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Obama honors 1963 Loyola championship team at White House

Updated: August 5, 2013 9:42PM

Members of the 1963 national-champion Loyola basketball team were honored Thursday at the White House, where they met with President Barack Obama.

In the championship game, the Ramblers rallied from a 15-point deficit to defeat Cincinnati in overtime on a last-second shot by Vic Rouse.

But the team’s most socially significant victory came earlier in the tournament. Loyola, featuring a starting lineup with four African Americans, defeated a Mississippi State team that had to sneak out of Starkville to compete because of an unwritten state law that did not allow the team to play against integrated squads.

“We have been told by so many different people that we have accomplished a lot,” Jerry Harkness told Loyola’s website. “But now, to have the opportunity to meet President Obama, we have reached the zenith of all of this. You realize you have accomplished something incredibly special when you are recognized by the President.”

(This is the corrected version of the original story.)

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