- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Loyola-Chicago’s run to the Sweet 16 is resurfacing memories of 1963, when it won the NCAA Tournament on an overtime tip-in.

But even more culturally significant was the Ramblers’ 1963 regional semifinal against Mississippi State - a game that was in danger of not being played because of Mississippi’s informal law barring its schools from playing against racially integrated teams.

Mississippi State came up with a sneaky plan to fly up to Michigan for the game that would later become known as the “Game of Change,” three years before the Texas Western Miners became the first team with an all-black starting lineup to win the NCAA title.

Here are two stories from The Associated Press coverage of that meeting: the story recapping the game played March 15, 1963, written by AP sports editor Jerome “Jerry” Green, and the story of Mississippi State making the trip. The game story is presented as it appeared in the Brunswick (Georgia) News while the earlier story is shown as published in the Boston Herald.


It was just like any other basketball game - rugged under the backboards, decided on superior height and shooting. Mississippi State’s controversial NCAA meeting with Chicago Loyola, almost prevented by a Mississippi court injunction, came off in routine fashion Friday night.

Third-ranked Loyola, 26-2, playing four Negroes all the way, easily defeated the sixth-ranked Southeastern Conference champions 61-51 in the opening round of the Mid-East regionals.

“They were perfect gentlemen - just like any other team we played,” said Joe Dan Gold, Mississippi State captain. “They beat us on the offensive backboards. They just had too many big men for us and they won it by taking all those rebounds.”

The game began with the usual handshakes between the opposing players. It ended with Mississippi State’s players congratulating the Ramblers with traditional pats on the back.

Only 31 fouls were called, 17 on Loyola and 11 on Mississippi State.

“Let’s talk about the way they played basketball, not their color,” said Coach Babe McCarthy. His Mississippi State team came here on an intrigue-filled flight, complete with a cloak-and-dagger plan to avert serving of the injunction, only to learn on arriving it was suspended by a by a later court ruling back home.

“Loyola’s one of the greatest teams in the country and they beat us although we played a pretty good game,” McCarthy added. “We’d have to be near perfect to beat Loyola.”

This was Mississippi State’s first appearance in the NCAA. They turned down earlier NCAA invitations because of Mississippi’s “unwritten law” preventing state-supported schools from competing in events in which they possible would meet integrated teams.


Mississippi State Ban Lifted


Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The controversy-plagued Mississippi State basketball team arrived here belatedly Thursday after an intriguing getaway drama at Starkville, Miss., and learned a court order preventing its play in the NCAA Mid-East tourney Friday night had been suspended.


Supreme Court Judge Robert Gillespie suspended the order at Jackson, Miss., shortly after the Mississippi State team landed and headed for a practice session.

Mississippi State had averted the order banning its play in the tournament by flying out of Starkville Thursday morning before it could be delivered.

Coach Babe McCarthy, whose Southeastern Conference champions play third-ranked Loyola of Chicago in the opening round, was not with the team when it left Starkville. But he was picked up by the chartered plane at Nashville, Tenn., where he had hurried Wednesday to avoid being served the restraining order.

Segregationists had the injunction issued by a chancery-court judge late Wednesday afternoon seeking to ban Mississippi State from playing against Negroes in the East Lansing tournament.

Loyola, with a 25-2 record, has four Negro starters, including All-America Jerry Harkness.

In Friday night’s other Mid-east showdown, Big Ten co-champion Illinois (19-5), No. 8 in the Associated Press poll, encounters Mid-American Conference champion Bowling Green (19-6).

The Mississippi State staff had devised an intriguing plan to escape possible detention at the Starkville airport.

Assistant coach Jerry Simmons kept the team’s regulars in seclusion at a dormitory. As departure time neared, Simmons had five second stringers and a team trainer, Dutch Lachsinger, go to the airport. The idea was that if the order were served to that group, Simmons would be notified by phone and he would hustle the regulars to a private plane for a flight to Nashville, where a regular flight would be made to East Lansing. McCarthy would have accompanied the team from that point.


However, when the advance party reached the airport there was no deputy and no plane. The entire squad then waited almost an hour for a chartered plane which had been delayed by weather in Atlanta.

The 13-player squad, led by Capt. Joe Dan Gold, went directly to Jenison Fieldhouse, the tourney site, for a late afternoon workout.


AP Director of Corporate Archives Valerie Komor contributed to this AP Was There.


More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org ; https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 and https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-special-events

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