Saturday, February 8, 2014

KU to honor 1974 Final Four team during WVU game


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.


Bryce Landon 8 years, 9 months ago

Any chance KU shows up in 1974 retro unis for this game?

Michael Sillman 8 years, 9 months ago

That was a fun team.

Danny Knight would start even though Suttle was the scorer. After Knight beat up the front line a bit then Suttle would come in and score at will with that turnaround.

It was unfortunate that dunking was illegal because Smith would have been on the national highlight clips after every game if he had been allowed to jam it.

Pam Goad 8 years, 9 months ago

And Kivisto - wasn't he known for his great outside jump shot?

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 9 months ago

No. Kivisto had an ok J and had a couple of nice shooting games. Kivisto was the PG and did a great job running the team. Dave Taynor was the one known for his J.

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