1950-51 Final Four Team To Be Honored Saturday

The 1950-51 Wildcats are the only K-State to ever advance to an NCAA Championship game.

Feb. 24, 2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State will honor one of its greatest men’s basketball teams of all-time on Saturday, as members of the 1950-51 Final Four squad will be recognized at halftime of the Missouri contest.

Nine members of the legendary team – Ernie Barrett, Joe Condit, Bobby Garcia, John “Hoot” Gibson, Lew Hitch, Jim Iverson, Dick Knostman, Perk Reitemeier and Bob Rousey – as well as the families of the late Glenn Channell, Ed Head and Don Upson will join assistant coach Fred “Tex” Winter in attendance at the game.

Led by Hall of Fame head coach Jack Gardner, the 1950-51 team posted a 25-4 overall record, including an 11-1 mark in Big Seven play, en route to becoming the first and only K-State athletics team to advance to an NCAA Championship game.  The 25 wins stood as the school record until the Wildcats won 29 games in 2009-10.  The squad captured both the Big Seven Holiday Tournament as well as the conference regular season title, which included a 13-game winning streak.  They knocked off No. 12 Arizona (61-59), No. 11 BYU (64-54) and No. 24 Oklahoma State (68-44) in the NCAA Tournament – all at historic Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City – before losing 68-58 in the championship game to top-ranked Kentucky in Minneapolis, Minn.  The Wildcats finished the season ranking No. 3 in the United Press International (UPI) and No. 4 in The Associated Press Top 25 polls.

The team was led by captain and consensus second team All-American Ernie Barrett, a member of the Kansas State Athletics Hall of Fame, and included All-Big Seven selections Hitch and Stone.  Barrett averaged a team-best 10.3 points in 29 games, while Stone and Hitch posted 9.6 and 8.8 scoring averages, respectively.  Just a sophomore in 1950-51, Knostman would go on to become one of the program’s all-time greats, earning consensus second team All-America honors in 1953.  Barrett and Knostman had their jerseys retired by K-State in 2005 and 2007, respectively.  Other notable contributors to the hallmark season included Iverson (8.9 points per game), Head (7.0 ppg.), Rousey (6.6 ppg.) and Gibson (5.4 ppg.).