UTPA to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of NIT Men's Basketball Team

Feb. 22, 2006

The University of Texas-Pan American Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will celebrate the 25th-anniversary of the 1980-81 National Invitation Tournament Bronc squad at the UTPA Fieldhouse on Saturday (Feb. 25) prior to the men's basketball game against South Dakota State.

The 1980-81 Pan America University basketball team was the first and only squad to reach the NCAA Division National Invitation Tourament and included a pair of All-Americans in Kenneth (Apple) Green and Mike Carroll. Green went on to play a season with the New York Knicks in the National Basketball Association.

The Broncs finished the season with a record of 18-10, but were defeated in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament by the University of Tulsa, who were coached by Nolan Richardson and reached the NIT's Elite Eight, by an 81-71 score.

That season, the Broncs knocked off the University of Indiana, who would go on to capture the national championship at the end of the season, as well as Marquette University, who captured the national championship the prior season. The Broncs faced four teams that claimed their conference champion and won a pair of games against two teams that reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in Indiana and Wichita State.

The Pan American University squad played before nine crowds that topped their 4,000-capacity home arena and set an all-time attendance record for one season with 129,292 spectators, averaging 4,458 fans per season.

Following that season, the Broncs lost six seniors - including all five starters - as well as six of the seven student-athletes that competed in the National Invitation Tournament against the University of Tulsa.

Green concluded the season by averaging 21.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game while Carroll led all NCAA Division I players with 275 assists, which was the fourth most in program history.

The festivities will begin prior to the Broncs and Jackrabbits' contest, which begins at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.


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