1943 NCAA Championship Team to be Honored During Saturday's Basketball Game

Feb. 28, 2003


It was sixty years ago when the University of Wyoming men's basketball team captured the 1943 NCAA Championship, and this Saturday the UW Athletics Department will honor that team at halftime of the Wyoming-San Diego State game in Laramie.

Three members of the 1942-43 team will be in attendance at Saturday's game, and will represent their team in halftime festivities. Those three team members are: Jim Reese, Lew Roney and Kenny Sailors. Reese, a native of Rock Springs, Wyo., now lives in Denver, Colo. Roney, originally from Powell, Wyo., is a longtime resident of Laramie. Sailors, who grew up in Hillsdale and Laramie, Wyo., now lives in Gooding, Idaho.

The 1942-43 squad posted a 31-2 record on way to the 1943 Skyline Conference Championship and the 1943 NCAA Championship.

In the NCAA Tournament that season, Wyoming began the tournament with a 53-50 opening round win over Oklahoma in Kansas City, Mo., on March 26. In the second round in Kansas City, Wyoming defeated Texas 58-54 on March 27 and advanced to the NCAA Championship in New York City's Madison Square Garden on March 30. Behind a game high 16 points from Sailors, the Cowboys recorded a convincing 46-34 victory over Georgetown to capture the 1943 NCAA Championship.

Two days after winning the '43 NCAA Championship, the Pokes played in an unprecedented matchup between the 1943 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Champion, St. John's, and the NCAA Champion, Wyoming. The game was also played in Madison Square Garden to benefit the Red Cross. Before 18,000 screaming fans, most of them pulling for the hometown Redmen, UW and St. John's played a great game. At the end of regulation play, the two were tied at 46-46. The Pokes prevailed in overtime, winning by a final of 52-47.

In addition to honoring the members of the 1943 team on Saturday, between 20 and 30 other former Cowboys from a variety of eras in Cowboy Basketball will be in attendance and will also be introduced and honored at halftime of Saturday's game.

The Wyoming-San Diego State game is scheduled to tip off at 4:00 p.m., Mountain time in UW's Arena-Auditorium.