1937–38 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team

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1937–38 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball
A blue block M with maize-colored borders and the word Michigan across the middle.
1937–38 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team.jpg
Conference Big Ten Conference
1937–38 record 12-8 (6-6 Big Ten)
Head coach Franklin Cappon
Captain John "Jake" Townsend
Home arena Yost Field House
Seasons
« 1936–37 1938–39 »
1937–38 Big Ten Conference men's basketball standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   PCT     W   L   PCT
Purdue 10 2   .833     18 2   .900
Minnesota 9 3   .750     16 4   .800
Ohio State 7 5   .583     12 8   .600
Northwestern 7 5   .583     10 10   .500
Michigan 6 6   .500     12 8   .600
Iowa 6 6   .500     11 9   .550
Wisconsin 5 7   .417     10 10   .500
Illinois 4 8   .333     9 9   .500
Indiana 4 8   .333     10 10   .500
Chicago 2 10   .167     6 12   .333
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1937–38 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team represented the University of Michigan in intercollegiate basketball during the 1937–38 season. The team scored 740 points in 20 games for an average of 37.0 points per game – the second highest point total and scoring per game in school history. Despite prolific scoring for the era, Michigan finished in a tie for fifth in the Big Ten Conference. The team compiled a 9-1 record in the first half of the season, including a six-game winning streak at the start of the season. However, the team went 3-7 in the second half of the season for a season record of 12–8, and 6–6 against Big Ten opponents.

One of the highlights of the season was a tour of the east during the winter break. Michigan played and defeated Maryland, Rochester, and a highly touted Dartmouth team on the trip. The Wolverines held Dartmouth to one point in the first half and led 21-1 at halftime.[1][2] While the second half of the season was a disappointment, the Wolverines had scored their highest single game total in a 58–29 over Wisconsin on February 21, 1938.[1]

Franklin "Cappy" Cappon was in his seventh and final year as the team's coach. Cappon had played basketball and football at Michigan from 1919 to 1923.[3] As a senior, he was awarded the Western Conference Medal for all-around excellence in both athletics and academics.[4] After seven seasons as Michigan's head coach, Cappon served as the head basketball coach from 1938 to 1961 at Princeton University, where he mentored Butch van Breda Kolff, Bill Bradley and Frank Deford. He compiled a combined record of 340-242 at Michigan and Princeton and was inducted into the Helms Foundation College Basketball Hall of Fame in 1957.[5]

John "Jake" Townsend, a six foot, four inch center from Indiana, was the team captain and leading scorer. Townsend was the team's leading scorer for three straight seasons. He scored 154 points during the 1935-36 season, 191 points during the 1936-37 season, and 226 points (81 field goals and 64 of 91 free throws) in 20 games as a senior during the 1937–38 season. Townsend 226 points during the 1937–38 season broke the school's single season scoring record of 181 points set by Arthur Karpus in the 1918-19 season. His career total of 571 points also broke Karpus's career scoring record of 338 points. Townsend was selected as a consensus All-American the end of the 1937–38 season. Townsend later played professional basketball in the National Basketball League for the Indianapolis Kautskys, Oshkosh All-Stars and Rochester Royals.[6]

On March 8, 1938, the day after the season's final game, Coach Cappon announced that he had accepted the head coaching job at Princeton.[7]

Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent Score Result Location
December 11, 1937 Michigan State 43–40 Win Yost Field House, Ann Arbor, MI
December 16, 1937 Akron 32–27 Win Akron, OH
December 17, 1937 Maryland 43–26 Win College Park, MD
December 20, 1937 Dartmouth 42–17 Win White Plains, NY
December 21, 1937 Rochester 50–29 Win Rochester, NY
January 1, 1938 Toledo 50–38 Win Toledo, OH
January 3, 1938 Butler 38–35 Loss Indianapolis, IN
January 8, 1938 Illinois 45–37 Win Yost Field House, Ann Arbor, MI
January 10, 1938 Ohio State 38–28 Win Yost Field House, Ann Arbor, MI
January 15, 1938 Minnesota 31–16 Win Minneapolis, MN
January 17, 1938 Wisconsin 39–30 Loss Madison, WI
January 22, 1938 Northwestern 30–29 Loss Evanston, IL
January 24, 1938 Ohio State 29–26 Win Columbus, OH
February 12, 1938 Michigan State 41–35 Loss East Lansing, MI
February 14, 1938 Iowa 38–30 Loss Yost Field House, Ann Arbor, MI
February 19, 1938 Minnesota 29–26 Loss Yost Field House, Ann Arbor, MI
February 21, 1938 Wisconsin 58–29 Win Yost Field House, Ann Arbor, MI
February 26, 1938 Iowa 37–25 Loss Iowa City, IA
February 28, 1938 Illinois 36–32 Loss Urbana, IL
March 7, 1938 Northwestern 30–22 Win Yost Field House, Ann Arbor, MI

Scoring statistics[edit]

Player Games Field goals Free throws Points Points per game[8]
John "Jake" Townsend 20 81 64-91 226 11.3
James Rae 19 46 21-37 113 5.9
Leo Beebe 20 40 20-33 100 5.0
Herman Fishman 20 42 16-33 100 5.0
Edmund Thomas 19 33 9-17 75 3.9
Daniel Smick 19 18 17-35 53 2.8
William Barclay 9 17 4-15 38 4.2
Charles Pink 13 6 6-12 18 1.4
Manuel Slavin 13 5 0-1 10 0.8
Russell Dobson 11 2 0-1 4 0.4
Fred Trosko 4 1 0-0 2 0.5
Robert Palmer 3 0 1-1 1 0.3
Totals 20 301 158-276 740 37.0

Coaching staff[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 1938 Michiganensian, "Basketball," page 423.
  2. ^ "Michigan Routs Dartmouth Five: Townsend Marks Up 13 Points as Wolverines Win, 42 to 17; Tour Ends Tonight". The Owosso Argus-Press. December 21, 1937. 
  3. ^ "University of Michigan Basketball Record Book" (PDF). University of Michigan. p. 12. 
  4. ^ "Frank Cappon Gets Place On Michigan Staff". The Evening Independent. February 25, 1925. 
  5. ^ "Cappon Has Heart Attack". Holland Evening Sentinel. January 19, 1961. 
  6. ^ "John Townsend Sr. had been attorney, former professional basketball player". The Indianapolis Star. December 6, 2001. p. C10. 
  7. ^ "Wally Cappon To Princeton Cage Job". Berkeley Daily Gazette. March 8, 1938. p. 11. 
  8. ^ "University of Michigan Basketball Record Book" (PDF). University of Michigan. p. 24.