MINERS
1966 Flashback: The El Paso Times

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MINERS--NATIONAL CHAMPS!

By Rodger McKown
From The El Paso Times, March 20, 1966

College Park, Md.--Texas Western, tabbed as the underdog, used a scurrying defense and a champion's poise to defeat No. 1 ranked University of Kentucky 72-65 and win the NCAA national collegiate basketball championship here Saturday night.

With 10:18 left in the first half Texas Western went ahead of the Wildcats 10-9 on a free throw by Nevil Shed and never trailed again in the game.

Following the free throw Bobby Joe Hill stole the ball from All-American guard Louie Dampier before he could get the ball to mid-court and raced back for an easy layup.

Again Kentucky tried to bring the ball down court and this time Hill robbed Tommy Kron as Willie Worsley worried the 6-foot-5 senior forward. Again Hill laid the ball up for two points and the Miners had a five-point bulge at 14-9 with the first period exactly half gone.

It took Kentucky almost two minutes to tally its next bucket but it took David Lattin only seconds to get loose under the basket for a dunker as the Miners were off and running from the top-ranked Wildcats.

Kentucky's only leads came in the first 10 minutes of the game when they were in front three times. Their largest lead was four points, at 7-3, four minutes deep in the game.

In the second period Kentucky was never able to catch the Miners. Their closest approach was one point at 39-38 in the first three minutes, and again at 50-49 with just over 8 minutes to play.

Just after that last drive the Miners started another surge on a jump shot by Hill, a long set shot from the corner by Artis, another jumper by Hill and a tip-in by big David Lattin to pull away to a 9-point lead.

Biggest margin in the game for Coach Don Haskins' Miners was with 3:22 remaining to play when TWC took an 11-point edge, 68-57.

Hill, with 20 points, led three Texas Western scorers in double figures. Lattin had 16 and Artis followed with 15. Worsley and Cager, who came off the bench to give the Miners added speed, bucketed eight points each.

TWC's rebound advantage was smaller than had been expected. The Miners collected 35 rebounds to 33 for the Wildcats. Lattin took individual honors for the Miners with nine, followed by Artis with eight. Dampier was top Wildcat off the boards, also with nine, and Larry Conley had eight.

The Miners had been billed before the game as the taller of the two teams, but actually the Miners were almost an inch shorter as an average than Kentucky, which measured in at 6-foot-3. Haskins went to his smaller guards including 5-foot-6 Worsley for the added speed to start with the racehorse Kentuckians.

The Miner defense held Kentucky to a 38.6 field goal average, lowest of the season for the Wildcats. Previous season low had been 42 percent. Kentucky had an 84.5 percentage from the free throw line.

Texas Western scored on 44.9 percent of their shots from the floor--three-tenths of a point over their 44.6 season average they carried into the game--and hit 84 percent from the free throw line for one of their better performances of the season in that department.

The win for Texas Western brought Texas its first national basketball championship. TWC was only the sixth Texas team to enter the championship, and only one other-Baylor in 1948 when it lost to Kentucky--had made the title contest.

Not since 1956, when Southern Methodist University made the trip, had a Texas team advanced to the national tournament.

The triumph gave the Miners a final record of 28-1 for the season--top mark in major college basketball for the nation.

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