- Saturday, March 26 1949 -
NCAA Championship (at Seattle, WA)
Kentucky - 46 (Head Coach: Adolph Rupp) - [Final Rank 1st by AP]
Oklahoma A&M - 36 (Head Coach: Hank Iba) - [Final Rank 2nd by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 25, Oklahoma A & M 20
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Illinois 76 - 47|||||Indiana Central 84 - 61|
Game Writeup - by Associated Press, New York Times
Groza Leads Kentucky to 2d N.C.A.A. Crown
SEATTLE, March 27, 1949 -- Back to the Bluegrass state goes the national collegiate basketball championship, which was won by a great University of Kentucky team that broke the heart of the fighting Oklahoma Aggies last night, 46-36.
A big, hulking bear of a man who moves with deceptive grace was the key to the Wildcats' victory.
When 6-foot-7 inch Alex Groza fouled out five minutes before the end of the game, he had poured in 25 points and carried Kentucky to its triumph on his burly shoulders.
There was no doubt in the minds of sportswriters who had watched the all-America senior center in action. They unanimously voted him the most valuable player award for the second straight National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.
Before the title game, watched by a turn-away crowd of 12,500 at the University of Washington Pavilion, the Big Nine champions from Illinois had taken third place by defeating Pacific Coast Conference champion Oregon State, 57-53.
The jubilant Kentuckians, heading back by chartered plane today to Lexington, took with them half of basketball's double diadem for which they had been aiming.
Twelve days earlier, they lost their chance at a twin sweep in the National Invitation Tournament at New York, where they were rudely dumped on their press clippings by unawed Loyola of Chicago.
But in the roaring finish that carried them through the Eastern N.C.A.A. finals and the championship here, the Wildcats proved their No. 1 rating in the eyes of the fans.
After it was all over, beaming Coach Adolph Rupp said:
"It was a tough game all the way. We had to play this one the hard way, almost to the finish. We beat a good team and we're mighty happy about it."
The Aggie's coach, Hank Iba, shrugged off defeat with "We just had a bad night; we were way off on our shots."
But hitting or not, Oklahoma A&M would have still had that Groza edge to overcome. Fouls cost Groza his chance to crack the all-time N.C.A.A. single game scoring record of 31 set in 1941 by George Glamack of North Carolina. With four personals against him, Groza was benched for eight minutes in the second half, then got back in just past the midway mark and finally went out via the foul route five minutes before the gun.
Oklahoma A&M stepped off to a 5-2 lead with its ball-control style of play. The Groza started to roll. At the half it was 25-20 for Kentucky and the big guy had accounted for 15 points.
The Aggies' battle was lost when lanky Bob Harris, who matches Groza in height but is 28 pounds lighter at 198, was whistled to the sidelines with five personals early in the second half. Then near the end of the game A&M's scrappy J.L. Parks went out on fouls and it was all over. Kentucky stalled to the finish.
Kentucky's triumph, its second in a row, gave the East its fifth N.C.A.A. championship against six for the West. The Wildcats joined the Aggies as the only two-time winners since the tournament started in 1939.
Alex Groza drives
Wah Wah Jones cuts through two Aggie defenders to the hoop
Alex Groza shoots in front of A&M's J.L. Pards (#44) while Wallace Jones and Ralph Beard look on