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UCLA Bruins are National Basketball Champions

Mar. 21, 1964 - The undefeated U.C.L.A. basketball team proved to one and all that it was the nation’s top college quintet by charging to a 98-83 victory over Duke tonight to win the National Collegiate championship. U.C.L.A. scored its 30th consecutive triumph of the year in the final of the NCAA’s 26th tournament, played before 10,684 fans at Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium.

Only two other teams have gone through a season undefeated and continued on to the national championship. These teams were San Francisco in 1956 and North Carolina in 1957.

In a game that was exciting mostly because of its pace and fine ball-handling by U.C.L.A., the Bruins and Blue Devils established scoring records for the final. U.C.L.A.’s 98 points surpassed the mark of 92 set by La Salle in 1954. The 181-point output by the two teams bettered the total of 168 in that 1954 championship.

Leading this scoring effort by the Bruins were Gail Goodrich (right) and Ken Washington with 27 and 26 points, respectively. Jeff Mullins had 22 points for the Blue Devils.

But leading the overall attack of the Bruins again was the fancy Walt Hazzard. The senior from Philadelphia set up scoring plays, stole the ball, and generally interfered with Duke’s offense. He consistently set up Goodrich and Keith Erickson.

In the noisy Bruin dressing quarters afterward, Hazzard had a simple explanation for the victory: “We ran ‘em,” said Walt. “We just ran ‘em. We knew they could run, but we also know those big boys of theirs couldn’t possibly keep up with us. They gave us real good pressure in the backcourt. But we knew how to beat that — by hitting the center, cutting past him, and forcing their guards to play us one-on-one.”

U.C.L.A. coach John Wooden said: “We decided to give them the outside. We did this to protect the inside against their big men. During time-outs, I kept telling my boys, ‘Don’t worry, they won’t beat us as long as we keep blocking off the passing lane inside.’ You saw [Jeff] Mullins hitting from outside. Well, it turned out he was the only one who was hurting us from there. I thought our pressing game would be our only chance with Duke’s great height. And our quick jumping paid off and compensated for height.”

Duke coach Vic Bubas agreed: “They upset our tempo with their press, got us off balance, and forced us to take bad shots. They were beautifully prepared.”


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