The backcourt featured the sparkling play of diminutive 5'9 Rene Herrerias, the great outside two-hand shooting of Frank Kuzara, the outstanding all-around play of Ross Giudice
, the clutch shooting of Hal DeJulio in the wins over Bradley and Nevada, and, as needed, the blue-collar work of hatchet-man Jack Hanley, who, as Pete Newell once remarked, was often called upon to give the opponent's leading scorer a shot to see how he would respond. Don Giesen and Frank Sobek were also invaluable contributors.
However, veteran guards Ross Giudice
and Frank Kuzara steadied the play, allowing the Dons to pull away for the ten point win.
Then, with forty seconds left on the clock, Ross Giudice
had scored the Dons' previous four points, and he
calmly sank his
smooth underhand free throw.Three times after that, Loyola fouled the Dons, but in those days the fouled team could refuse the shot in favor of maintaining possession.Without a shot-clock to worry about, the Dons successfully stalled out the game for the one-point victory, 48-47.Nineteen-year-old Don Lofgran, who had scored 20 points and had outplayed numerous All-Americans, was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, and the following year he
was designated an All-American himself.
Thirty-three-year old Pete Newell had won his
first national championship.He
would leave USF in 1950 for the head coaching position at Michigan State after the Dons made an unsuccessful return trip to the N.I.T. The Dons that year lost in the first round to CCNY, the team that would post the only double in the history of college basketball, winning both the N.I.T. and the NCAA championships.A tragic footnote to this remarkable double is that every player in the CCNY starting five was incriminated in the college basketball point-shaving scandal that rocked the country in January, 1951.