Kansas University’s 1973-74 Final Four team will be honored during a first-half timeout at today’s KU-West Virginia basketball game in Allen Fieldhouse.
Players and coaches from the squad are in town to celebrate the 40th anniversary of that Big Eight championship team, which reached the Final Four, where KU fell to Marquette, 64-51, in the semifinals and UCLA in the consolation game in Greensboro, N.C.
“Time goes fast,” said former KU coach Ted Owens, who remembers that team fondly.
“What we had was balance. We started Tom Kivisto, Dale Greenlee, Roger (Morningstar), Norm (Cook) and Danny Knight. Tommie Smith and Rick Suttle were called ‘super subs’ and played as much as those guys did,” Owens said.
“We lost at Kansas State (during 13-1 conference season) then beat them here to clinch the championship. It was a beautiful night. There was a great celebration on Jayhawk Boulevard,” Owens recalled “It was a special time on campus.”
As far as the NCAAs ... “we had a very tough game with Creighton in Tulsa (55-54 victory in Midwest Regional semifinal). Oral Roberts beat Louisville. We played Oral Roberts and they still call that ‘The game’ in Tulsa. Most people regard that as the greatest athletic event in Tulsa history. We were down nine with three minutes to go,” Owens added of KU’s 93-90 overtime win over ORU, which propelled KU to the Final Four.
“It’s one of those things ... the year before we found a way to lose close games. The following year we believed we somehow were going to win every night,” Owens said.
“Marquette that Final Four was extraordinary. UCLA had a great team but lost to North Carolina State in a couple overtimes in one semifinal.”
Among the players returning today: Cris Barnthouse, Bob Emery, Greenley, Kivisto, Morningstar, Smith, Suttle and Donnie Von Moore. Cook and Knight are deceased. Assistant Duncan Reid is expected to be on hand plus graduate assistant Bob Flickner and Polly Miranda, wife of assistant Sam Miranda, who is deceased.
The squad, which attended a function Friday night, will attend a dinner after the game in Allen Fieldhouse.