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Iowa Played in First Modern College Basketball Game

3/24/2020 - Did you know that Iowa's basketball game against Chicago on January 18, 1896 was considered the first college basketball game played in the United States with five players to a side?

Soon after Dr. James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891, he wrote to his good friend Dr. Henry Kallenberg, who was Physical Education Director of the University of Iowa YMCA. Kallenberg came to Iowa from Springfield College, where he was a classmate of Naismith.

After sending him a copy of the rules he had devised and asking him to try the game out, Kallenberg complied. This makes Iowa City one of the first, if not the first, places outside of Springfield, Massachusetts, where basketball was played.

Kallenberg's contribution was using only 5 players per side. Since 1892, there were between seven and nine players per side on the floor at once, which created very crowded conditions.

The University of Iowa invited student athletes from the new University of Chicago for an experimental game in 1896. At the urging of the University of Chicago's head football coach, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Chicago's men's basketball club team traveled to Iowa City, to play the Hawks.

The first ever college basketball game was played on January 18, 1896 at Close Hall on the University of Iowa campus before about 400 spectators. Chicago won in the new format, 15–12.

The basement of the Close Hall building housed the women's gymnasium as well as industrial chemistry labs. The building became the first home of the Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball team in its early years.

Sources:

A Century of Iowa Basketball
Wikipedia

 

 

Iowa Played in First Modern College Basketball Game - Summary of Iowa football and basketball games