Bill Russell

Morris Taft, who helped UCLA win its first NCAA basketball tournament game, dies at 84

Morris Taft, a guard under UCLA basketball coach John Wooden from 1954 to 1956 who helped the Bruins win their first NCAA Tournament game, has died. He was 84.

The school said Taft died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles after a lengthy illness.

He helped lead the Bruins to a 61-18 record during his three seasons, averaging in double figures his last two.

As a senior in 1955-56, Taft helped the Bruins win their first NCAA Tournament game, beating Seattle, 94-70, in a consolation game after they lost to San Francisco and future Hall of Famer Bill Russell in the opening round. Earlier that season, UCLA had lost to Russell and the Dons at the ECAC Holiday Festival in New...

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