1954-55

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NCAA Tournament Results - Coming Soon
Final Four Box Scores - Coming Soon
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All-Conference Teams - Coming Soon

At a Glance
NCAA Champion--San Francisco (28-1; coached by Phil Woolpert/fifth of nine seasons with Dons; won California Basketball Association by five games with a 12-0 record).
NIT Champion--Duquesne (22-4; coached by Dudey Moore/sixth of 10 seasons with Dukes).
New Rules--Games changed back to two 20-minute halves. . . . The one-and-one free-throw is altered so that the bonus shot is given only if the first shot is converted.
NCAA Probation--Miami (Fla.), North Carolina State.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Dick Garmaker, F, Sr., Minnesota (24.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg); Tom Gola, C-F, Sr., La Salle (24.2 ppg, 19.9 rpg); Si Green, G, Jr., Duquesne (22 ppg, 13.6 rpg); Dick Ricketts, F-C, Sr., Duquesne (20.1 ppg, 17.3 rpg); Bill Russell, C, Jr., San Francisco (21.4 ppg, 20.5 rpg, 54.1 FG%).
National Player of the Year--Gola (UPI).
National Coach of the Year--Phil Woolpert, San Francisco (28-1/UPI).

David slew Goliath twice in a 23-day period (see accompanying boxes). Kentucky's NCAA-record 129-game homecourt winning streak was snapped by Georgia Tech, 59-58, on January 8. Tech guard Joe Helms scored a game-high 23 points, including a one-handed, 12-footer with 11 seconds remaining to end the Wildcats' 54-game regular-season winning streak and 16-year unbeaten streak at home in the SEC. The Jackets, 2-22 the previous season and 22-73 the previous four years, had lost to Sewanee (Tenn.), 67-66, one game prior to venturing to Lexington, where they had lost 10 times during UK's streak by an average margin of 35 points. Later in January, Tech became the first team to twice defeat Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp in the same season, leading the Wildcats all the way in a 65-59 decision.

Georgia Tech, coached by Whack Hyder, used only five players in both upsets after losing its previous 28 games to UK. Despite the pair of setbacks to a team that finished with a losing record (12-13), Rupp improved his career mark to 520-86 (85.8 winning percentage) as the Wildcats went 23-3. . . . LSU wound up in 11th place in the SEC after going undefeated in league competition the previous year.

Alabama's George Linn grabbed a rebound in the closing seconds of the first half of a game against North Carolina, turned and made an overhand throw to the basket at the opposite end of the court and made the shot, which was measured at 84 feet, 11 inches.

Alabama was also involved in a bizarre pre-game fight at Kentucky. The Wildcats had a disconserting tactic of sending their backups to mid-court, where they stood and tried to give their opponents an inferiority complex by staring at them warming up. Bama coach Johnny Dee, however, fought glare with glare. Dee, the nation's youngest coach at 28 two years earlier when he assumed control of Alabama's program, dispatched his reserves to disdainfully assess UK. After exchanging words, players soon were swinging away in a pileup in the middle of the floor and had to be separated by state troopers. The Crimson Tide led midway through the second half before faltering down the stretch and losing, 66-52, providing Kentucky with the one-game cushion the Wildcats needed to stay ahead of 'Bama in the SEC regular-season race. . . . Jerry Harper became Alabama's first all-conference first-team selection in 13 years.

Brown's Ed Tooley established an NCAA record for most free-throw attempts in a game with 36 against Amherst (see accompanying box). . . . Marshall's Charlie Slack set an NCAA single-season record for highest rebounding average with 25.6 boards per game. . . . Holy Cross' Tom Heinsohn (42 vs. Boston College) and Connecticut's Art Quimby (40 vs. Boston University) became two of four major-college players in history to grab at least 40 rebounds in a single game. Quimby's boardwork helped Connecticut set an NCAA single-season record for highest rebounding average with 70 per game. His rebounding average of 24.4 per game was an all-time Yankee Conference standard. He was the leading scorer and rebounder for three consecutive league champions. . . . Sophomore Jim Brown (14.9 ppg) finished less than one point per game behind Syracuse team leader Vinnie Cohen. Brown went on to become one of the greatest running backs in NFL history. . . . Don Holleder, an All-American end for Army's football team that led the nation in total offense, averaged 9.3 points per game for the Cadets' basketball squad. He was a major during the Vietnam War in mid-October, 1967, when killed by a sniper's bullet in an ambush 40 miles from Saigon while hurling himself into enemy fire attempting to rescue wounded comrades.

Wake Forest started a stretch where it won 22 of 24 games against ACC member Virginia through 1965. . . . Wake Forest's Dickie Hemric, one of only three starters in the ACC to measure 6-7 or better the previous year in the league's inaugural season, set an ACC single-game record by grabbing a school-record 36 rebounds against Clemson. . . . South Carolina's Lee Collins and Joe Smith became the only set of teammates in ACC history to average more than 10 rebounds per game in back-to-back seasons. . . . Duquesne's Si Green and Dick Ricketts became the only set of teammates to each average more than 20 points per game the same season they became NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans. Ricketts, the Dukes' all-time leading scorer, grabbed 28 rebounds in a game against Villanova. That's the highest rebounding total for any Dukes player against a major college.

San Francisco's Bill Russell (35 vs. Loyola Marymount), North Carolina State's Ronnie Shavlik (35 vs. Villanova), Penn's Barton Leach (32 vs. Harvard), Harvard's Bob Canty (31 vs. Boston College), Clemson's Tommy Smith (30 vs. Georgia), Rice's Joe Durrenberger (30 vs. Baylor), Santa Clara's Ken Sears (30 vs. Pacific), Penn State's Jesse Arnelle (27 at Temple) and Missouri's Bob Reiter (27 at Kansas State) set school single-game rebounding records. Sears was anointed California Basketball Association MVP over Russell although the USF center was a first-team All-American. A few days before Christmas, Sears became the first basketball player--college or pro--to grace the cover of a budding magazine by the name of Sports Illustrated.

Oregon's Jim Loscutoff established what remains a Pacific-10 Conference record by averaging 17.2 rebounds per game, including a school single-game record 32 against Brigham Young. Oregon State junior Swede Halbrook set a league mark with 36 rebounds in a contest against Idaho. Halbrook left school after the season and played with the Wichita Vickers in the National Industrial Basketball League in 1955-56. . . . La Salle's Tom Gola finished his career with 2,462 points and 2,201 rebounds. His total of points and rebounds (4,663) is the highest in NCAA history. Gola, who grabbed a school-record 37 rebounds in a 112-70 victory over Lebanon Valley, later became a state legislator and ran for mayor of Philadelphia. . . . Coach Ken Loeffler, after guiding NCAA runner-up La Salle to more than 20 victories each of his six years at the Explorers' helm, left after the season for a similar position at Texas A&M. They finished among the top four in a final wire service poll his last three campaigns with them.

Furman's Darrell Floyd, the nation's leading scorer, poured in a national-high 67 points against Morehead State. Floyd's fireworks helped Furman led the nation in scoring for the third consecutive season (95.3 ppg). The Paladins paced the country in team offense despite a low-scoring 26-24 victory at The Citadel, which had been clobbered at Furman earlier in the season by 87 points (154-67) in the midst of an NCAA-record 37 consecutive defeats.

Minnesota defeated Purdue, 59-56, in six overtimes in the longest game in Big Ten Conference history. Each team used only six players. . . . Purdue lost 13 consecutive games to archrival Indiana in their series until the Boilermakers blasted the Hoosiers, 92-67. . . . Don Schlundt of Indiana (8-14) and Robin Freeman of Ohio State (10-12) each became an NCAA consensus second-team All-American although their teams posted the two worst records in the Big Ten. . . . Ron Kramer, who went on to become an All-Pro offensive end in the NFL, was Michigan's first All-Big Ten basketball selection in six years. . . . Sophomore Paul Hornung averaged 6.1 points per game in 10 basketball contests for Notre Dame. Two school years later, the football quarterback captured the Heisman Trophy. . . . Bowling Green's school record of 12 consecutive winning seasons ended with a 6-16 worksheet, including the most lopsided defeat in the Falcons' history (109-39 against Dayton). . . . Miami (Ohio) guard Darrell Hedric, a key backup after starting the previous two years, went on to become his alma mater's all-time winningest coach in 14 seasons from 1970-71 through 1983-84.

Virginia guard Buzz Wilkinson set an ACC single-season scoring average record by averaging 32.1 points per game, becoming the first major-college player to crack 30 points per game in back-to-back years. Wilkinson, the school's only All-American until 1972, still has seven of the eight games in Cavaliers history with more than 42 points. The Cavs compiled a losing record (14-15) despite having one of the highest-scoring trios in NCAA history--Wilkinson, forward Bob McCarty (19.7 ppg) and guard Bill Miller (15.4 ppg).

Kent State's Dan Potopsky established a school single-game scoring record with 49 points against Western Michigan. Potopsky scored 20 of the Flashes' 22 points in the first quarter. . . . Virginia's Wilkinson, Clemson's Bill Yarborough (28.3 ppg), William & Mary's Johnny Mahoney (27.3), Penn State's Arnelle (26.1) and Kent State's Potopsky (23.4) set school records for highest scoring average in a single season. Clemson was winless in ACC competition and 2-21 overall, but Yarborough set a school modern era single-game scoring mark with 46 points vs. South Carolina.

Texas sophomore Raymond Downs averaged 26.1 points per game in Southwest Conference competition, but failed to earn a spot among the first five on the all-league team after the Longhorns lost a school-record 15 consecutive games. . . . Kansas dedicated Allen Fieldhouse on March 1 with a 77-66 victory over Kansas State before a crowd of 17,228. Season tickets the first full season the next year cost $16, which included free parking close to the arena. The Jayhawks had previously played their home games at Hoch Auditorium, which had a seating capacity of 3,800 for basketball. . . . Wichita's Cleo Littleton became the initial player west of the Mississippi to finish his career with more than 2,000 points. He was the only four-time All-Missouri Valley Conference first-team selection in the 20th Century. . . . Hank Iba absorbed his first losing record (12-13) in his first 21 seasons as coach at Oklahoma A&M/State. The Aggies posted their first non-winning Missouri Valley Conference mark (5-5) since Iba's inaugural campaign with them. . . . Junior college transfer Lou Henson averaged nine points per game for New Mexico State, which lost at least nine Border Conference contests for the third consecutive campaign. Henson went on to his coach his alma mater and never lost more than eight league outings in his first eight conference seasons with the Aggies in the Missouri Valley, Big West and Sun Belt.

Seattle didn't finish among the Top 20 in a final wire-service poll for the only time in an eight-year span through 1958-59. . . . New Mexico lost back-to-back games at Southern California (103-39) and UCLA (106-41) by a total of 129 points. The defeats are the two most lopsided in Lobos history. . . . The California Basketball Association, the forerunner of the West Coast Conference, was led in free-throw shooting by San Jose State's Carroll Williams (81.3 percent accuracy). Williams later became the league's all-time winningest coach in 22 seasons with Santa Clara, including a trip to the 1987 NCAA Tournament.

George Washington's Corky Devlin finished among the nation's top 15 in field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage for the second straight season. . . . Lafayette won its last 20 regular-season games, a winning streak that remains a school record. . . . Manhattan's Ed O'Connor became the first player to lead the nation in field-goal shooting with a mark above 60 percent (60.5). He was the first of three different Jasper players in four years to pace the nation's independent schools in field-goal percentage. . . . Connecticut compiled a 20-5 record, which matched the Huskies' average number of defeats annually in a nine-year span from 1946-47. . . . Penn State's school-record 45-game homecourt winning streak was ended by Penn, 85-79. . . . Duquesne, coached by Dudey Moore, finished among the Top 10 in a final wire service poll for the fifth time in six years. . . . Angelo Dagres, who averaged 6 ppg for Rhode Island, was a lefthanded outfielder who went 4 for 15 in eight games with the Baltimore Orioles the ensuing summer.

Western Kentucky's 67-game homecourt winning streak was snapped by Xavier (82-80 in overtime). WKU's leader in scoring average was freshman center Ralph Crosthwaite with 16.8 points per game. . . . A pair of Ohio universities, Case Western Reserve and John Carroll, competed in their final season at the major-college level. . . . Wally Lemm, who would later coach the Houston Oilers to an AFL championship before accepting a similar football position with the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals, directed Montana State to an 11-16 record in his only season as basketball coach of the Bobcats.

1955 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Bill Russell retrieved 25 missed shots in the final while defensive specialist K.C. Jones, 6-1, held La Salle's three-time consensus first-team All-American Tom Gola, 6-6, without a basket during one 21-minute stretch and outscored him, 24-16, in San Francisco's 77-63 triumph. Russell scored 18 of his 23 points in the first half before Jones tallied 18 after intermission. Any time the ball neared the Dons' goal, Russell was there to guide the ball through the net, grab the rebound and score or pass to a teammate. USF was the first team to start three black players in the championship game.
Outcome for Defending Champion: La Salle (26-5) won its first three tourney games by an average of 32 points. The Explorers had lost three of their last six outings the first month of the season.
Star Gazing: Guard Stan Albeck, who scored 16 points in each of Bradley's last two games in the West Regional, coached his alma mater in the tourney 33 years later. . . . Idaho State's Bus Connor, who averaged 10 points per playoff game in five contests over three years, went on to coach Boise State in the 1976 NCAA playoffs.
Biggest Upset: Kentucky, ranked second in the country entering the tourney, lost its opener to Marquette, 79-71. Marquette had losing records in 12 of the previous 15 seasons before compiling a 24-3 mark.
One and Only: It was a modest 24-team field, but Bradley became the only team to enter the playoffs with a record of more than 10 games under the .500 mark (7-19). Bradley is the only school to go from the Final Four one year to 20 defeats the next season. In perhaps the worst matchup in NCAA postseason history, the Braves beat Oklahoma City, 69-65, in the first round at El Reno, Okla. OCU finished the campaign with a 9-18 mark. . . . Incredibly, Bradley finished with a winning mark in playoff competition by upending SMU, a school the Braves also defeated during the regular season. . . . La Salle forward Charles Singley, operating in Gola's shadow, became the only individual ever to be the team-high scorer for both winning and losing teams in NCAA championship games although his season scoring average was less than half of the team leader each season. Singley (10.7 points per game) had 23 points in the 1954 final when Gola (23 ppg) chipped in with 19. Singley (11.8 ppg) tallied four more points than Gola (24.2 ppg) against USF. . . . Duquesne's Si Green and Dick Ricketts are the only set of NCAA consensus first-team All-Americas from the same school never to play together in the NCAA playoffs.
Celebrity Status: Robert Adams, the third-leading scorer (9.2 points per game) as a senior for Canisius' first NCAA Tournament team, retired with the rank of Major General after serving in the U.S. Army for 31 years. Later, he was appointed Commissioner of the New York State Office of General Services by Governor Mario Cuomo. Adams was listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who of American Business Leaders. . . . Bob Ames, who scored eight points for La Salle in three playoff games, became the Director of the CIA's Office of Analysis of the Near East and South Asia, toiling closely with both the Carter and Reagan administrations. Ames was killed in Beirut in 1983 when a truck loaded with TNT on a suicide mission rammed into the facility where he was staying while serving as a liaison trying to allay contacts among the Lebanese, Syrians and Israelis in hopes of calming the escalating discord. . . . Forward McKinley "Deacon" Davis, the fourth-leading scorer (10.4 ppg) for Final Four participant Iowa, became a national sales director with Primerica/A Member of Citigroup. . . . Princeton's John Easton, who scored six points in an East Regional loss against La Salle, went on to play briefly for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Numbers Game: Colorado reached the national semifinals despite an early-season four-game losing streak. . . . Utah, which defeated Seattle (108-85) in the West Regional third-place game, was the only school to reach triple figures in scoring in the first 20 tournaments. . . . Terry Rand set a Marquette record for most points in an NCAA playoff game when he poured in a tourney-high 37 in a 90-79 victory over Miami (Ohio). . . . Oklahoma City's Gerald Bullard became the first player to appear in four consecutive NCAA Tournaments. He scored a total of seven points in five playoff games. . . . Doc Hayes compiled a .500 coaching record through his first seven seasons with SMU before guiding the Mustangs to their first of three consecutive NCAA playoff appearances. . . . Duke's only appearance in the first 21 years of the event was a 74-73 loss against Villanova.
What Might Have Been: ACC regular-season and tournament champion North Carolina State, which defeated eventual national runner-up La Salle, was ineligible to participate in the NCAA Tournament because it was on probation. . . . Kentucky forward Phil Grawemeyer was averaging 13 points per game when he broke his leg against DePaul and missed the Wildcats' last six contests, including a 79-71 defeat to Marquette in their NCAA Tournament opener. UK (23-3) defeated NCAA playoff runner-up La Salle by nine points early in the season. . . . Colorado could have given San Francisco more of a struggle if guard Tom Harrold, the Buffaloes' fourth-leading scorer and rebounder, didn't miss the national semifinal contest after sustaining an ankle sprain in pre-game warmups.
Putting Things in Perspective: The first of San Francisco's back-to-back champions survived a scare in a West Regional and won by one point at Oregon State (57-56). The Beavers would have avenged a 26-point defeat earlier in the season against the Dons if they hadn't missed a last-second shot. A 60-34 verdict over Oregon State was the first of USF's 60 consecutive victories, the longest winning streak in major-college history until UCLA won 88 games in a row from 1971-74.
NCAA Champion Defeat: At UCLA (7-point margin).
Scoring Leader: Bill Russell, San Francisco (118 points, 23.6 ppg).
Highest Scoring Average: Bob Patterson, Tulsa (57 points, 28.5 ppg).

All-Tournament Team
Carl Cain, F, Jr., Iowa (31 points in final two games)
Tom Gola, C, Sr., La Salle (39 points)
K.C. Jones, G, Jr., San Francisco (32 points)
Jim Ranglos, F, Jr., Colorado (22 points)
*Bill Russell, C, Jr., San Francisco (47 points, 34 rebounds)
*Named Most Outstanding Player.

Championship Team Results
First Round: San Francisco 89 (Russell team-high 29 points), West Texas State 66 (Scott 24)
Regional Semifinal: San Francisco 78 (Mullen 24), Utah 59 (Bergen/Bunte 12)
Regional Final: San Francisco 57 (Russell 29), Oregon State 56 (Halbrook 18)
National Semifinal: San Francisco 62 (Russell 24), Colorado 50 (Haldorson/Hannah 9)
Championship Game: San Francisco 77 (Jones 24), La Salle 63 (Singley 20)