Noontime’s Black History Month: The 1966 Texas Western Miners

By Matt Noonan

The Texas Western Miners celebrate a 1966 NCAA Championship victory. (PHOTO COURTESY: University of Texas at El Paso Flowsheet student yearbook/

Our Black History Month celebration on the men and women that have and continue to shape the world of sports returns – we’ll be posting a few times each week, including this evening where we are honoring the Texas Western Miners men’s basketball team, which captured 1966 NCAA D-I Championship.

The Miners were a team many of us learned about in the 2006 movie Glory Road – coach Don Haskins started five African American players, who led the squad to an exciting (and very impressive!) 72-65 victory over the University of Kentucky.

The Wildcats entered the final contest of the 1965-66 school year as the favorite.

Let’s learn a bit more about the Miners, who represented Texas Western College, which is now the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

Getting to know the Texas Western Miners:

  • Coached by Don Haskins, who was inducted into both the Basketball Hall of Fame and College Basketball Hall of Fame, led the Miners to their first and only championship with an upset win over Kentucky.

    Texas Western started five African American players against a Kentucky program that did not integrate until the 1970-71 season. Tom Payne became the first African American to compete for coach Adolph Rupp. Payne would play just one season for the Blue and White before turning pro one year later where he spent one season with the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Prior to their 1966 NCAA Championship, the Miners made back-to-back appearances in the national postseason in 1963 and 1964. In 1964, they advanced to the the Sweet Sixteen, but lost to Kansas State. They did win, however, the Regional third place game against Creighton.
  • The Miners posted a 28-1 record during the 1965-66 season. Their only loss occurred at the end of the regular season against Seattle.

    Following their end of season setback to the Red Hawks, Texas Western rattled off five-straight wins, including a pair of overtime victories against Cincinnati and Kansas. Their win over the Jayhawks – an 81-80 victory in double-overtime – secured Texas Western a spot in the national semifinals against Utah.
  • The 1965-66 Texas Western Miners squad featured seven African American student-athletes: Bobby Joe Hill, Orsten Artis, Willie Worsley, Willie Cager, Nevil Shed, Harry Flournoy, and David Lattin.
  • As many historians and sports writers noted, the Texas Western victory over Kentucky opened the door for even more African American student-athletes to play sports at the collegiate level, not just basketball, but also football, track, baseball, and others, according to Dan Wetzel.

Articles and Links on the 1966 Texas Western Miners:

The AP Top 25 College Football Poll Welcomes 10 New Teams

The University of Memphis joined this week’s AP Top 25 College Football Poll. (PHOTO COURTESY: The University of Memphis Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

Two weeks of college football are in the books. Well, maybe three weeks to be exact if you want to count a Week 0 matchup between Central Arkansas and Austin Peay

On Sunday, the Associated Press (AP) unveiled its latest college football poll, which did not include either team but did feature 10 new squads that had not appeared on the previous Top 25 list. And one of those teams happened to be the Memphis Tigers, which checked-in 16th overall. 

Memphis was idle this past weekend – the Blue and White scored an opening day over Arkansas State earlier this month – and will return to action at the end of the month when the UTSA Roadrunners on Friday, September 25. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. eastern. 

Other teams joining this week’s poll included the University of Miami, which checked-in 17th overall, Brigham Young University (21st), and Army (22nd). The Black Knights are the lone 2-0 team on this week’s poll following back-to-back wins against Middle Tennessee (42-0) and UL Monroe (37-7). 

This week, Army will host BYU in what should be a good test for the Black Knights before they cap their September schedule with a visit to No. 13 Cincinnati

Clemson remains the top team in this week’s poll – the Tigers topped Wake Forest this past weekend by a score of 37-7 – while Alabama and Oklahoma secured the second and third spots, respectively. Georgia secured the fourth position while Florida checked-in fifth overall. 

Daily Noontime: Monday, March 23rd, 2020


By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It’s Monday, which means its time for a brand new week. Are you ready?

As usual, we’re here to put a smile on your face and take some time away from news of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which is exactly what we will start doing … now!

Today’s Weather in Boston (and the Greater Boston Area): After a nice weekend with some sun and wind, it will be a bit cooler today – look for temperatures hovering between 34 and 38 degrees. It will be overcast for the majority of the day – maybe we’ll see the sun for a few minutes? – but then a wintry mix arrives later this afternoon, which will turn to rain for most of us this evening. 

Luckily, tomorrow will be warmer and include the sun, but there seems to be a lot of rain in the forecast this week, which means we should all just stay indoors (and be safe, of course!).

The Noontime Headlines for Monday, March 23rd, 2020 

In Case You Missed It: 

  • We started our first theme week here at Noontime Sports (and yesterday – we are producing content on Boston and New England sports teams from the past decade. And we began with our All-Decade Boston Bruins team.

On This Date in History 

  • 1948: Kansas topped Baylor in the 10th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship to claim the program’s first-ever national title.
  • 1957: North Carolina beat Kansas, 54-53, in triple-overtime in the 19th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Wilt Chamberlain, who played for Kansas, became the fourth player to be named the tournament’s most valuable player despite not being on the championship squad.
  • 1963: Loyola-Chicago beats Cincinnati, 60-58, in overtime in the 25th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, providing the Ramblers with their initial title in their first-ever finals appearance.
  • 1994: Wayne Gretzky sets the NHL record with 802 goals scored.

March Madness: No. 12 Harvard Tops No. 5 Cincinnati, 61-57 (Game Summary)

By Matt Noonan 

The Harvard University men’s basketball team extended its season to Saturday as the Crimson defeated the fifth-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats, 61-57.

Wesley Saunders stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points (team-high), four assists, three rebounds and two steals, while Siyani Chambers and Laurent Rivard each netted 11 points.

Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick led all scores with 18 points, while Justin Jackson finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 boards.

The Crimson, who entered the tournament as a 12th seed, converted 19 of 44 shots from the field, including 6 of 17 attempts from beyond the arc. As a team, they went 17 of 28 from the stripe.

The Bearcats finished 21 of 57 from the field. They out rebounded the Crimson, 34-33. However, Harvard won the battle on the defensive end, pulling down 24 defensive caroms.

Harvard led Cincinnati at the break, 36-29, but the Bearcats outscored their opponent in the second session, 28-25.

Titus Rubles brought the Bearcats within two points at 13:52 in the second half with a layup, but Harvard answered with back-to-back layups by Saunders and Evan Cummins that stretched the Crimson’s lead to seven points.

Both teams traded free throws down the stretch. Chambers and Saunders each recorded a pair at the charity stripe, which sealed the win and punched Harvard’s ticket to the third round.

Harvard (27-4) will play the winner of Michigan State-Delaware on Saturday. No time has been announced for the third round contest. Cincinnati concludes its season a 27-7 mark.

UConn Knocks off Cincy, Advances to Sweet Sixteen

By Stacey Kilpatrick

Which animal is stronger, a husky or a bearcat? After Saturday night’s NCAA third-round Big East matchup in Washington D.C., a city known for wild elephants and untamed donkey’s, the husky has proven himself to be the more vicious predator.

The #3 Connecticut Huskies — who have won seven games over the past 12 days — defeated the #6 Cincinnati Bearcats 69-58 on Saturday and are moving onto the Sweet Sixteen to face the San Diego State Aztecs on March 24 in Anaheim.

Now I don’t mean to make this recap immediately focus on one particular, rather popular (for good reason) Husky, but let’s be honest, it should start off that way.

Kemba Walker, the Connecticut junior, had another high-achieving March Madness game, as he scored 33 points, pulled down six rebounds, as well as recorded five assists and one steal, all with an injured wrist (from an aggressive intentional foul by Justin Jackson that threw him to the floor) and a seemingly sore thigh (he was grimacing after the play).

Walker scored six of UConn’s final eight points, moving them ahead from 62-54 to 66-54.

The Bearcats came out from the start and made an impression that they were hungry for some “sweet advancement.” Rashad Bishop, (22 points, one rebound, one steal, one block) put two on Cincy’s scoreboard at 19:46 after being fouled by UConn’s Roscoe Smith, (two points, one rebound). By 14:26 the Bearcats were up 12-5 after two Connecticut turnovers.

But Walker, starving as well, wasn’t going to allow the Bearcats to continue their streak. Walker scored seven more for UConn, closing the gap to 17-15 at 12:19. Alex Oriakhi, (four points, 11 rebounds) then added an additional three points, Jeremy Lamb, (14 points, five rebounds) scored a jumper, bringing the Huskies behind, 20-19, and Oriakhi gave the Huskies their first lead, 21-20, at 8:15, with another free-throw.

Lamb added a dunk roughly two minutes later after stealing from Cincy’s Dion Dixon and Walker made a 3 at 5:12. At 4:29, Walker was fouled by Jackson after the Bearcats’ outstretched arm tangled with Walker’s as he attempted a left layup. Walker fell on his wrist, but scored the two ensuing intentional foul shots. Charles Okwandu added a jumper at 4:10 and gave the Huskies their largest lead so far, 31-22, going on a 21-5 run.

Yancy Gates, (11 points, six rebounds) and Jaquon Parker gave the Bearcats six more points, but the first half eventually ended with UConn on top, 37-28.

Just as Cincy took off and slowed down while Connecticut dominated the latter half of the first, the Bearcats were re-energized in the second as they came back to tie it 41-all after a Bishop basket with Kilpatrick assisting at 13:24.

But, while an impressive stride, the Bearcats never moved out in front and at 10:58 Ibrahima Thomas recorded his fourth personal foul for Cincy to coach Mick Cronin’s frustration.

Walker increased UConn’s lead after a foul by Gates that saw a colliding of Gates’ knee in Walker’s left thigh. Walker looked to be in pretty bad pain but he managed through it. He mentioned after the game that he’s always getting hurt, but he wants to win so there’s really no stopping.

At 8:36 Thomas’ collegiate career came to an unfortunate finish after he fouled out, earning six points and all of Cincy’s five fouls. UConn had eight.

The Huskies pretty much solidified their win at 60-52 with 1:31 left. Walker stole from Bishop and passed to Smith for a dunk. Walker was then fouled three times from 50.7 to 25 seconds, nailing all six points.

Cashmere Wright made a last attempt layup with 13 seconds left for Cincy, but Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, (10 points, three rebounds) put two more on the board for UConn after a Jackson foul and it was over at 69-58.

The Huskies travel West to Anaheim to play second-seeded San Diego State on the 24th and with this being SDSU’s first ever trip to the Sweet 16, there’s no knowing what can happen on the court.