AUSTIN, Texas -- Tad Boyle's Buffs aren't the first Colorado team to suffer a tough loss in Tucson on the road to the NCAA Tournament.

On Dec. 22, 1962, CU fell 60-52 at Arizona in the final non-conference tune-up for Big Eight play.

"I remember Jimmy Davis and I both fouled out early in the second half down there," Ken Charlton said. "It was an interesting game, I'll just say that."

Led by Charlton, a 6-6 senior forward from Denver, and Davis, a 6-8 junior center from Muncie, Indiana, the Buffs responded by winning seven of their first eight conference games.

On March 9, 1963, CU defeated Kansas State 69-56 in Manhattan to claim a share of the program's second consecutive Big Eight championship.

The Buffs won the tiebreaker with the Wildcats because they had more overall wins and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Boyle is the first head coach since Sox Walseth to lead CU to consecutive invitations to the Big Dance.

"Honestly, I didn't realize that. I had no idea it had been 50 years since we had back-to-back teams in the NCAA (Tournament)," Charlton said. "Sox was a wonderful man. When we won back then it was so different because you had to win your conference to go to the NCAAs. The athletes now are much faster and jump higher and it's a whole different game."

There was no 3-point line or shot clock during the Walseth era. The legendary coach's offense called for guards Eric Lee, Lonnie Melton and George Parsons to avoid turnovers, control tempo and feed the post.


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Charlton averaged 19.8 points and 8.2 rebounds, Davis was a double-double machine (13.8 points and 12.7 rebounds), and 6-6 senior forward Milt Mueller added 11.1 points and 8.3 rebounds during the memorable 1962-63 campaign.

The Buffs finished the regular season 18-6 overall (11-3 in the Big Eight) and defeated Oklahoma City 82-72 in the first round of the 25-team NCAA Tournament.

"I really felt that we had a team that could challenge for the NCAA championship," Davis said.

Unfortunately for the Buffs, Cincinnati was also in the Midwest Regional in both 1962 and 1963.

After CU cruised through the Big Eight with a 13-1 record and defeated Texas Tech at the NCAA Tournament in 1961-62, the Bearcats ended the title hopes for the boys from Boulder with a 73-46 blowout win over the Buffs in the regional final.

Cincinnati went on to beat UCLA in the national semifinals and defeated Ohio State for the second consecutive season in the national championship game.

"The first time we met them they beat us badly. It was not even a close game," Charlton said. "They had beaten Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek and Ohio State for the national title. They had a wonderful team. They were just better than we were."

In the 1963 rematch, the Buffs had a two-point lead at halftime but lost 67-60.

Cincinnati's Ron Bonham (22 points), Tom Thacker (18 points, 13 rebounds) and George Wilson (15 points, 10 rebounds) proved to be too much for CU.

"Getting a chance to play against one of my high school teammates (Bonham), who was Mr. Basketball in Indiana, was a great opportunity," Davis said. "We had the lead in the second half but they put on a press and caused us some problems."

Charlton, the most outstanding player of the Midwest Regional and an All-American, scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his final game as a Buff. He finished his college career playing with a bad knee that required three different surgeries.

"If Ken Charlton had not been injured with his knee, which never really came back, we would have been even better," Davis said. "But Ken was formidable with one leg."

The Bearcats' bid for a three-peat ended with a loss to Loyola (Chicago) in the championship game.

After the runs in 1962 and 1963, CU only participated in three more NCAA Tournaments (1969, 1997 and 2003) before Boyle's back-to-back appearances.

"We have tradition. The problem is our tradition is spotty," Boyle said during a press conference on Thursday at the Erwin Center. "We have been to a Final Four; it's been since the 1950s. We have been to multiple NCAA Tournaments; it's been since the 1960s. We have got Chauncey Billups, obviously at the end of his NBA career, who led his team to the NCAA Tournament. And then the 2003 team.

"So we've had pockets of success, we haven't had sustained success."

Davis' No. 20 and Charlton's No. 23 both hang from the rafters in the Coors Events Center next to banners honoring Chauncey Billups, Scott Wedman, Chuck Gardner, Bob Jeangerard, Cliff Meely and Burdette Haldorson.

"We've had some tough years," Charlton said. "Right now I think we've got some talent on this team and they're all very young, so I'm kind of anxious to see what happens."

Considering the Buffs start a junior, two sophomores and two freshmen, there is a chance next year the program could appear in the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season, something that has never happened at CU.

"That's unreal to me," Davis said when told that this is the first time in 50 years that the Buffs done the back-to-back dance. "I thought we should have went three years in a row. Two years ago they should have got in."

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