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1954 Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament

75 Years of March Madness (NCAA)

1954 NCAA Tournament | Bracket

Champion: La Salle

Most Outstanding Player: Tom Gola, La Salle

Final Four: Penn State, La Salle, Bradley, USC

Shining Moments

  • Kentucky was the No. 1 team in the country, going 25-0 during the regular season. However, three of its best players were fifth-year players and therefore ruled ineligible for the NCAA tournament. Adolph Rupp decided not to play in the tournament.
  • La Salle was almost bounced before its run started. Against Fordham in the first round, the Explorers needed a last-second layup from Fran O’Malley to send the game into overtime.
  • Bradley was unranked heading into the tournament, sitting with just a 15-12 record. But the Braves upset every team in their path – until the championship game, where they simply couldn’t handle Gola’s 19 points and 19 rebounds.
  • The 1954 championship game was the first to be nationally televised.
- Jeff Borzello

Championship Game

Location: Kansas City, Mo.

La Salle (92)
Player FG FT-A PF Pts.
Charley Singley 8 7-10 4 23
Charles Greenberg 2 1-2 1 5
Bob Maples 2 0-0 4 4
Frank Blatcher 11 1-2 4 23
Tom Gola 7 5-5 5 19
Fran O'Malley 5 1-1 4 11
John Yodsnukis 0 0-0 5 0
Fran O'Hara 2 2-3 1 7
Totals 37 18-24 28 92

Bradley (76)
Player FG FT-A PF Pts.
Dick Petersen 4 2-2 2 10
Harvey Babetch 0 0-0 0 0
Eddie King 3 6-7 4 12
Jack Gower 0 1-2 1 1
Dick Estergard 3 11-12 1 17
Bob Carney 3 11-17 4 17
Lee Utt 0 0-0 1 0
John Kent 8 0-2 2 16
John Riley 1 1-2 1 3
Totals 22 32-44 16 76

All-Tournament Team

Player Pos. Yr. School Statistics
Jesse Arnelle C Jr. Penn St. (43 pts)
Bob Carney G Sr. Bradley (37 pts)
Tom Gola C-F Jr. La Salle* (38 pts)
Roy Irvin C Jr. Southern Cal (35 pts)
Chuck Singley F Soph. La Salle (33 pts)
*Named Most Outstanding Player.
  • Scoring Leader: Tom Gola, La Salle (104 points, 22.8 ppg).
  • Highest Scoring Average: Bob Pettit, LSU (61 points, 30.5 ppg).
  • 1954 Tournament Scores

    FIRST ROUND
    East
    Penn St. 62, Toledo 50
    Notre Dame 80, Loyola (La.) 70
    Navy 85, Connecticut 80
    N.C. State 75, George Washington 73
    La Salle 76, Fordham 74 (OT)

    West
    Bradley 61, Oklahoma City 55
    Idaho St. 77, Seattle 75 (OT)
    Santa Clara 73, Texas Tech 64


    REGIONAL SEMIFINALS
    East
    Penn St. 78, LSU 70
    Notre Dame 65, Indiana 64
    Navy 69, Cornell 67
    La Salle 88, N.C. State 81

    West
    Bradley 76, Colorado 64
    Oklahoma State 51, Rice 45
    Southern Cal 73, Idaho St. 59
    Santa Clara 73, Colorado St. 50


    REGIONAL THIRD PLACE
    East
    Indiana 73, LSU 62
    N.C. State 65, Cornell 54

    West
    Rice 78, Colorado 55
    Idaho St. 62, Colorado St. 57


    REGIONAL FINALS
    East
    Penn St. 71, Notre Dame 63
    La Salle 64, Navy 48

    West
    Bradley 71, Oklahoma St. 57
    Southern Cal 66, Santa Clara 65 (2OT)


    NATIONAL SEMIFINALS
    La Salle 69, Penn St. 54
    Bradley 74, Southern Cal 72

    NATIONAL THIRD PLACE
    Penn St. 70, Southern Cal 61

    NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
    La Salle 92, Bradley 76