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Captain of 1966 TWC champion team dies at 74

Orsten Artis was one of two captains from Texas Western that won the only Division 1 men’s basketball national championship in Texas in 1966. Courtesy: UTEP

The last surviving captain of Texas Western’s famous 1966 national championship basketball team has died, UTEP officials said.

Orsten Artis died at his home in Merrillville, Indiana, Tuesday at the age of 74, UTEP officials said.

Artis was one of two captains from the 28-1 team that won the only Division 1 men’s basketball national championship in Texas. Harry Flournoy died Nov. 26, 2016, UTEP officials said.

Artis was Texas Western’s third-leading scorer during the 1965-66 season, averaging 12.6 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 47 percent from the field and 86.3 percent from the line.

The 6-1 guard lettered for the Miners for three seasons (1963-66), averaging 10.5 points per game as a sophomore and 11.2 as a junior.

He helped Texas Western to a 69-13 record and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances (1964, 1966).

Artis scored 22 points against Utah in the 1966 national semifinals, and collected 15 points and eight rebounds in the historic title game victory over Kentucky.

Artis scored in double figures in each of the Miners’ five NCAA Tournament games in 1966.

Artis was inducted in both the UTEP Athletics and Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. The national championship team was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Artis was preceded in death by his wife, Fredinea. He has a son, Rex.

Funeral and memorial service arrangements are forthcoming.

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