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First ever UK-UCLA basketball game, 1951

Posted on December 23, 2017 | in Uncategorized | by

The University of Kentucky’s Lou Tsioropoulos grabbed a rebound off a missed shot by UCLA’s Mike Hibler (35) during the Wildcats’ 84-53 win over the Bruins on Dec. 26, 1951, at Memorial Coliseum. Not only was this the first game between the two college basketball bluebloods, but it was UK’s first game ever against a school from the West Coast. The third-largest crowd in Memorial Coliseum history, 13,000, saw the No. 1-ranked Cats blow out a tight game after halftime against No. 16 UCLA. They were led by a game-high 34 points from Owensboro junior Cliff Hagan, No. 6 at far right. The win marked UK’s 102nd straight on its home floor. The home-court winning streak, which began Jan. 4, 1943, against Ft. Knox, ended Jan. 8, 1955, at 129 games — an NCAA record that stands today. John Wooden, who later won 10 NCAA titles with the Bruins, was in his third year coaching UCLA. The 41-year-old Indiana native flew his team to Cincinnati and then took a bus on game day to Lexington. Two days later, they lost at No. 2 Illinois. They concluded their road trip with a win at Bradley in Peoria, Ill. The other UK players pictured are Shelby Linville (11) and Bobby Watson (66). Published in the Dec. 27, 1951, Lexington Herald. Click here to see the sports page from that day and read the story recapping the game.

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