In a rematch of 1961 Ohio State 26-1 and Cincinnati 28-2 met again to decide the NCAA champion in Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky on March 24, 1962. Cincinnati defeated Creighton 66-46, Colorado 73-46 and the John Wooden coached UCLA Bruins 72-70. The Bruins featured sophomore guard Walt Hazzard and two years later in 1964 they would begin their run of ten titles in twelve years-the most dominant run of any team in NCAA history.
In a game that was tied at halftime 39-39 it took a 39 point 19 rebound effort from Paul Hogue to stave off the Bruins.
Ohio State bested Western Kentucky 93-73, Kentucky 74-64 and Wake Forest 84-68 to get to their third consecutive tournament final.
Lucas was bothered with sore knees throughout his career partly as a result of playing on the cement courts in Middletown, Ohio during his high school years. However he injured his left knee in the Wake Forest game and so that may have accounted for his low field goal percentage in the final.
Most of the players on the teams were the same. Ohio State lost guard Larry Siegfried to graduation but returned Lucas 21.8 ppg and 17.8 rpg, Havlicek 17.0 ppg and 9.7 rpg and Mel Nowell 12.6 ppg.
The Bearcats returned Hogue 16.8 ppg and 12.4 rpg, Thacker 11.0 ppg and 8.6 rpg, and Yates 8.2 ppg and lost Wiesenhahn and Bouldin. They added Ron Bonham 14.3 ppg and 5.0 rpg and George Wilson 9.2 ppg and 8.0 rpg. All of their starters except for Yates would go on to play in the NBA.
Jerry Lucas was the AP Player of the Year and the Buckeyes were eager to avenge the previous year’s close loss but the game turned out to be one they would like to forget.
The three seniors Lucas 5-17, Havlicek 5- 14 and Nowell 4-16, playing in their last collegiate game, combined for 14 of 47 from the field with the team having a .363 field goal percentage. Cincinnati wasn’t much better at .431 but enough to get a 37-29 halftime lead and hold on for a 71-59 victory for their second straight NCAA title.
The Buckeyes were led in scoring by sophomore Gary Bradds with 15 points who would go on to average 28.0 and 30.6 ppg the next two years to become one of Ohio State’s greatest scorers.
Hogue got the Most Outstanding Player award with his 22 points on 11 of 18 from the field and 19 rebounds.
Cincinnati would be back the next year against Loyola of Chicago but for the Buckeyes it be 45 years until 2007 when they returned against the Billy Donovan coached Florida Gators.
Ron Griffitts a contribution columnist for the Daily Advocate