoring. Washington State's Gene Conley paced the Northern Division with 13.8 points per game while Southern California's Bill Sharman led the Southern Division with a 19.8 mark. Both Conley and Sharman also played professional baseball. Speaking of the Celtics, Red Auerbach was an assistant coach and heir apparent to Gerry Gerard at Duke for three months before leaving for a pro job with Tri-Cities. Auerbach was given much credit for grooming Duke All-America Dick Groat.

Washington State, which won a divisional title, featured a splendid collection of all-around athletes who made coach Jack Friel's two-platoon philosophy flourish. Three other starters in addition to Conley lettered in two sports. The second platoon boasted a couple more two-sport players plus Frank Mataya, who lettered in four sports during his amazing career with the Cougars. Ted Tappe, WSU's third-leading scorer with 6.8 ppg, went on to play three years in the National League as an outfielder. . . . Harry Hugasian, who averaged 2.2 ppg for Stanford, was the rushing and scoring leader for the Cardinal two years later as a senior and managed the school's only touchdown (ninth of season) in a 40-7 Rose Bowl defeat against Illinois.

Wally Moon, who averaged 5.8 ppg for Texas A&M, was a lefthanded swinging outfielder who homered four years later in his first at-bat with the St. Louis Cardinals en route to earning National League Rookie of the Year acclaim over Hank Aaron. . . . TCU finished with a losing record in SWC competition but became the first major-college team to hit 40 percent of its field-goal attempts in a single season. . . . Baylor captured its third straight and final SWC regular-season championship 46 years before the league disbanded. Bears coach Bill Henderson had only two winning records in the next 11 seasons. . . . Tulane's school-record 42-game homecourt winning streak under coach Clifford Wells ended when Arkansas edged the Green Wave, 42-41. Arkansas got off to a 3-8 start, however, and finished with its first non-winning record in 26 years (12-12). . . . Kansas (14-11) tied for the Big Seven Conference crown after finishing tied for last place the previous year. The Jayhawks shared the title after losing an early-season game to Creighton, which was in the midst of nine consecutive non-winning seasons. . . . Guard Ray Steiner and forward Forrest Hamilton attended Missouri but played sparingly for the 14-10 Tigers, who lost nine of 11 outings in one stretch. Two years later, Steiner and Hamilton were All-Americans for St. Louis and Southwest Missouri, respectively. In 1951, Phillip "Red" Murrell dropped out of Mizzou at Thanksgiving before serving in the U.S. Army and eventually becoming an All-American for Drake. . . . Clarence Iba became Tulsa's ninth head coach in 12 years. . . . Wichita's only victory in its last 18 outings (38-37 over Oklahoma A&M) was the Shockers' lone triumph in the first 19 times they opposed Aggies coach Hank Iba from 1935 to 1953. . . . Texas Tech's Gene Gibson, an All-Border Conference first-team selection, went on to coach his alma mater for eight seasons from 1961-62 through 1968-69. . . . Oklahoma City captain Abe Lemons, a forward who was the team's second-leading scorer with 7.7 points per game, eventually coached his alma mater to the NCAA playoffs seven times before coaching Pan American and Texas. . . . Ben Dreith, who averaged 7.1 ppg for Colorado State College (now known as Northern Colorado), went on to referee three Super Bowls.

Center Chet Giermak, the only All-American in William & Mary history, finished his career with 2,052 points. He has the longest running all-time scoring record for a school that has always been classified as a major college. . . . Coach Lee Patton, who holds the second-best winning percentage in West Virginia history, died in an auto accident late in the season. . . . Lyles Alley, en route to becoming Furman's all-time winningest coach, missed the season while taking a one-year sabbatical to work on his master's degree at Columbia. . . . North Carolina State All-Americans Dick Dickey and Sam Ranzino were two of the "Hoosier Hotshots" Wolfpack coach Everett Case lured South from his native Indiana. N.C. State opened its showcase gym (Reynolds Coliseum). . . . Davidson hoopsters Bo Roddey and Whit Cobb teamed to win the Southern Conference doubles championship in tennis.

Kentucky claimed its seventh consecutive SEC Tournament title. The Wildcats sustained just 15 defeats in the last five seasons, with the third setback in that span to Notre Dame, 64-51. . . . Georgia's 71-60 success over Kentucky was the Bulldogs' lone victory in a 31-game stretch of their series from 1940 through 1966. Tennessee's 66-53 decision over UK was the Volunteers' lone triumph in a 33-game span of their series from 1945 to 1960. . . . Mississippi's Jack Marshall finished his fifth season of varsity competition with an 11.2-point scoring average. . . . Center Bill Lynn, Auburn's leading scorer with 14.7 points per game, went on to coach his alma mater for 10 seasons from 1963-64 through 1972-73. . . . Alabama, coached by Floyd Burdette, sustained its only losing record (9-12) in a 19-year stretch from 1938-39 through 1957-58 (Bama did not field a squad in 1943-44 because of World War II).

Long Island (coached by Clair Bee), San Jose State (Walt McPherson) and Washington State (Jack Friel) made their lone appearance in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll. Wisconsin (Bud Foster) made its only final Top 20 appearance until 1999. . . . Wayne State (Mich.) competed in its final season at the major-college level. . . . Bill Donovan, the first Loyola (Calif.) player to reach 1,000 points, went on to become his alma mater's all-time winningest coach and guide the Lions to their first NCAA playoff appearance in his final season at their helm in 1961. . . . Stu Inman, finishing his career with 1,504 points, remained San Jose State's all-time leading scorer for 38 years. He became a long-time NBA executive coached the Portland Trail Blazers briefly in 1971-72.

1950 NCAA Tournament
Summary: City College of New York became the only school to win the NCAA playoffs and NIT in the same year (see accompanying results). It is also the only former major college to compile a winning playoff record in the NCAA Division I Tournament. The ultimate "Cinderella" squad, fueled by five players averaging from 12 to 13.6 points per game in the playoffs, won the NCAA crown by defeating three teams ranked in the AP top five (second-ranked Ohio State, fifth-ranked North Carolina State and top-ranked Bradley) although five of CCNY's six leading scorers were sophomores. Bradley nearly erased a six-point deficit in the final minute of the final before CCNY's Irwin Dambrot made a game-saving defensive play against game-high scorer Gene Melchiorre of Bradley. CCNY, coached by Nat Holman, also defeated 12th-ranked San Francisco, third-ranked Kentucky, sixth-ranked Duquesne and Bradley a second time the same year on its way to the NIT title. "Nat was a great coach," said Red Holzman, who played for Holman at CCNY from 1940-42. "He had a lot to do with the development of the game. His philosophy of basketball was great. He preached team basketball, passing the ball to the open man, moving without the ball, unselfishness, defense. He taught me a lot of things that I preached later on (coaching the Knicks to their only two NBA titles)." Holman left a sick bed with a 103-degree temperature to come to the NIT final against Bradley.
Outcome for Defending Champion: Kentucky (25-5) was embarrassed by CCNY, 89-50, in the Wildcats' NIT opener. Their other four defeats were each by more than 10 points. Everett Morris, in the New York Herald Tribune, wrote, "This devastation of the SEC champions (CCNY raced to leads of 13-1 and 28-9 en route to a 45-20 halftime edge) was accomplished with such consummate skill and superlative style that a sellout throng of 18,000 yelled itself into hysterical acclaim of a team effort of such surpassing excellence that it defies description by normal adjectives."
Star Gazing: Norm Mager, Floyd Layne and Al Roth pooled their talents for 30 points in the NCAA final after combining for 10 points in the NIT championship game 10 days earlier. Mager required five stitches in his forehead after colliding with a Bradley player late in the first half of the NCAA title contest. . . . CCNY was the first NCAA champion to have black players in its starting lineup - Layne and Ed Warner. Alas, midnight struck for the Beavers following their storybook season when four CCNY regulars and other New York-based players were indicted in a point-shaving scandal rocking the sport the following year. After the investigation revealed scholastic records were falsified to allow several recruits admission to CCNY, the school de-emphasized its program in 1953. . . . Ohio State starter Fred Taylor, cut from his high school team all three times he tried out, went on to coach his alma mater to three consecutive NCAA Tournament championship games from 1960 through 1962.
One and Only: CCNY is the only former NCAA Tournament champion not to win at least one playoff game since capturing the title.
Celebrity Status: George Stanich, a bronze medalist in the high jump in the 1948 Olympics, was a first-team Converse All-American guard for Pacific Coast Conference playoff champion UCLA. The Bruins made their first NCAA playoff appearance as they managed their best final wire-service poll ranking (seventh) in John Wooden's first 15 years as their coach. Teammate Eddie Sheldrake, who went on to become a restauranteur with numerous holdings of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Anaheim-based Polly's Pies franchises, scored 11 points in UCLA's first playoff game (73-59 setback against Bradley) before scoring a team-high 21 points in an 83-62 loss to Brigham Young in the Western Regional third-place contest. . . . Jim "Shuffles" O'Neill, who appeared briefly in Holy Cross' losses to North Carolina State and Ohio State, earned the 1952 College World Series Most Outstanding Player Award when he became the only pitcher to win three games in a single CWS as the Crusaders captured the NCAA baseball championship in Omaha. . . . Marvin Kalb, who went on to have a long career in network news, was sports editor of CCNY's newspaper (The Campus).
Numbers Game: The worst winning percentage for a Final Four team was compiled by Baylor, which finished with a 14-13 record (.519) after losing both of its Final Four games (to Bradley and North Carolina State). The Bears lost three regular-season outings by at least 33 points, including a whopping 48-point setback at Kansas State. The 78-30 blowout is the most lopsided loss ever for a team that later reached the national semifinals. . . . UCLA, making its playoff debut under coach John Wooden, led mighty Bradley by seven points with five minutes remaining before the Braves went on a 23-2 spurt to end the game. The Bruins beat CCNY, 60-53, early in the season at New York. Wooden came close to returning to his roots after the campaign to accept a similar position at his alma mater (Purdue), but UCLA's brass appealed to his high ethical standards and convinced him to honor the final season of his original three-year contract. And the rest is history. . . . North Carolina State's Sam Ranzino scored a tourney-high 32 points in an 87-74 victory over Holy Cross in their Eastern Regional opener. . . . N.C. State won the national third-place game over Baylor, 53-41, although the Wolfpack hit a Final Four-low 19.5 percent of its field-goal attempts (15 of 77). . . . The EIBL (regular-season champion Princeton) and SEC (Kentucky) did not have representatives in the tourney. Kansas from the Big Seven lost a district play-in game against Bradley.
What Might Have Been: Bob Cousy and Frank Oftring, members of Holy Cross' 1947 NCAA titlist as freshmen, were senior co-captains when the Crusaders won their first 26 games to earn the No. 1 ranking nationally by the AP. But they lost four of their last five contests, including both outings in the NCAA playoffs when Cousy went 17 for 61 from the floor (27.9 percent). . . . Kentucky ranked third in the final AP national poll but wasn't invited to appear in the NCAA's eight-team bracket.
Putting Things in Perspective: Would CCNY have been able to become the only school to win the NIT and NCAA playoffs in the same season if both of the national postseason tournaments weren't staged in New York? Most observers thought CCNY was out of the playoff picture after the Beavers lost three of five games late in the season.
NCAA Champion Defeats: Oklahoma (4-point margin), UCLA (7), at Canisius (4), Niagara (7), and Syracuse (9).
Scoring Leader: Sam Ranzino, North Carolina State (77 points, 25.7 ppg).
Most Outstanding Player: Irwin Dambrot, F, Sr., CCNY (28 points in final two games).

Championship Team Results
First Round: CCNY 56 (Layne team-high 17 points), Ohio State 55 (Schnittker 26)
Regional Final: CCNY 78 (Roman 21), N.C. State 73 (Ranzino 24)
Championship Game: CCNY 71 (Dambrot 15), Bradley 68 (Melchiorre 16)