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1983 College Basketball Season

September 20, 2013

MJ-1983

*photo courtesy of terezowens

This guy was coming into his sophomore season in 1983 after just hitting the game-winner in the previous year’s National Championship Game against Georgetown (plus there was Fred Brown’s pass, we’ll get to that).  North Carolina came into the 1983 season having lost starters James Worthy and Jimmy Black.  They returned Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins and Matt Doherty though and brought up Jimmy Braddock to replace Black at point guard.  New recruit Brad Daugherty (only 16 years old when he started his freshman year at UNC) replaced Worthy in the middle.  North Carolina came into the season with a pre-season ranking of #3.

Two teams with outstanding big men were #1 and #2 in the pre-season rankings.  #1 was Virginia with Ralph Sampson (who could have come out after his freshman year in 1980 and been the #1 of the Boston Celtics – but I think he made the right decision to be a part of the awesome SI cover below).

sampson-cover

*photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Virginia was returning 4 of its 5 starters from the 1982 team that had been #1 for three weeks in February and a 1-seed in the Mideast Regional in the 1982 NCAA Tournament (Sampson, Forwards Craig Robinson and Tim Mullen, and Point Guard Othell Wilson).  Rick Carlisle, a transfer from Maine, replaced Jeff Jones at shooting guard.  Virginia, however, was coming off its second straight NCAA Tournament disappointment (losing in the Regional Semifinals to UAB and the great Oliver Robinson, 68-66).

#2 was Georgetown and their big man Patrick Ewing.  The Hoyas were coming off that National Championship Game appearance in 1982 but were only returning two starters (Ewing and Fred Brown).  However, they had recruited some outstanding freshmen who would contribute the Georgetown’s dominance the next two years (David Wingate and Michael Jackson, no not the same guy but I’m sure the Hoyas’ Jackson loved being compared).  These top two matched in an early season game that we’ll get to.

Rounding out the pre-season top 5 was Kentucky and Villanova.  Kentucky ended up being a 3-seed in the Mideast Regional after finishing the regular season 21-7 and winning the SEC regular season championship with a 13-5 record.  But they lost in the first round of the SEC tournament to Alabama.  They made the Elite 8 against in-state Louisville.  We’ll get to that thriller later.

Villanova had a few players who would be part of the 1985 NCAA Championship Game upset of Georgetown (Ed Pinckney, Dwayne McClain, Harold Pressley and Gary McLain) along with a few seniors who would play some in the NBA (John Pinone and Stewart Granger).  Villanova would tie for the Big East Regular Season Championship at 12-4 before losing to eventual Conference Tournament Champion St. Johns in the Semifinals.  They would be a 3-seed in the Midwest Regional and would also bow out in the elite 8 to Houston.

December 2, 1982 – (#6) UCLA Bruins 73 at DePaul Blue Demons 70 (OT)

UCLA came into the season with a #7 ranking but moved up after an opening game victory over Brigham Young.  The Bruins still had Rod Foster, Michael Holton and Darren Daye from their 1980 Finalist team.  Holton was now coming off the bench as pure point guard and junior Ralph Jackson broke into the lineup the year before.  Junior Kenny Fields and Sophomore Stuart Gray were the bigs and these six were the main players for UCLA.

DePaul had lost their main player from 1982, Terry Cummings, to the NBA.  Skip Dillard also graduated and the Blue Demons had a young roster.  Only senior Bernard Randolph and junior Jerry McMillan were upper-classmen getting any playing time.  Sophomore Tyrone Corbin would eventually have a nice long career in the NBA.  The rest of the roster featured sophomores Walter Downing and Kenny Patterson and freshmen Kevin Holmes, Tony Jackson and Marty Embry off the bench.

The Demons were unranked and were hosting UCLA after having won 81 out of their last 84 regular season games.  But UCLA got the early advantage in the first half led by Darren Daye.  Daye had 16 points as UCLA took as much as a 12-point lead.  The Bruins led 41-32 at the half.

The 2nd half started well for DePaul as Downing found Corbin for a wing jumper and then Randolph hit on a breakaway after losing the ball initially.  UCLA called timeout but it didn’t help initially as Foster got his 4th foul and McMillan made two free throws to cut the margin to three.  Eventually, Randolph found a cutting Kenny Patterson and the score was 42-40 UCLA.  But then after Gray made his first free throw for UCLA, he missed the second but their leading scorer and rebounder on the season, Kenny Fields, followed up the miss and the Bruins led 45-40.

UCLA kept its slight lead until 6:55 left in the game when Randolph tipped in a Corbin miss to give DePaul its first lead of the game at 58-57.  Daye came back with a jumper from just inside the foul line but Randolph responded with his 20th point on a jumper from the top of the key.  The Blue Demons then took a three-point lead on a Kenny Patterson spin and jumper in the lane.  The next few minutes were a free throw contest.  UCLA cut it to 63-62 when Fields hit a free throw after Randolph committed his 5th foul on a loose ball foul.  Surprisingly, losing their senior leader and leading scorer in the game ended up hurting DePaul.

DePaul called timeout with 1:45 left still leading 63-62 after Kevin Holmes and Fields each missed the front end of 1-and-1’s.  But as DePaul was working the ball around, Ralph Jackson got a steal and a layup to put UCLA up one.  The Demons came back as McMillan hit a turn-around from the foul line with 39 seconds left and DePaul regained the lead.  Daye came back with a airball that was rebounded by Corbin.  Corbin held the ball waiting for traffic to clear (or waiting to be fouled) for about 5 seconds before giving it to Patterson who was also waiting to be fouled.  The foul never came but the Blue Demons never made it over halfcourt.  They were called for a 10-second violation with 12 seconds left.

After a UCLA timeout, Foster took the ball to the baseline and was fouled on a reach-in by McMillan as he was shooting with 7 seconds left.  Rocket Rod came into the game as a 95% career foul shooter.  So it was pretty shocking when he missed the first.  He made the second to tie the game.  DePaul didn’t call timeout and Patterson pushed the ball and got to the basket, but the shot was blocked out of bounds by Fields with 1 second left.  Corbin then missed on a lob inbounds pass and the game was going into overtime.

The overtime started well for UCLA as Daye hit a free throw and Foster hit a pull-up jumper.  DePaul cut it to one when Patterson found Downing for a layup.  DePaul had a chance to lead but Gray blocked a Corbin shot and then put back a Fields miss at the other end while he was fouled.  Gray missed the free throw though and Tony Jackson hit a pull-up jumper in the lane to cut UCLA’s lead back to 70-69.  Holton hit two free throws and Patterson split a pair before UCLA turned the ball over with 45 seconds left, up 72-70.  But Jackson was short on another pull-up attempt in the lane and UCLA ran out the clock until Daye clinched it with a free throw with 8 seconds left.

DePaul finished the regular season at 17-11 and didn’t make the NCAA tournament.  They did make the NIT and made it to the finals.  But they lost to Fresno State 69-60 and finished their season at 21-12.  The Blue Demons and Ray Meyer made one last run in 1984 with Dallas Comegys now on the roster.  They finished the regular season 25-2 and were the #1 seed in the Midwest Regional.  This time they won their first NCAA tournament game since 1979 in the 2nd round but lost to Wake Forest 73-71 in overtime in the Regional Semifinals.  This was Ray Meyer’s last appearance on the bench for DePaul after 42 seasons.  DePaul basketball hasn’t been the same since.

UCLA starters (points scored)

Darren Daye (23) – Small Forward

Kenny Fields (15) – Power Forward

Stuart Gray (10) – Center

Ralph Jackson (12) – Point Guard

Rod Foster (8) – Shooting Guard

UCLA bench (points scored)

Michael Holton (5)

Brad Wright (0)

Gary Maloncon (0)

Nigel Miguel (0)

UCLA Coach: Larry Farmer

DePaul starters (points scored)

Bernard Randolph (21) – Small Forward

Tyrone Corbin (12) – Power Forward

Walter Downing (6) – Center

Kenny Patterson (9) – Point Guard

Jerry McMillan (10) – Shooting Guard

DePaul bench (points scored)

Kevin Holmes (5)

Tony Jackson (3)

Marty Embry (4)

DePaul Coach: Ray Meyer

darren daye

Darren Daye was one of the senior leaders for UCLA in 1983 *photo courtesy of bleacher report

December 11, 1982 – (#1) Virginia Cavaliers 68 @(#3) Georgetown Hoyas 63

Kentucky had moved past Georgetown in the rankings after beating Villanova a week earlier.  But this was still a heavyweight matchup because of the two centers.  It was learned in the postgame interview with Virginia coach Terry Holland that Ralph Sampson had a touch of the flu and was about to take IV’s after the game.

Considering that circumstance,  it was a pretty impressive performace by Ralph in what was billed as ‘The Game of the Decade’ in proportion to ‘The Game of the Century’ between Lew Alcindor’s UCLA Bruins and Elvin Hayes’ Houston Cougars in 1968.

The crowd at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland was charged up.  With Fred Brown out with a knee injury, Georgetown was starting three sophomores and a freshman backcourt of Michael Jackson and David Wingate.  The sophomores along with Ewing were forwards Bill Martin and Anthony Jones (who would transfer to UNLV after the season).  With this young team, Georgetown looked tentative in the first half and shot around 20%.

Virginia didn’t exactly burn the net either.  The game actually started with the big guys showing off their defense.  Sampson blocked a Ewing shot and Ewing blocked a Craig Robinson dunk.  In the first 5 minutes, the only Georgetown points was a strong move by Ewing against Sampson.  Virginia’s counters were an Othell Wilson jumper in the lane and a Tim Mullen jumper from the top of the key.  Sampson’s first points were on an alley-oop from Rick Carlisle.  Georgetown cut the game to 10-9 after a Wingate three-point play but then Virginia reserve Jimmy Miller hit from the box and Carlisle hit a pull-up from the foul line to put the Cavaliers up 15-9.

After Anthony Jones follow-slammed a Ewing miss, Virginia broke Georgetown’s press and Sampson finished versus Ewing while Patrick got his 2nd foul against him.  After the three-point play, Sampson got his 3rd block on a Wingate finger roll.  Virginia built a nine-point lead before Ewing scored on a offensive rebound reverse to make the score 20-13.  But Virginia broke the press again and diminutive Ricky Stokes hit a pull-up from the foul line.  The Hoyas cut the game back to 27-21 late in the half when Jones followed a missed free throw from Wingate.  But again Virginia broke the press and Mullen hit a pull-up from the corner.  Then Sampson outletted to Wilson for another pull-up in the lane.  Virginia eventually went up by 12 before a Bill Martin jumper cut their lead to 33-23 at the half.

Wingate hit a wing jumper to start the 2nd half but then Sampson scored his 11th point on a reverse after Ewing almost tied him up.  Then after Ewing hit a jumper in the lane, Craig Robinson’s hook was goaltended by Ewing.  Then after Jackson stole the ball from Carlisle, he lost the ball of his foot and it went right to Sampson for a slam.  Wilson then found Carlisle on a 2-on-1 to give Virginia a 41-27 lead.  Ewing hit two free throws and a field goal but Sampson got a follow-slam.

But then on a momentum-changing play, Hoyas defensive ace Gene Smith got a steal and Martin hit on a breakaway while Cavalier reserve Kenton Edelin fouled him intentionally.  Martin got two free throws but only hit one and Edelin got his 4th foul.  Wilson then got his 4th foul and Ewing hit a free throw.  He missed the second but Wingate put back his miss and the score was 43-37 Virginia.  Sampson almost personally kept Virginia’s lead at that margin before back-to-back field goals from Jones cut the lead to 51-45.  Eventually, Ewing scored his 14th point on a turnaround from the baseline and then Jackson got a layup off a steal and the score was down to 53-51.

The Cavaliers regained a six-point lead when Carlisle threw a lob to Sampson on an out-of-bounds play.  Ewing came back with a strong slam versus Sampson but at the other end after Ewing blocked sampson, Ralph eventually got a foul on Patrick and hit two free throws for a 59-53 Virginia lead.  Wingate hit a wing jumper and Martin two free throws.  Then after Wilson missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Wingate tied the game when Gene Smith found him at the wing for a jumper.  Wingate then stole the inbounds pass but charged into Robinson.  Robinson got a 1-and-1 for drawing that foul with 3:43 left.  He made both ends.  Wingate then found Jones in the corner for a jumper and the game was tied again at 61.  But Georgetown again was a little too aggressive on its press and Smith fouled Wilson, who made both ends of the 1-and-1.

The next few minutes was a lot of action but no points.  Ewing missed a hook in the lane against Sampson but blocked a Robinson reverse at the other end.  Virginia had the ball again when Jones got a steal and was fouled by Ricky Stokes with 1:39 left.  Jones missed the front end though.  He got another steal later but lost control of the dribble and got called for a double-dribble.  Georgetown got the ball back though with under a minute left after a Miller miss (a shot that was open but why was it taken with a two-point lead and no shot clock?).  But the third Hoya freshman Horace Broadnax was called for a charge with 40 seconds left.  Miller got a 1-and-1 for drawing the charge and made both ends for a 65-61 Virginia lead.  Jackson hit a banker from the wing with 17 seconds left to cut the lead to two but Othell Wilson salted the game away by making both ends of a 1-and-1 with 12 seconds left.

Virginia kept its #1 ranking but suffered a shocking loss 12 days later to Chaminade of the NAIA.  This was after Virginia had not only beaten Georgetown with Patrick Ewing but Houston with rising big man Hakeem Olajuwon.

Virginia starters (points scored)

Tim Mullen (4) – Small Forward

Craig Robinson (7) – Power Forward

Ralph Sampson (23) – Center

Othell Wilson (10) – Point Guard

Rick Carlisle (9) – Shooting Guard

Virginia bench (points scored)

Ricky Stokes (7)

Kenton Edelin (2)

Jimmy Miller (4)

Dan Merrifield (2)

Virginia Coach: Terry Holland

Georgetown starters (points scored)

Anthony Jones (10) – Small Forward

Bill Martin (9) – Power Forward

Patrick Ewing (16) – Center

Michael Jackson (8) – Point Guard

David Wingate (12) – Shooting Guard

Georgetown bench (points scored)

Ralph Dalton (4)

Gene Smith (2)

Horace Broadnax (2)

David Dunn (0)

David Blue (0)

Georgetown Coach: John Thompson

ewing over sampson

Patrick Ewing slams over Ralph Sampson in ‘The Game of the Decade’ *photo courtesy of SI photo blog

December 23, 1982 – (#3)UCLA Bruins 79 @Maryland Terrapins 80 (2OT)

When Charles ‘Lefty’ Driesell was hired by the University of Maryland in 1969, there was a claim that he was going to make Maryland ‘the UCLA of the East.’  Lefty says that it wasn’t actually him that said it but it drew headlines with UCLA still fully in the John Wooden era.  Lefty built some great teams in the mid-1970’s and twice played Wooden’s Bruins before he retired.  They lost two close games.

Maryland built some good teams in the early 1980’s with Buck Williams and Albert King.  But their biggest accomplishment was when they wore gold jerseys and beat #1 ranked Virginia in the 1981 ACC Tournament Semifinals.  The next year, Driesell got his third chance at UCLA but the Terps were killed 90-57.  They got another chance early in the 1983 season at Cole Field House in College Park, Maryland.  And they brought out the gold jerseys.

UCLA’s 6-0 record and #3 ranking was their highest since being #2 in the pre-season rankings for 1981-82.  Larry Farmer was the 4th coach in 7 years that had been brought in by UCLA since Wooden’s retirement.  UCLA had been on probation in 1982.  Meanwhile, Maryland had a young team starring sophomore Adrian Branch and freshman Len Bias.  Bias didn’t have a prominent role in this game but junior big man transfer Ben Coleman would put up Bias-like stats against the smaller Bruins, going 11-for-12 from the field and pulling down 12 rebounds.

Coleman led his 4-2 Terrapins to a 41-30 lead with 15:57 to go in the game with 14 points on 7-for-7 shooting.  Stuart Gray didn’t see action for the rest of the game from that point on as UCLA went smaller against Coleman and relied on their full-court pressure defense.  First they had to get back into the game and they did just that as Kenny Fields’ back-to-back jumpers cut the game to 41-36 and Maryland called timeout.  Then after the timeout, Bias made his only contribution on this tape.  He penetrated and found Coleman for a slam.  Eventually, Maryland went with a lineup of Coleman, Branch, point guard Jeff Adkins (who was playing with a broken finger), and junior forwards Herman Veal and Mark Fothergill that played the rest of the game.

After Coleman’s easy two points, Rod Foster hit two jumpers on the break and Maryland called another timeout, only up 43-40.  They took some time off the clock and eventually Coleman drove in for a layup.  Maryland eventually went back up by six but a Foster wing jumper and a Darren Daye pull-up on a Michael Holton assist forced Maryland to call another timeout.  It was 48-46.  Maryland kept its lead though and a Branch runner from the baseline put Maryland up 57-50 with 3:40 left.  After a Daye field goal, Maryland moved the ball, broke the press, and Fothergill found Coleman for a layup.  The same thing happened after Foster hit a field goal, Fothergill found Coleman for a slam.

Fields was then fouled and hit the first free throw.  He missed the second but Holton got the rebound and missed.  Daye followed up that miss and it was 61-57 with 2:08 left.  Fothergill then missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Foster hit a pull-up from the wing.  Then Daye got a steal and Foster was fouled hard by Adkins.  With 1:19 left, Foster made both his free throws to tie the game at 61.  Maryland ran down the clock attempting to take the last shot, but UCLA knocked away a pass and tied the ball up with 44 seconds left.  UCLA had the possession arrow.  The Bruins ran the clock down and Ralph Jackson missed a runner in the lane with a few seconds left.  Maryland got the rebound and Adkins’ half-court shot at the buzzer hit the backboard and then the front rim before bouncing away.

Each team scored on their first possessions, Coleman controlled the tip for the Terps and Branch hit a double-pump runner from the baseline.  Then Holton hit two free throws for UCLA to tie the game with under 4:00 left.  Maryland then held the ball for two minutes before Branch shockingly let go a long jumper that was in ACC 3-point range for the season.  He nailed it and Maryland led 65-63.  After Daye missed at the other end, Fothergill got the rebound.  But he lost the ball and Fields scooped it up and laid it in to tie the game again.  Maryland held for the last shot but Branch missed from the elbow.  Fields got the rebound with 2 seconds left and was fouled on a silly reach-in by Pete Holbert (the only sub for Maryland in the last 10 minutes of regulation beyond).  Fields had a 1-and-1 that probably would have won the game, especially considering Maryland stupidly called their last timeout before Fields shot the free throw.  Fields was short on the free throw though and we were on to the 2nd overtime.

The 2nd overtime started with Fothergill putting back a Branch miss after Coleman controlled the tip again.  Foster responded with a pull-up from the baseline.  Then Branch made two free throws and Fothergill did the same after a Daye miss.  With 2:41 left, Holton missed from the baseline and then committed a foul on Veal in going after the rebound.  Holton fouled out with that.  Veal, on a 1-and-1, made 1-of-2 shots but Coleman rebounded his miss over the smaller Fields.  Maryland worked the ball around and Adkins, through a double-team, found Fothergill for a slam and a 74-67 lead.  The crowd went crazy and Lefty shook his fist at the UCLA bench.  But UCLA wasn’t done.  Daye hit two free throws with 1:51 left.  Then after a Jackson steal, Foster missed a pull-up jumper and Coleman was fouled on the rebound.  Gentle Ben missed the front end with 1:32 left and Daye hit a pull-up from just inside the elbow and the score was 74-71 Terps.

With 1:20 on the clock, Branch made the first free throw but missed the second.  Again Coleman got the rebound and Adkins nailed two free throws.  Foster found Fields for a runner in the lane.  Then Fields scored on an offensive rebound after Fothergill made a free throw.  With 30 seconds left, Coleman was fouled and made 1-of-2 for a 79-75 Maryland lead.  Fields hit another hook in the lane.  Foster then got a steal and rushed a shot from the baseline and threw up an airball.  Veal got the rebound and was fouled.  He made 1-of-2.  Foster hit a driving layup with 2 seconds left but the clock ran out and Lefty had finally beaten UCLA.

UCLA finished the regular season at 23-5 and won the Pac-10 with a 15-3 record.  They were the #2 seed in the West Regional but lost its first game to 10-seeded Utah 67-61.  The Bruins went 17-11 in 1984 and Larry Farmer was fired.  Their next NCAA Tournament appearance would be in 1987.

UCLA starters (points scored)

Darren Daye (16) – Small Forward

Kenny Fields (23) – Power Forward

Stuart Gray (8) – Center

Ralph Jackson (0) – Point Guard

Rod Foster (22) – Shooting Guard

UCLA bench (points scored)

Michael Holton (8)

Brad Wright (2)

Nigel Miguel (0)

UCLA Coach: Larry Farmer

Maryland starters (points scored)

Len Bias (0) – Small Forward

Mark Fothergill (14) – Power Forward

Ben Coleman (27) – Center

Jeff Adkins (11) – Point Guard

Adrian Branch (26) – Shooting Guard

Maryland bench (points scored)

Herman Veal (2)

Jeff Baxter (0)

Pete Holbert (0)

Maryland Coach: Lefty Driesell

ben coleman

Ben Coleman – photo courtesy of fanbase

January 10, 1983 – Georgetown Hoyas 97 @(#14)Syracuse Orangemen 92

Georgetown had gone 3-3 and had dropped out of the AP poll since losing to Virginia.  They had also lost Anthony Jones to a dislocated elbow but Fred Brown had returned.  Brown, of course, was getting oodles of sympathy after making his huge mistake in the 1982 NCAA Championship Game (I think it was mentioned by the broadcasters during every subsequent game he played at Georgetown).

Syracuse had started the season 11-0 before getting killed by North Carolina.  Two days later, they hosted Georgetown with the largest on-campus crowd in history cheering them on.  31,327 fans packed the Carrier Dome.  Syracuse had three senior co-captains, forwards Leo Rautins and Tony ‘Red’ Bruin and guard Erich Santifer.  Behind them was the quality depth that would transform the Orangemen into a Big East power for the rest of the decade, at least.  Junior point guard Gene Waldron and Sophomore center Andre Hawkins were the other two starters and coming off the bench was junior Sean Kerins, sophomore Sonny Spera (the backup point guard had his playing time taken the next season when Pearl Washington joined the Orange), and freshmen Wendell Alexis and Rafael Addison.

The Syracuse back court of Waldron and Santifer started the game with field goals but the young Georgetown team showed much more poise than they did against Virginia.  The two starting freshmen of Wingate and Jackson combined the give Georgetown an 8-4 lead.  Bruin scored 9 of the next 11 Orangemen points to give them a 15-13 lead.  It would be the last Syracuse lead for awhile.  Michael Jackson scored his 3rd field goal with a baseline jumper and then Brown penetrated and found Ewing for a layup.  Both teams featured a pressure full court defense that would be the major factor of this game.  Georgetown’s had the early effect as they took a 21-17 on Jackson’s driving layup and then Gene Smith got a steal and layup.

Michael Jackson kept scoring and Ewing got Hawkins into foul trouble.  Syracuse’s only saving grace was Bruin’s 11 first half points and Sonny Spera scoring eight off the bench.  But Jackson’s five consecutive points gave him 17 for the first half and gave Georgetown a 47-35.  Gene Smith added two more free throws to give the Hoyas a 49-35 lead at halftime.

The Hoyas kept going to start the 2nd half.  Wingate found Jackson for a corner jumper and then Bill Martin got an offensive rebound and a slam.  Then Wingate found Ewing for a layup and Jackson’s two free throws gave Georgetown a 57-36.  Because Syracuse wasn’t scoring, they couldn’t set up their press and the crowd was obviously quiet.  Things appeared to get worse when Bruin picked up his 4th foul.  But then Spera knocked down a jumper from the top of the key and the Orangemen could set up their press.  Santifer hit two free throws after drawing Ewing’s 3rd foul.  Then Georgetown turned the ball over against the press and Santifer got a follow-up three-point play.  After that, Santifer signified that Syracuse wasn’t through yet when he got a steal and a big slam while banging into Gene Smith.  The score was cut to 57-45 and the crowd was alive.

Ewing hit a free throw after Hawkins committed his 4th foul and then Georgetown broke the press and Ralph Dalton got a layup.  Hawkins responded with five consecutive points (his first five points of the game) to cut the game to 60-50.  Then Rautins finally got involved with a wing jumper.  Santifer followed with an elbow jumper and then Rautins stole a pass in the backcourt and laid it in.  Syracuse was on a 20-3 run (including 11-0 to cap) and had cut the game to 60-56 in what seemed like 2 minutes (in actuality it was probably about 6).

But the challenge was now maintaining the momentum, which is hard to do after rolling off 20-3 in 6 minutes.  When Jackson found Ewing for a big slam, Georgetown led 65-60.  The slam was so big that Kerins tried to challenge it and ended up knocked out for a second.  Hawkins had fouled out and Kerins was their backup big man.  So Jim Boeheim had to go to freshman Wendell Alexis.  Alexis immediately drew Ewing’s 4th foul and hit two free throws.  He later hit a jumper from the free throw line after Georgetown regained a 69-63 lead on a Dalton three-point play.  But Georgetown kept their lead thanks to Wingate, Jackson and a rare contribution from senior David Blue, who hit a wing jumper to give Georgetown a 77-70 lead.

Santifer then found Kerins for a corner jumper.  This was Kerins first points of the game, so perhaps being knocked out woke him up.  Rautins then found Waldron for a breakaway but Wingate responded with a leaner from the elbow.  But a Rautins baseline jumper cut the lead to 80-78.  Jackson hit two free throws and Waldron responded with a jumper from the top of the key.  Then Syracuse finally tied it at 82 when Waldron swung the ball to Kerins for a wing jumper.  Wingate hit two free throws.  Kerins hit from the corner.  Jackson hit two free throws on Rautins’ 4th foul.  Then Georgetown took an 88-84 lead when Martin got a layup on a 3-on-1 break.  Kerins hit another corner jumper, this time over a lunging Ewing.  But then Georgetown broke the press and Wingate drove in for a layup and drew Rautins’ 5th foul.  Wingate’s three-point play gave the Hoyas a 91-86 lead with 1:56 left.

Rautins fouling out brought in the freshman Rafael Addison, who would have the most NBA success on this Syracuse roster.  Addison hit a free throw.  Then Kerins got a deflection on the press and Bruin found Addison for a driving layup and a foul.  The score was 91-90 with 1:34 left.  Then Addison got a steal and was fouled.  His two free throws gave Syracuse the lead unbelievably with just over 1:00 left.  But that was Syracuse’s last gasp.  The star of the game, freshman Michael Jackson, made the biggest play.  The sharpshooter didn’t hesitate in launching a long jumper from beyond the top of the key and nailing it for his 29th point and a 93-92 Hoya lead.  Santifer missed and Jackson sealed the game with two free throws with a half a minute left.  Wingate punctuated the outcome with a slam with 7 seconds left.

Georgetown would finish 4th in the Big East and would beat Syracuse one more time during the regular season.  But Syracuse, who finished 5th, would have the last laugh.  They beat Georgetown in the Quarterfinals of the Big East tournament, 79-72.  The Orange would lose to Boston College in the Semis however.  Georgetown was a 5-seed in the Midwest Regional and would face off  with Keith Lee and 4-seeded Memphis State in a 2nd round matchup between two All-American sophomores.  Syracuse would be a 6-seed in the East Regional and lost in the 2nd round to 3-seeded Ohio State, 79-74.  The Orange finished 21-10 for the season.

Georgetown starters (points scored)

David Wingate (16) – Small Forward

Bill Martin (14) – Power Forward

Patrick Ewing (15) – Center

Fred Brown (6) – Point Guard

Michael Jackson (31) – Shooting Guard

Georgetown bench (points scored)

Gene Smith (4)

Ralph Dalton (9)

David Dunn (0)

Victor Morris (0)

David Blue (2)

Georgetown Coach: John Thompson

Syracuse starters (points scored)

Leo Rautins (12) – Small Forward

Tony Bruin (16) – Power Forward

Andre Hawkins (7) – Center

Gene Waldron (8) – Point Guard

Erich Santifer (19) – Shooting Guard

Syracuse bench (points scored)

Sean Kerins (8)

Rafael Addison (8)

Sonny Spera (10)

Wendell Alexis (4)

Syracuse Coach: Jim Boeheim

michael jackson

John Thompson with Michael Jackson, who had a thriller-like performance against Syracuse *photo courtesy of guhoyas

January 27, 1983 – (#3)North Carolina Tarheels 80 @(#19)Wake Forest Demon Deacons 78

Coming into this Thursday night ACC matchup on ESPN, both Carolina and Wake Forest were 4-0 in the Conference.  Wake Forest was 11-2 overall and ranked for the first time that season.  The Deacons had future NBA guards in junior Danny Young and sophomore Delaney Rudd.  They also had freshman forward Kenny Green coming off the bench.  Other good frontcourt players who didn’t end up in the NBA were juniors John Toms and Anthony Teachey and senior Alvis Rogers.

Wake was set out to prove on their ‘home’ court of the Greensboro Coliseum that they deserved that #19 ranking.  Early on they did.  After Sam Perkins started the scoring with a hook in the lane, Toms hit a long two from the left wing.  The ACC (as well as the Big Ten) had a 17 foot, 9 inch three-point line that season as well as a 30-second shot clock that was turned off in the last 4 minutes.. both ideas were jokes looking at today’s perspective (even Dick Vitale said during this game that the three-point line was a joke).

Rogers followed Toms’ field goal by getting a defensive rebound and outletting to Danny Young for a fast break three-point play.  After Brad Daugherty hit for UNC, Young again went coast-to-coast after a steal.  Then Young, after another steal, hit Toms for a corner jumper and Rogers hit a hook in the lane.  Then on the next possession in transition, Young split the defense for a driving layup and a foul.  After the three-point play, Wake had a 14-4 lead.  However after a Carolina timeout, Perkins found Jordan in the lane for a slam and then hit a post jumper over Rogers.  While Carolina made a run, Wake kept its lead for awhile as Green hit two field goals off the bench and all the starters except Teachey hit field goals.

But Carolina started its big run to change the lead when Perkins hit his 8th point on a jumper just inside the elbow to cut the lead to 28-26.  Then big Warren Martin off the bench found Perkins for a layup after an offensive rebound.  Then after a Jimmy Braddock steal, Matt Doherty found a cutting Martin for a slam.  Then the MJ we all know and love went to work.  He drove baseline for a big right-handed slam and then hit a jumper from the post.  Carolina led 34-28 after a 10-0 run.  Toms and Rogers kept Wake within striking distance but Perkins regained a 45-39 lead for Carolina with a three from the right wing.  Toms hit a turnaround jumper in the paint to cut the halftime lead to 45-41.

After Doherty found Jordan for a left-handed driving layup, Toms got his 14th point with a pull-up jumper from the baseline.  Braddock responded with a three from the wing but Wake came right back.  Young hit a three from the top of the key and then Rogers hit a layup from the post while it looked like he banged into Daugherty.  The foul was called on Daugherty though and Dean Smith went crazy and got a technical.  Since it was a bench technical, it was two shots (as per rules at the time) and Rogers hit two of the three free throws to tie the game at 50.  But supposedly that call was made up for after Carolina re-took a 52-50 lead on two Doherty free throws.  Teachey tipped in a miss that was clearly off the rim but it was called offensive goaltending.  Doherty followed with another field goal and after Perkins hit two consecutive shots from inside, Carolina led 58-52 and Perkins was 7-for-7 from the field.

Teachey then hit a jumper from the free throw line before Daugherty tipped in Perkins’ 2nd consecutive miss.  Then after Green hit a turnaround from the post, Jordan drove in from the left side.  He went up, hung in the air, double-pumped and got a shot off and in as Rogers fouled him.  It was Rogers 4 foul but Jordan missed the free throw and Carolina only led 62-56.  But after a Buzz Peterson three, Carolina was up 65-57 and looked to put the game away.  Not so much.  After Wake hit 2-of-4 free throws, Young got his 15th point on a three from the top of the key.  Then Toms deflected a pass and Rudd took it all the way for a layup that was goaltended by Perkins.  Then on another break, Rudd found Teachey for a layup.  UNC called timeout down 66-65.  Jordan responded by following up Daugherty’s miss and then hitting a fadeaway banker from the post after a spin.

But Rudd responded with a corner three and Toms a pull-up from the elbow after a free throw.  Then Green tipped in a Rudd miss and Wake led 74-69.  Perkins, who had struggled since starting 7-for-7, hit a driving hook off the glass from the left side.  Braddock then hit a wing jumper with his foot on the line.  Green hit a jumper from the post for a 76-73 Deacons lead.  Martin then followed up a Jordan miss and was fouled.  Since the shot clock was about to turn off, it was important for Martin to tie the game with a free throw.  But he didn’t.  Wake called timeout and then killed two minutes off the clock before Young found Rudd backdoor for a layup.  Wake led 78-75 with 1:40 left.

Carolina worked the ball around.  The Tarheel coaches were frantically calling timeout because Jordan was off the floor (Dean Smith put in people to pressure the ball against Wake’s delay).  None of the players saw the bench so no timeout was called.  But all’s well that ends well and Perkins hit a three from the right wing to tie the game with 1:11 left.  Wake didn’t call timeout and held for the last shot.  Eventually, Young drove in but his pull-up was blocked by Brad Daugherty with 11 seconds left.  Matt Doherty got the ball and pushed.  He was fouled when he got to the basket with 3 seconds left.  Matt coolly knocked in two and Young missed a three at the buzzer.

Wake went into a tailspin after this loss.  They dropped 7 of their last 11 games of the season, including their last four (all to ACC opponents) to fall to 5th in the Conference.  Then they became the first of NC State’s 9 consecutive victims when they lost to the Wolfpack in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals, 71-70.  They were invited to the NIT tournament and lost to eventual champion Fresno State in the Semifinals.

North Carolina starters (points scored)

Matt Doherty (6) – Small Forward

Sam Perkins (24) – Power Forward

Brad Daugherty (14) – Center

Jimmy Braddock (5) – Point Guard

Michael Jordan (17) – Shooting Guard

North Carolina bench (points scored)

Buzz Peterson (3)

Steve Hale (5)

John Brownlee (0)

Warren Martin (6)

North Carolina Coach: Dean Smith

Wake Forest starters (points scored)

John Toms (17) – Small Forward

Alvis Rogers (13) – Power Forward

Anthony Teachey (8) – Center

Delaney Rudd (11) – Point Guard

Danny Young (16) – Shooting Guard

Wake Forest bench (points scored)

Kenny Green (11)

Tony Karasek (0)

Scott Davis (0)

Chuck Kepley (2)

Lee Garber (0)

Wake Forest Coach: Carl Tacy

February 2, 1983 – (#1)North Carolina Tarheels 84 @Clemson Tigers 81

After defeating Wake Forest, North Carolina beat Georgia Tech 72-65 thanks to Jordan’s 39.  They moved up to #1 in the polls as they headed to Clemson.  It was supposed to be a break in the schedule.  Clemson came into the game 7-13 on the season and 1-7 in the ACC.  They were a young team using their 11th different starting lineup.

Their only double figure scorer was center Raymond Jones but they did feature their football quarterback Mike Eppley at point.  They also featured freshmen Chris Michael and Warren Wallace as well as Murray Jarman (a white guy with a 44′ vertical.. hallelujah!).

Eppley committed two early fouls but was a factor in this game.  After a Jordan free throw, Jimmy Braddock lobbed to Perkins for a layup and then Perkins kicked out to Braddock for three.  So it was 6-0 and nothing was shocking.  But then Jones, Michael and Wallace got field goals and when big David Shaffer (who’s father Lee Shaffer played for UNC from 1957-1960) found Jones for a cutting layup, Clemson was down 9-8.  But Jones committed his 3rd foul on the play and got most of his playing time taken by Jarman.  Braddock then found Doherty for a backdoor layup and Jordan hit two free throws.  An Eppley three and a Shaffer layup tied the game back up.

After Perkins back-to-back field goals, Jarman got to show off his hops when he flew over Perkins and Brad Daugherty to tip in a Shaffer miss.  Carolina took a 22-15 lead before Jarman and Marc Campbell off the Clemson bench combined to cut the game back to one.  Carolina went on an 11-2 run highlighted by a Perkins three from the top of the key and Jordan getting a double-pump backdoor layup.  A Jordan three from the wing put Carolina up 36-25.  Jarman got a tip-in and was fouled.  But then Jones came back in and committed his 4th foul and Jordan hit a double-pump turnaround jumper in the post against Jarman while Murray fouled him.  The Tarheels took their biggest lead at 41-28 when Braddock lobbed to Perkins for a slam.  Eppley led the Tigers back with two free throws and two assists and then a steal and layup cut the lead to 43-40.  But Carolina closed the half on a 6-1 run punctuated by Warren Martin’s tip-in at the buzzer.

Clemson came out strong in the 2nd half but Carolina kept its lead with Braddock twice throwing alley-oop passes to Perkins.  But the Tigers eventually took a 60-57 lead.  The Tigers kept going.  A Wallace steal and flying breakaway slam put Clemson up 64-60.  Then after Braddock found Jordan for a backdoor layup, Jarman hit a jumper in the lane for his 19th point.  Perkins responded with a hook in the post but then Wallace hit a three from the wing.  With about 7 minutes left, Clemson was leading 69-64 and one was starting to wonder if the upset could happen and if the lowly Tigers could break the UNC 14-game winning streak.

But then Jarman fouled out and Carolina cut the lead to two on a Jordan turn-around jumper in the post.  A Braddock baseline jumper after UNC rebounded a Perkins missed free throw put the Tarheels up 72-71.  The Tigers made another rush when Jones got a rebound-slam and then Eppley finished off a 2-on-1 with a layup.  But then Jordan entered the ball to Perkins for a layup.  After another Clemson freshman Anthony Jenkins missed a jumper and committed his 4th foul trying to get the rebound, Perkins made the front end of a 1-and-1 to tie the game.  Perkins missed the 2nd.  Jordan got the rebound but was blocked by Jones.  Shaffer had the ball but Perkins took it back and Carolina reset their offense.  They worked the ball back to Perkins for a banker from the post and a 77-75 Tarheel lead.  Clemson called timeout with 3:38 left.

Without the shot clock, Clemson needed to tie the game or be forced to deal with Carolina’s 4-corners.  The Tigers worked the ball around for two minutes looking for a good shot but finally Chris Michael missed from the top of the key.  Jordan rebounded and the Tarheels did take time off before Braddock hit two free throws.  While Clemson kept it close, Braddock and Doherty salted the game away at the line.  Carolina escaped one of the few battles they would get from Clemson over time.  The Tigers still haven’t beaten North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Clemson would get Horace Grant the next season and would next make the NCAA tournament in Grant’s senior season in 1987.  By then they had a freshman named Elden Campbell.

North Carolina starters (points scored)

Matt Doherty (6) – Small Forward

Sam Perkins (30) – Power Forward

Brad Daugherty (4) – Center

Jimmy Braddock (13) – Point Guard

Michael Jordan (24) – Shooting Guard

North Carolina bench (points scored)

Warren Martin (4)

Steve Hale (0)

Buzz Peterson (1)

John Brownlee (2)

Cecil Exum (0)

North Carolina Coach: Dean Smith

Clemson starters (points scored)

Chris Michael (9) – Small Forward

David Shaffer (6) – Power Forward

Raymond Jones (6) – Center

Mike Eppley (11) – Point Guard

Warren Wallace (18) – Shooting Guard

Clemson bench (points scored)

Murray Jarman (19)

Marc Campbell (4)

Anthony Jenkins (8)

Clarke Bynum (0)

Glen McCants (0)

Clemson Coach: Bill Foster

February 10, 1983 – (#3)Virginia Cavaliers 63 @(#1)North Carolina Tarheels 64

Carolina had won twice more after the Clemson game, defeating the Citadel and Furman, to increase their winning streak to 17 games.  One of those wins came at University Hall in Charlottesville, Virginia.  It was Virginia’s only loss of the season other than the shocker to Chaminade mentioned earlier.  Perkins had 36 points and 10 rebounds against Sampson that night to lead Carolina to their first win at Virginia since 1979.

The Cavaliers wanted revenge and they got off to a good start when seniors Sampson and Craig Robinson hit field goals.  Carolina stayed with them in the first half thanks to the three-point line.  Braddock hit two threes, Doherty hit one and Buzz Peterson off the bench another in the first half.  Jordan and Perkins struggled in the first half with each hitting only two field goals.  Meanwhile, Robinson led Virginia with 12 points in the first half while Jimmy Miller and Kenton Edeline gave contributions off the bench.  Virginia retook a 29-28 lead when Othell Wilson got a layup off a Robinson steal.  The Cavaliers led 31-28 at the break.

To say Virginia came out hot in the 2nd half would be a gross understatement.  Wilson hit a three after Virginia swung the ball.  Then Sampson rebounded a Braddock miss and stumbled a bit.  The Carolina bench thought he traveled but it wasn’t called.  Instead the Carolina bench got a technical.  Rick Carlisle made one of the two shots.  Then Sampson kicked out to Tim Mullen for three and it was 38-28 just that quick.  But it continued.  Robinson hit a hook over Perkins from the post.  It looked like Carolina would get its first basket when Jordan got a steal and threw ahead to Doherty.  But before Matt could go up with the layup, Mullen hustled back and cleanly knocked the ball out of bounds.  At the other end Mullen gave Virginia a 14-point lead with a turnaround from the post.

Mullen’s three from the right wing gave the Cavaliers their biggest lead at 54-38.  They had a chance to increase it after Sampson blocked a Brad Daugherty shot.  But Robinson missed a rare shot and Jordan scored at the other end on a baseline drive.  Carolina, uncharacteristically, wasn’t pressuring Virginia’s offense and on the next possession, the Cavaliers took the shot clock all the way down easily before Robinson hit a wing jumper at the buzzer.  After reserve Steve Hale hit a jumper for the Heels, Sampson hit his 15th point on a turnaround from the post.  Doherty responded with a wing jumper.  After a few minutes of trading baskets, Carolina called timeout and the story is that coach Dean Smith said to the team “how fun would it be to come back and win after all this?”

The Tarheels finally started applying pressure and a Jordan driving banker from the wing cut the lead to 58-46.  Then Braddock hit a pull-up three from the wing and then a driving layup after Perkins knocked the ball away from Sampson.  Carolina methodically cut into the lead after that with free throws and with 2:41 left, it was 63-60 Virginia.  But the Cavaliers had the ball with no shot clock.  They ran off 1:20 before Sampson was fouled by Perkins.  Ralph missed the front end of the 1-and-1 and Carolina came back down.  Braddock missed a three from the wing but Jordan tipped it in to make the score 63-62.

Virginia tried to bring it up against UNC pressure but Carlisle was stripped by Jordan.  MJ took the ball and was all alone for a flying slam to give Carolina the lead with 50 seconds left.  Virginia ran the time down until they called timeout with 23 seconds left.  After the timeout, they set up for the last shot.  But instead of working a play to Sampson, Carlisle came off a screen and bricked a three from the top of the key.  Jordan rebounded and ran out the clock.

Carolina had swept Virginia and solidified the ACC regular season title.  The Tarheels would have their winning streak snapped two days later when they lost to Villanova.  They then lost their next two conference games at Maryland and at NC State.

Virginia starters (points scored)

Tim Mullen (8) – Small Forward

Craig Robinson (16) – Power Forward

Ralph Sampson (15) – Center

Othell Wilson (8) – Point Guard

Rick Carlisle (3) – Shooting Guard

Virginia bench (points scored)

Jimmy Miller (9)

Kenton Edelin (4)

Ricky Stokes (0)

Dan Merrifield (0)

Virginia Coach: Terry Holland

North Carolina starters (points scored)

Matt Doherty (11) – Small Forward

Sam Perkins (10) – Power Forward

Brad Daugherty (8) – Center

Jimmy Braddock (14) – Point Guard

Michael Jordan (16) – Shooting Guard

North Carolina bench (points scored)

Buzz Peterson (3)

Steve Hale (2)

Warren Martin (0)

John Brownlee (0)

Cecil Exum (0)

North Carolina Coach: Dean Smith

jordan dunk

Michael Jordan’s winning dunk versus Virginia – photo courtesy of UNC library

February 16, 1983 – (#15)Iowa Hawkeyes 58 @(#1)Indiana Hoosiers 57

After North Carolina took a loss to Villanova, Indiana climbed to #1 in the polls.  The Hoosiers had two losses on the season.  One of them came when they were previously #1 and lost at Ohio State.  The other was a 63-48 blowout to Iowa at Iowa City at the end of January.  The Hoosiers had three holdovers from their 1981 Championship team.  Forwards Randy Wittman and Ted Kitchel were two of the top scorers in the Big Ten.  Guard Jim Thomas was the defensive and rebounding ace.

Iowa had a so-so time during the season.  Their previous win against Indiana was their only win in a 5 game stretch.  But they were starting to gain confidence after a comeback win over Illinois at home 69-67.  But that confidence would be tested at Assembly Hall in Bloomington where the Hoosiers hadn’t lost a game all year.  The Hawkeyes still had a few players from their 1980 Final Four team.  Bobby Hansen and Mark Gannon were starting, along with junior sharpshooter Steve Carfino and sophomore big men Michael Payne and Greg Stokes.  Stokes was developing into a heck of a player.

The scoring was slow for each team in this game but early the interesting scoring battle was between Stokes and Wittman.  Two minutes into the game, the only two field goals were jumpers by Wittman.  But Payne found Stokes on a high-low for a layup.  Stokes then had a turn-around jumper in the post and then a tip-dunk of a Payne miss.  A Wittman pull-up from the foul line gave him 8 points and gave Indiana a 12-8 lead, but Stokes answered with a free throw line jumper and a driving layup from the post to tie the game.  Wittman had the Hoosiers next six points as well on floaters and pull-up jumpers.  He had it going but his running mate, Kitchel, had trouble getting off.

Payne answered with two field goals and a Stokes pull-up from the foul line gave Iowa a 22-18 lead.  But Wittman answered with two jumpers (he had 18 of their 22 points at this point).  Finally someone else got involved when Jim Thomas found fellow senior Steve Bouchie for a layup.  Bouchie then hit two free throws and Wittman got another pull-up jumper to bring his 1st half total to 20.  But Iowa tied it at 28 with two seconds left when Carfino got a steal and layup after Indiana was holding it for the last shot.

Indiana’s emerging German big man Uwe Blab hit the first field goal of the 2nd half when a still-scoreless Kitchel found him in the corner for a jumper.  But Payne answered with a turnaround over Uwe and then a layup on the break.  Kitchel finally got on the board with two free throws but then Stokes hit a jumper from the post and then hit a hook vs Blab while Uwe fouled him.  After the three-point play, Carfino got another steal and layup and Stokes hit another jumper from the post.  When the dust settled Iowa led 41-34.

But then Wittman reappeared and hit a jumper from the foul line after a fake.  Then Randy swung it to Kitchel who hit a corner jumper for his first field goal.  This was followed by senior Tony Brown hitting a driving banker and Wittman hitting a floater on the baseline.  The Hoosiers had a 42-41 lead and the crowd was alive.  Stokes quieted them with an offensive rebound and layup.  But then freshman Stew Robinson found Blab for a layup and then with under 10:00 left, Wittman bounce passed one to Kitchel for a layup.

Iowa answered big time when Stokes swung the ball to Carfino for a three to tie the game at 46.  Wittman then hit a jumper and then got a steal and layup.  But then Iowa’s seniors showed up for the first time.  Gannon hit Hansen at the top of the key for his first field goal and then Gannon hit Hansen again for a jumper at the free throw line.  After Hansen hit again in the lane over Blab, Indiana called timeout.  They were trailing 52-50 with 4:22 left.  But Kitchel turned the ball over and Blab fouled out, allowing Payne to hit two free throws and give the Hawkeyes a 54-50 lead.  Brown hit Wittman for a wing pull-up and the 30th point for Wittman.  But then Carfino hit the front end of a 1-and-1.

He missed the second but Kitchel lost an entry pass out of bounds.  Gannon then hit the front end of a 1-and-1 for his points.  He missed the second as well and Stokes fouled Jim Thomas on the rebound.  Thomas hit both ends of a 1-and-1 with 1:07 left to cut Iowa’s lead to 56-54.  But Iowa kept the ball away and Brown had to foul Hansen with 39 seconds left.  Hansen made both ends of the 1-and-1 for a 58-54 lead.  Wittman missed a three.  Kitchel got the rebound but had his shot blocked.  Iowa ran off more time before Hansen was fouled again.

This time he missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Wittman hit a three with 4 seconds left and Indiana got a timeout.  Kitchel fouled Hansen with 3 seconds left and again Bobby missed the front end.  But Indiana was out of timeouts and their long pass after the rebound was intercepted by Payne at the buzzer.

Iowa would not take the momentum of their victory as they finished the Big Ten season by winning half of their six remaining games.  They were a #7 seed in the Midwest Regional.  They upset #2 Missouri in the 2nd round by holding 2nd team All-American Steve Stipanovich to 3-for-11 shooting.  But they lost 55-54 to Villanova in the Regional Semifinals and after the season coach Lute Olson took the job at Arizona.  Indiana would win the Big Ten with a 13-5 record and were a #2 seed in the Mideast Regional.  But they were upset by 3-seeded Kentucky 64-59 in the Regional Semifinals as they finished the season without Kitchel.

Iowa starters (points scored)

Mark Gannon (1) – Small Forward

Michael Payne (12) – Power Forward

Greg Stokes (22) – Center

Steve Carfino (11) – Point Guard

Bobby Hansen (8) – Shooting Guard

Iowa bench (points scored)

Andre Banks (0)

Todd Berkenpas (2)

Craig Anderson (2)

Brad Lohaus (0)

Iowa Coach: Lute Olson

Indiana starters (points scored)

Randy Wittman (33) – Small Forward

Ted Kitchel (6) – Power Forward

Uwe Blab (8) – Center

Stew Robinson (0) – Point Guard

Jim Thomas (4) – Shooting Guard

Indiana bench (points scored)

Steve Bouchie (4)

Tony Brown (2)

Winston Morgan (0)

Indiana Coach: Bobby Knight

Randy-Wittman-11

Randy Wittman was named a second-team All-American in 1983, helped by his 33 points versus Iowa *photo courtesy of misterirrelevant

March 6, 1983 – Maryland Terrapins 81 @(#2)Virginia Cavaliers 83

Three Naismith awards, two Wooden awards, three Rupp trophies, three AP and UPI Player of the Year awards, and a three-time All-American.  That’s Ralph Sampson’s career at Virginia in a nutshell.  On March 6, 1983 against rival Maryland, Ralph Sampson played his final college game at Virginia’s University Hall.  Sampson was 4-4 against Maryland so far in his career and had never scored more than 17 points against them.

Virginia had won five in a row after their loss to Carolina highlighted earlier and were locked as the #2 seed going into the ACC Tournament.  Maryland had locked up the #3 seed after defeating NC State three days earlier.  So this game had no meaning in the standings but had all kinds of emotional meaning on both sides, typical of rivals.

Sampson’s first field goal was a 10-foot hook in the lane that put Virginia up 4-2.  Ralph was perhaps a little too psyched for this game as he goaltended two Ben Coleman shots.  But his three from the top of the key gave Virginia a 12-6 lead.  Coleman got two assists on the next two Maryland field goals.  The first was a Jeff Adkins three and the second was a Len Bias jumper from the post.  Sampson then responded with a running left-handed hook across the lane while was fouled.  The three-point play put Virginia up 15-11 but Adrian Branch responded with a three to cut the lead to one.

Maryland had only three big guys available in this game to battle Sampson (Maryland’s usual backup for Coleman and Mark Fothergill, Herman Veal, was out for administrative reasons.. translation: he was being suspended for the sexual assault incident that led to one of the worst Cameron Crazies moment a year later).  But Fothergill got his 3rd foul and Virginia’s other senior Craig Robinson hit a jumper in the lane and got a fast break slam after a Sampson block.  Then after a steal and layup by Ricky Stokes put Virginia up 25-17, Coleman committed his 3rd foul on an offensive foul (he committed his 4th before halftime).  The main backup for the day, freshman Ed Farmer, also committed 3 fouls in the first half.

Virginia took a 30-19 lead helped by six points from Jimmy Miller off the bench.  But then Sampson committed an offensive foul.  It was only his 2nd but he sat for the rest of the half.  Branch and Farmer then got it going to bring Maryland back.  The Terps took a 46-45 halftime lead after a Branch three at the buzzer.  It was Adrian’s 14th point.

Maryland’s momentum continued in the 2nd half.  Bias hit a jumper from the elbow.  Fothergill hit a driving hook in the lane.  Then Farmer got a steal and Bias found Branch for a breakaway.  Virginia’s only counter was two Ralph Sampson free throws and a field goal.  But a Branch three from the top of the key gave Maryland a 55-49 lead.  After Sampson scored three points, Terrapins reserve sharpshooter Steve Rivers hit a three to make the score 58-52.  But then Virginia turned up their defense.  This led to some breaks and a 7-0 run capped by a Miller three-point play on a fast break layup.

Coleman came back into the game and hit a turnaround jumper from the post.  But Ben would foul out with 10:28 left.  Rick Carlisle hit a pull-up jumper and Othell Wilson a runner off the glass to give Virginia a 63-60 lead.  But another Branch three put Maryland up 65-64.  Miller and Farmer exchanged field goals before Miller hit a corner jumper and then finished a 3-on-1 break.  Virginia was up 70-67 but Rivers tied it with a three on a Branch cross-court pass.

After Farmer committed his 4th foul, Sampson hit his 18th point on a left-handed hook in the lane.  It was his career-high versus Maryland.  Then after Farmer fouled out a few minutes later, Sampson gave Virginia a 77-71 lead with a turnaround jumper in the post.  But then Rivers found Branch for a three from the corner.  It was Adrian’s 7th three of the game.  A Sampson free throw gave Virginia an 80-76 lead with the shot clock now off.  But Ralph’s miss on the second free throw started a bad trend.  Branch hit Rivers for a three from the wing to cut the lead to one.  Then after Ralph missed a turnaround jumper from the post, Maryland took a few minutes off the clock trying to get Sampson out of the lane so they could get a layup.

Finally with 1:08 left, Rivers snuck into the lane wide open after Sampson stepped out ( to guard Fothergill at the perimeter, for some reason).  Adkins found Rivers for a layup and a 81-80 Maryland lead.  When Virginia came back down, Fothergill was whistled for his 4th foul away from the ball against Sampson.  Ralph missed the front end of the 1-and-1 and Carlisle had to foul Branch with 33 seconds left.  Adrian, however, missed the front end but got his own rebound.  Wilson knocked the ball away and stole it.  Wilson at the other end missed a pull-up in the lane.  Sampson got the offensive rebound, went back up, and was fouled by Fothergill with 7 seconds left.  Maryland now had no big guys left to contend with Sampson (probably only important if the game went into overtime).

After two timeouts, Ralph missed both free throws.  But the second miss was back-tapped by Robinson back to Sampson.  Ralph spun at the free throw line and hit a jumper from just inside it to give Virginia the lead with 3 seconds left (although Maryland contends, rightly, that the clock should have been at 4 seconds).  The Terps had to go the full length of the court.  The inbounds pass went to Branch at half court but he was called for traveling with 2 seconds left.  Wilson was fouled before Virginia could inbound it.  Othell missed the first but made the second, allowing Maryland to inbound it.  The long pass went to Branch, who hit nothing but backboard on a three at the buzzer.

It was a fitting end for Sampson in his last game at home, hitting the game-winner after missing four straight free throws.  Maryland finished with an 8-6 ACC record while Virginia was tied with North Carolina at the top at 12-2.  These teams could have matched up in the ACC Semifinals, but Maryland lost in overtime to Georgia Tech in the Quarterfinals (in front of a Tech home crowd in Atlanta).  The Terps were an #8 seed in the Midwest Regional and lost to top-seeded Houston in the 2nd round.  Virginia made the Finals after dispatching Duke 109-66 and Tech 96-67.  But they would run twice into an unexpected tough opponent.

Maryland starters (points scored)

Len Bias (8) – Small Forward

Mark Fothergill (8) – Power Forward

Ben Coleman (8) – Center

Jeff Adkins (6) – Point Guard

Adrian Branch (28) – Shooting Guard

Maryland bench (points scored)

Ed Farmer (10)

Steve Rivers (13)

Jeff Baxter (0)

Pete Holbert (0)

Chuck Driesell (0) – yes, the coaches son

Maryland Coach: Lefty Driesell

Virginia starters (points scored)

Tim Mullen (2) – Small Forward

Craig Robinson (9) – Power Forward

Ralph Sampson (23) – Center

Othell Wilson (11) – Point Guard

Doug Newburg (0) – Shooting Guard (senior starting on senior day)

Virginia bench (points scored)

Rick Carlisle (8)

Jimmy Miller (21)

Ricky Stokes (3)

Kenton Edelin (0)

Dan Merrifield (6)

Virginia Coach: Terry Holland

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Ralph Sampson hit the game-winner and scored 23 points in his final game in Charlottesville – photo courtesy of bleacher report

March 12, 1983 – ACC Tournament Semifinals: NC State Wolfpack 91 vs(#5)North Carolina Tarheels 84 (OT)

North Carolina State had limped through the ACC season with an 8-6 record despite three senior leaders.  One of them, Dereck Whittenburg, had missed part of the season with a broken foot.  That didn’t help.  But Whittenburg was back along with his back court partner (at DeMatha High School as well as N.C. State) Sidney Lowe.  The third senior was forward Thurl Bailey, who was flanked in the frontcourt by sophomores Lorenzo Charles and Cozell McQueen.  The key players off the bench included sharpshooter Terry Gannon, junior college transfer Alvin Battle and freshman Ernie Myers.

N.C. State had beaten Wake Forest in the Quarterfinals, 71-70, on a Lorenzo Charles free throw.  Dick Vitale figured they’d need one more victory to assure themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament.  That one win would have to come against North Carolina who N.C. State had beaten at home a month earlier.  It was the second of back-to-back conference losses for the Tarheels (and their only two losses in the ACC).  Carolina had easily defeated Clemson in the Quarterfinals without Sam Perkins, who had a sprained toe.  Perkins was back for the Semifinal.

It took a minute for anybody to put points on the board.  Brad Daugherty and Charles each hit two free throws.  Then Lowe hit a pull-up from the wing and Charles swung the ball to Bailey for a three.  N.C. State’s big attack in conference was the three-point shot with Bailey, Lowe, Whittenburg, and Gannon firing away.  A Lowe feed to Bailey for a layup gave NC State an early 13-6 lead.  But then Matt Doherty got a three-point play on an offensive rebound.  Jimmy Braddock hit a runner off the glass and then Doherty entered to Daugherty in the post for a layup to tie the game.

North Carolina’s stars were getting off to a slow start.  Jordan missed his first couple of shots and didn’t look like his normal aggressive self.  Perkins did hit a turnaround hook shot to cut NC State’s lead to 16-15 after Lowe hit a three.  Lowe hit another three to give the Wolfpack a four-point lead but back-to-back buckets by Warren Martin tied the game.  Then Carolina took a 23-21 lead on a Perkins three from the top of the key.  The game stayed close for the rest of the half as Lowe continued to lead the Wolfpack, who led 41-39 at the half.

In the 2nd half, Jordan finally started to get going.  His three-pointer put UNC up 60-59 with 10:38 left in the game.  It was his 8th point of the 2nd half and 13th of the game.  But little did one know that that three would be Jordan’s last field goal of the game.  Perkins also came alive in the 2nd half.  His three-point play gave the Tarheels a 63-61 lead and gave him 14 second half points and 21 for the game.  That three-point play also drew Bailey’s 4th foul.

A Gannon driving banker tied the game at 63.  Charles hit two free throws to give N.C. State a 65-64 after Jordan committed his 4th foul.  Then Lowe found Bailey in transition for a three-point lead.  N.C. State got the ball back with that lead and the shot clock now off.  They ran the spread and Jordan was called for a reach-in on Gannon.  It was MJ’s 5th foul with 3:30 to go (and a foul he probably wouldn’t have been called for 5 years later.. because he was a smarter player, of course).

Gannon (a 94% shooter) hit the two free throws for a 69-64 Wolfpack lead.  After each team exchanged a free throw, Doherty hit a three from the top of the key with 2:38 left to cut N.C. State’s lead to 70-68.  N.C. State killed more clock before Steve Hale fouled Gannon at 1:49.  It was called a stupid foul by Vitale (and it is if you foul a 94% shooter, let’s be honest) but Gannon made it look smart by missing the front end of the 1-and-1.  Carolina worked the ball around after a timeout before getting it to Perkins.  He drove and missed but Brad Daugherty was right there for the tip-in with 49 seconds left.

N.C. State ran the clock down after a timeout but Lowe had the ball stripped when he drove to the lane.  Carolina called a timeout with 2 seconds left.  They inbounded from three-quarter court to Perkins behind the NBA three-point line at the Omni in Atlanta.  Sam launched and the ball in-and-out while looking on line.  Just think, N.C. State’s magical run doesn’t happen if that ball goes in.  Instead they had time to regroup in overtime tied at 70.

But Carolina regrouped first.  Daugherty scored on a putback and then after a Lowe field goal on a Daugherty goaltend, Perkins hit a banker from the post while he was fouled.  The three-point play put Carolina up 75-72.  Then Perkins blocked a Bailey shot and Carolina recovered the ball.  This is when N.C. State went into its fouling strategy and made this the longest single overtime in the history of mankind.  Doherty made both ends of the 1-and-1.  Charles and Daugherty then missed front ends of a 1-and-1 before Lowe found Charles for a layup and it was 77-74 with 2:29 left.

The Wolfpack kept the strategy going but Doherty again made both ends of the 1-and-1.  After McQueen missed the front end of a 1-and-1, he committed his 5th foul with 2:10 left.  Doherty made the front end but this time missed the back end.  So Carolina only led 80-74.  Doherty then committed an intentional foul for some reason and Whittenburg made both ends of a 1-and-1.  With 2:00 left, Charles fouled Jordan’s backup Curtis Hunter.  Hunter was a freshman who had missed part of the season with a stress fracture.  He returned about the same time that Carolina lost Buzz Peterson for the year witha knee injury.  Hunter made both ends of the 1-and-1 for an 82-76 lead.

Perkins then committed his 4th foul and Gannon hit both ends of the 1-and-1.  Gannon fouled Hunter again with 1:43 left.  This time the freshman missed the front end of the 1-and-1.  N.C. State came back down and Whittenburg hit a three from the wing with 1:35 left.  It was only Dereck’s third field goal but it cut the Tarheel lead to 82-81.  Then Gannon fouled Braddock, the senior leader who was a good foul shooter.  Braddock missed the front end of the 1-and-1 though and then after a timeout, Whittenburg drove baseline by three Tarheels for an easy layup and an 83-82 State lead with 56 seconds left.

At the other end, Perkins missed a banker from the post and fouled out trying to get the rebound with 37 seconds left.  Carolina had now lost Perkins and Jordan.  Whittenburg again made both edns of the 1-and-1.  Dereck did it again with 19 seconds left after a Hunter jumper.  Braddock missed a tying three with 13 seconds left and Bailey put the cinch on the upset with four free throws.

North Carolina ended up being a 2-seed in the East with the loss and were upset by 4-seeded Georgia in the Regional Finals, 82-77.  Jordan fouled out of that game too.

N.C. State starters (points scored)

Thurl Bailey (17) – Small Forward

Lorenzo Charles (16) – Power Forward

Cozell McQueen (6) – Center

Sidney Lowe (26) – Point Guard

Dereck Whittenburg (15) – Shooting Guard

N.C. State bench (points scored)

Terry Gannon (9)

Alvin Battle (0)

Ernie Myers (0)

Dinky Proctor (2)

George McClain (0)

Harold Thompson (0)

N.C. State Coach: Jim Valvano

North Carolina starters (points scored)

Matt Doherty (15) – Small Forward

Sam Perkins (24) – Power Forward

Brad Daugherty (17) – Center

Jimmy Braddock (7) – Point Guard

Michael Jordan (13) – Shooting Guard

North Carolina bench (points scored)

Curtis Hunter (4)

Warren Martin (4)

Steve Hale (0)

Cecil Exum (0)

North Carolina Coach: Dean Smith

March 13, 1983 – ACC Tournament Final: NC State Wolfpack 81 vs(#2)Virginia Cavaliers 78

N.C. State had spoiled the possibility of a third epic matchup that season between Virginia and North Carolina.  But upsetting Virginia was probably a tougher task for them.  They had not beaten Virginia since 1980, the first time Ralph Sampson saw them.

But the Wolfpack got off to a great start.  After Sampson hit a free throw, Lowe swung the ball to Whittenburg at the wing for a three.  Then Lowe got a steal and breakaway, McQueen hit a corner jumper in transition, and Lowe got another steal and breakaway.  Virginia called timeout as they got off to a tight start turning the ball over.  Also, Rick Carlisle (playing with a broken nose) was not himself.  Lowe hit another pull-up three from the corner to give N.C. State a 12-1 lead before Virginia finally woke up.  Sampson hit two jumpers, Wilson hit Ricky Stokes for a pull-up banker and Jimmy Miller follow-slammed a Sampson miss.  Just like that it was 12-10.

The Wolfpack stayed ahead briefly with three-pointers from Bailey and Gannon but When Othell Wilson hit a pull-up three from the wing, Virginia took a 19-18 lead.  That lead increased to 23-18 when Stokes took it coast-to-coast and it was timeout N.C. State.  The game went back-and-forth for the rest of the first half and Virginia held a 40-37 lead at the break.  But it could have been six.  Wilson hit a shot from just in front of half court but it was correctly called that it was released after the buzzer.

N.C. State took a 49-48 lead on a Lowe three but Virginia went on their big run helped by Whittenburg committing his 3rd foul.  Stokes found Miller for an elbow jumper.  Miller found Kenton Edelin in the post for a jumper.  Wilson hit a corner three off an inbounds pass.  Then Whittenburg committed his 4th foul and Stokes hit two free throws for a 57-49 Cavaliers lead.  They almost increased it by more when Wilson just missed on a pull-up three.

Thurl Bailey then came to life and showed off his high stock.  He hit a hook shot in the lane over Sampson and then a turnaround from the wing after Miller got a basket on a Lorenzo Charles goaltend.  Gannon kicked out to Lowe at the wing for a three and after Edelin tipped in a Miller miss, Lowe swung the ball to Gannon at the wing for a three.  This cut the lead to 61-59.  Sampson hit a corner jumper.  Alvin Battle then drove at Sampson and tried to dunk over him.  The ball hit the front rim and bounced in while Edelin fouled Battle.  It was 63-62 after the three-point play.  Stokes found Sampson in the post who responded with a bank shot.  It was Sampson’s 24th and last point of the game.  Don’t necessarily put all the blame on Ralph, he rarely got the ball.

Bailey hit a wing jumper and then a three for his 21st point (13th of the 2nd half).  This gave N.C. State a 67-65 lead.  Battle then followed up a Whittenburg miss.  When Whittenburg hit a driving banker from the right side of the lane, N.C. State led 71-66.  At the other end there was a rebound scramble and a jump ball called.  Virginia wanted a foul on that scramble, most notably assistant coach Jim Larranaga (yes, the same guy who coaches Miami, FL now) who got a technical after voicing his view.  Whittenburg hit both free throws and the Wolfpack got the ball back.  Whittenburg then hit a high-arcing jumper in the lane to give the Pack a 75-66 lead with the shot clock about to go off.

N.C. State hit most of their important free throws against Carolina.  They almost blew the ACC Championship by not doing the same here.  Gannon missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Whittenburg hit 1-of-2.  Carlisle found Miller for a cutting layup and it was 76-70.  Wilson fouled Bailey and Thurl did make both ends of his 1-and-1.  But Lowe missed the front end of his with 1:25 left after Carlisle cut the lead to 78-72 with a jumper.  Virginia missed two shots but Miller gave them a third chance.  Bailey blocked that third chance away and Charles was fouled.  He missed the front end of a 1-and-1.

Wilson hit a pull-up three with 54 seconds left to cut the lead to 78-75.  Carlisle fouled Charles a second later.  He missed the front end again.  Whittenburg got the rebound but fell down and was called for traveling.  With 38 seconds left, Sampson finally got the ball.  But before he went up to shoot, Gannon stripped it away.  Miller fouled Bailey with 34 seconds left.  Bailey hit the first, missed the second, once again Whittenburg got the offensive rebound but fell down and traveled.

Wilson hit another three from the top of the key and it was 79-78.  But Wilson fouled out with 6 seconds left.  Whittenburg made both ends of his 1-and-1.  Virginia scrambled down without any timeouts and the fling by Stokes to tie the game came nowhere near.  In the only game of the ‘9 lives’ that N.C. State lived that spring that they didn’t have to win (if you believe they would have made the NCAA tournament without winning the ACC Championship), they almost got a taste of their own medicine and blew the lead by missing free throws.  But the Pack had won and now were the 6-seed in Virginia’s region (the West Region) and took on a tough conference champion from out west on their coast.

N.C. State starters (points scored)

Thurl Bailey (24) – Small Forward

Lorenzo Charles (4) – Power Forward

Cozell McQueen (2) – Center

Sidney Lowe (18) – Point Guard

Dereck Whittenburg (15) – Shooting Guard

N.C. State bench (points scored)

Terry Gannon (12)

Alvin Battle (6)

Harold Thompson (0)

George McClain (0)

Ernie Myers (0)

N.C. State Coach: Jim Valvano

Virginia starters (points scored)

Jimmy Miller (16) – Small Forward

Craig Robinson (5) – Power Forward

Ralph Sampson (24) – Center

Othell Wilson (19) – Point Guard

Rick Carlisle (2) – Shooting Guard

Virginia bench (points scored)

Ricky Stokes (8)

Kenton Edelin (4)

Dan Merrifield (0)

Doug Newburg (0)

Virginia Coach: Terry Holland

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Dereck Whittenburg hugging Jim Valvano, this became a ritual after each of NC State’s ‘9 lives’ wins – photo courtesy of NC State website

March 18, 1983 – West Regional 1st Round: (#11)Pepperdine Waves 67 vs(#6)NC State Wolfpack 69 (2ot)

I guess you could say that this was one of those games you could expect in the late-night hours, even in Corvallis, Oregon.  There was no flow, no rhythm and for the first 30 minutes and, as a result, not that great of basketball.

N.C. State was sent out west after winning the ACC Championship to take on West Coast Conference Champion Pepperdine, coached by a young Jim Harrick (who would later bring UCLA their only championship since John Wooden).  The Waves were led by three seniors, forwards Bill Sadler and Orlando Phillips and their all-time leading scorer from the back court Dane Suttle (Suttle along with reserve Grant Gondrezick were the only Waves from this game who played a game in the NBA).  The other starters were juniors Victor Anger and Mark Wilson.

Pepperdine took a slow 6-0 lead when N.C. State missed their first 11 shots.  Sadler hit a jumper in the lane.  Anger hit a wing jumper and Wilson found Suttle at the wing for another jumper.  After Sidney Lowe hit two free throws, Phillips scored on an offensive rebound and Suttle hit a corner jumper after great ball movement from the Waves.  They led 10-2 before Charles got the Wolfpack’s first field goal.

Pepperdine and N.C. State both liked to run but for this game the pace was slow.  Pepperdine looked uncomfortable in that pace and N.C. State just didn’t shoot well, but neither team really tried to pick up the tempo.  The Wolfpack methodically came back and led 27-25 at halftime.

The second half stayed back and forth.  The Waves frontcourt of Sadler, Phillips and Anger each had 3 fouls but they stayed aggressive.  Sadler hit two free throws to give the Waves a 40-39 lead.  Whittenburg found Lowe for a wing jumper.  Gondrezick tipped in Anger’s miss.  Gannon swung the ball to Whittenburg who hit a jumper from the top of the key.  Phillips hit two free throws.  Bailey hit a jumper in the lane.  Then Pepperdine tied it when Whittenburg got a technical when Lowe went down on a play under the basket and action continued.  The Waves took a 47-45 lead with 3:08 left when Phillips scored inside versus Bailey.  Gannon tied it with 2:40 left with a wing jumper on a Bailey kickout.

Then the finally exciting back-and-forth action turned into stall ball for the last shot.  Although Pepperdine isn’t to blame for that on offense, Anger just missed two free throws to keep it at a tie.  The Wolfpack were the ones that held but Lowe lost the ball out of bounds with 2 seconds left.  Pepperdine couldn’t get a shot off and we were headed to overtime.

During the first two-and-a-half minutes of overtime the only points on the board were Phillips getting a basket on a Charles goaltend and Sadler scoring on an offensive rebound.  Then with 1:34 left, Suttle got a steal and Bailey fouled him.  Suttle made both ends of the 1-and-1 for a 53-47 Pepperdine lead.  Whittenburg came back with a wing jumper with 1:27 left.  Gannon fouled Wilson three seconds later.  Mark made both ends of the 1-and-1.  Gannon hit a jumper with 1:16 to go.  Charles fouled Wilson six seconds later.  Mark again made both ends of the 1-and-1.  Whittenburg came back with a miss and on the rebound scramble, N.C. State knocked the ball out of bounds with 1:00 to go.

For a second it looked really peachy for Pepperdine with the west coast crowd cheering them on.  They were up 57-51 with the ball and 1:00 left.  But then of all the ‘shake your head’ moments of the last minute, the first was probably the biggest.  Lowe stole the inbounds pass and Phillips fouled Gannon with 57 seconds left.  Oy.  Gannon made both ends of the 1-and-1.  Lowe then committed a two-shot foul against Anger (he wasn’t clearly going for the ball on the foul.. what’s the difference between that and actually going for the ball? absolutely nothing).  Anger made 1-of-2 with 56 seconds left.

Lowe fed Charles for a layup at the 48 second mark.  But then Lowe fouled out three seconds later and the score 58-55.  Dick Stockton was giving a ‘great career for Sidney Lowe, I’m sure he didn’t want it to end this way’ speech.  Wilson made 1-of-2 free throws on what was this time called a 1-and-1.  Gannon missed and Phillips got the rebound and Suttle was fouled with 29 seconds left.  In Stockton’s defense, it should have been the end of Lowe’s career.  Suttle, the Waves all-time leading scorer and an 84% foul shooter that season, was going to the line for a 1-and-1 to give the Waves a six-point lead.  He missed the front end.  Charles got the rebound and George McClain threw a lead pass to Bailey for a slam.  It was 59-57 and Suttle was fouled with 20 seconds left.

You guessed it.  He missed the front end again.  He then fouled Whiitenburg trying to stop his drive to the basket with 9 seconds left.  Dereck had a 1-and-1.  For a possible rebound, Valvano subbed in his starting center, Cozell McQueen, for backup guard George McClain.  Whittenburg missed the front end but McQueen got the rebound and stuck it back in to tie the game.  Suttle then stumbled and threw up a wild shot that missed at the buzzer.

Pepperdine took its last lead early in the second overtime when Suttle bullet-fed Phillips for a layup and a foul.  It was the 5th foul on McQueen, who’s only two points were the stick-back to tie the game with 6 seconds left in the first overtime.  Phillips missed the free throw to keep the trend going.  Whittenburg then hit 5-of-6 free throws to give the Wolfpack a 64-61 lead.  Suttle finally connected on both ends of a 1-and-1 before fouling out with 1:41 left.  Charles made both ends for a 66-63 Wolfpack lead.  Sadler hit on a driving layup.  Wilson fouled Whittenburg with 1:00 left.  Dereck made both ends.  Sadler hit another layup with 38 seconds left.  Wilson fouled Whittenburg again 14 seconds later.  This time Dereck made 1-of-2 to keep the door open.

However, Gondrezick panicked and threw the ball right to State’s Alvin Battle.  Sadler then fouled Gannon with 12 seconds left.  Gannon missed the front end.  Pepperdine finally got a shot to tie but Wilson was just short from the wing with 4 seconds left.  Charles got the rebound and killed the clock.  N.C. State had survived round one of the NCAA tournament but it wouldn’t get any easier.

Pepperdine starters (points scored)

Bill Sadler (19) – Small Forward

Orlando Phillips (12) – Power Forward

Victor Anger (11) – Center

Mark Wilson (7) – Point Guard

Dane Suttle (16) – Shooting Guard

Pepperdine bench (points scored)

Grant Gondrezick (2)

Andy Johnson (0)

Carmel Stevens (0)

Pepperdine Coach: Jim Harrick

N.C. State starters (points scored)

Thurl Bailey (17) – Small Forward

Lorenzo Charles (12) – Power Forward

Cozell McQueen (2) – Center

Sidney Lowe (4) – Point Guard

Dereck Whittenburg (22) – Shooting Guard

N.C. State bench (points scored)

Alvin Battle (2)

Terry Gannon (10)

Ernie Myers (0)

Harold Thompson (0)

George McClain (0)

Tommy DiNardo (0)

N.C. State Coach: Jim Valvano

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Pepperdine had a 6-point lead in overtime – photo courtesy of livedash

March 20, 1983 – Midwest Regional 2nd round: (#5)Georgetown Hoyas 57 vs(#4)Memphis State Tigers 66

The draw of this matchup was the second installment of a powerhouse big man matchup.  Earlier in the season, Ralph Sampson versus Patrick Ewing had drawn lots of attention.  Now Ewing was going up against fellow sophomore big man Keith Lee.  Lee and Ewing were both All-Americans in 1983, and unlike today there would actually be a chance that they’d stay the final two years at school after being named All-Americans, and they did.

Both of these teams were young teams.  In 1982, Memphis State and head coach Dana Kirk made their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1976 and made it to the Regional Semifinals before losing to Villanova.  Along with the sophomore Lee, the Tigers started a freshman point guard, Andre Turner, and three juniors, swingmen Phillip ‘Doom’ Haynes and Bobby Parks and big man Derrick Phillips, who would be going against Ewing in this game.

For Georgetown, Fred Brown had re-injured the knee that had forced him to miss the start of the season.  Brown was just returning for the NCAA tournament and came off the bench behind Gene Smith, who was starting for one of the few times in his college career.  The Hoyas started off well as Michael Jackson hit from the top of the key and Smith had a driving three-point play.  But Memphis State stayed with them by getting on the boards.  Phillips had a putback and Lee tipped in a Parks miss.

Lee’s jumper from the corner gave the Tigers a 10-9 lead and then Haynes hit a pull-up banker from a step outside the paint on the left side.  Ewing tied the game at 12 on a three-point play but then Turner found Haynes at the wing for another banker (Doom Haynes was known for banking in just about everything).  Brown found Ewing for a slam to tie the game again.  Surprisingly (or maybe not so) that was Ewing’s only successful dunk in five first half attempts.

With the game tied at 18, Ewing missed on an alley-oop and got called for a technical for hanging on the rim (an absolutely terrible call from my 2013 perspective because Patrick let go of the rim after attempting the dunk, but this is the same sanction that had an anti-dunking rule from 1967-1976).  This started a little momentum in Memphis State’s favor.  A Lee pump fake and step-through three-point play versus Ewing inside put the Tigers up 24-20.  Lee scored the rest of Memphis State’s points in the first half and finished with 15.  Ewing’s most puzzling missed slam came with Memphis State up 30-24 with 2:30 left.  Jackson found him in the lane with a bounce pass and Patrick missed it with two hands.  The Tigers ended up leading 30-25 at the half.

In the first minute-and-a-half of the 2nd half, Lee and Haynes hit jumpers from the elbow and John Thompson called a quick timeout.  It didn’t help initially as Lee tipped in a Haynes miss and then Keith threw an alley-oop pass to Bobby Parks.  Memphis State led 38-25 at this point.  But then Hoyas freshman Horace Broadnax hit two jumpers off the bench.  Later he hit two more to cut Memphis State’s lead to 40-35.  Then Jackson found Ewing with an alley-oop (a MADE dunk!) and a foul.  The lead was now two.

But then Gene Smith committed his 4th foul going for a steal and Haynes hit two free throws.  Then Ewing committed his 3rd foul with 11:18 left and Phillips made two free throws.  Patrick committed his 4th foul a few minutes later and Lee’s banker in the post gave the Tigers a 49-42 lead and gave him 24 points.  Memphis State took a nine-point lead on Lee’s rebound and outlet to Turner for a breakaway.  But Jackson’s two free throws and Anthony Jones’ corner jumper cut the lead to five.  With the score 53-50 Memphis State, Jones stole the ball and saved it ahead to Gene Smith.  Smith was fouled by Haynes and Doom fouled out.  Smith made 1-of-2 to cut the lead to two.  Then Jones got another steal but immediately charged into Turner with 3:36 left.

Georgetown got another chance to tie it when Turner missed the front end of a 1-and-1.  But Lee got enough of a piece of Ewing’s turnaround jumper to force a jump ball and it was Memphis State’s possession.  Ewing then blocked a Lee dunk attempt as the apex of their jumps reached the top of the square on the backboard.  Lee, however, recovered the ball and was fouled by Smith, who fouled out.  Lee made two free throws for a 55-51 lead.  Ewing made two free throws at the other end with 2:35 left.  But Parks gave the Tigers a four-point lead again with a driving layup down the middle.

Georgetown missed on three straight possessions and Memphis State took a 61-53 lead.  Ewing’s two field goals kept Georgetown alive but they were officially done for the year when Lee fed Parks for a slam with 15 seconds left to give the Tigers an eight-point lead.  This would be Ewing’s only NCAA tournament loss before the Final Four.  Houston defeated Memphis State, 70-63, in their next game in the Regional Semifinals.

Georgetown starters (points scored)

David Wingate (0) – Small Forward

Bill Martin (6) – Power Forward

Patrick Ewing (24) – Center

Gene Smith (4) – Point Guard

Michael Jackson (12) – Shooting Guard

Georgetown bench (points scored)

Horace Broadnax (8)

David Dunn (1)

Anthony Jones (2)

Fred Brown (0)

Ralph Dalton (0)

David Blue (0)

Georgetown Coach: John Thompson

Memphis State starters (points scored)

Bobby Parks (9) – Small Forward

Keith Lee (28) – Power Forward

Derrick Phillips (10) – Center

Andre Turner (4) – Point Guard

Phillip Haynes (13) – Shooting Guard

Memphis State bench (points scored)

Ricky McCoy (2)

Baskerville Holmes (0)

A. Maceo Battle (0)

Bubba Luckett (0)

Memphis State Coach: Dana Kirk

basketball-keith-lee_display_image

Keith Lee with head coach Dana Kirk *photo courtesy of Bleacher Report

March 20, 1983 – West Regional 2nd round: (#6)NC State Wolfpack 71 @(#3)UNLV RunninRebels 70

Before the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, the top four seeds in each region got a first round bye.  In a lot of cases, this proved to be a disadvantage.  In the case of the 1983 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, who came into their 2nd round game versus N.C. State with a 28-2 record, they had not played for 8 days.  All in all, I don’t think it was exactly a disadvantage, they did get their game together and grab a lead, but…

UNLV was led by an inside-outside senior combination.  Future NBA player Sidney Green was on the inside and Larry Anderson was on the outside.  The rest of the roster was filled with junior point guard Danny Tarkanian (the son of coach Jerry Tarkanian), junior transfers Jeff Collins, Paul Brozovich, and Eric Booker, and freshmen Eldridge Hudson and Gary Graham (both of whom would redshirt in 1984 and be seniors on the 1987 Final Four team).

Maybe UNLV did feel the rust at the beginning as N.C. State jumped on them early.  Lorenzo Charles hit a jumper from the elbow.  Dereck Whittenburg hit a jumper from the wing and Sidney Lowe fed Thurl Bailey for a layup.  Collins got two layups which sandwiched a Charles layup, but then Bailey hit a jumper in the post.  Then Whittenburg blocked a shot and then Lowe fed him for a layup on a 2-on-1 break.  N.C. State was up 12-4.

But then Brozovich hit a driving layup a possession before the big man committed his 3rd foul.  Tarkanian then got a steal and fed Collins for a layup and then Collins hit a jumper from the elbow.  N.C. State kept the lead for a few more minutes despite Green and Anderson getting their first field goals.  UNLV finally took the lead at 18-17 when Green hit an elbow jumper over Bailey (Green was quoted the previous day in the newspapers to say that Bailey didn’t impress him).

UNLV kept a slim lead for the rest of the half before opening it up a bit just before the half.  Lowe committed his 3rd foul after hitting two buckets and Bailey’s turnaround in the post cut the Rebels lead to 29-27.  Then Anderson hit a wing jumper and Tarkanian found Green for a turn-around in the post with 32 seconds on the clock.  The 33-27 UNLV lead held at halftime.

The second half pace was 180% quicker than the first half pace.  Tarkanian started it with a wing jumper.  Then Cozell McQueen hit a jumper from the free throw line for State.  The lefty Anderson hit a jumper from the foul line.  Then after Lowe found Charles for a layup, UNLV pushed and found Anderson for a wing jumper.  Charles and Anderson again exchanged jumpers before Lorenzo put back his own miss to cut the lead to 41-35.  But Green’s driving banker put the Rebels up 44-35.

In the next few minutes, Lowe committed his 4th foul and Anderson’s 4th jumper of the half put UNLV up 47-37.  The Wolfpack scored three straight points before a Booker jumper from the elbow and a Green three-point play gave the Rebels their biggest lead at 52-40.  But N.C. State then made their push, led by Bailey.  Charles first slammed home a miss and then Bailey hit a turnaround in the post.  Bailey countered another Anderson jumper with a hook in the lane.  Lowe then hit both ends of a 1-and-1 after Hudson, who was contributing off the bench, committed his fourth foul.  After a Collins field goal, Bailey scored on an offensive rebound and then hit another turn-around from the post.  Suddenly it was 56-52 Rebels.

Green then countered every N.C. State make with points of his own.  An offensive rebound and put-back by the All-American, plus a foul on Bailey, put the Rebels up 63-58.  However, Whittenburg penetrated and found Bailey for a layup and Sidney Green’s 4th foul to cut the lead back to 63-61.  UNLV then took a minute off the clock before Anderson hit a corner jumper (unlike in the ACC and other conferences, there was no shot clock for the entire game in the NCAA tournament).  After a Wolfpack empty possession, Gannon fouled Tarkanian with 2:33 left.  In an eerie sameness to the Pepperdine game against the Wolfpack, Tarkenian missed the front end of a 1-and-1.  Whittenburg then scored on a baseline drive.

N.C. State decided not to foul and UNLV took advantage as Hudson penetrated and found Green for a slam and a foul.  With 2:05 left, UNLV led 68-63.  Charles got an offensive rebound and a slam with 1:49 left.  Hudson made 1-of-2 free throws for UNLV before Whittenburg scored on a drive with 1:28 left.  It was 69-67 UNLV so NC State still had to foul and Whittenburg fouled Booker.  Eric missed the front end of the 1-and-1 and Anderson committed a foul on Whittenburg with 1:03 left.  Dereck caught the cold though and missed the front end as well.  Gannon fouled Booker with 47 seconds left.  He made 1-of-2.  Bailey hit a tourn-around from the post with 37 seconds left.  It was 70-69 Rebels.

Gannon fouled Hudson who missed the front end.   NC State got the board, didn’t call timeout, and set up the last shot.  Whittenburg missed from the outside with 9 seconds left.  Bailey tipped the rebound off the rim before grabbing the ball against Green and putting it back in with 4 seconds left.  Are we shocked? N.C. State led 71-70.  Bailey had 17 of his 25 points in the 2nd half.  UNLV had to go full-court.  After a timeout was called after first touch on the inbounds, they could only get it to Booker at half court.  His shot went over the backboard.

What I didn’t understand while watching this game (hey, perhaps it befuddled people at the time) was why Booker and Eldridge were getting the ball with a chance to put the game away.  Why weren’t the seniors Anderson and Green going and getting the ball when N.C. State was fouling.  Green was 70% on the season but was 9-for-9 on the day.  Anderson was 68% on the season but was a great shooter.  Also with the last shot and season on the line, Booker was the one who got the ball.  Perhaps, N.C. State’s defense in denying Green and Anderson the ball should get more credit.  UNLV would build a power (illegally?) for the rest of the decade that would produce three Final Fours and a National Champion.

N.C. State starters (points scored)

Thurl Bailey (25) – Small Forward

Lorenzo Charles (17) – Power Forward

Cozell McQueen (3) – Center

Sidney Lowe (6) – Point Guard

Dereck Whittenburg (13) – Shooting Guard

N.C. State bench (points scored)

Terry Gannon (2)

George McClain (2)

Alvin Battle (2)

Ernie Myers (1)

N.C. State Coach: Jim Valvano

UNLV starters (points scored)

Larry Anderson (16) – Small Forward

Sidney Green (27) – Power Forward

Paul Brozovich (2) – Center

Danny Tarkanian (2) – Point Guard

Jeff Collins (12) – Shooting Guard

UNLV bench (points scored)

Eldridge Hudson (7)

Eric Booker (3)

Gary Graham (1)

UNLV Coach: Jerry Tarkanian

March 26, 1983 – Mideast Regional Final: (#3)Kentucky Wildcats 68 @(#1)Louisville Cardinals 80 (OT)

For the in-state rivals, this was their first meeting in 24 years.  Finally folks from the state of Kentucky could have true bragging rights over the winner.  This was being called ‘The Dream Game’ throughout the state.

The Wildcats had defeated 2-seeded Indiana (another rival) to get into this game.  Kentucky had future NBAers Dirk Minniefield and Melvin Turpin along with freshman Kenny Walker (they also had Sam Bowie out for the season – someone go back in time and tell the Portland Trailblazers!).  There was also the senior forward combination of Derrick Hord and Charles Hurt along with sharpshooter Jim Master.

Louisville had lost three starters from their Final Four team in 1982.  But the Cardinals were back strong with a 31-3 record and a 14-game winning streak coming into the Kentucky game.  Senior Rodney McCray was joined in the starting lineup by his brother Scooter and junior Charles Jones.  The tall, quick backcourt consisted of junior Lancaster Gordon and sophomore Milt Wagner.  Denny Crum also had freshman Billy Thompson coming off the bench.

The game was played in Knoxville, Tennessee.  So you could imagine Kentucky and Louisville fans jamming up Interstate 75 (perhaps throwing fried chicken at each other).  The stadium was packed and loud.  You could tell the fans had been waiting for 24 long years.

The blue section started off cheering the most as Kentucky got off to a good start.  Minniefield drove baseline for a layup and Master hit from the top of the key.  Later, Derrick Hord (who had been struggling) hit three consecutive jumpers and when Hord finally missed, Hurt tipped it in for a 15-6 Wildcats lead.  Then Master hit jumpers to counter Louisville points.  Kenny Walker got a breakaway basket on a Charles Jones goaltend and Hurt hit a banker after a fake.  Kentucky led 23-10.

After a Louisville timeout, Rodney McCray got his team going with a tip-in on their fourth shot of the possession.  Then Wagner found Rodney for a layup and Gordon found him in the post for a driving layup.  But Kentucky maintained a 29-18 lead after their reserve small, quick guard Dicky Beal found Minniefield for a wing jumper.  But then Rodney McCray found his brother on a high-low for a three-point play.

Minniefield responded with a pull-up in the lane and then Bret Bearup hit a corner jumper off the Kentucky bench for a 33-21 lead.  It was around this time that Louisville’s press started to become effective.  They cut it to seven when Gordon got a steal and Rodney tipped in his miss.  The half ended with Louisville down 37-30 but momentum was starting to swing their way.

Melvin Turpin got three early buckets in the 2nd half to give Kentucky a 43-32 lead.  But then Kentucky started turning the ball over against the press and Louisville got baskets on an alley-oop from Charles Jones to Rodney McCray.  Later, Scooter hit Rodney with an alley-oop pass and Rodney finished with a one-handed slam.  Gordon’s wing jumper cut the Wildcats lead to 45-40 and then a Gordon steal was Kentucky’s 5th turnover of the 2nd half.  Lancaster missed but Rodney tipped it in.  Scooter then hit from the elbow to cut the lead to one.

Master hit two wing jumpers that sandwiched a Wagner alley-oop to Gordon.  But then Gordon got a block and Wagner hit a pull-up banker.  Then after Scooter got a steal, Gordon’s spin and bank shot in the lane gave Louisville their first lead at 50-49.  Kentucky retook a 53-52 lead on a Master jumper but then a Gordon slam off a Wagner steal gave Louisville the lead for good.  Gordon hit a pull-up from the wing and then Wagner found Thompson for a layup and a five-point Cardinals lead.

Turpin answered with two free throws and Beal hit Master for another jumper.  But then with 6:00 left, Jones tip-dunked a Gordon miss.  Turpin then committed his 4th foul on a charge.  At this time, Crum decided to take the air out of the ball.  It backfired.  With 3:15 left, Hord made the first free throw to cut the lead to 60-58.  He missed the second but Hurt put it back in to tie the game.  After a Louisville turnover, it was Kentucky’s turn to run down the clock for the last shot.

After two timeouts, Minniefield got a driving lane with 15 seconds left.  He missed the layup however as Jones got a piece of it.  Rodney McCray then ran the ball down court and hit Gordon for a pull-up banker with 11 seconds left.  The Cardinals had a 62-60 lead.  Kentucky called timeout and with 8 seconds left they inbounded it at three-quarter court.  Beal brought it up and got it to Minniefield.  With 2 seconds left, Dirk found Master who got open at the wing and got the shot off over Scooter McCray just before the time expired.  It was good.  The dream game was going into overtime and Kentucky had all the momentum.

Not so fast.  Scooter found Gordon for a baseline jumper and then Gordon hit in the lane after a steal.  Jones hit two free throws and it was 68-62 before Kentucky even got a shot off in overtime.  When they finally did, their first two shots were blocked before Minniefield missed on a third chance.  Gordon then found Wagner for a layup and at 1:42 Wagner made both ends of a 1-and-1.  Louisville was up 72-62 and the fans in red were now the loud ones.

Gordon then found Wagner on a 2-on-1 for a slam and at 42 seconds Milt made two more free throws.  Kentucky still hadn’t scored and now were down 76-62.  Then finally did hit on back-to-back field goals but each was countered by a slam from Gordon and Wagner.  Louisville had waxed Kentucky in overtime and left no doubt on who had the bragging rights for 1983 in the state of Kentucky.

And if you thought Louisville had a lot of slams in this summary, just wait until their National Semifinal showdown versus Houston.

Kentucky starters (points scored)

Derrick Hord (9) – Small Forward

Charles Hurt (7) – Power Forward

Melvin Turpin (18) – Center

Dirk Minniefield (12) – Point Guard

Jim Master (18) – Shooting Guard

Kentucky bench (points scored)

Kenny Walker (2)

Dicky Beal (0)

Bret Bearup (2)

Roger Harden (0)

Kentucky Coach: Joe B. Hall

Louisville starters (points scored)

Scooter McCray (7) – Small Forward

Rodney McCray (15) – Power Forward

Charles Jones (12) – Center

Milt Wagner (18) – Point Guard

Lancaster Gordon (24) – Shooting Guard

Louisville bench (points scored)

Billy Thompson (4)

Jeff Hall (0)

Robbie Valentine (0)

Chris West (0)

Louisville Coach: Denny Crum

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Rodney McCray goes up for a dunk in the ‘Dream Game’ versus Kentucky.  In the foreground is Scooter McCray (#21 in white) being boxed out by Kenny Walker.  Dirk Minniefield (#10 in blue) is battling Lancaster Gordon (#4 in white) for position as well *photo courtesy of Big Blue history

March 26, 1983 – West Regional Final: (#6)NC State Wolfpack 63 vs(#1)Virginia Cavaliers 62

N.C. State had finally had an easy game with their 75-56 victory over Utah in the Regional Semifinals.  Virginia had two tough games against Washington State and Boston College.  But they had survived despite Sampson fouling out against the Eagles.

In the fourth meeting of the year between these two teams, Virginia led 33-28 at the half.  The first half does not exist to me.  I do know that Virginia had a 31-21 lead but once again State came back.

Dereck Whittenburg had 12 points at the half and got his first two of the 2nd half on a jumper from the top of the key.  But Virginia scored six of the next eight points to pull ahead 39-32.  Charles got a three-point play after a spin move and layup in the post.  Then Lowe found Bailey for a baseline jumper.  Whittenburg twice answered Virginia points by hitting jumpers from the free throw line.  Then Whittenburg tied the game at 43 when he rocked Othell Wilson back and hit a pull-up jumper in his face.

Virginia then slowly pulled ahead again in the next few minutes.  Wilson got a steal and Ricky Stokes got a breakaway.  Then after Sampson hit a free throw, Wilson found Rick Carlisle for a wing jumper.  It was 48-43 Virginia and time out N.C. State.  A Sampson hook gave Virginia a seven-point lead before Lowe hit two free throws and Charles scored on a putback and drew Sampson’s 3rd foul.  He missed the free throw however and Sampson rolled in with a finger roll and his 16th point to put Virginia up 52-47.

Later, Sampson tip-dunked Carlisle’s miss and then hit two free throws after a Bailey field goal.  Virginia led 56-49.  But then Craig Robinson committed his 4th foul and Whittenburg hit both ends of a 1-and-1 for his 22nd point.  Then on the next possession, State swung the ball around to Bailey for a baseline jumper.  Another Bailey baseline jumper cut the Virginia lead to 58-57 before Cozell McQueen committed his 4th foul and Sampson made 1-of-2 free throws.

N.C. State tied the game when Lowe found Charles for a layup.  Then Bailey committed his 4th foul but Carlisle missed the front end of a 1-and-1 as color man and former Michigan guard Steve Grote said with a chuckle that nobody seemed to be able to hit their free throws against State.  With 3:00 left, the Wolfpack looked to take the air out of the ball but Robinson knocked a pass away at half court and Sampson got a steal.  Virginia then called timeout.

Virginia ran some time as well before Sampson hit Carlisle at the wing and then cut backdoor off a pick.  Carlisle threw a lob and with 1:50 left, a Sampson slam gave Virginia a 61-59 lead.  But Whittenburg came right as he once again put Wilson back on his heels with a rocker step and hit a jumper in his face from the top of the key with 1:26 left.  Virginia ran more time before Whittenburg fouled Wilson with 54 seconds left.  Othell made the front end of the 1-and-1 but missed the back end.  N.C. State called a timeout with 46 seconds left.

Whittenburg had it once again at the top of the key.  As he penetrated, he found Charles inside.  Lorenzo drew a foul on Sampson but missed the layup.  The worst foul shooter for State in the lineup at that time went there for two shots.  He made them both.  N.C. State led.  Virginia got a timeout with 17 seconds left.  They ran some time off afterwords before Wilson penetrated and found Tim Mullen for an open jumper at top of the key.  Mullen’s shot went off the back rim at 4 seconds.  Wilson got the rebound but rushed his shot in the lane and came up with air.  The clock ran out before another shot could be attempted and the Cardiac Cinderella Pack had done it again.  Now they were going to the Final Four.

N.C. State starters (points scored)

Thurl Bailey (14) – Small Forward

Lorenzo Charles (11) – Power Forward

Cozell McQueen (0) – Center

Sidney Lowe (8) – Point Guard

Dereck Whittenburg (24) – Shooting Guard

N.C. State bench (points scored)

Terry Gannon (0)

Alvin Battle (1)

Ernie Myers (4)

George McClain (1)

N.C. State Coach: Jim Valvano

Virginia starters (points scored)

Jimmy Miller (6) – Small Forward

Craig Robinson (8) – Power Forward

Ralph Sampson (23) – Center

Othell Wilson (7) – Point Guard

Rick Carlisle (8) – Shooting Guard

Virginia bench (points scored)

Kenton Edelin (2)

Ricky Stokes (8)

Tim Mullen (0)

Virginia Coach: Terry Holland

whittenburg vs virginia

Dereck Whittenburg had 24 points on 11-for-16 shooting against Virginia – photo courtesy of desertnews

April 2, 1983 – National Semifinals: (#1)Louisville Cardinals 81 vs(#1)Houston Cougars 94

In the high altitude of The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the two top-rated teams in the country put on a dunking exhibition that is still being talked about today.

The Houston Cougars had two future Hall-of-Famers in sophomore Akeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon (known then as Akeem Abdul Olajuwon.. for some reason) and junior Clyde ‘The Glide’ Drexler.  They were joined in the Cougars frontcourt by the only senior that played significant minutes, Larry ‘Mr. Mean’ Micheaux.  The backcourt consisted of junior Michael ‘Mr. Clutch’ Young and freshman point guard Alvin Franklin (no nickname for him).  The bench included Benny ‘Mr. Excitement’ Anders and sharpshooter Reid Gettys, as well as defensive specialist David Rose and physical Bryan Williams.

Houston had been ranked #1 since the beginning of March.  And they proved worthy of that ranking in the tournament, beating Maryland and Memphis State before killing Villanova in the Regional Finals, 89-71.

The game got off to a slowish start.. as compared to later.  Franklin hit a leaner in the lane.  Rodney McCray found Milt Wagner with a skip pass in the corner for a jumper for the Cardinals.  Drexler followed up a Micheaux miss.  Lancaster Gordon hit a pullup from the box area.  The first dunk came when Charles Jones blocked an Olajuwon shot and Wagner found Rodney McCray for an uncontested dunk and a 6-4 lead.  Franklin answered with a jumper from the top of the key.  Houston got two layups when Micheaux finished a 3-on-1 break and Drexler got an inbounds lob.  These answered jumpers by Louisville’s sizzling backcourt of Wagner and Gordon.

Houston took a 16-12 lead on a Drexler drive.  Louisville answered when Scooter McCray found Jones with a touch pass for a slam.  This was on the same possession where Jones seemed to become the first player in the game affected by the altitude, as he was bending over hands on knees for a minute at the free throw line.  Houston responded when Olajuwon blocked a shot and Drexler finished a 2-on-1 with a slam over Scooter.  Houston’s production for the next few minutes was matched by Wagner.  Milt scored 8 of the next 10 Louisville points and tied the game at 24 with a steal and drive.

Each team featured a full-court pressure that had mixed results.  Each team got easy baskets after breaking the press but each team also had quite a few turnovers.  The highlight of the first half came on the break (of course) when Drexler slammed a ball in the hole through a Billy Thompson block.  But a highlight of a different kind came when Scooter McCray got a steal on the pressure defense.  It was right in front of the Houston bench.  As he was running with the ball, Guy Lewis threw his towel onto the court and got a technical.  The technical free throw gave Louisville a 41-36 lead at the half.

Houston scored the first seven points of the second half when Drexler got a three-point play on an offensive rebound, Micheaux finished a 3-on-2 and Young hit a corner jumper.  But then trouble struck for the Cougars.  Gordon found Rodney McCray for a slam and then Wagner found Rodney on the break for a 45-43 lead.  Micheaux then committed his 4th foul on a charge.  Louisville took a 51-45 lead when Scooter stayed back while Houston failed on a fast break chance.  Then Jones found him wide-open for a cherry-picking slam.  Scooter’s turnaround in the post put Louisville up 55-47.  After a Franklin basket, Houston got another fast break that was finished with Micheaux getting called for a charge and fouling out.  It was not known by the Houston bench that Micheaux had 4 fouls.

Wagner hit from the top of the key and the score was again 57-49.  The Cardinals had a chance to increase that lead but Scooter’s jumper from the elbow was in-and-out.  Houston got a fast break off that miss and Drexler alley-ooped to Young.  This began a devastating Cougars run highlighted by many, many, many dunks.  Franklin found Drexler for a slam on the break.  Then Micheaux’s replacement, Benny Anders, got a steal and got a one-handed slam over Jones and a foul.  Houston grabbed a 58-57 lead when Anders got another steal and Drexler finished with a double-pump slam with two hands.  Yes, Drexler originally went up with the right hand but brought the ball back down and then went up again with two hands to finish.  All while in the air.

Franklin’s runner in the lane after a spin gave Houston a 64-58 lead.  Then Anders put back a Young miss.  Olajuwon tipped in an Anders miss.  Then Drexler rebounded an Olajuwon missed front end and put it back in.  This gave Houston a 70-58 lead.  If you can remember that Louisville had a 57-49 lead, then you can probably figure out that, yes, Houston went on a 21-1 run.  Gordon scored the next six Louisville points but Young found Drexler for a layup and then Drexler found Anders for a reverse on the break to give Houston a 77-64 lead.

Louisville scrambled back to within 80-74 led by freshman Billy Thompson before Young penetrated and found Olajuwon for a slam.  Then Thompson made a freshman mistake.  After a steal, he blew a wide-open slam after a he took off too far.  That didn’t exactly kill Louisville as much as Houston penetrating and getting wide open slams to end the game.  Louisville put the Cougars on the line once in the late going despite Houston not being a good foul-shooting team (not surprisingly, the one foul shot was a miss).  This was a mistake NC State didn’t make in the championship game.

The slams to finish the game for Houston included Anders penetrating and finding Olajuwon.  Young got a breakaway after an Olajuwon block.  Drexler spun and dished to Akeem for another.  Then Anders got a steal and reverse.  Young finished the game with a finger roll after Olajuwon’s 9th block.  The powerful Cougars were to take on the Cinderella Wolfpack.

Louisville starters (points scored)

Scooter McCray (10) – Small Forward

Rodney McCray (8) – Power Forward

Charles Jones (12) – Center

Milt Wagner (24) – Point Guard

Lancaster Gordon (17) – Shooting Guard

Louisville bench (points scored)

Billy Thompson (6)

Jeff Hall (4)

Chris West (0)

Robbie Valentine (0)

Louisville Coach: Denny Crum

Houston starters (points scored)

Clyde Drexler (21) – Small Forward

Larry Micheaux (8) – Power Forward

Akeem Olajuwon (21) – Center

Alvin Franklin (13) – Point Guard

Michael Young (16) – Shooting Guard

Houston bench (points scored)

Reid Gettys (0)

Benny Anders (13)

David Rose (0)

Bryan Williams (2)

Derek Giles (0)

Houston Coach: Guy Lewis

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Clyde Drexler inside against Louisville – photo courtesy of espn

April 4, 1983 – National Championship Game (#6)NC State Wolfpack 54 vs(#1)Houston Cougars 52

The Wolfpack had a relatively easy victory over Georgia in the first National Semifinal before Houston and Louisville staged their dunkathon.  The Cougars attack was so devastating that nobody thought the Pack would have a chance to hang with them, even though N.C. State had made it this far by beating some good teams.

The talk was that N.C. State’s only real chance was to slow the game down, but in the beginning they came out quickly.  Thurl Bailey had a rebound slam on a Sidney Lowe miss.   Lorenzo Charles scored on a putback and then Bailey hit a turnaround in the lane.  NC State led 6-0 but missed their next 12 or so shots.  Luckily for N.C. State, Houston wasn’t able to take full advantage of it.  After Olajuwon hit a free throw, Dexler hit a pullup on the break.  Then Franklin found Micheaux for a breakaway layup and Young scored after missing his own shot.

Houston had pulled ahead 7-6 but there was no scoring on the next few possessions before Alvin Battle hit two free throws after Drexler’s 2nd foul (Drexler committed his 3rd foul a minute later.. and stayed in the game) and Cozell McQueen hit a jumper from the top of the key.  Then N.C. State found its shooting eye as Whittenburg hit a pull-up from the wing.  Then Bailey hit a turn-around in the post over Olajuwon and then a corner jumper.  Terry Gannon’s back-to-back perimeter shots put NC State up 20-15.

Houston stayed within five with back-to-back field goals by Olajuwon (including the only dunk by Phi Slamma Jamma in the first half) but with N.C. State up 26-21, trouble struck the Cougars.  Drexler came down on a break and charged into Gannon (Terry was there and in position but Gannon did grab Clyde’s legs while in the air).  This was Drexler’s 4th foul and they finally got him out of there.  He sat until mid-way through the 2nd half.  Bailey hit a jumper in the post and Lowe got a basket on an Akeem goaltending.  Then with 1:09 left, Bailey hit a free throw for his 15th point and N.C. State led 31-21.  Field goals by Benny Anders off the bench cut the lead to 33-25 at the half.

Houston started strongly in the 2nd half with Anders and Bryan Williams in the game for Drexler and Micheaux.  Olajuwon kicked out to Anders for a wing jumper and then Benny got a driving layup on the 4th Houston shot of the possession.  After Olajuwon rebounded a Young miss and hit a jumper in the lane, N.C. State called a timeout as their lead had been trimmed to 33-31.  Houston was effective defensively as Williams was not giving Bailey any airspace and Franklin (who was built like a tank) was denying Whittenburg the ball.

An Olajuwon pull-up in the lane tied the game at 33 and then Anders got a steal and Franklin hit a pull-up jumper.  The Wolfpack finally got a field goal when Lowe penetrated and kicked out to Whittenburg for a corner jumper.  But Houston’s run continued.  Anders hit a free throw after barely missing a stuff on the break.  Then Olajuwon hit a turnaround in the post after blocking a Lowe shot that had Valvano going crazy for goaltending.  Then ball movement found Young for a corner jumper and Olajuwon hit two free throws for a 42-35 Houston lead about half way through the 2nd half.

It was at about this time that the altitude was getting to Olajuwon.  He had played the whole game at that point and was bending over at the free throw line.  Rather then try to attack with either Olajuwon out of the game or not at full strength, Houston decided to slow the ball down and run some clock.  This has been credited for letting NC State back in the game as Houston seemed to lose their aggressiveness a little bit.  But would you do with your best player and shot blocker gasping for air?  N.C. State also helped themselves by finally starting to make some shots and getting aggressive defensively.  And by fouling.  Let’s not forget that.

Lowe got a steal from Micheaux when Houston was passing the ball around and killing time.  Then Lowe found Whittenburg for a wing jumper to cut the lead to 42-37.  Reid Gettys got a backdoor layup and a Franklin assist but after a Whittenburg jumper on a long rebound, Lowe stole the ball in the back court after a lazy Houston pass.  Sidney got it to Gannon who was fouled with 7:38 left.  Gannon made only 1-of-2 but he did knock the ball off of Anders’ knee when Benny had an easy cutting layup.  Lowe’s jumper from the top of the key cut the lead to 44-42.

Houston for a few minutes did hold off the Wolfpack.  Franklin hit a wing jumper and then after a Gannon jumper, Olajuwon hit a turnaround from the post.  Then Michael Young drove baseline and hit a driving runner while he was fouled.  Young, however, then started the trend by missing the free throw to complete the three-point play.  But Houston still led 50-44 and N.C. State called a timeout with 3:43 left.  Lowe then hit a wing jumper and NC State fouled Drexler.  Clyde ended up being the only Cougar to make his free throws down the stretch as he made both ends of his 1-and-1.

But Lowe hit again from the top of the key and with 2:58 left, Charles fouled Young in the back court.  Young missed his front end.  Whittenburg then drove into the lane.  Olajuwon blocked his shot but threw away the outlet pass as Lowe got to the ball before any Cougars.  Lowe then found his teammate for 8 years Dereck Whittenburg for a corner jumper and it was 52-50 Houston.  Olajuwon then missed a turnaround in the post and N.C. State went in transition.  Lowe found Whittenburg again at the wing for a jumper and with 1:54 left, N.C. State had tied it at 52.

Houston again held the ball as they probably were looking for the last shot.  But N.C. State wasn’t going to let that happen.  With 1:05 left, Whittenburg fouled the freshman Franklin.  Alvin missed the front end of his 1-and-1 and N.C. State got the ball and a timeout with 44 seconds left.  The Cougars came out with a half court pressure.  NC State managed to move the ball around (although Drexler almost got a steal on one of those passes).  Then you’ve probably seen it.  With 7 seconds left, Bailey had the ball in the corner and found Whittenburg way outside at the top of the key.  Anders got a hand on the ball and almost got a steal.  But Dereck got the ball and threw up a prayer.  It was an airball but Lorenzo Charles grabbed it out of the air and slammed it.

It was the type of ending that even the announcers took a few seconds to take in what had just happened.  Then Billy Packer finally screamed, “they won it! on the dunk!”  The Houston players were just standing there (even while Whittenburg’s shot was in the air) thinking the clock would run out.  There was still 2 seconds left when Charles slammed it but Houston didn’t call a timeout (I’m reasonably sure they weren’t out of them) and the clock ran out.  Jim Valvano ran around the court looking for someone to hug.

What added more to this story was Valvano’s fight with cancer a decade later.  Valvano lost his battle on April 28, 1993 but not before giving an unforgettable ESPY speech and starting the Jimmy V fund for cancer research.  The story of Valvano and the NC State championship run was, of course, captured in a recent 30 for 30 on the 30th anniversary.

N.C. State starters (points scored)

Thurl Bailey (15) – Small Forward

Lorenzo Charles (4) – Power Forward

Cozell McQueen (4) – Center

Sidney Lowe (8) – Point Guard

Dereck Whittenburg (14) – Shooting Guard

N.C. State bench (points scored)

Terry Gannon (7)

Ernie Myers (0)

Alvin Battle (2)

N.C. State Coach: Jim Valvano

Houston starters (points scored)

Clyde Drexler (4) – Small Forward

Larry Micheaux (4) – Power Forward

Akeem Olajuwon (20) – Center

Alvin Franklin (4) – Point Guard

Michael Young (6) – Shooting Guard

Houston bench (points scored)

Reid Gettys (4)

Benny Anders (10)

Bryan Williams (0)

David Rose (0)

Houston Coach: Guy Lewis

lorenzo charles

Lorenzo Charles’ winning dunk – photo courtesy of business insider

Not surprisingly, Ralph Sampson was taken #1 in the 1983 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets.  The Rockets also got Rodney McCray with the #3 pick.  Sidney Green of  was taken at #5 by the Chicago Bulls and Thurl Bailey at #7 by the Utah Jazz.  Clyde Drexler was taken at #14 by the Portland Trailblazers.  The Philadelphia 76ers took Leo Rautins at #17 and the Washington Bullets took Randy Wittman at #22.

Sidney Lowe was the first pick of the 2nd round by the Bulls.  The Bulls also took Larry Micheaux in the 2nd round a pick after the Phoenix Suns took Rod Foster.  Also in the 2nd round, Dirk Minniefield was taken by Dallas, Scooter McCray was taken by Seattle, and Jim Thomas was taken by Indiana.  Ted Kitchel was taken by Milwaukee but never played in the NBA.

In the 3rd round in three straight picks, UCLA’s Michael Holton was taken by Golden State, Iowa’s Bob Hansen was taken by Utah and Holton’s teammate Darren Daye by Washington.  Pepperdine’s Dane Suttle was taken in the 7th round by Kansas City.

Notable players in previous college basketball posts taken in the 1983 NBA Draft were John Paxson of Notre Dame taken at #19 by San Antonio.  Two picks later, Brigham Young’s Greg Kite was taken by Boston.

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