Nothing against Corvallis, but Eddie Miles grew weary of the place. Each season, he and his Seattle University basketball teams traveled to the quaint college town in Oregon's Willamette Valley, sometimes twice, and without fail they came home with an abrupt loss to Oregon State.
As a sophomore, Miles lost at OSU 73-65. As a junior, he lost two more games to the Beavers in Corvallis: 82-73 in double overtime, and then again in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 69-65 in overtime.
"Every year we got to the NCAA, we had to play down there," Miles said. "NCAA games had to be played on campuses, and we didn't have a gym. We played downtown. We always had a tough game down there and they beat us."
Amid all of this agony, Miles and his teammates hosted a sixth-ranked Beavers team in their 1962-63 season opener at Civic Auditorium and supplied a little payback: SU 60, Oregon State 58.
"That would probably be my most memorable game," said Miles, a prolific pure shooter who was nicknamed "The Man with the Golden Arm."
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 24th in a series of 33 stories replaying memorable SU events previously held at the NCAA's top level (1952-80).
Actually, Miles had beaten Oregon State once before. He and his teammates had pulled out a tense 74-73 decision in Seattle between those overtime losses in 1962.
Yet this season-opening victory, kicking off Miles' senior year and drawing a near-capacity 5,595 excitable fans into the smallish gym, seemed to make things a lot better.
The Beavers were a difficult team to deal with because they played deliberately and had one of the nation's better players in 7-footer Mel Counts, a lean, mobile big man who played more like a forward and was ultimately headed for the NBA. He dropped in 31 points and grabbed 23 rebounds against the Chieftains that night.
SU had Miles, another NBA-bound player who would finish as the school's second all-time scorer behind Johnny O'Brien (1,874 points). He led his team with 17 points against the Beavers, though eight below his season average (which ranked him seventh nationally).
Teammate Charlie Williams dropped in a 20-foot jumper with 53 seconds remaining, giving the Chieftains a 60-56 advantage and supplying what were the game-deciding points.
Seattle U needed to savor this victory, because on the return trip to Corvallis in February, the Chiefs dropped another tough one to the Beavers, losing 66-60.
That wasn't all. This SU team compiled a glossy 21-6 record in 1962-63, qualified for the NCAA Tournament for a third consecutive year and ended up in Eugene, Ore., this time, playing ... Oregon State. In his final college game, Miles enjoyed a 28-point night, hitting 11 of 19 shots, but he had to agonize once more. The Beavers won 70-66.
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