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Clap for ’em…Clap for ’em…Clap for ’em

December 9, 2009

Patrick Ewing will be one of the players honored tonight

Tonight is the Big East/SEC Invitational at the World’s most famous arena, but it is also a time for celebration.  Madison Square Garden and the NCAA will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of college basketball, including a special event planned to honor the all-time top 10 moments tonight. 

Since hosting its first regularly scheduled game on December 29, 1934, generations of college basketball fans have packed “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” from the old Garden on 8th Avenue to its current location. Countless memories have been recorded on The Garden’s famed hardwood and beginning with this season’s Coaches vs. Cancer tournament, the “All-Time Top 10 Moments in College Basketball History at Madison Square Garden” officially began to count down. The moments are revealed in-arena on Gardenvision and nationally on ESPN. 

Throughout the season, ESPN has been counting down the best moments, including highlights of the storied pairing of MSG and college basketball.   

Several of the moments listed on the ballot included: first ever college games at MSG where NYU defeated Notre Dame and Westminster beat St. John’s; Ernie Calverley’s 55-foot prayer to beat Bowling Green on March 14, 1946; CCNY’s NIT and NCAA championships in 1950; Lew Alcindor’s performance during the 1968 Holiday Festival; Carol Blazejowski’s 52 point performance against Queens College on March 6, 1977; St. John’s takes first BIG EAST title on March 12, 1983; Pearl Washington turns the Garden into “his house” on March 10, 1984; the “Sweater Game” between Georgetown and St. John’s on February 27, 1985; UConn wins BIG EAST title at the buzzer on March 10, 1996; Hall of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca’s banner raised to the rafters on January 30, 2001; McNamara’s heroics lead Syracuse to Big East title in 2006; Pitt defeats Duke in a battle of unbeaten teams on December 20, 2007.

Expected to be in attendance tonight are Walter Berry, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, Chris Mullin, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, Jerry West, Lou Carnesseca, John Thompson and Mark Jackson amongst others. 

In addition to the top 10 moments and to further highlight the season-long celebration of the 75th Anniversary, Madison Square Garden has commissioned a commemorative basketball, which will be autographed by every coach whose team will play at The Garden this upcoming season. Fans will also notice 75th Anniversary logos placed on the basketball court throughout the season and special vignettes will be played on Gardenvision during each game. Additionally, a special commemorative 75th anniversary book that highlights the top 10 college basketball moments at Madison Square Garden will be created.

Should be a nice night at the Mecca of college basketball.

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