Editor’s Note: After learning of a discrepancy between our official records and those of Pittsburgh between a game played between the two schools in 1931, we went digging to confirm the game did happen. The following four articles are from the Boulder Daily Camera and Denver Post on Dec. 26, 1931 (game previews) and Dec. 27, 1931 (game recaps). Articles are typed in as they appeared in the newspapers. Thanks to Matthew Robins for additional information on the Temple of Youth, included at the end of this article.
Pittsburgh Plays C.U. Here On Saturday Night
Denver Post – Dec. 26, 1931 – Staff Report
University of Pittsburgh’s Panthers, famous for their prowess on the hardwood floor, swing into action against Colorado university at Temple of Youth gymnasium Saturday night at 8:15 o’clock .
The Panthers, year in and year out one of the great basketball teams of the east, are headed for California, where they will play several games against leading Pacific coast conference teams. On their present trip the Panthers have already played Purdue, Wisconsin, Butler and a three-game series with the University of Kansas at Kansas City.
All signs point to another formidable team, altho the Panthers have lost several games by close scores.
PITT COMPILES GREAT RECORD
Under Dr. H.C. Carlston’s 10-year regime as coach, Pitt has compiled a great record. In 1929-30, the team won twenty-three victories against two defeats, and last year triumphed in twenty out of twenty-four games played.
Two seniors, a junior and pair of sophomores are slated to start Saturday night’s game for the visitors. Co-captains William Kowallis and Tom Lawry, a pair of dashing forwards, are playing their third year on the squad. Don Smith at guard is playing his second year, while Russ Ochenshirt, center, and Don McCamants, guard, are first-year men.
C.U. Team Has Improved
While Pitt, naturally, is favored in its first Denver appearance, Colorado university will present a much stronger lineup than in the Silver and Gold’s opening game against Piggy Wiggly here last week.
Pete Middlemist, veteran sharp-shooter, will return to action fully recovered from a shoulder surgery suffered during the football campaign. With the “Redhead” ready, State will have its strongest lineup. Challgren will start at the other forward, Graves at center and Capt. George Newton and Neighbors at guards.
Colorado university freshmen and East Denver high school will clash in a preliminary game at 7:15 o’clock.
Colorado U.’s Hoop Team to Meet Pittsburgh U. Tonight
Game Will Be Played at the Temple of Youth Gym, With the Freshmen Playing a Preliminary Contest – Pittsburgh Has Powerful System and Will be Heavily Favored
Boulder Daily Camera – Dec. 26, 1931 – Staff Report
Colorado University’s basketball team took a short and snappy workout yesterday morning and then adjourned for the day in order to enjoy Christmas dinner with friends and relatives.
The Colorado team will go to Denver late today to meet the strong Pittsburgh U. team at the Temple of Youth gym tonight in a double-header contest. U. of C. freshmen play a Denver high school team in the opening game.
The Pittsburgh team arrived in Denver yesterday after playing a three-game series with Kansas U. in Lawrence. The team will leave Denver tonight and play U. S. C., Stanford and California in coast conflicts before returning to their homes in Pittsburgh.
The probable starting line-up for Colorado will be Middlemist and Challgren at forward, Nelson at center and Captain Newton and Neighbors at guards.
Colorado is to leave next week for the Kansas series in Lawrence.
Pittsburgh Beats C.U. Basketball, 25-23
Fast Finish Almost Brings Victory To Silver and Gold
Pittsburgh Leads at the Half, 17-12 – Challgren of C.U. Is High Scorer of the Game With Nine Points
Denver Post – Dec. 27, 1931 - By Leonard Cann
DENVER—A whirlwind finish by Colorado university fell one basket short of tying the score and the celebrated Panthers from the University of Pittsburgh plucked a 25-to-23 victory from the fire over a stubborn Silver and Gold team in Saturday’s intersectional cage battle at Temple of Youth gym before a fair sized crowd.
The Panthers were in a precarious position as the timekeeper’s gun ended it, with fans on their feet yelling for State to make just one more goal. But Pitt’s clever stalling game in the final two minutes of play choked the belated rally. With both their regular guards out of the game on personals, the Panthers refused to take any chances of giving up the ball and bullet passes zipped from one player to another, up and down the floor, until the game ended.
PITT HAD 25-19 LEAD
Pitt seemingly had the game in the bag when Colorado uncorked its sensational finish. The Panthers were out in front, 25 to 19, with six minutes to play when the fireworks started. Fenton Challgren, who played a bangup game all the way, heaved a basket and then Neighbors dropped in a toss from beyond the foul line and Pitt drew two fouls, a personal and technical on the play. The freshman guard missed the first one, but converted the second to place Colorado only 2 points behind. They didn’t have another chance to score, tho, as the Panthers retained possession of the ball thereafter.
C.U. NEVER IN THE LEAD
Except for the dramatic windup and a brief spurt early in the second period the Boulder team had difficulty keeping close to the eastern visitors. In fact, Colorado never was in the lead at any time.
Pitt’s synchronized passing attack in which the Panthers played a percentage game, never taking a shot except within the foul line, had the Silver and Gold baffled at times but the easterners missed innumerable shots under the basket. On the other hand, Colorado blew many opportunities on free throws.
The easterners presented two clever forwards in Co-captains William Kowallis and Tim Lawry. These little forwards made life miserable for Colorado’s guards by their expert feinting.
Pitt’s guards, Smith and Hughes, both speedy floormen and dribblers, played brilliantly at times.
Challgren was the Colorado ace, leading the scorers with 9 points and doing a good job of rustling the ball. Neighbors and Newton also performed well for the Silver and Gold.
Pitt held control thruout the first half, which ended 17 to 12 in favor of the visitors. Lawry’s one-handed shots from near out of bounds were effective.
C.U. Refuses To Be Stampeded
When Pitt ran up the count to 21 to 12 the game appeared over, but State refused to be stampeded and started a rally of its own with Challgren converting a foul and then Nelson again making baskets in succession to make the score 21 to 19.
Pitt stepped out to make it a 25-to-19 lead, then withstood Colorado’s final threat.
C.U. reserves beat East Denver high, 29 to 21, in the preliminary game.
Colorado Loses Exciting Game To Pittsburgh, 25-23
Silver and Gold Team Staged Sensational Rally Which Just Fell Short of a Possible Victory In Their Intersectional Clash In Denver Last Saturday Night; C.U. Preparing For Kansas Series
Boulder Daily Camera – Dec. 27, 2013 – Staff Report
DENVER –Indications of another thrilling basketball season with sensational rallies in the last few minutes to pull seemingly lost basketball games out of the fire, were seen Saturday night when the C. U. team staged a rally that fell just two points short of defeating the Pittsburgh U. team at Denver. The final score was 25-23 in favor of the easterners.
The Colorado club was baffled during the early parts of the game by the spectacular short-passing attack of Pittsburgh. As soon as this attack was solved, Colorado gave the Panthers plenty of work and if Captain Newton or Middlemist had been up to their usual shooting form, the outcome might have been much different. As it was Middlemist scored three points and Newton none.
Fenton Challgren, veteran forward and the division’s greatest ball “rustler”, was high-point man with three field goals and three free throws. Neighbors and Nelson also counted for Colorado, while Lawry and Knowallis were the hot shots for Pitt.
The Colorado team will devote this week to extra-long practice sessions preparatory to meeting Kansas U. at Lawrence the first of next week in a three game series. This series promises to be a close one as Pittsburgh and Kansas played on practically even terms. The games will be played January 4, 5 and 6 with Colorado returning immediately to Boulder and then going over to Golden on January 9 to open the conference season against the Mines.
Temple of Youth
This game was played well before the time of any major gymnasium of size came into existence. The Denver Coliseum was built in 1951. Balch Fieldhouse was not yet in existence, opening in 1937, although Carlson Gym was around as it opened in the early 1920s. The address of 300 Logan Street is located adjacent to what is now the 9News Building at Logan and Speer. Matthew Robins found the following except on the Temple of Youth:
Funds were to be raised by the citizens of Denver to support the foundation. After an eight-day campaign, $294,000 was raised and optimism was high. The Mothers Corp brought in $50,000 in cash and pledges to show their appreciation.
The plans went forward, Temple of Youth was built and all of Denver celebrated with enthusiasm. On Feb. 22, 1930, the new building was dedicated with the renowned composer and bandmaster, John Philip Sousa, present to direct the Highlander Boys Band.
The building at 300 Logan Street offered a gymnasium, rifle range, hobby and craft rooms, meeting rooms, a huge kitchen, a library and parade grounds.