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UCLA celebrates its first NCAA championship

UCLA celebrates its first NCAA championship

March 22, 1964: A UCLA student, inspired by the Bruins victory over Duke, leaps over a bonfire on Landfair Avenue while others watch and chant, “We’re No. 1.” UCLA had just won its first NCAA basketball championship.

This Page One photo by staff photographer Joe Kennedy accompanied a Los Angeles Times story by Joseph Jares and Lance Brisson:

UCLA’s campus erupted with fireworks, bonfires and college cheers Saturday night after the Bruin basketball team beat Duke 98-83 for the national title.

More than 500 students poured out of fraternity houses, apartments and dormitories when the televised game ended and turned Westwood into a carnival-land.

The crowds soon swelled to 800 celebrants who marched to the busy intersection of Wilshire and Westwood Blvds.

African students dressed in tribal robes ran in the streets yelling, “We’re No. 1.”

A big bonfire in the 600 block of Landfair Ave. drew city firemen to the scene to help eight to 10 units of West Los Angeles and campus police already there trying to keep order.

Two young men, neither a student, were arrested for starting the blaze.

Before firemen doused the bonfire, the throng gathered around it and cheered every member of the starting team and Coach John Wooden. Then students shouted, “More wood, more wood.”

Later, giddy with the glory of 30 wins and no losses for the season, they began to chant:

“We want the Celtics next (professional champions).”

Next for the Bruins team – the Olympic basketball trials. The team played against college and amateur all-star teams. Bruin All-American Walt Hazzard played on the 1964 U.S. Olympic gold medal team.

Hazzard died in 2011. Here is his Los Angeles Times obituary. There is also this Walt Hazzard photo gallery with photos from the 1964 UCLA team.

March 22, 1964: A sign-waving crowd at Los Angeles International Airport welcomes home the NCAA champion UCLA Bruins.  This photo was published in the March 23, 1964, edition of the Los Angeles Times. Credit: Cal Montney/Los Angeles Times.

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