MSU, Loyola meet in rematch of landmark game


MSU, Loyola meet in rematch of landmark game

Mississippi State's basketball team had to sneak out of state to play a 1963 NCAA tournament game against Loyola of Chicago.

The travel itinerary won't be nearly so complicated this time.

Saturday's game between Mississippi State (3-5) and Loyola (6-3) in Chicago will be celebrated as a reminder of the landmark contest between that helped change race relations on the basketball court.

The all-white Bulldogs had turned down invitations to play in the NCAA Tournament in previous seasons because of an unwritten Mississippi law that forbade teams to play integrated opponents. But in 1963, after winning the Southeastern Conference championship, Mississippi State coach Babe McCarthy and others in the university's leadership helped facilitate a secret trip to East Lansing, Mich., to allow Mississippi State a chance to play Loyola.

Loyola won the game 61-51 and went on to beat two-time defending champion Cincinnati for the NCAA championship one week later.

The score was mostly a footnote compared to the historical significance of the game. Though it hasn't received the same publicity as other notable contests, such as Texas Western's win over Kentucky in the 1966 NCAA championship, it's become more appreciated in recent years.

Loyola's Jerry Harkness - a guard on that 1963 team - referred to the game as ``the beginning of the end of segregation'' in 2008. The NCAA picked the game as one of the 25 defining moments in the organization's first 100 years in 2006.

Still, most of the current players from both Mississippi State and Loyola admitted they had no clue about that 1963 game until recently watching a documentary about it.

``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 said. ``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.''

Mississippi State defied intense political pressure to play in that NCAA tournament - even dodging an injunction that would have prohibited the team from leaving the state. McCarthy left for Tennessee and Mississippi State President Dean Colvard left the state for a speaking engagement in Alabama days before the game - and also before the injunction could be served. After the coach and president left town, a group of trainers and the team's reserves quietly slipped away to an airport in Starkville, Miss.

When that group met no opposition at the airport, they called for an assistant coach and the starters to join the rest of the team in Starkville. The team flew to Nashville to pick up McCarthy and head to the NCAA tournament.

``I love history and when you start really learning the dynamics - it's an incredible story,'' current Loyola coach Porter Moser said. ``Then getting to know the guys - people like Jerry Harkness - and have them talk to the team is just a privilege. You can't forget you're dealing with young people and take advantage of teaching moments.''

Players from both 1963 teams will be in Chicago for Saturday's game. Many have become friends since the first reunion of the game in 2008.

``We all shook hands after the game and then I figured we'd never see each other again,'' said Doug Hutton, who was a guard on Mississippi State's 1963 team. ``So it's been a lot of fun to get to know them a little more. It's good the game is getting some publicity - seems like it gets bigger every year.''

Hutton said the Bulldogs were simply excited to get a chance in the NCAA tournament and didn't give much thought to the significance of the game. But the dozens of flashbulbs that popped when Loyola's Harkness and Mississippi State's Joe Dan Gold shook hands at midcourt pregame certainly provided a clue.

Les Hunter, one of the four African-American starters on that 1963 Loyola team, said he remembers a clean, hard-fought game.

``Considering we were just 19, 20 or 21 year olds, I don't think we fully understood,'' Hutton said. ``We just wanted to play basketball, and it was a great game. Like most close games between two good teams, it came down to a few possessions at the end and Loyola made the plays to win.''

Despite losing, Mississippi State returned to Starkville triumphant - without having to sneak back into the state. There were no legal issues awaiting them and no Mississippi State officials lost their jobs or were punished. The team was greeted warmly at the airport by hundreds of fans. Hutton said the reaction around campus was largely positive to the decision to play the game.

Nonetheless, playing the game didn't bring about immediate change, but fifty years later there has been progress.

Mississippi State will be led by an African-American - first-year coach Rick Ray - on Saturday and the majority of the Bulldogs' roster is African-American.

``It was an honor to be a part of that game, but there are also some mixed emotions,'' Hunter said. ``It's good to know things have changed so much since that game, but sometimes you wonder why it couldn't have happened a little sooner.''


Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

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How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

The Washington Wizards return to Capital One Arena to host the Detroit Pistons on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 2 p.m. 

The Wizards are hoping to not only bounce back after suffering from a tough 140-111 loss in Toronto Friday night but also to snap their losing streak at home. Monday’s game will be the Wizards last home, before hitting the road until they return home on January 30th. 

The Wizards currently lead the series 2-1, the Wizards won both matchups against the Pistons on Nov.4 and Dec. 16. However, most recently the Wizards fell short 132-102 on Dec 26th. Will the Wizards be able to win the season series on Monday?

Take your Wizards experience to the next level and get involved in the action with NBC Sports Washington's newest Predict the Game contest.


What is this broadcast? Predict the Game is an easy-to-enter, free contest that allows fans to predict various game and player performance outcomes through a series of approximately 12-15 questions per quarter that will appear on-screen during the alternate telecast on NBC Sports Washington Plus. Predict the Game leaderboards will be displayed at select times, and the winner of each contest will be revealed throughout the game and during NBC Sports Washington’s postgame coverage.

Where can I find it? Contest questions and leaderboards will be displayed on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).

Additionally, the broadcast can be streamed on desktopiOS and Android devices. 

The NBC Sports Washington Plus presentation will, for the first time, feature special hosts, who will appear at various times to address Predict the Game participants and provide contest updates, information and results. The enhanced experience will contain the majority of the same video and audio (including announcers) as the primary live-game coverage, which will be available simultaneously on NBC Sports Washington.

How do I win? Fans will earn points for both answering questions (1 point) and correct predictions (1 or 2 points, depending on the question), with the top eligible scorer at the end of each game earning or splitting the $500 prize.

Each quarter will be its own contest, with an entirely new leaderboard starting from scratch, so even if fans miss out on the start of the game there will still be plenty of time to play and win. 

Fans must enter Predict the Game, which is open to join throughout the entire game, and submit their predictions at www.nbcsportswashington.com/predict.


What: Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 2:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Pistons will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Pistons on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM


1:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

1:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

2:00 PM: Wizards vs. Pistons (LIVE)

4:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

5:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

5:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)


January 6: vs Boston (7 p.m.)

January 20: vs Detroit (2 p.m.)

January 26: at Atlanta (6 p.m.)

February 3: vs Golden State (7 p.m.)

February 11: vs Chicago (7 p.m.)

February 21: vs Cleveland (7 p.m.)

February 26: vs Brooklyn (7 p.m.)

March 3: at Sacramento (10 p.m.)

March 10: vs New York (7 p.m.)

March 18: at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m.)

March 15: vs Phoenix (7 p.m.)

April 1: vs New Orleans (7 p.m.)

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.


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Former Raven Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl-bound

Former Raven Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl-bound

Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Tennessee Titans 35-24 Sunday to advance to Super Bowl LIV in Miami. 

Suggs, who spent 16 seasons with the Ravens, will look to cement his Hall of Fame candidacy with a victory in his second Super Bowl appearance (Won SB XLVII) this time as a member of the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Suggs departed from Baltimore before the 2019 season, signing a one-year deal with his hometown Arizona Cardinals before being waived mid-season. 

The Ravens were rumored to be interested in a reunion with their all-time leader in sacks but did not put in a claim, being last in waiver priority, and Suggs was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs.

While the Ravens' 2019 season ended prematurely at the hands of the Titans, fans in Baltimore can take solace knowing that Suggs and the Chiefs helped bring the Titans' magical season to an end.

Suggs' accolades (2011 AP Def. Player of the Year, 2003 AP Def. Rookie of the Year, 7x Pro-Bowl, 1x All-Pro) will stand the test of time, but adding a second Super Bowl ring to his resume would make his Hall of Fame candidacy that much greater. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.