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Sports Then and Now



The Legend of Bevo Francis 27

Posted on February 02, 2012 by Dean Hybl
Bevo Francis captured the imagination of the nation during his two seasons at Rio Grande College.

Bevo Francis

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month for February is one of the most prolific players in the history of college basketball. However, unless you followed sports in the early 1950s, chances are you have never heard of  Clarence “Bevo” Francis.

Quite simply, Francis was the most prolific basketball scorer of his generation and an intriguing answer to trivia questions. Read the rest of this entry →

113 Points in a College Game! The Legend of Bevo Francis 6

Posted on February 02, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Bevo Francis captured the imagination of the nation during his two seasons at Rio Grande College.

Bevo Francis captured the imagination of the nation during his two seasons at Rio Grande College.

If you followed sports in the early 1950s then you probably have heard the name Clarence “Bevo” Francis. However, to most of America his name and legend are an unknown part of sports history. Quite frankly, he was the most prolific basketball scorer of his time.

It was 56 years ago today, February 2, 1954, that Bevo Francis of Rio Grande College forever sealed his name in college basketball lore by dropping 113 points on Hillsdale College in a 134-91 victory for an NCAA single game scoring record that will likely never be matched.

Heck, the closest any college player has ever gotten happened just 11 days later on February 13, 1954 when Frank Selvy from Furman scored 100 points against Newberry College. The closest anyone has gotten to 100 points in a single game in the ensuing 56 years is 81 points by Freeman Williams of Portland State against Rocky Mountain on February 3, 1978.

What is even more remarkable about Francis and his scoring record is that his 113 point game wasn’t even the best of his career. He scored 116 points the previous season against Ashland Junior College in a game that was not recognized by the NCAA.

The story of Rio Grande, with just 38 men in the entire and a basketball team that couldn’t lose spread like wildfire across the country. A 6-foot-9 center and the best player on the team, Francis became a national folk-hero in a time before ESPN and even Sports Illustrated (which started in August 1954).

During the 1952-53 season Bevo Francis averaged 50.1 points per game playing against a schedule that included some legitimate four-year college programs, but also an assortment of junior colleges. In all, the 1952-53 Rio Grande Redmen played 39 games (going 39-0) and Francis scored an amazing 1,954 points. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

      Read more »

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