UCLA vs. Houston – Bruin Basketball – KMPC – March 2, 1968 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Taking a tour back to the 1968 College Basketball season via this KMPC recording of the re-match between Houston and UCLA on March 22, 1968. The second match-up in the 1968 season, the first being the classic “Game Of The Century” played at the newly opened Astrodome in Houston in January of that year. Up until that time college basketball games were not televised on television during the regular season. Only NCAA Tournament games were broadcast up until that point. The game was televised, not by the 3 networks (ABC CBS, NBC) but on a syndicated TV Network called TVS Television Network, which was owned by Eddie Einhorn. The play by play broadcaster for this game was the same broadcaster that did the UCLA games, a little known man by the name of Dick Enberg. This was the first national broadcast for Enberg. It established college basketball as a sports commodity on television and paved the way for the modern “March Madness” television coverage.
Not only did it prove to be a historic game, bringing College Basketball into its own on a national scale, as the first televised College Basketball game, it was also a historic loss for UCLA since it had been an undefeated team since 1966 and was the #1 College team in country.
UCLA was coached by John Wooden and at that time was considered to be one of the best coaches in America in any sport. The best player on the UCLA team was Lew Alcindor (aka: Kareem Abdul Jabaar), who was 7 feet 2 inches tall and was considered to be the best basketball player in the country.
Houston, who was # 2 team in the country, entered the January game with a 16-0 record. The Cougars were coached by Guy Lewis who was also a highly successful coach. The best player on the Houston team was 6 foot 9 inch Elvin Hayes.
It was a fiercely contested game, with the #2 Houston Cougars defeating the # 1 UCLA Bruins 71-69, and ended the Bruins 47 game winning streak.
The Bruins avenged the loss in a rematch with Houston in the NCAA Final Four on March 22, 1968, by beating the Cougars 101–69 to become the only team to win consecutive NCAA championships twice.
Here is that March 22nd game, as broadcast live by KMPC in Los Angeles.
Here’s the caveat: The game is complete, up until the last minute and 25 seconds when the automatic timer the station was using switched off at the 2 hour mark. At the time the score was not quite hitting the century mark. But the Bruins did go on to win the game – and even though you might consider it something of a cliff-hanger, it’s a great slice of college Basketball in the 1960s and there’s a great interview with Rafer Johnson during the warm-up.
Just know UCLA won.
Enjoy the game.
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