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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--Loyola, Ill. (29-2; coached by George Ireland/12th of 24 seasons with Ramblers).
NIT Champion--Providence (24-4; coached by Joe Mullaney/eighth of 18 seasons with Friars).
New Conference--Western Athletic.
NCAA Probation--Dayton, Indiana, New Mexico State.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Ron Bonham, F, Jr., Cincinnati (21 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 89.2 FT%); Jerry Harkness, F, Sr., Loyola, Ill. (21.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 50.4 FG%); Art Heyman, F, Sr., Duke (24.9 ppg, 10.8 rpg); Barry Kramer, F, Jr., NYU (29.3 ppg, 12 rpg, 83 FT%); Tom Thacker, F-G, Sr., Cincinnati (15.8 ppg, 10 rpg, 4 apg).
National Player of the Year--Heyman (AP/UPI/USBWA).
National Coach of the Year--Ed Jucker, Cincinnati (26-2/UPI, USBWA).
It was "Mississippi Learning." Mississippi State became the first school other than Kentucky to win outright or share three consecutive SEC championships. But Mississippi State coach Babe McCarthy had to sneak out of town in the middle of the night to enable his alma mater to participate in the NCAA playoffs for the first time. He left before he was served injunction papers stemming from two segregationist state legislators seeking to prohibit the team from leaving Mississippi and using state funds to travel to the tournament.
Billy Mitts, one of the "Jim Crow" state senators, was a former Mississippi State student body president, but his influence waned when a county sheriff apparently sympathetic to the players' plight graciously left an airport in time for them to board their plane and evade an unpleasant scene.
Mississippi State, an all-white school at the time, had captured SEC championships under McCarthy in 1959, 1961 and 1962. But the Bulldogs--then more popularly known as the Maroons--declined automatic bids to play in the NCAA Tournament those three years because of an unwritten bigoted policy forbidding Mississippi State or Ole Miss athletes to compete in racially integrated contests. Eventual champion Loyola of Chicago, featuring four black starters, fell behind Mississippi State 7-0, but wound up winning the Mideast Regional semifinal game (61-51) in East Lansing, Mich. Incidentally, the next time Mississippi State appeared in the NCAA playoffs was 1991, when the Bulldogs' 13-man roster had 10 blacks. . . . Forward Joe Dan Gold, the third-leading scorer for MSU with 13.3 points per game, went on to succeed McCarthy as coach and guide the Bulldogs for five seasons from 1965-66 through 1969-70.
Loyola of Chicago (29-2/coached by George Ireland) and Arizona State (26-3/Ned Wulk) had their winningest seasons in school history. Miami, Fla. (23-5/Bruce Hale) tied its school record for most victories in a single season. . . . Forward Jerry Harkness became Loyola's only All-American in a 35-year span from 1950 through 1984. . . . Three of the country's top five point producers were from the East as Seton Hall's Nick Werkman became the first Easterner in 13 years to lead the nation in scoring (29.5 points per game). . . . Duke's Art Heyman finished his three-year varsity career as "Mr. Consistency." He averaged a career-low 24.9 points per game as a senior after averaging 25.2 as a sophomore and 25.3 as a junior. His rebounding averages were equally consistent (10.9, 11.2 and 10.8).
Dean Smith, in his second year as North Carolina's coach, won at Kentucky, 68-66. The 12th victory of his career came against legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp, who was bypassed by Smith as the all-time winningest major-college coach 34 seasons later. . . . Five of the eight ACC members finished with losing records--Clemson (12-13), N.C. State (10-11), South Carolina (9-15), Maryland (8-13) and Virginia (5-20).
One-eyed Tommy Boyer of Arkansas became the first player to win two consecutive free-throw shooting titles. . . . Bowling Green's Howard Komives set a Mid-American Conference record by hitting 50 consecutive free throws. After misfiring, Komives canned 24 more in a row. . . . Two of the nation's top six rebounders--Idaho's Gus Johnson (2nd with 20.3 rpg) and Bowling Green's Nate Thurmond (6th with 16.7 rpg)--had been teammates at Central Hower High School in Akron, Ohio. "In my opinion, he (Johnson) was the forerunner to Dr. J (Julius Erving)," Thurmond said. "He was the first guy who was so big (6-6, 235 pounds) and could do so much with the ball." Johnson, who grabbed a school-record 31 rebounds in a victory over Oregon, died of brain cancer on April 29, 1987, at the age of 48.
Wichita State, coached by Ralph Miller, defeated eventual NCAA finalists Loyola of Chicago and Cincinnati although they each finished with only two losses. Wichita State ended Cincinnati's 37-game winning streak, 65-64, when Dave Stallworth poured in 46 points for the Shockers. Cincinnati, however, still captured its sixth Missouri Valley Conference championship in as many years as a member of the league. The Bearcats boasted four national All-Americans among the five All-MVC first-team selections. They finished among the top two in a final wire-service poll for the fifth time in six seasons. . . . Bradley lost six of eight games in a mid-season tailspin to finish with a 17-9 record, the only campaign in coach Chuck Orsborn's nine-year stint with the Braves when they didn't win at least two-thirds of their contests. . . . Texas, the epitome of a balanced attack under coach Harold Bradley, lost just one SWC game although it didn't have one of the top 10 scorers in the league. Seven Longhorn players averaged seven or more points per game in SWC competition and three other teammates had at least one game of 10 points or more.
Gary Bradds, the successor to Jerry Lucas as Ohio State's principal scoring threat, averaged 28 points per game after posting a modest 4.7 average the previous season as a sophomore. . . . Indiana guard Jimmy Rayl scored a national-high 56 points against Michigan State, tying a school record he established the previous year.
Illinois' Dave Downey (53 points at Indiana) and Colorado State's Bill Green (48 vs. Denver) set school single-game scoring records. NYU's Barry Kramer (29.3 ppg), CSU's Green (28.2) and St. Mary's Steve Gray (23.8) established school single-season records for highest scoring average. Green, a forward who was the Rams' only All-American this century, was an award-winning educator in the Bronx, N.Y., at the time of his death in 1994.
Bob Starnes' 50-foot heave at the buzzer enabled Illinois to edge Northwestern, 78-76, helping the Fighting Illini tie Ohio State for the Big Ten Conference title. . . . Purdue, coached by Ray Eddy, wound up in the Big Ten basement after finishing in third place the previous year. . . . Kansas finished in the second division of the Big Eight, but managed a four-overtime victory against regular-season co-champion Kansas State in the Big Eight Holiday Tournament. . . . Tulsa posted its lone triumph over Bradley (67-62) in an 18-game stretch of their series from 1957 through 1965. . . . Cincinnati All-American guard Tony Yates eventually coached his alma mater for six seasons from 1983-84 through 1988-89. . . . Dayton (16-10), coached by Tom Blackburn, had one-half of its games decided by fewer than six points. . . . Tom Apke, who led Creighton in field-goal percentage as a sophomore, went on to win more than two-thirds of his games as coach of his alma mater for seven seasons from 1974-75 through 1980-81.
St. John's (9-15) endured its worst winning percentage since going winless in 1918-19 despite ending an eight-game losing streak in its series with St. Louis, 54-48. . . . Syracuse had lost 50 of 59 games when its mid-season record fell to 3-7. . . . Vermont's Benny Becton (29 vs. Maine) and Utah State's Wayne Estes (28 vs. Regis) set school single-game rebounding records. . . . Duquesne star guard Willie Somerset missed the season because of an injury to the tibia bone of his left leg. He averaged 24.7 points per game each of the next two years to finish with the highest scoring average in school history (22.7 ppg). . . . Navy had a 29-5 record in its series with Virginia after defeating the Cavaliers, 78-66. . . . Roger Staubach played briefly as a sophomore forward for Navy. The next school year, the quarterback was the runaway winner of football's Heisman Trophy. . . . Muhlenberg (Pa.) competed in its final season at the major-college level. . . . Connecticut's Hugh Greer ended a 17-year coaching career with a 286-112 record. . . . Raymond Flynn, who shared Providence's scoring lead with John Thompson at 18.9 points per game, would go on to become Boston's mayor. . . . Jim Lynam, St. Joseph's second-leading scorer for the second straight season, went on to guide his alma mater to the 1981 NCAA Tournament Mideast Regional final. . . . Tim Grgurich, a starter for Pittsburgh's NCAA playoff team, coached his alma mater for five seasons from 1975-76 through 1979-80.
North Carolina senior guard Larry Brown, an All-ACC first-team selection, eventually coached UCLA and Kansas to the NCAA Tournament championship game. . . . West Virginia, coached by George King, earned its eighth Southern Conference championship in nine years. . . . Kentucky's streak of consecutive season-opener victories ended at 34 when the Wildcats bowed to visiting Virginia Tech, 80-77. Despite the splendid start, the Hokies finished 12-12 for their only non-winning record in a 14-year span from 1955-56 through 1968-69. . . . Georgia Tech (21-5), coached by Whack Hyder, swept its home-and-home SEC series with Kentucky for the second time in four seasons. The Yellow Jackets won 10 games by fewer than five points. . . . Tennessee, coming off a dismal 4-19 campaign, posted a respectable 13-11 mark in Ray Mears' initial season as coach of the Volunteers although he missed much of the campaign ill with physical and emotional exhaustion. It was the only season in Mears' 21 years with them that he reached double digits in defeats. . . . Vanderbilt (16-7), coached by Roy Skinner, won seven games decided by fewer than three points. . . . Furman (14-14), coached by Lyles Alley, posted a 6-9 mark in games decided by fewer than six points, including eight consecutive close contests in midseason. . . . Cecil Upshaw, Centenary's leading scorer with 15.4 ppg, eventually became a reliever for nine years in the majors.
Tim Cullen, a starting guard for Santa Clara, went on to become a major league infielder who competed in the 1972 American League Championship Series for the Oakland A's. . . . Brigham Young incurred its fourth losing record in six seasons. . . . New Mexico compiled a 16-9 record in Bob King's initial year as coach of the Lobos after posting an average mark of 5-19 the previous eight seasons. They ended an 18-game losing streak in their series with Utah, 84-71. King averaged 17.5 victories annually in his 10 campaigns with UNM. . . . San Francisco, coached by Pete Pelleta, captured the West Coast Athletic Conference title just one year after finishing in sixth place. . . . Jim Jarvis, who averaged 6.2 ppg for Oregon State's Final Four team, went on to coach Idaho for four seasons from 1974-75 through 1977-78.
1963 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Teams outside the South even adhered to an accepted standard of "start no more than two blacks at home, or three on the road." When Loyola, featuring four African American starters, upset Cincinnati and the Bearcats' three black starters in the championship game, it was the first time a majority of African-American players participated in the title game. Junior forward Vic Rouse leaped high to redirect center Les Hunter's shot from the free-throw line into the basket to climax the Ramblers' first year in the playoffs. Loyola of Chicago, overcoming 27.4 percent field-goal shooting by committing just three turnovers, won the final against defending NCAA champion Cincinnati (60-58 in overtime). The Ramblers, who missed 13 of their first 14 shots from the floor, trailed by 15 points in the second half before knotting the score at 54-54 when Jerry Harkness hit a 12-foot lefthanded jumper with four seconds remaining in regulation. "I never thought we'd lose it," Rouse said. "We came too far to lose it." Known by his players as "The Man," Loyola's George Ireland was a hard-nosed coach who yelled a lot and demanded his team follow his rules. But he had his players' respect. "He was his own man," said Harkness, who was scoreless until midway through the second half of the title game. "He was hard on you, sometimes downright difficult on you and everyone else. He could be awfully rough, and he was different, but he was his own man."
Star Gazing: Jim Lynam and Jim Boyle, two of the top three scorers for East Regional runner-up St. Joseph's, went on to coach their alma mater in back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 1981 and 1982, respectively. They combined for 77 points in victories over Bill Bradley-led Princeton and Rod Thorn-led West Virginia. . . . Nolan Richardson, a starter for Texas Western in the Miners' NCAA playoff debut (65-47 setback against Texas), coached Arkansas to a national title 31 years later.
One and Only: Oregon State's Terry Baker became the only football Heisman Trophy winner to play in the basketball Final Four. Baker, a quarterback on Oregon State's football squad that defeated Villanova (6-0) in the 1962 Liberty Bowl on his school-record 99-yard run from scrimmage, was the second-leading scorer for the Beavers' basketball team that finished fourth in the national tourney the same academic school year. Teammate Steve Pauly, Oregon State's second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, was the only Final Four player to become AAU national champion in the decathlon the same year. . . . It was the only time an All-American attending an out-of-state university opposed a school from his hometown in an NCAA Tournament final when Cincinnati center George Wilson collected 10 points and 13 rebounds against Loyola.
Celebrity Status: Connecticut guard Dale Comey scored as many points (17) as West Virginia's Thorn, an NCAA consensus second-team All-America, in UConn's 77-71 first-round loss to the Mountaineers. Comey went on to earn more than $1 million annually as an Executive Vice President of ITT, a global enterprise specializing in diversified services in three areas--financial and business, manufactured products and Sheraton Hotels.
Numbers Game: Loyola of Chicago, employing its starting lineup the entire final, is the only school to deploy just five players in a championship game. The starters all averaged more than 13 points per game, making them the lone group to achieve that feat for an NCAA titlist. The Ramblers are the only team to overcome a halftime deficit of as many as eight points (29-21) to win a title game. Loyola of Chicago became the first team to defeat an opponent by at least 50 points in a tournament game (111-42 over Tennessee Tech in the first round of Mideast Regional). A backup player for Tennessee Tech was Ralph Underhill, who went on to coach Wright State in the 1993 NCAA playoffs. . . . Loyola coach George Ireland didn't participate in the NCAA playoffs in his first 11 seasons at the helm of the Ramblers. . . . Colorado led top-ranked Cincinnati by 11 points late in the first half in the Midwest Regional final before faltering. The Buffaloes hit only 10 of 21 free-throw attempts en route to a 67-60 setback. . . . Cincinnati coach Ed Jucker won his first 11 NCAA Tournament games before bowing in the final to finish his career with an all-time best playoff winning percentage (.917 in a minimum of 10 games). "If we had won one more championship, we could have been, perhaps, the UCLA of our time," Jucker said later. . . . Bowling Green's Nate Thurmond grabbed the most rebounds ever in a losing effort in the playoffs when he retrieved a tourney-high 31 missed shots in a 65-60 defeat to Mississippi State in the Southeast Regional third-place game. . . . Harold Anderson, Bowling Green's all-time winningest coach, notched his only NCAA playoff victory in his 21st and final season with the Falcons. His career waned by losing 18 of 22 games decided by two points from 1951-52 through 1960-61. . . . Duke became the first ACC member accorded a first-round bye. . . . Texas coach Harold Bradley posted the only two tourney triumphs of his 17-year major-college career with Duke and the Longhorns. . . . West Virginia's Rod Thorn tossed in a tourney-high 44 points, but it wasn't enough to prevent a 97-88 setback against St. Joseph's in the East Regional semifinals. . . . Cincinnati swingman Tom Thacker was named to the All-Tournament Team despite committing a total of 13 turnovers at the Final Four.
What Might Have Been: Defending NIT champion Dayton (16-10) probably wouldn't have lost eight games by a single digit if All-American center and NIT Most Valuable Player Bill Chmielewski didn't leave school after his sophomore season to play in the ill-fated American Basketball League. The Flyers appeared in national postseason competition in 17 of 21 years from 1951 through 1971. They likely would have challenged for a couple of NCAA titles if Chmielewski had stayed in school and ABA standout Roger Brown been able to play.
Putting Things in Perspective: Bowling Green's Thurmond collected 24 points and 12 rebounds and teammate Howard Komives poured in 32 points in a 92-75 regular-season triumph over NCAA champion-to-be Loyola of Chicago. But Thurmond shot a paltry 29.8 percent from the floor (17 of 57) in three postseason games although the Falcons registered their only NCAA tourney triumph in history (77-72 over Notre Dame). Teammate Pat Haley, who chipped in with eight points against the Irish, went on to coach his alma mater for five seasons in the 1970s.
NCAA Champion Defeats: At Bowling Green (17-point margin) and Wichita State (1).
Scoring Leader: Mel Counts, Oregon State (123 points, 24.6 ppg).
Highest Scoring Average: Barry Kramer, NYU (100 points, 33.3 ppg).
Rebounding Leaders: Bowling Green's Nate Thurmond (70 rebounds, 23.3 rpg) and Loyola's Vic Rouse (70 rebounds, 14 rpg).
Ron Bonham, F, Jr., Cincinnati (36 points, nine rebounds in final two games)
*Art Heyman, F, Sr., Duke (51 points, 19 rebounds)
Les Hunter, C, Jr., Loyola of Chicago (35 points, 29 rebounds)
Tom Thacker, F-G, Sr., Cincinnati (27 points, 26 rebounds)
George Wilson, C, Jr., Cincinnati (34 points, 26 rebounds)
*Named Most Outstanding Player.
Championship Team Results
First Round: Loyola (Ill.) 111 (Miller team-high 21 points), Tennessee Tech 42 (Young 14)
Regional Semifinal: Loyola (Ill.) 61 (Harkness 20), Mississippi State 51 (Mitchell 14)
Regional Final: Loyola (Ill.) 79 (Harkness 33), Illinois 64 (Downey 20)
National Semifinal: Loyola (Ill.) 94 (Hunter 29), Duke 75 (Heyman 29)
Championship Game: Loyola (Ill.) 60 (Hunter 16), Cincinnati 58 (Bonham 22)*