March 26, 1949 – Seattle’s Hec Ed hosts NCAA championship – Kentucky wins

26 Mar

The Kentucky Wildcats (32-2) led by the 25 points by Alex Groza beat Oklahoma A&M (23-5) 46-36 in the first NCAA championship game played in Seattle.

“In all my playing and coaching experience I never have seen a player with as much ability as Alex Groza, the Kentucky center,” said first-year UCLA coach John Wooden after the game. “He has everything – height, speed, unerring shooting ability, exceptional defense and truly great coordination. It is my candid opinion we have never before had a player in collegiate circles with ability equaling that of Groza.”

It was Kentucky’s second straight NCAA championship. They were coached by Adolph Rupp.

Oklahoma A&M was coached by Hank Iba. The Oklaggie’s had won the 1945 and 1946 NCAA championships.

Over  12,000 fans poured into Clarence S. Edmundson Pavilion to watch the big game that was scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m. The consolation game between Illinois and Oregon State had a tip time of 8 p.m.

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