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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--Kansas (26-2; coached by Phog Allen/35th of 39 seasons with Jayhawks; won Big Seven title by one game with an 11-1 record).
NIT Champion--La Salle (25-7; coached by Ken Loeffler/third of six seasons with Explorers).
New Rule--Games are played in four 10-minute quarters. Previously, games were played in two 20-minute halves.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Chuck Darling, C, Sr., Iowa (25.5 ppg); Rod Fletcher, G, Sr., Illinois (11.1 ppg); Dick Groat, G, Sr., Duke (26 ppg, 7.6 apg); Cliff Hagan, F, Jr., Kentucky (21.6 ppg, 16.5 rpg, 4 apg); Clyde Lovellette, C, Sr., Kansas (28.4 ppg, 12.8 rpg).
Freshmen, thrust to the varsity level because of a manpower shortage stemming from the Korean War, made an impact long before the first half of the 1970s when they permanently gained eligibility. Freshman center Tom Gola led NIT champion La Salle in scoring (17.2 ppg) and rebounding (16.5 rpg). Another standout yearling was Wichita forward Cleo Littleton, who was named to the first five on the All-Missouri Valley Conference team with an 18.5-point scoring average.
Littleton matriculated to Wichita from a local high school when the university hired his prep coach (Ralph Miller). UCLA's NCAA Tournament-team, coached by John Wooden, had two freshman starters (forwards Don Bragg and John Moore). Here is an alphabetical list of other freshmen of influence during the season:
*Center Jesse Arnelle (Leading scorer and rebounder for Penn State's NCAA Tournament team).
*Center Art Bunte (Colorado's second-leading scorer and rebounder).
*Forward McKinley "Deacon" Davis (Iowa starter averaged eight points per game for 19-3 team).
*Guard Ed Fleming (Niagara's second-leading scorer).
*Center Dick Hemric (Wake Forest's leading scorer and rebounder).
*Forward-center John Horan (Averaged 10.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for a Dayton team that participated in the NCAA Tournament before finishing NIT runner-up).
*Dick Howard (Western Reserve's leading scorer).
*Jerry Koch (Helped St. Louis reach regional final in school's first NCAA Tournament appearance).
*Guard Al Lifson (North Carolina's leading scorer).
*Center Bob McKeen (California's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer).
*Guard Chuck Mencel (Minnesota's second-leading scorer).
*Forward Dick Ricketts (Second-leading scorer for a Duquesne team that appeared in the NCAA Tournament and NIT).
*Center Don Schlundt (Indiana's leading scorer and rebounder).
*Forward Ken Sears (Starter for Santa Clara's Final Four team).
The influx of inexperienced players was at least partially responsible for national field-goal accuracy being only 33.7 percent per game despite an all-time high 140.64 field-goal attempts per outing for both teams.
Kansas' Clyde Lovellette became the only Big Eight Conference player ever to lead the nation in scoring (28.4 ppg). Defending scoring champion Bill Mlkvy of Temple plummeted to 42nd (17.4 ppg) by incurring the largest decrease in scoring average (11.8) from one season to the next for any underclassman who led the nation in scoring.
Duke's Dick Groat was one of five Southern Conference players to rank among the nation's top 11 scorers for the second straight season. Groat was national runner-up in scoring and assists. He is the only individual to win an MVP award in major league baseball (1960 as a Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop) after becoming an NCAA consensus first-team basketball All-America. Duke teammate Bernie Janicki set a school single-game record by grabbing 31 rebounds against North Carolina. . . . Seven Southern Conference players ranked among the country's top 23 point producers.
Seattle's 5-8 Johnny O'Brien became the first college player to score 1,000 or more points in a season when he amassed 1,051 points in 37 games for a 28.4 average. He had 43 points in a shocking 84-81 victory over the Harlem Globetrotters in a special game played to raise money for the U.S. Olympic Games Fund. The mighty Globetrotters, in an era before they went exclusively to entertainment, usually opened a big lead before going into their crowd-pleasing antics. However, they were without ball-handling wizard Marques Haynes against Seattle because he had to appear at his draft board. O'Brien scored most of his points against Globetrotters great Goose Tatum.
Army sophomore Bill Hannon became the shortest player (6-3) ever to lead the nation in rebounding. He averaged 20.9 rebounds per game. . . . Colgate's Al Antinelli fouled out of 15 of 22 games. . . . Dale Hall was in his only season as coach of New Hampshire when the school compiled its only winning record (11-9) in a 26-season span from 1941-42 through 1968-69 (cancelled 1943-44 and 1944-45 campaigns because of World War II). . . . Penn State and Pittsburgh combined for only nine field-goal attempts, the fewest in any game since 1938, when the NCAA Tournament-bound Nittany Lions prevailed, 24-9. . . . Lafayette's Pete Carril, one of the nation's leaders in scoring (38th with 18 ppg) and assists (20th with 4.4 apg), went on to become Princeton's all-time winningest coach and guide the Tigers to the NCAA playoffs on 11 occasions. . . . Jack McMahon, who finished among the top three scorers for national postseason teams at St. John's for three consecutive years, eventually coached the Cincinnati Royals to the NBA playoffs four straight seasons in the mid-1960s. . . . Connecticut's Burr Carlson, the leading rebounder in the Yankee Conference (14.5 rpg), coached his alma mater for two campaigns in the late 1960s. . . . Holy Cross sophomore Ron Perry, who became athletic director of his alma mater for 26 years, also pitched for the school's baseball team that won the College World Series. He compiled a 7-0 record, including tourney victories over Texas and Missouri in a three-day span as the Crusaders came back through the losers' bracket. His son, Ronnie, became the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,542 points from 1976-77 through 1979-80. . . . Boston College beat Holy Cross for the only time in a 22-game span through 1956-57. BC's Tom O'Toole led the nation in assists with 7.9 per game. O'Toole's son, Tim, was a swingman starter for Fairfield in the mid-1980s before coaching his alma mater to the 2003 NIT.
LSU's Bob Pettit recorded the biggest one-game scoring output of the season with 50 points against Georgia. . . . Georgia captain Jim Umbricht went on to pitch five years in the National League before dying of cancer. . . . Kentucky boasted three of the five-man All-SEC AP first-team selections for the third time in four seasons. . . . Kentucky's Cliff Hagan established SEC Tournament records for most points in a single game (42 against Tennessee) and in an entire tourney (110 in four games). . . . Coot Veal, who led Auburn in scoring as a sophomore in his only season of varsity basketball (10.9 ppg), eventually played shortstop for six major-league seasons from 1958 through 1963. . . . Tennessee's Herb Neff set a SEC single-game standard with a school-record 36 rebounds against Georgia Tech. . . . Syracuse's Frank Reddout (34 vs. Temple), West Virginia's Mack Isner (31 vs. Virginia Tech) and Iowa's Charles Darling (30 vs. Wisconsin) established school single-game rebounding records. . . . Three of the nation's top five scoring teams came from the state of Kentucky--#1 Kentucky (82.3 ppg), #3 Louisville (80) and #5 Western Kentucky (77).
North Carolina lost its last five games to finish with a 12-15 record for the second consecutive season. The Tar Heels then lured coach Frank McGuire away from St. John's after he had guided the Redmen to an average of 25 victories the past three years. . . . Arkansas' streak of non-losing seasons ended at 28 when the Razorbacks dropped five of six SWC games down the stretch to finish with a 10-14 record. . . . Tulsa lost 21 consecutive games to Oklahoma A&M until defeating the Aggies, 39-33. . . . Oklahoma suffered its first losing league record (4-8 in Big Seven) in 21 years.
Dayton (28-5/coached by Tom Blackburn) had its winningest season in school history. The Flyers' Don Meineke finished among the nation's top 35 in field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage for the second consecutive campaign. . . . Illinois became the only school to lead the Big Ten in scoring five consecutive seasons in league competition. The Illini achieved the feat in Harry Combes' first five years as coach. . . . Michigan State's Gordon Stauffer, who shared the Big Ten lead in free-throw percentage (78.4%), went on to coach Indiana State and Nicholls State.
St. Louis All-American guard Ray Steiner, who started his college career at Missouri, tied a then-SLU single-game record with 31 points vs. Notre Dame. Steiner hit 13 of 22 field-goal attempts in the first three quarters before missing all 14 of his shots in the final period. . . . Forward-center Bill Stauffer became Missouri's only All-American until 1973. . . . Notre Dame backup sophomore forward Johnny Lattner supplied the game-winning basket with nine seconds left in overtime in a 75-74 victory over NYU at Madison Square Garden. Two school years later, the halfback captured football's Heisman Trophy. . . . Cincinnati's Jim Holstein, a three-time All-Mid-American first-team selection, went on to coach in the conference at Ball State for five seasons from 1972-73 through 1976-77.
Don Johnson, UCLA's leader in rebounding for the second straight season, went on to become the winningest community college coach in the history of California. He directed Cypress to state titles in 1978 and 1980. . . . Don Steinbrunner, the second-leding pass receiver for Washington State's football squad, was a backup center who averaged 3.9 jppg for the Cougars' basketball team. Steinbrunner, an Air Force navigator, was shot down and killed over Vietnam in 1967. . . . Arizona's 81-game homecourt winning streak, which started in 1945, was snapped by Kansas State, 76-57. UA trailed by only five points in the second half before faltering. . . . Arizona's 17-game winning streak in its series with archrival Arizona State also came to an end. . . . Idaho State (coached by Steve Belko) won its eighth consecutive Rocky Mountain Conference crown and North Carolina State (Everett Case) captured its sixth consecutive Southern Conference Tournament championship.
N.C. State's bid to win its sixth consecutive regular-season Southern Conference crown suffered a devastating blow when the Wolfpack lost at William & Mary, 70-61. N.C. State had whipped William & Mary by 36 points earlier in the year. The Wolfpack won 71.6% percent of its games decided by fewer than six points in a nine-year span from 1950-51 through 1958-59 under Case (53-21 in those close contests). . . . Clemson improved its Southern Conference record for the fifth consecutive season under coach Banks McFadden, but the Tigers still finished in fourth place. . . . Furman (18-6), coached by Lyles Alley, won 10 games by fewer than five points in All-American Frank Selvy's first season of varsity eligibility.
1952 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Legendary Kansas coach Phog Allen, running out of time in his quest to capture an elusive national championship, achieved his goal on the broad shoulders of Clyde Lovellette although his star player got lost in the fog. The night before the semifinals, one of Lovellette's Sigma Chi fraternity brothers, who was in the Coast Guard and stationed on a cutter anchored in Puget Sound, invited Lovellette to dinner on the ship. By the time they were finished, a dense fog moved in and they were unable to make it back to shore. Lovellette spent the night on the ship and didn't get back to his team's hotel until after dawn. Unfazed, he became the only player to crack the 30-point plateau in the national semifinals and final in the same season (33 points against both Santa Clara in the semifinals and St. John's in the final). In a West Regional final, Lovellette poured in a tourney-high 44 points in a 74-55 triumph over St. Louis. Allen said of his star: "He's just like a big turkey gobbling up all the wheat." Allen is the oldest coach to capture an NCAA championship (66 years, four months, eight days). He won seven of eight games decided by fewer than six points during the season after losing 29 of 40 contests in that category the previous five years.
Outcome for Defending Champion: Kentucky (29-3), the first school to lead the nation in scoring with an average of more than 80 points per game (82.3), claimed its ninth consecutive SEC regular-season title. The Wildcats' two regular-season defeats were in non-league play (61-57 at Minnesota and 61-60 vs. St. Louis in the Sugar Bowl final in New Orleans). It was the third time in four years for SLU to defeat a top-ranked Kentucky club. No other school beat the Wildcats more than twice in an eight-season stretch from 1946-47 through 1954-55.
Biggest Upset: St. John's gained sweet revenge against the nation's No. 1 team. Kentucky humiliated the Redmen by 41 points (81-40) early in the season when the Catholic institution became the first to have a black player on the floor at Lexington, Ky. Solly Walker played only a few minutes. St. John's, sparked by center Bob Zawoluk's 32 points, avenged the rout by eliminating the Wildcats (64-57) in the East Regional, ending their 23-game winning streak.
One and Only: Lovellette is the only player to lead the nation in scoring average (28.4 ppg) while playing for a team reaching the NCAA Tournament championship game. . . . St. John's, the only school to reach the NCAA championship contest after losing a regular-season game by more than 40 points, made its lone appearance at the national semifinals in the first 46 years of the NCAA tourney although it became the first school to participate in 50 national postseason tournaments (NCAA and NIT). . . . Princeton forward Dave Sisler is the only son of a member of one of the early classes of baseball Hall of Fame selections (first baseman George Sisler) to start for a school in its first NCAA Tournament appearance. . . . New Mexico A&M (now New Mexico State) became the only current Division I school to participate in the same season in the NAIA Tournament at Kansas City (eliminated by Southwest Texas State) and the NCAA Tournament (also in Kansas City; eliminated by St. Louis).
Celebrity Status: Dave Sisler, a pitcher for four major league teams from 1956-62, was a 6-5, 190-pound forward for Princeton's first NCAA Tournament basketball team. As a sophomore the previous year, he compiled a 7-1 pitching record for the only Tigers baseball squad to participate in the College World Series. He became the executive vice president, vice chairman of the board and branch director for St. Louis-based A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., the largest brokerage firm headquartered outside New York, with 5,300 investment brokers in more than 500 branch locations throughout 48 states and the District of Columbia. . . . Dick Boushka, who went on to become president of Vickers Oil Company, was a freshman member of St. Louis' tournament team that was eliminated by champion-to-be Kansas.
Numbers Game: North Carolina State finished in second place in the Southern Conference but won the league postseason tournament to become the first automatic qualifier for the NCAA playoffs instead of the regular-season champion. . . . St. Louis' Eddie Hickey became the first coach to direct two different schools to NCAA playoff victories in their initial tourney appearances. He guided Creighton to the 1941 NCAA Tournament. The Billikens advanced to a regional final for the only time in the 20th Century. . . . Elmer Gross became the first individual to coach his alma mater in the NCAA playoffs after playing in the tourney (Penn State '42). . . . All five Dayton starters fouled out when the Flyers committed an NCAA playoff-record 41 fouls in an 80-61 loss to Illinois in the East Regional semifinals. . . . Games were televised regionally for the first time. . . . Illinois won the national third-place game for the third time in four years. The Illini's Harry Combes is the only coach to win three national consolation contests.
What Might Have Been: Kansas State finished runner-up in the Big Seven Conference to NCAA champion-to-be Kansas, a team the Wildcats defeated at home in Manhattan by 17 points. K-State, ranked 3rd by AP and 6th by UPI after finishing as national runner-up to Kentucky the previous year, lost another matchup against the Jayhawks on a neutral court in overtime. . . . Kentucky All-American center Bill Spivey didn't play because of a knee injury at the start of the season while filming an instructional tape for coach Adolph Rupp. "Rupp was unique," Spivey said. "He wanted everyone to hate him and he succeeded." Later, Spivey was dropped from the Wildcats' roster because of lingering questions about possible involvement in the fix scandals. "I think they made me a scapegoat," he said. "They were paying players to go to school there, and they wanted to stop the investigation from going any further."
NCAA Champion Defeats: At Kansas State (17-point margin) and at Oklahoma State (4). The highest output by an individual opponent was 24 points by Baylor's Norman Mullins in KU's 57-46 season-opening victory.
Scoring Leader: Clyde Lovellette, Kansas (141 points, 35.25 ppg).
Dean Kelley, G, Jr., Kansas (17 points in final two games)
John Kerr, C, Soph., Illinois (34 points)
*Clyde Lovellette, C, Sr., Kansas (66 points)
Ron MacGilvray, G, Sr., St. John's (14 points)
Bob Zawoluk, C, Sr., St. John's (44 points)
*Named Most Outstanding Player.
Championship Team Results
Regional Semifinal: Kansas 68 (Lovellette team-high 31 points), Texas Christian 64 (Ohlen 20)
Regional Final: Kansas 74 (Lovellette 44), St. Louis 55 (T. Lillis 14)
National Semifinal: Kansas 74 (Lovellette 33), Santa Clara 55 (Soares 16)
Championship Game: Kansas 80 (Lovellette 33), St. John's 63 (Zawoluk 20)