|Coach Stowell • Stowell Web exclusives|
‘A great experience’
Stowell vividly remembers the 1950 National Invitational Tournament and NCAA tournament. Here’s his recollection as a player of the two week stretch in which the Braves made the finals twice, met City College of New York in Madison Square Garden twice, and lost twice.
“We were rated No. 1 in the country. At that time, we accepted the bid to the NIT, which was very prestigious, before the NCAA bids came out. We drew a bye in the first round of the (NIT) tournament and went out to watch the first-round games on Saturday. We played on Monday, played on Thursday and played in the finals against City College on Saturday. They played the third-place game at the time and that went overtime. Then we played City College and got beat, but we didn’t get out of the Garden until after midnight. So we left Sunday morning, flew down to Kansas City, and played the University of Kansas (in the NCAA tournament). We beat them by two on Monday. On Wednesday we played UCLA; Wooden had just started coaching there. We were down nine and beat them by 13. On Thursday we played Baylor and beat them. On Friday we flew out to New York. It was really foggy so we couldn’t land in New York, so we landed in Newark and took the bus from Newark to the hotel. We got in around one o’clock in the morning, then played in the championship game that night.
“All this time, all the games City College played in the NIT were in the Garden. All the games they played in the NCAAs were in the Garden. They never had to leave home, and we were traveling back and forth. But we never really thought anything of it. We could probably have played another month, and it wouldn’t have bothered us.”
After an eight-point loss to CCNY in the NIT, Bradley played the NIT champs again in the NCAA final.
“In that game we had lost quite a few guys to fouls, I’m not sure if it was Aaron Preece ‘51 or Billy Mann ‘51, but somebody fouled out with about 55 seconds to go and (coach Forrdy Anderson) put me in. At that time, everybody was shooting free throws underhanded, or they were just changing to the one-handed shot. I don’t remember how I got fouled, but I know I never wanted to shoot a one-handed free throw so bad in all my life. At that time, when you made it, you also took the ball out of bounds. So I made that one, took the ball out of bounds, and then we got the ball to Squeaky(Gene Melchiorre ’51) a couple of times, and he made two baskets. We got the ball again with 20 seconds to go; we were pressing them full court and got the ball back to Squeaky, down by one. He drove to the basket with about five seconds to go, and we thought he was fouled. In fact, the announcer said, Melchoirre’s fouled. But they didn’t call the foul. Then they threw it to a guy at the other end of the floor, and we lost by three."
“It was a great experience.”
110 degrees and no water
Stowell promised himself early in life he would never smoke a cigarette or drink a beer. At the age of 78, he still holds true to that promise.
“I wanted to be an athlete, and didn’t want to diminish my chances,” Stowell said. “After a while, I never gave it a second thought.”
The World War II veteran shared this story: “When I was on board a ship in the Philippines in the spring of 1945, we could go ashore on liberty in the morning, and they would pick us up at night. You could play basketball, softball, or drink beer. It was 110 degrees, and there was no water until you got back on board the ship. I would play basketball, and my mouth was so dry I couldn’t even spit, so I decided if I didn’t drink then, there was no need to start.”
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