Tigers of old cheering on this year's team - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Tigers of old cheering on this year's team

In Gene Bartow's Grizzlies office, there is the only picture you'll see hanging on his wall. It is Memphis State's Larry Finch driving to the basket as fans cheered.
"I mean, they loved Larry Finch and the rest of the team for that matter," Bartow said.

Bartow said it was a special time back in 1973 when the Tigers played UCLA in the national championship.

The score was tied 39 - 39 at the half, but then Bill Walton took over.

"It just got away from us. Bill Wwalton was scoring from 15 feet. He was scoring dunks," Bartow said.

And even thought Memphis did not win that game, Bartow said the team's efforts that season unified the city. 

He said he is seeing that same type of unity as Coach John Calipari and his Tigers get ready for Saturday's Final Four game.

"I don't think its any question people throughout this part of the state. They love this team and they're going to be kind of a unifying. Felling in all segments of the community and thats one of the great things about athletics," Bartow said.

Bartow said Tiger players from the past are excited about the present team as much as the fans.

"I think there in a special time anytime you get to the Final 4. It's been a wonderful year and, ah, it's they way they're playing now. The way they played against Texas and Michigan State. They hold that it's going to take an awfully good team to get them," Bartow said.

When the Tigers take the floor in San Antonio Saturday, you can bet Gene Bartow will be in the stands cheering for them.

It will be the 50th NCAA game Bartow has attended.

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