COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) The University of Maryland will always be a magical place for members of the 1966 Texas Western basketball team.
That special squad was honored Saturday, nearly 50 years after the Miners - with an all-black starting five - stunned Adolph Rupp's all-white Kentucky team 72-65 to win the NCAA championship.
It was a monumental upset, mainly because of the role it played in tearing down the racial barriers in athletics at universities in the South. It was the first time a team ever started five African-Americans in the NCAA title game.
''When I look back, we were getting ready to play the most important game of our lives - not even thinking about the magnitude of history that we are representing today,'' said Nevel Shed, who averaged 10.6 points per game for the Miners.
The game was played on March 19, 1966, at Cole Field House, located across the campus from the arena where Maryland current plays. This anniversary celebration, designed to coincide with Black History Month, occurred before the second-ranked Terrapins hosted Wisconsin.
''We are here because 50 years ago, they cemented their place in history, and college basketball was changed forever,'' Maryland president Wallace Loh said.
Early Saturday, five members of that fabled team - Shed, Willie Worsley, David Lattin, Louis Baudoin and Willie Cager - returned to Cole Field House for the first time in 50 years.
''It was very emotional sight for all of us,'' said Worsley, who had eight points and four rebounds in the title game.
''It was great to have a chance to come back,'' added Lattin, who had 16 points and nine rebounds against Kentucky.
Back in the day, the NCAA Tournament final was held primarily on college campuses, and the game wasn't nationally televised. Still, word spread quickly after the Miners felled mighty Kentucky and cut down the nets.
Although the school is now called Texas-El Paso, many associated with college basketball will never forget the accomplishment of little Texas Western.
''It is something that will be with us forever,'' Shed said. ''Yes, we are all legends.''