Seattle University basketball player John Tresvant always took advantage of everyone else's misfortune: Miss a shot, and the ball belonged to him. It was that simple.
Throughout his career, Tresvant was a high-desire rebounder for the Chieftains, and that was never more apparent than on the night of Feb. 8, 1963. In a 100-63 victory fraught with emotion over Montana at the Seattle Center Arena, he grabbed 40.
That number would have been more far more believable had it been his jersey digit (which was 30), minutes played or even his points scored. Yet 40 represented his hard-earned backboard work against the Grizzlies, which was four more than Montana had as a team. Forty also was a college basketball milestone for him that would take a while to sink in with others.
"I just had a philosophy: I tried to rebound every shot, whether it went in or not," Tresvant said. "I figured if you shot 100 shots, 60 were going to miss, and I was going to get my share."
With Seattle U returning to full Division I championship eligibility for the first time in 33 years -- when the Redhawks host Washington in a women's soccer match at Championship Field on Aug. 17 -- this is the fourth in a series of 33 stories replaying memorable SU events previously held at the NCAA's top level (1952-80).
Elgin Baylor scored a school-record 60 points in a game for Seattle U. Johnny O'Brien scored more than 3,000 in his Chieftains career. While those were incredible numbers, Tresvant's 40 rebounds seemed more impressive.
In the history of the game, only three collegians have come up with more rebounds than Tresvant's total: William and Mary's Bill Chambers, who collected 51 against Virginia in 1953, Marshall's Charlie Stack, who had 43 against Morris Harvey, also in 1953; and Holy Cross' Tommy Heinsohn, who had 42 against Boston College in 1955. Connecticut's Art Quimby matched Tresvant's 40, doing it against Boston in 1955.
"I've been happy about it," Tresvant said. "It gives me a little fame."
The rebound record was always recognized by SU, listed nightly in the basketball game programs that ensued. But it took 41 years before it showed up in the NCAA record book for this reason: No one submitted it nationally.
Tresvant didn't feel slighted any. When he came up with his record night during his junior season, there were plenty of distractions. SU had undergone a midseason coaching change two nights earlier, and the Chieftains and Grizzlies were coming off an intense game in Missoula.
Against Montana, Tresvant had 34 rebounds when he was pulled from a one-sided game. He was sent back in when it was discovered he needed just four more to break Baylor's school record.
The overly physical Tresvant, who averaged 11.1 rebounds during his SU career and later used this talent to play nine seasons in the NBA, of course didn't sit down again until he had way more than his share.
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