Archive for Friday, January 17, 1992


January 17, 1992


They might not have the moves they once did, but Kansas University's 1952 national championship basketball team will return to Lawrence for a reunion next month.

The 40-year reunion Feb. 15 will coincide with the KU-Colorado game in Allen Fieldhouse, said Bill Lienhard, senior vice president at First National Bank in Lawrence.

"We had one 20 years ago, when Doc (coach Phog Allen) was alive. We skipped the 30th, so we had to have one on the 40th," said Lienhard, a starting forward on the '52 squad.

"From the group that played, everybody is still alive," he said. "It's amazing."

KU won its first NCAA title in 1952, beating St. John's 80-63 on March 26, 1952, in Seattle. The team finished 28-3.

The only losses in the regular season were to Kansas State and Oklahoma State. They came back-to-back on the road and cost KU its No. 1 ranking.

KU also lost its last game of the year to Peoria. The game was played after the NCAA tournament to decide what team would represent the United States in the Olympics.

KU also won an NCAA championship in 1988.

The star of the 1952 team was Clyde Lovellette, a consensus first-team All-American. He led the nation in scoring that year with 28.4 points a game.

"I remember St. John's started in a zone," Lienhard said. "They figured that if they could stop Lovellette, they might beat us.

"Well, the zone opened up our outside shooters. We hit pretty well. That brought them out of the zone and Lovellette took it from there." Lienhard said the only player he knows of so far who won't make the reunion is Dean Smith, head basketball coach at the University of North Carolina. UNC has a game scheduled for Feb. 15.

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