Loyola, Mississippi State to Recall Historic Basketball Game at Rematch

By Benjamin Woodard on December 14, 2012 5:52pm 

 Loyola's Vic Rouse shakes hands with Mississippi State's Stan Brinker at the beginning of the landmark 1963 game.
Loyola's Vic Rouse shakes hands with Mississippi State's Stan Brinker at the beginning of the landmark 1963 game.
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Loyola Athletic Department

ROGERS PARK — When the Loyola Ramblers play Mississippi State at home Saturday, the teams will be commemorating an historic basketball game that almost didn't happen.

When the Ramblers and Bulldogs met in 1963, it was frowned upon for Mississippi teams to compete against opponents with black players.

But the Mississippi State coaches defied convention, and snuck the all-white team out of the state "under the cover of darkness" to play Loyola in East Lansing, Mich, said Bill Behrns, a spokesman for the Ramblers.

Loyola, which had four black players at the time, ended up winning 61-51 in the landmark game, going on to topple two-time defending champion Cincinnati to clinch the NCAA championship.

The game posed a challenge to segregation in college sports and helped to "move our country forward," Behrns said.

"It's unreal to think about everything those guys had to go through just to play a 40-minute basketball game," Loyola senior guard Jordan Hicks told CBS Sports. "The amount of respect of I have for what they went through is huge ... Being African-American myself, it's a remarkable story. I couldn't imagine living in a world like that."

Members of the 1962-63 Mississippi State and Loyola teams, who starred in "The Game of Change," a 2008 documentary chronicling the game, will be introduced at halftime.

Gov. Pat Quinn will also speak, Berhns said.

Tickets ranging from $20 to $35 are available for the 7 p.m. game at Loyola's Gentile Arena in Rogers Park.

Call 773-508-9653, or visit loyolaramblers.tix.com, to purchase tickets.

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