Heading into the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, the U.S. men’s basketball team had won 37 consecutive games in Olympic competition.
In fact, in the 1960 Olympics, the U.S. team – led by future Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Jerry Lucas – was so dominant that it won its contests by an average of 42.4 points per game.
But in 1964, a less star-studded U.S. team was not a prohibitive favorite to win another gold medal.
In the fifth round of competition, the Americans led Yugoslavia by only four points with two minutes remaining.
But spurred on down the stretch by two clutch baskets from 6-foot-8 University of Cincinnati product George Wilson, the U.S. team held on for a 69-61 win.
In the finals, the U.S. squad cruised by the Soviet Union, 73-59, to claim yet another gold medal.
The 1960 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball squad was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a team in 2010, but the 1964 squad – the one that wasn’t expected to win – has not been inducted, which seems like a real injustice.
Wilson led the University of Cincinnati to an NCAA national championship in 1962 – beating Ohio State in the title game – and the Bearcats lost in overtime to Loyola in the championship game the following year.
He played for seven years in the NBA (1964-71), including three seasons with the Cincinnati Royals, and later competed in the Senior Olympics in basketball and golf.
On Aug. 31, Wilson, 74, will play on the Urbana Daily Citizen’s team in the Bill Butler Champaign Open at Urbana Country Club for the second straight year.
Trivia Time – The New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals played in the first Pro Football Hall of Fame game in Canton in 1962.
This week’s question – The Cincinnati Royals moved and became known as which team in the 1972-73 season?
Reach Steve Stout at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @udcstout
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