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Minnesota Was The Birth Place Of Intercollegiate Basketball

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It's the most exciting time of the year for college basketball, but did you know the first intercollegiate basketball game was played in Minnesota?

"It's an incredible piece of history to be a part of the birth of intercollegiate basketball," Hamline University men's head basketball coach Jim Hayes said.

A man named Raymond Kaighn played on one of the very first basketball teams alongside the sport's creator, James Naismith. When Kaighn came to Hamline University as the athletic director, he formed a team and the rest, as they say, is history.

Hamline athletic-team-yearbook-picture-1895
(credit: Hamline University)

"It was played under the original 13 rules when Naismith invented it, so It was nine versus nine and there was no dribbling," Hayes said.

The first intercollegiate basketball game was played in the basement of the Hall of Science at Hamline University on Feb. 9, 1895. It was between Hamline and the Minnesota State School of Agriculture.

There were no backboards, and they used peach baskets for nets.

"They had to use a ladder," Hayes said. "They had to go up the ladder and take the ball out after every score," Hayes said.

Hamline would go on to win three national championships over the years. The science building has since been demolished but today's teams play in Hutton Arena at Hamline, where the history of the game is still very present in banners above the court.

"We take a lot pride and really treasure our tradition," Hayes said.

A women's basketball team was also organized one year after the men in 1865.

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