1951–52 NCAA men's basketball season

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Season headlines[edit]

Harlem Globetrotters vs. Seattle University[edit]

On January 21, 1952, the Harlem Globetrotters played Seattle in a game designed to raise funds for the United States Olympic efforts. Five days before the game was held, Royal Brougham received a call from Howard Hobson, who was the Yale basketball coach and a United States Olympic Committee member. It was reported that money was needed to support the country's Olympic effort for the games held in Helsinki, Finland. The Globetrotters had agreed to a three-game fund-raiser against college teams in the West, Midwest and East.[1]

Tickets cost $1.50 and they were sold out in 48 hours.[1] Jazz great Louis Armstrong played at halftime and actress Joan Caulfield performed a ceremonial opening tip off. The game was played at the University of Washington's Hec Edmondson Pavilion and was filled to its 12,500 capacity.

The Globetrotters were considered the best basketball team in the world and the club paid their two star players "Goose" Tatum and Marques Hayes twenty five thousand dollars each.[2] Entering the game with Seattle, the Globetrotters had played 3571 games winning 93 percent of their contests.[2]

Seattle player Johnny O'Brien was the nation's leading scorer at that time. O'Brien would become the first player in the history of college basketball to score 1000 points in a single season.[3] He would finish the season with 1,051 points. Against the Globetrotters, O'Brien poured in 43 points. Johnny's brother Eddie played point guard for Chieftains and his half court shot lifted the club to a 10-point lead.

After halftime, the Globetrotters got back in the game as Johnny O'Brien sat out most of the third quarter. With seconds left in the game, the Globetrotters called a time out they did not have. A free throw was made by Johnny O'Brien and there was a possession change. The Chieftains were ahead 84–81.

Globetrotter owner Abe Saperstein was so upset that he canceled the rest of the Trotters benefit schedule that year.[2]


Major rule changes[edit]

Beginning in 1951–52, the following rules change was implemented:

  • Games were played in four 10-minute quarters.[6]

Regular season[edit]

Conference winners and tournaments[edit]

Conference Regular
Season Winner[7]
Player of the Year
Venue (City)
Big Seven Conference Kansas None Selected No Tournament
Big Ten Conference Illinois None Selected No Tournament
Border Conference New Mexico A&M & West Texas State None Selected No Tournament
Ivy League Princeton None Selected No Tournament
Mid-American Conference Miami & Western Michigan None Selected No Tournament
Missouri Valley Conference St. Louis None Selected No Tournament
Mountain States Conference Wyoming None Selected No Tournament
Ohio Valley Conference Western Kentucky St. None Selected 1952 Ohio Valley Conference Men's Basketball Tournament Jefferson County Armory,
(Louisville, Kentucky)
Western Kentucky St.
Pacific Coast Conference UCLA None Selected No Tournament
Southeastern Conference Kentucky None Selected 1952 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament Jefferson County Armory,
(Louisville, Kentucky)
Southern Conference West Virginia Dick Groat, Duke[8] 1952 Southern Conference Men's Basketball Tournament Reynolds Coliseum
(Raleigh, North Carolina)
North Carolina State[9]
Southwest Conference Texas Christian None Selected No Tournament

Statistical leaders[edit]

colspan=3 style="text-align: center;"Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Assists Per Game Field Goal Percentage
Player School PPG Player School RPG Player School APG Player School FG%
Clyde Lovellette Kansas 28.4 Bill Hannon Army 20.9 Tom O'Toole Boston College 7.9 Art Spoelstra W. Kentucky 51.6
Dick Groat Duke 26.0 Walter Dukes Seton Hall 19.7 Dick Groat Duke 7.6 Gerald Rogers Tex. Western 50.4
Bob Pettit LSU 25.5 Ernie Beck Penn 19.0 Malcolm McLean Davidson 7.5 Norm Swanson Detroit 50.3
Chuck Darling Iowa 25.5 Elston Tuttle Creighton 18.9 Larry Friedman Muhlenberg 7.3 Karl Klinar VMI 49.2
Frank Selvy Furman 24.6 Bill Chambers William & Mary 18.2 Roger Chadwick Cornell 6.9 Tom Marshall W. Kentucky 49.1
Free Throw Percentage
Name School FT%
Sy Chadroff Miami (FL) 80.5
Bob Kenney Kansas 80.3
Drew Turner St. Mary's (CA) 80.2
Tommy Bartlett Tennessee 80.2
Russell Rerucha Colorado A&M 80.0

Year-end polls[edit]

The final regular-season top 20 from the AP and Coaches Polls.[10]

Associated Press
Ranking Team
1 Kentucky
2 Illinois
3 Kansas State
4 Duquesne
5 Saint Louis
6 Washington
7 Iowa
8 Kansas
9 West Virginia
10 St. John's
11 Dayton
12 Duke
13 Holy Cross
14 Seton Hall
15 St. Bonaventure
16 Wyoming
17 Louisville
18 Seattle
20 Texas State
Ranking Team
1 Kentucky
2 Illinois
3 Kansas
4 Duquesne
5 Washington
6 Kansas State
7 Saint Louis
8 Iowa
9 St. John's
10 Wyoming
11 St. Bonaventure
12 Seton Hall
13 Texas Christian
14 West Virginia
15 Holy Cross
16 Western Kentucky St.
17 La Salle
18 Dayton
19 Louisville

Post-Season Tournaments[edit]

NCAA tournament[edit]

Phog Allen led the Kansas Jayhawks to their first NCAA Tournament title, defeating St. John's 80–63. Jayhawk All-American Clyde Lovellette broke the NCAA record by scoring 141 points in the tournament and was named tournament Most Outstanding Player.[10]

Final four[edit]

National Semifinals National Championship Game
St. John's 61
Illinois 59
St. John's 63
Kansas 80
Kansas 74
Santa Clara 55
  • Third Place – Illinois 67, Santa Clara 64

National Invitation Tournament[edit]

La Salle won the National Invitation Tournament by beating Dayton, 75–64. Tom Gola and Norm Grekin were named co-MVPs.[11]

NIT Semifinals and Final[edit]

Played at Madison Square Garden in New York City

Semifinals Final
St. Bonaventure 62
Dayton 69
Dayton 64
La Salle 75
Duquesne 46
La Salle 59
  • Third Place – St. Bonaventure 48, Duquesne 34

Award winners[edit]

Consensus All-American teams[edit]

Consensus First Team
Player Position Class Team
Chuck Darling C Senior Iowa
Rod Fletcher G Senior Illinois
Dick Groat G Senior Duke
Cliff Hagan F Junior Kentucky
Clyde Lovellette C Senior Kansas

Consensus Second Team
Player Position Class Team
Bob Houbregs F Junior Washington
Don Meineke F Senior Dayton
Johnny O'Brien G Junior Seattle
Mark Workman C Senior West Virginia
Bob Zawoluk F Senior St. John's

Major player of the year awards[edit]

Other major awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b Raley, Dan (2002-01-20). "Fifty years ago tonight, Seattle U. upset the mighty Globetrotters". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  2. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2009-05-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ http://www.goseattleu.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=89901&SPID=10773&DB_OEM_ID=18200&ATCLID=3638805
  4. ^ Anderson, Dave (22 March 1998). "When Sherman White Threw It All Away". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  5. ^ "2009–10 LIU Blackbirds Men's Basketball Media Guide" (Flash). issuu.com. Long Island University. 2009. p. 69. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  6. ^ 2009 NCAA Men's Basketball Records Book – Playing-Rules History section, NCAA, retrieved 2009-05-09. Archived 2009-05-13.
  7. ^ "2009 NCAA Men's Basketball Record Book – Conferences Section" (PDF). NCAA. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-14.
  8. ^ 2008–09 SoCon Men's Basketball Media Guide – Honors Section, Southern Conference, retrieved 2009-02-09
  9. ^ 2008–09 SoCon Men's Basketball Media Guide – Postseason Section, Southern Conference, retrieved 2009-02-09
  10. ^ a b http://www.databasesports.com/ncaab/tourney.htm?yr=1952
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2009-12-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  • Statistical Leaders from 1953 Official Collegiate Basketball Record Book, (Copyright 1952, National Collegiate Athletic Bureau)