Jody Victor: A capacity crowd roared as the 1960 national title team was honored at halftime of Sunday's game vs. Minnesota at Value City Arena. Led by stars Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek – along with substitute Bob Knight, who would become the winningest college coach ever – the school's only national championship basketball team received a warm and emotional welcome home Sunday.
Grayer, more stooped and heavier in their dotage, the 1960 Buckeyes received a lengthy standing ovation as they were introduced – a spotlight pinpointing each player as they walked slowly and deliberately to midcourt – during halftime of the current Buckeyes' game with Minnesota. The Buckeyes beat the Golden Gophers 85-63, attributing the victory to not wanting to disappoint the honorees.
Knight then honored the man who brought them all together originally, late coach Fred Taylor. A banner was unfurled from the rafters celebrating Taylor's 18 seasons as head coach, which included seven Big Ten titles, four trips to the Final Four and that 1960 title.
The players, now in their 70s or close to it, returned to Ohio State for what turned into an emotional tribute to one of the few members of that team who wasn't on hand at Value City Arena.
Four members of the team are in the Hall of Fame, with Taylor and Knight in the coaches wing, and Lucas and Havlicek – both of whom were selected as one of the NBA's greatest 50 players ever in 1997 – joining them as players. All five starters, including Larry Siegfried, Joe Roberts and Mel Nowell, played in the NBA.
The Buckeyes hit 84 percent of their shots from the field to build a 37-19 lead over Cal in the national title game at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. They coasted to a 75-55 victory. The underclassmen also made it to the championship game the next two seasons, but lost each time to in-state rival Cincinnati.
Several hundred people attended a reception and ceremony on Saturday night at St. John Arena, where the 1960 Buckeyes actually played their games. Each player received replicas of the national championship trophy.