1954 Bradley Basketball Team
Front Row: (from left) John Kent, Don Mathews, Bob Carney, Lee O'Connell, Lee Utt, Ron Johnson, Harvey Babetch, Charley Boston.
Back Row: (from left) Coach Forddy Anderson, Jerry Hansen, Jack Gower, Dick Estergard, Barney Kilcullen, Dick Petersen, Sam Arbuckle, John Riley, Ed King, and manager Melvin Luke.
The 1953-54 Bradley basketball team, coached by Forddy Anderson, was perhaps the biggest surprise team in BU history. Finishing the regular season 15-12, Bradley caught fire after receiving an atlarge berth to the NCAA tournament.
In order, the Braves whipped Oklahoma City, Colorado, No.4 ranked nationally Oklahoma and Southern Cal before falling to LaSalle and all-American Tom Gola 92-76 in the championship
Erratic through most of the regular season, the Braves did win eight in a row during one stretch, including wins over Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Arizona, Brigham Young, Iowa State and St. Louis. The team was ranked seventh in the final UPl poll.
Bob Carney, a two-time Helms Foundation all-American, led the Braves with 517 points and a 16.1 average and set an NCAA record that still stands by sinking 23 free throws out of 26 against Colorado. He was named to the all-NCAA Midwest regional team and the five man NCAA tournament team.
Dick Estergard, John Kent, Eddie King, John Riley, Harvey Babetch, Jerry Hansen, Lee O'Connell, Jack Gower, Lee Utt, Dick Petersen and Barney Kilcullen also played key roles for BU with Estergard averaging 12.3 rebounds.