Skip to content

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1985 College Basketball Season

January 17, 2014

nov84 georgetown

from November 26, 1984, Ronald Reagan had just won re-election and Georgetown was going to win the NCAA title again *photo courtesy of

There was one thing for sure going into the 1985 college basketball season.  Patrick Ewing and Georgetown were going to repeat.  They were, of course, pre-season #1 and were the only team in the top 5 that ended up in the Final Four.  In fact, the Hoyas and Oklahoma were the only teams that started and finished in the top 5.

Illinois, DePaul and Indiana were the other three teams in the top 5.  DePaul and Indiana eventually dropped out of the rankings for the season.  We’ll get to the Hoosiers later but DePaul, in their first season under Ray Meyer’s son Joey, remained in the polls until back-to-back losses to Louisville and Dayton in early February.  They ended up being a 10-seed in the East Regional but lost to Syracuse in round 1.  The Demons were led by future NBA players, senior Tyrone Corbin and sophomore Dallas Comegys.

Illinois, coming off their Regional Final loss to Kentucky in 1984, ended up #2 in the pre-season polls.  They stayed in the polls despite finishing with a 12-6 Big Ten record, good for 2nd in the conference.  They were a 3-seed in the East and lost to Georgia Tech in the Regional Semifinals.

It ended up perhaps being the teams from 5-10 in the pre-season polls that made an impact.  6,7, & 8 were Duke, St. John’s and Memphis State, respectively.  It was the #10 team that got off to a 16-0 start, including a somewhat surprising win.  Even though Southern Methodist moved up to number 8 by the time they traveled to Lexington, Kentucky on December 4 and the team hosting them was out of the rankings after losing to Purdue three days earlier.  The Kentucky Wildcats were still a favorite and they didn’t lose at Rupp Arena, where the 1985 Final Four would be held.

December 4, 1984 – (#8)SMU Mustangs 56 @Kentucky Wildcats 54

Future infamous coach Dave Bliss had led SMU from a 6-21 record in 1982 into a top-10 team in 1985.  Their only future NBA player was senior center Jon Koncak, although junior guard Carl Wright was drafted in the 5th round in 1985.  To go along with Koncak and Wright was bruiser Larry Davis and point guard Butch Moore.

Kentucky lost four starters from their 1984 Final Four team (Sam Bowie, Melvin Turpin, Dicky Beal and Jim Master).  The only remaining starter ended up being their only player in double figures in this game.  That was junior Kenny Walker.  Walker was one of the few upper classmen that played.  Freshmen and Sophomores like guards James Blackmon and Ed Davender, forwards Winston Bennett, Richard Madison and Paul Andrews and center Rob Lock filled out the roster.  Joe B. Hall was also in his last season as coach.

The game started as the Carl Wright show.  He got a steal and slam that put the Mustangs up 4-2.  Later he hit a jumper from the foul line and then took an alley-oop from Moore on the break.  When he spun by Walker and laid one in, SMU led 13-4 and Kentucky called timeout.  Later, Wright’s wing jumper put the Mustangs up 19-8.

Kentucky really didn’t get going until Bennett came in off the bench and got into a shouting match with the tough Larry Davis.  If nothing else, it seemed to get the crowd going.  Paul Andrews and Richard Madison also came in off the bench and actually put the ball in the basket to get Kentucky going.  They hit a combined three wing jumpers that cut the lead to 22-17.  Then Andrews got a steal and James Blackmon hit a pull-up to cut it to three.

After Andrews hit another wing jumper to cut it to 22-21, Koncak and Wright got quick baskets to respond.  For the rest of the half, neither team could really get its offense going.  Each team scored 2 field goals in the final 5 minutes and SMU led 31-25 at the half.  Carl Wright led them with 17 points.

The drought continued early in the 2nd half, personified by SMU forward Scott Johnson missing two breakaway layups.  But eventually, Butch Moore got going as he hit a jumper from the top and then got a steal and layup.  Wright then found him at the elbow for a jumper to give SMU a 37-28 lead.  Walker and Koncak then got their respective teams’ next two field goals and 5 points by getting on the boards.  Later, Larry Davis put back a Wright miss and drew freshman center Rob Lock’s 4th foul.  The Mustangs led 44-35.

Kentucky kept treading water until a little used senior came in to try and break their zone.  Troy McKinley was a 6’6″ shooter and he hit back-to-back jumpers to cut the Mustangs lead to 48-45.  Kentucky then tied it at 48 on free throws (although they missed a few as well) as Davis and Wright, who had not scored in the 2nd half, each committed their 4th fouls.

Wright did feed Koncak for a layup and a 50-48 SMU lead.  Walker responded by hitting 1-of-2 free throws.  Wright then found Moore for a jumper from the foul line for a three-point lead.  But then Madison hit a wing jumper and then senior Bret Bearup found a cutting Blackmon for a layup and Kentucky led for the first time at 53-52.

It didn’t last long as Wright drove, his shot was blocked by Walker but Koncak put back the miss.  Everyone else on the floor other than Koncak stopped because it looked like a goaltending on Walker.  Kenny hit 1-of-2 free throws again and the game was tied at 54 with 1:17 left.

In the SEC that season there was to be a shot clock, so Kentucky was playing with a 45-second clock in this game.  It almost ended up helping the Wildcats late but Davis got a shot off just in time and Koncak was fouled on the rebound with 31 seconds left.  Although Kentucky wasn’t in the bonus, SMU this time got a chance to hold for the last shot.  And they did.

Without using a timeout, they ran it down and then Butch Moore drove to the lane, pulled up in the middle and nailed a short jumper with 4 seconds left.  Blackmon missed a heave at the buzzer and SMU had broken Kentucky’s 23-game winning streak at Rupp Arena.

SMU, as mentioned above, started the season at 16-0 and were ranked as high as #2 but then finished the regular season with an under .500 record from there and finished tied for 2nd in the Southwest Conference.  After losing to the team they were tied with, Arkansas, in the SWC Tournament Semifinals, the Mustangs were a #5 seed in the East Regional.  They lost to 4-seeded Loyola (Chicago) 70-57 in the 2nd round.  Since Dave Bliss left in 1988, SMU has made only 1 NCAA tournament appearance, in 1993.

It did end up being a down year for Kentucky as the SMU loss was the 2nd loss of a 4-game streak.  Kentucky finished the regular season at 16-11 (including 11-7 in the SEC, which was good for 4th place) and lost to Florida in the opening round of the SEC tournament.  Despite that, Kentucky was named a 12-seed in the West Regional.  They upset Washington and UNLV before getting killed by top seed St. John’s 86-70 in the Sweet 16.

SMU starters (points scored)

Scott Johnson (2) – Small Forward

Larry Davis (7) – Power Forward

Jon Koncak (13) – Center

Butch Moore (15) – Point Guard

Carl Wright (17) – Shooting Guard

SMU bench (points scored)

Kevin Lewis (2)

Terry Williams (0)

Reginald Pink (0)

SMU Coach: Dave Bliss

Kentucky starters (points scored)

Bret Bearup (4) – Small Forward

Kenny Walker (19) – Power Forward

Rob Lock (4) – Center

Ed Davender (2) – Point Guard

James Blackmon (5) – Shooting Guard

Kentucky bench (points scored)

Paul Andrews (8)

Winston Bennett (4)

Richard Madison (4)

Troy McKinley (4)

Kentucky Coach: Joe B. Hall

koncak smu

Jon Koncak was a member of the 1984 Olympic team coached by Bobby Knight *photo courtesy of SMU Mustangs

January 9, 1985 – Maryland Terrapins 74 @(#5)North Carolina Tarheels 75

This was supposed to be a down year for North Carolina after losing two great players like Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins.  But back they were at 9-1 coming into their first ACC game versus Maryland.  The Tarheels were led by juniors Brad Daugherty and Steve Hale and sophomores Kenny Smith, Joe Wolf, and Dave Popson.  Wolf was out for this game with an ankle injury and in a way, this was a coming out party for Popson.

Maryland had lost center Ben Coleman and defensive ace Herman Veal but had shot-blocking freshman Derrick Lewis and junior college transfer Tom ‘Speedy’ Jones to go with the likes of Len Bias, Adrian Branch and Keith Gatlin.

This was to be Carolina’s last season in Carmichael Auditorium before they moved into what is now known as the Dean Dome.  Lefty Driesell in his 16 seasons at Maryland had won in Chapel Hill twice.  He wanted nothing more than to go out with a win.

The first half went back and forth.  Senior leaders Buzz Peterson for Carolina and Jeff Adkins for Maryland got the scoring underway.  Popson and Bias traded baskets and a Gatlin three-point play tied the game at 7.  Bias got going early as he hit five straight field goals to keep Maryland on the same pace as the Tarheels.  Two of them were pull-up jumpers and the third was a dunk after Gatlin broke Carolina’s press.

Later, Gatlin whipped a pass to Bias from half court for another slam.  Popson and Daugherty did the scoring for Carolina, although the Tarheels were balanced and got a contribution from everyone.  But when Bias rebound-slammed a Branch miss, Maryland led 28-23.  Then Branch hit two free throws to give the Terps their biggest lead.  Carolina got back into it with a 6-0 run and ended up leading 39-38 at the half although Bias led everyone with 16.

The second half was more of the same.  Maryland scored the first two buckets and the Tarheels responded with 6 straight points, 4 of which from Popson who now had 12.  Maryland responded with a 6-0 run of their own and on and on it went.  Maryland did take a 55-50 lead after Speedy Jones committed his 4th foul.  But UNC did it again, a 6-0 run culminating with a Peterson slam gave them the lead.  Then Bias committed his 4th foul and wasn’t as aggressive.

Four straight points from Branch and a Gatlin running jumper gave Maryland a 61-57 lead but UNC came back led by Daugherty and Kenny Smith.  They eventually tied the game at 65.  Branch hit a pull-up from the baseline to give the Terps a lead again but then Derrick Lewis started a trend by missing the front end of a 1-and-1 with 2:54 left.  Daugherty’s jumper in the lane tied the game again.

With 1:58 left, Steve Hale hit two free throws to give the Tarheels a 69-68 lead after Branch committed his 4th foul.  But then Gatlin, from half court, found Bias for a layup and a foul.  Lenny missed the free throw but on the scramble for the rebound, Daugherty fouled Lewis and was out of the game with his 5th.  Lewis missed the front end again.

Tarheels reserve big man Warren Martin (who came in for Daugherty) missed two free throws and later, Hale missed the front end of a 1-and-1.  Finally with 36 seconds left, Gatlin hit two free throws to give Maryland a 72-69 lead.  Popson missed from inside and Hale fouled Gatlin again with 23 seconds left and the game looked to be in the bag.

But can you guess what happened?  Gatlin missed the front end and Kenny Smith hit a pull-up from the elbow and Carolina called a timeout with 16 seconds left.  Hale then fouled out and sent Branch to the line only wasting a second.  Branch missed the front end and Carolina moved the ball until Peterson found Popson for a foul-line jumper and a 73-72 Carolina lead with 5 seconds left.

After a Maryland timeout, they had to inbound from the back court.  Gatlin did not realize he could run the baseline and threw the ball away to Tarheel reserve Curtis Hunter.  Hunter was fouled and sealed the game with two free throws.

Carolina would, in fact, have another routine 20-win season and finish 2nd in the ACC at 9-5 (hey, maybe that IS a down year, they hadn’t finished that low since 1981).  Georgia Tech, 1st place with an identical record, would face the Tarheels in the ACC Tournament Championship Game later on.

Maryland would finish 5th in the ACC with an 8-6 record and would make the NCAA Tournament as a 5th seed in the Southeast Regional.  They would lose in the Regional Semifinals to a team we will hear a lot about, the Villanova Wildcats.

Maryland starters (points scored)

Adrian Branch (21) – Small Forward

Len Bias (23) – Power Forward

Derrick Lewis (4) – Center

Keith Gatlin (9) – Point Guard

Jeff Adkins (6) – Shooting Guard

Maryland bench (points scored)

Speedy Jones (7)

Terry Long (2)

Jeff Baxter (2)

Maryland Coach: Lefty Driesell

North Carolina starters (points scored)

Buzz Peterson (8) – Small Forward

Dave Popson (14) – Power Forward

Brad Daugherty (14) – Center

Kenny Smith (9) – Point Guard

Steve Hale (12) – Shooting Guard

North Carolina bench (points scored)

Warren Martin (7)

Curtis Hunter (7)

Ranzino Smith (4)

North Carolina Coach: Dean Smith


In Joe Wolf’s place, Popson performed well and hit the game-winning shot *photo courtesy of Trading Card Database

January 17, 1985 – Wake Forest Demon Deacons 91 @(#2)Duke Blue Devils 89 (OT)

Duke had started the season 12-0 and had climbed to #2 in the polls (their highest since 1980).  But then they lost an overtime game at Maryland and hosted Wake Forest three days later.  Duke had not lost any significant piece from their 1984 team and was starting to gain some key players.  They had freshmen Billy King and Kevin Strickland to go with their top 6 of Mark Alarie, Johnny Dawkins, David Henderson, Jay Bilas, Tommy Amaker and Dan Meagher (the only senior).

Wake Forest had gotten off to a nice 10-4 start.  They had who would eventually become the smallest player in NBA History and he was developing into his own as a sophomore.  Muggsy Bogues was running the offense and feeding guys like Delaney Rudd and Kenny Green, as well as role players Lee Garber and Mark Cline.

Bogues started the offense off well in the first half.  He went coast-to-coast to give the Deacons an early 4-2 lead and then set up Garber for 10 of Wake’s first 14 points.  Green and Rudd carried Wake’s offense from there as their defense shut down Duke’s key stars in Alarie and Dawkins (they had 4 and 2 points in the 1st half, respectively).  Wake Forest took this momentum to a 44-32 halftime lead at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

But Duke wouldn’t be held down for more than a half.  Amaker hit two jumpers and later Dawkins hit his 4th point on a jumper from the top.  This cut the Deacon’s lead to 46-40 and forced a timeout.  Duke’s scrambling defense helped cut the lead further as Henderson got a steal in the back court and found Meagher for a layup.  On the next possession, Henderson found Meagher again on a 4-on-1 break and the lead was down to 49-46.

A Kenny Green reverse gave Wake a 53-48 lead back but then after a timeout, Duke came back flying.  Alarie hit a wing jumper and then Henderson hit a pull-up from the baseline.  Alarie hit two free throws and Amaker hit a pull-up from the baseline.  The 12-0 run concluded when Alarie put back an Amaker miss and Dawkins hit a pull-up from the wing.  Right after Dawkins basket, Bogues went coast-to-coast past Johnny to break the run and cut Duke’s lead to 60-55.

Duke maintained its lead for awhile and took a 65-59 lead after a Billy King slam on the break.  But then Garber hit two free throws, Green hit a jumper from the foul line and then Rudd hit a runner from the baseline.  The game was tied at 65.  An Alarie wing jumper plus a Meagher free throw put Duke back up by three but then Amaker fouled out and Rudd hit two free throws with 2:24 left.

Meagher tipped in a Henderson miss and then Green hit two free throws after Alarie committed his 4th foul.  Alarie’s wing jumper with 1:28 left put Duke up 72-69 but then Mark fouled out 17 seconds later.  Duke now had two starters on the pine.  The ending was the exact opposite of smooth.  And I presume that if some fan was watching, he/she was telling their significant other that they’d be able to go out soon because there was only 1:00 left in the game.  20 minutes later that fan would still be sitting there and that was only in regulation.  Try to follow all that happened in the next paragraph with Duke leading 72-69.

After Alarie fouled Green, Kenny missed the front end of the 1-and-1.  Green then fouled Bilas with 46 seconds left.  Bilas missed the front end and Bogues pushed the ball to Green who laid it in while he was fouled with 38 seconds left.  Green had a chance to tie it but missed the free throw and after a rebound scramble the ball went out off of Wake.  Mark Cline then fouled Henderson with 26 seconds left.  David missed the front end but Meagher got the offensive rebound and Henderson was fouled again with 21 seconds left.  David this time made the front end.  He had a chance to clinch it with the 2nd free throw since there was no three-point shot yet but he missed the 2nd.  Rudd then missed a pull-up from the baseline but on the rebound scramble, Henderson fouled Garber.  Garber missed the front end but the rebound scramble went out of bounds off of Duke with 9 seconds left.

And to bring an end to the chaos that I’m sure you were able to follow clearly, Bogues found Rudd for a leaner from the foul line with 3 seconds left.  The game was tied and the significant other was thinking very hard about ending things with the fan (O.K. maybe that’s a little strong).  Duke inbounded from the back court after a timeout and couldn’t get off a shot.  The game was now going into overtime.

Wake Forest started quickly as Cline hit an elbow jumper and reserve Charlie Thomas got a layup against two Blue Devils after a Bogues steal.  Wake eventually took an 83-75 lead by sinking free throws.  But with just over 2:00 left, Dawkins penetrated and found freshman Kevin Strickland for a baseline jumper.  Strickland hit again with 1:51 left after Cline buried two free throws.  With 1:40 left, Rudd traveled on a 3-on-1 break and 12 seconds later, Strickland put back his own miss and the score was now 85-81 Wake.

With 1:23 left, Dawkins committed his 4th foul on Bogues and Muggsy made both free throws.  Bogues then got a steal with 1:00 left and Cline hit two free throws that seemed to ice it.  But don’t bet on that Mr./Mrs. Fan with the significant other still waiting! (O.K. I’ll stop those references now).  Henderson put back his own miss with 37 seconds left and Duke called a timeout.

Bogues then missed a 1-and-1 and Dawkins hit on a driving layup with 28 seconds left and Duke called their last timeout, down 89-85.  Strickland then fouled Cline and this time Mark missed the front end.  Henderson hit a jumper in the lane with 12 seconds left and the lead was down to two.  But then Dawkins fouled out and sent Bogues to the line.  Dawkins had only 8 points, which was only the 2nd game in his college career that he didn’t reach double figures (he was a junior).

Muggsy this time made both ends of the 1-and-1.  Strickland hit a banker with 2 seconds left and with Duke out of timeouts, all they could do was foul intentionally.  The strategy half-worked as Lee Garber missed both free throws but reserve Weldon Williams’ heave off the rebound wasn’t close.

Despite this loss, Duke did follow it up with a 93-77 win over UNC in Chapel Hill two days later.  They did beat Wake in overtime 13 days later but would finish 4th in the ACC with an 8-6 record and lose to top-seeded Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament Semifinals.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest’s next ACC game was at Virginia and it will be covered after some other conference action that occurred on the same day that Duke upset North Carolina.

Wake Forest starters (points scored)

Mark Cline (12) – Small Forward

Kenny Green (24) – Power Forward

Lee Garber (13) – Center

Muggsy Bogues (12) – Point Guard

Delaney Rudd (24) – Shooting Guard

Wake Forest bench (points scored)

Charlie Thomas (6)

Craig Wessel (0)

Wake Forest Coach: Carl Tacy

Duke starters (points scored)

Dan Meagher (9) – Small Forward

Mark Alarie (17) – Power Forward

Jay Bilas (13) – Center

Tommy Amaker (16) – Small Forward

Johnny Dawkins (8) – Shooting Guard

Duke bench (points scored)

David Henderson (11)

Kevin Strickland (8)

Weldon Williams (4)

Billy King (3)

Duke Coach: Mike Krzyzewski


The 5’3″ Muggsy Bogues found a way to make it work despite his height *photo courtesy of Storming the Floor

January 19, 1985 – (#5)Memphis State Tigers 69 @Louisville Cardinals 66

Despite Memphis State (now just Univeristy of Memphis) becoming a factor in the Metro Conference in coach Dana Kirk’s 6 seasons, they had never beaten powerhouse Louisville in their own house.

But this season, the Cardinals were having a down year.  Milt Wagner was red-shirted for the season with a foot injury and there were other injuries to boot.  They were 9-5 and underdogs coming into this big matchup with the 12-1 Memphis State Tigers.  Louisville was led by juniors Billy Thompson and Jeff Hall and senior Manuel Forrest.  But they had no point guard or big man (sophomore center Barry Sumpter would transfer to Appalachian State after having academic troubles at Louisville and actually played in one NBA game on April 2, 1989).

Memphis State, of the players with any significance, had only lost Phillip ‘Doom’ Haynes from their 1984 team.  But they had recruited freshman guards Vincent Askew and Dwight Boyd.  The Tigers returned junior point guard Andre Turner and junior swingman Baskerville Holmes along with sophomore big man William Bedford and senior All-American Keith Lee.

Lee started out the game with two jumpers but would commit 3 fouls and not score anymore for the rest of the 1st half.  William Bedford scored the next 6 Tigers points to give Memphis State a 10-4 lead but he would commit 3 fouls, not play for the rest of the first half, and not score for the rest of the game.

Trailing 10-4, Louisville started rolling led by sharp-shooter Jeff Hall.  Hall hit three jumpers including a high archer from the baseline over Bedford.  Then Billy Thompson hit a jumper from the foul line to give Louisville a 12-10 lead.  Forrest hit a jumper and Hall got a steal and layup before Memphis State got a timeout.

Louisville’s 12-0 run was broken when Askew hit two jumpers.  Then Memphis State hit a jumper to tie it at 16 but before that happened Lee had gotten one of his 3 fouls when battling in the post.  Lee was upset and got a technical.  The technical shot by Hall plus both ends of a 1-and-1 by reserve Mark McSwain were good.  Then after McSwain’s shots, Dana Kirk got a technical.  A bench technical was worth two shots in college.  So Hall hit two shots and then later in the possession McSwain hit two more free throws.  Louisville had scored 7 points in one possession and it was a 9-point swing counting the shot by Memphis State that went in just after Lee’s foul.

McSwain continued his assault off the bench and led Louisville to a 37-24 lead.  But then Memphis State hit three free throws and a Baskerville Holmes tip-in cut the lead to 37-29.  The run wasn’t done.  Tigers reserves Boyd and Willie Becton hit jumpers and then Holmes hit again to cut the lead to 37-35 at the half.  The half was finished fittingly with a Bedford block.

The 11-0 run extended into the 2nd half when Boyd hit and was fouled on a baseline drive.  Memphis State had their first lead since 10-8 after the three-point play.  Back-to-back jumpers from Hall put Louisville back up.  They extended it to 45-40 on a Forrest jumper.  But then Boyd, who played in Turner’s spot for all but 1 minute of the 2nd half, drove baseline and slammed over Sumpter while Barry fouled him.  After that three-point play, Boyd cut the lead to 46-45 with another slam on a Askew feed.

The scoring went back-and-forth for awhile until Lee committed his 4th foul and a Forrest runner gave the Cardinals a 56-53 lead.  You’d think the momentum would go to Louisville but instead, Boyd hit a baseline jumper and the high-jumper Holmes tipped in a miss.  Becton then hit back-to-back jumpers and Louisville called timeout down 61-56.

After the timeout, the 10-0 run completed when Askew hit a pull-up from the foul line at the end of the shot clock.  But then McSwain hit two more free throws and ‘point guard’ Chris West got a steal and layup for the Cardinals (since Turner was on the bench, Memphis State had no true point guard in the game and it was Askew that got picked by West at halfcourt).

After a Hall corner jumper cut the lead to 63-62, Memphis State called timeout with 5:00 left.  The scoring slowed down from there.  Eventually, a Forrest baseline jumper tied the game at 64.  Then Boyd fed Lee for a slam and a foul.  With 1:37 left, the Tigers led 67-64 and seemed on their way to Kirk’s first win at Louisville’s Freedom Hall.

After a Louisville timeout, they had the ball in West’s hands, who wasn’t the first option, at the end of the clock.  He hit a pull-up however and in the next minute, Askew and Turner missed front ends of 1-and-1’s to keep Louisville alive.  They had a great chance to lead when freshman reserve forward Herbert Crook rebounded a Hall miss and was fouled with 6 seconds left.

The freshman, though, was short and then long on the free throws.  Holmes finally sealed it with two free throws.  Memphis State would end up beating Louisville three times that season and would be a #2 seed in the Midwest Regional.  Their tournament run will be covered later.  Louisville would end up in the NIT this season but would have Wagner back as well as a freshman center who was ‘never nervous’ in 1986.

Memphis State starters (points scored)

Baskerville Holmes (16) – Small Forward

Keith Lee (11) – Power Forward

William Bedford (6) – Center

Andre Turner (0) – Point Guard

Vincent Askew (11) – Shooting Guard

Memphis State bench (points scored)

Dewayne Bailey (2)

Dwight Boyd (16)

Willie Becton (7)

Memphis State Coach: Dana Kirk

Louisville starters (points scored)

Manuel Forrest (8) – Small Forward

Billy Thompson (8) – Power Forward

Barry Sumpter (4) – Center

Chris West (6) – Point Guard

Jeff Hall (21) – Shooting Guard

Louisville bench (points scored)

Mark McSwain (17)

Herbert Crook (2)

Kent Jones (0)

Louisville Coach: Denny Crum

January 19, 1985 – (#8)Indiana Hoosiers 84 @Ohio State Buckeyes 86

This Big Ten battle featured two of the highest shooting percentage teams in the country and a few NBA busts to boot.  So, naturally, the game was high scoring.

Indiana came into the game at 11-3, including 3-1 in the Big Ten.  They featured senior center Uwe Blab and sophomore guard Steve Alford, as well as others including Stew Robinson, Mike Giomi, Marty Simmons, Dan Dakich and Winston Morgan.

Ohio State featured future NBAers Brad Sellers and Dennis Hopson.  Sellers was a transfer from Wisconsin who was a skinny 7-footer who preferred the perimeter.  Buckeyes coach Eldon Miller didn’t even have him on Uwe Blab in this game because he was too skinny to guard him.  Hopson ended up being the all-time leading scorer in Ohio State history but never could find a groove in the NBA.  The key Buckeye players in this game were their supporting perimeter players, guys like Ron Stokes, Troy Taylor, Joe Concheck, and Dave Jones off the bench.

Stokes started it when he hit a wing jumper and then got a defensive rebound and took it coast-to-coast to give the Buckeyes a 6-2 lead.  A Hopson follow-up extended the lead to 12-7 but then Indiana’s passing got them on a run.  First, Simmons fed Giomi for a cutting layup and then Morgan fed Blab for a layup.  Alford got a steal and hit a pull-up jumper and then Giomi swung the ball to Simmons for a baseline jumper.

Indiana went on another 8-0 run after Ohio State went up 22-20.  Alford hit three outside jumpers and then Blab hit two free throws.  But Ohio State worked their way back led by the supporting foursome of Stokes, Taylor, Concheck and Jones.  The two teams battled to a 43-42 Buckeyes lead.  It was then that Ohio State made its closing run of the first half.

Dave Jones went high to grab Dennis Hopson’s miss.  He put the ball back in and was fouled.  Then on the next Indiana possession, Hopson got a steal.  He missed on the break but Concheck followed him up and was fouled.  The back-to-back three-point plays weren’t the last we heard from the Buckeyes in the first half.  The dagger came when Concheck nailed a wing jumper with 4 seconds left.  It gave Ohio State a 51-43 lead going into the locker room.

It continued to start the 2nd half as Jones swung the ball to Taylor for a baseline jumper.  Then Taylor found Hopson for a layup and later after a Blab basket, Jones took a Concheck cross-court pass and nailed a corner jumper.  The momentum swung a bit though when Taylor committed his 4th foul and Indiana brought in Dan Dakich, the senior guard who was seeing his first action of the day.

Blab hit two buckets and then Dakich hit a wing jumper to cut the lead to 57-51.  Indiana may have come back to tie it then if it wasn’t for Dave Jones hitting his wing jumpers.  Later, Hopson’s putback and a foul gave the Buckeyes a 66-55 lead back.  But led by Dakich, Alford and Blab, the Hoosiers cut the lead back to 70-67.  Jumpers from Jones and Concheck kept Indiana at bay but then a Dakich steal and layup followed by an Alford baseline jumper cut the lead back to 76-73.

With 2:58 left, Indiana cut it to one but then the Buckeyes moved the ball around and Taylor fed Concheck inside.  Concheck was fouled by Blab while Blab goaltended Joe’s shot (a double whammy!).  The three-point play was also Blab’s 4th foul.  This was important because Uwe got his 30th point after Stew Robinson found him with a lob.  Blab missed the free throw that could have cut the lead to one.  This was followed by Taylor hitting a wing jumper with 1:29 left.  Ohio State led 81-77.

30 seconds later, Sellers hit two free throws to put Ohio State up 83-78.  Indiana had struggled on its last few possessions but finally they got a basket when Giomi put back an Alford miss.  With 43 seconds left, Stokes hit two free throws and the Buckeyes led 85-80.  Stokes then fouled out going for a steal on a pass to Dakich.  Dan hit two free throws to give him 11 points since he came in.

Ohio State was able to run off some clock before Taylor was fouled.  He hit 1-of-2 from the line and Robinson found Blab for a layup with 11 seconds left.  Then Alford fouled Taylor again.  This time Troy missed the front end and Indiana called a timeout with 8 seconds left.  Even though they inbounded from the back court, they got a good shot.  Robinson pushed the ball and found Blab in the post.  His hook shot missed off the glass and Robinson got off a desperation shot that missed as well at the buzzer.

This loss for Indiana started a bad trend.  They lost 9 of their final 13 regular season games and missed out on the NCAA tournament.  Bobby Knight eventually showed his frustration in a memorable way in a game later on in this post.  Ohio State finished tied for 3rd in the Big Ten and were a 4-seed in the Midwest Regional.  They lost in the 2nd round to Louisiana Tech and Karl Malone.

Indiana starters (points scored)

Mike Giomi (5) – Small Forward

Marty Simmons (5) – Power Forward

Uwe Blab (33) – Center

Steve Alford (18) – Point Guard

Winston Morgan (3) – Shooting Guard

Indiana bench (points scored)

Dan Dakich (11)

Stew Robinson (2)

Todd Meier (3)

Delray Brooks (0)

Steve Eyl (4)

Indiana Coach: Bobby Knight

Ohio State starters (points scored)

Joe Concheck (16) – Small Forward

Dennis Hopson (15) – Power Forward

Brad Sellers (9) – Center

Ron Stokes (10) – Point Guard

Troy Taylor (14) – Shooting Guard

Ohio State bench (points scored)

Dave Jones (19)

Clarence McGee (2)

Keith Wesson (1)

Ohio State Coach: Eldon Miller

troy taylor

Troy Taylor was one of the keys to Ohio State in 1985 *photo courtesy of Bleacher Report

January 26, 1985 – Wake Forest Demon Deacons 56 @Virginia Cavaliers 58

Wake Forest had won 7 games in a row coming into Charlottesville, Virginia and was a half-game behind Carolina for the top spot in the ACC.  Virginia, after going to the Final Four the previous year, was struggling.  They were win-less in the ACC and their coach Terry Holland was in the hospital with intestinal pain.

Virginia on the floor wasn’t the same either.  Their three guards from 1984, Othell Wilson, Rick Carlisle and Ricky Stokes had graduated and now Virginia had to use transfer Tom Calloway to try and hanlde the pressure of Muggsy Bogues.  The Cavaliers still had veterans Tim Mullen, Jimmy Miller and Dan Merrifield, but they weren’t the same (at least in the case of Miller, who’s scoring was down).  Virginia relied on its inside players such as Olden Polynice and Tom Sheehey.  Also, freshmen Mel Kennedy and Darrick Simms were factors off the bench.

Virginia packed back into a zone and dared Wake Forest to shoot from outside.  The strategy failed early as Bogues, Lee Garber and Mark Cline hit jumpers to give Wake a 6-0 lead.  Virginia did cut it to 10-8 before Kenny Green got his first basket on an elbow jumper.

Then Virginia went on a roll as Wake started to miss its outside shots.  Polynice hit a jumper in the lane and Kennedy hit a runner off the glass.  Then Sheehey hit from the corner and Polynice hit a banker from inside.  Then after Bogues finally broke the drought, Polynice hit another hook from the post and then got a slam after a Kennedy steal and Virginia led 20-14.  Wake Forest had nobody to play Polynice inside.  Virginia realized this in the first half but not in the 2nd until late.

The Deacons cut it to 20-18 before Simms came into the game and hit two jumpers.  Simms then skipped-passed the ball to Sheehey in the corner for a jumper and Wake called timeout, down 26-18.  Eventually, Virginia took a 33-22 lead when Polynice hit his 12th point on a turnaround from the post.  Wake cut it to 33-24 at halftime when Bogues recovered a loose ball and hit a short jumper at the buzzer.

In the first 8:00 or so of the 2nd half, Virginia had one field goal and 3 points.  But Wake had a slow time taking advantage of it as their offense wasn’t much better.  They eventually did tie it at 36 on a Garber layup.  Kennedy’s layup got Virginia back ahead but then Delaney Rudd started to get hot and hit two straight wing jumpers and Wake led 40-38.

But then Bogues committed his 3rd and 4th fouls and Virginia regained a 46-42 lead after a Sheehey three-point play.  The Deacons then went on a 6-0 run to take the lead.  But after doing so, Simms broke their press with a long pass to Kennedy for an uncontested dunk.  On the next possession, Simms got a backdoor layup on a Polynice feed.  Simms’ two free throws gave Virginia a 52-48 lead.

Wake tied it again when Green tipped in a miss and Rudd hit a wing jumper.  But with 1:45 left, Sheehey hit two free throws to give the Cavaliers a 54-52 lead.  After Green tied it with two free throws, Polynice hit two from the line with just under 1:00 left.  Rudd’s jumper tied it with 40 seconds left.

Virginia didn’t call timeout and this didn’t look like a wise strategy as they looked disorganized and Bogues was dogging the ball and was close to getting a few steals.  But finally with 10 seconds left, Mullen got it inside to Polynice for one of the few, if any, times in the 2nd half.  Olden hit a turnaround jumper in the lane with 6 seconds left and Wake called its last timeout.

After inbounding in the back court, Bogues pushed the ball and got it to Mark Cline at the wing.  Cline had had a good shooting day but his last shot was blocked by Miller and Virginia had its first ACC win.  They would only get two more the rest of the season and finished in last place.  The hero of this game though would have a sad ending at the University of Virginia.

After completing his junior year in 1986, Olden Polynice shop-lifted head-phones in the spring and was suspended and then dismissed by Terry Holland.  This wasn’t Olden’s first character case at Virginia.  He left the University all-together before the 1987 season and played in Italy for a year before being drafted #5 overall by the Bulls in 1987 and then being traded to Seattle for Scottie Pippen.

On the Wake Forest side, this loss started a bad trend as they lost 4 of their next 5 ACC games and 7 of their last 9 overall conference games to finish 7th in the ACC.  They, like Virginia, didn’t make the NCAA tournament.  Coach Carl Tacy left after the season.

Wake Forest starters (points scored)

Mark Cline (14) – Small Forward

Kenny Green (12) – Power Forward

Lee Garber (6) – Center

Muggsy Bogues (8) – Point Guard

Delaney Rudd (14) – Shooting Guard

Wake Forest bench (points scored)

Charlie Thomas (2)

Hartmut Ortmann (0)

Wake Forest Coach: Carl Tacy

Virginia starters (points scored)

Tom Sheehey (18) – Small Forward

Dan Merrifield (0) – Power Forward

Olden Polynice (16) – Center

Tom Calloway (2) – Point Guard

Tim Mullen (4) – Shooting Guard

Virginia bench (points scored)

Mel Kennedy (6)

Darrick Simms (11)

Jimmy Miller (1)

Virginia Coach: Terry Holland (hospitalized for this game and replaced on the bench by Jim Larranaga and Dave Odom)

January 26, 1985 – (#3)St. John’s Red Men 66 @(#1)Georgetown Hoyas 65

On February 21, 1984, St. John’s upset Georgetown at their ‘home court’ of the Capital Centre (covered in the 1984 College Basketball season).  After that, Georgetown won 29 consecutive games (including the 1984 National Championship) before tangling with St. John’s again in the Cap Centre.

For 1985, St. John’s had gotten the best player in the junior college ranks, Walter Berry, to go with the likes of Chris Mullin, Bill Wennington, Mark Jackson, Willie Glass and Mike Moses.  The Red Men had also gotten transfer Ron Rowan and freshman Shelton Jones to add to their bench.

Georgetown had not lost much from 1984, except perhaps some depth.  Michael Graham was dismissed from the team and Fred Brown as well as Gene Smith had graduated.  Georgetown added to its depth though with freshmen.  This included Perry McDonald, Ronnie Highsmith, Kevin Floyd and Grady Mateen (Floyd and Mateen were elsewhere by 1987).  The top 7 of the Hoyas was experienced with Patrick Ewing, David Wingate, Reggie Williams, Michael Jackson, Bill Martin, Ralph Dalton and Horace Broadnax.

The game started out slowly as it took a few minutes for the beginning intensity to waver and for points to consistently go on the board.  At the point when St. John’s took a 14-12 lead, Walter Berry was the only player in the game with more than two points.  Fouls became a factor as Williams and Wingate each committed two early ones for Georgetown.  Ewing eventually picked up his 2nd as well but then he scored three straight points to cut the Johnnies lead to 16-15.  Berry also committed two fouls and sat for the rest of the half.

He ended up sitting because St. John’s got it done after that point.  Jones hit a jumper from the post over Ewing.  Glass hit a free throw.  Mark Jackson fouled Mullin for a fadeaway from the post.  Then Jackson went coast-to-coast for a layup and a foul.  Just like that, the Redmen led 24-15.  After Ewing hit a hook from the post, the run continued.  Mullin found Wennington for a baseline jumper.  Glass followed up a Jones miss and then Mullin finished with the left hand on the break.  Georgetown called timeout, down 30-17.

St. John’s took as much as a 14-point lead three times but Georgetown cut the lead to 40-30 at the half after McDonald got a steal and Wingate finished with a layup and a foul.

In the 2nd half, Wingate committed an early 3rd foul and St. John’s kept its double-digit lead.  A Berry runner in the lane over Ewing put the Johnnies up 47-35.  Then Glass got a basket on a Ewing goaltend and Berry hit from the post to give the Redmen their biggest lead at 51-35.  But it continued after a Michael Jackson wing jumper.  St. John’s broke the Hoyas’ press and Berry scored in the lane.  Then later, Berry kicked out to Moses for an elbow jumper and a 55-37 St. John’s lead.

Later after a Wingate basket on a Berry goaltending cut it back to 16, Berry got a big block and Mullin finished with a slam on the break.  Then Ewing committed his 4th foul and it looked bad for Georgetown.  Perhaps, St. John’s sensed this too as they may have relaxed and Georgetown’s defense stepped up.  A key sequence happened when Broadnax’s pull-up jumper from the baseline got the bounce to cut the lead to 57-44.  St. John’s got a 5-second inbounding violation and then Georgetown inbounded it to Wingate who hit a jumper and was fouled.

Later a Broadnax pull-up cut the lead to 59-51 but then the Hoyas scoring slowed down.  They weren’t helped when Bill Martin missed the front end of 1-and-1’s twice and Ewing missed two more free throws.  Finally, Mullin found Berry for a big two-handed over-head slam.  Georgetown finally got baskets together with under 2:00 left as Martin and Wingate got layups to cut the lead to 63-57.

St. John’s then started to miss front ends but Michael Jackson only hit 1-of-2 free throws on his own 1-and-1.  Wingate hit a corner jumper with 1:20 left to cut the lead to 63-60 but then he fouled out and sent Mullin to the line.  Chris didn’t miss his free throws.  With St. John’s leading 65-61 with 25 seconds left, Mullin got a big steal and was fouled.  He ended up icing the game even though he hit only 1-of-2 free throws.

He put it at a three-possession game which made the difference.  Michael Jackson hit a pull-up and Georgetown called their last timeout.  After St. John’s missed another front end, Jackson scored again with 6 seconds left to cut the lead to 66-65 but because Georgetown was out of timeouts, the clock kept running after the basket (as was the rules at the time) and Mullin was able to run out the clock without inbounding the ball.

These two teams would meet three more times that season.  St. John’s vaulted to #1 after this win and stayed there until Georgetown beat them a month later.  The Hoyas beat St. John’s again at the Garden in a hotly contested Big East tournament championship game, 92-80.  This game produced 8 technical fouls.  Their final matchup was in the Final Four.  It was a National Semifinal game that would probably determine the National Championship.  Georgetown held Mullin to 8 points and won big, 77-59.

As for Georgetown of the present, they had a tough game in Syracuse two days after getting upset by St. John’s at home.

St. John’s starters (points scored)

Walter Berry (14) – Small Forward

Willie Glass (11) – Power Forward

Bill Wennington (8) – Center

Mike Moses (6) – Point Guard

Chris Mullin (20) – Shooting Guard

St. John’s bench (points scored)

Shelton Jones (2)

Mark Jackson (3)

Ron Rowan (2)

Ron Stewart (0)

St. John’s Coach: Lou Carnesecca

Georgetown starters (points scored)

Reggie Williams (2) – Small Forward

Bill Martin (10) – Power Forward

Patrick Ewing (9) – Center

Michael Jackson (12) – Point Guard

David Wingate (16) – Shooting Guard

Georgetown bench (points scored)

Perry McDonald (8)

Horace Broadnax (8)

Ralph Dalton (0)

Grady Mateen (0)

Kevin Floyd (0)

Ronnie Highsmith (0)

Georgetown Coach: John Thompson


Chris Mullin and St. John’s was #1 after this game but Patrick Ewing and Georgetown got the last laugh, at least against St. John’s *photo courtesy of Hoya Basketball

January 28, 1985 – (#2)Georgetown Hoyas 63 @(#9)Syracuse Orangemen 65

In perhaps the height of the Georgetown/Syracuse rivalry, this was the most memorable game.  Over 30,000 packed the Carrier Dome to watch the best Syracuse team since 1980 take on the defending National Champs.  Syracuse was returning the likes of Pearl Washington and Rafael Addison and had recruited big man Rony Seikaly.  Syracuse was the highest they had been in the rankings since the 1980 team that was ranked #2 at one point, and their ranking was about to get higher.

This game featured Patrick Ewing getting an extra free throw because a Syracuse fan threw an orange that hit the backboard.  John Thompson immediately took his team off the court and Jim Boeheim had to go on the mic telling the fans to ‘calm down.’  Reserve Greg Monroe hit a jumper at the buzzer to tie the game at 31 at halftime despite Ewing scoring 14 points.

The only part of the game that exists to me is the last 12 minutes.  Syracuse had grabbed a 46-42 lead led by Addison’s 18 points.  Seikaly then tipped in a Addison miss and Pearl got a steal and hit an underhand layup as the crowd was going bonker nuts.  Georgetown slowly got back momentum as Bill Martin hit an elbow jumper and Michael Jackson got a steal and layup.

After Pearl committed an offensive foul for his 4th foul, Martin hit a jumper in the lane to cut the Orangemen lead to 52-50.  After Seikaly tipped in another miss, Ewing on back-to-back possessions showed his dominance.  First, he got the ball in the post against Seikaly.  He drop stepped baseline, stepped through to the other side of the basket (did Ewing travel? Does Ewing ever travel?) and slammed one home with the right hand.  Then Ewing intimidated a shot at the other end and Jackson found Martin for a baseline jumper to tie the game at 54.

Addison’s perimeter shooting kept Syracuse ahead as well as Bill Martin missing more free throws.  Martin missed two front end of 1-and-1’s against St. John’s and against Syracuse he missed a pair and then bricked two more.  However, after his 4th miss Ewing grabbed an offensive rebound, scored, and fouled out Seikaly with 3:04 left.  The three-point play gave Georgetown their first lead in awhile at 61-60.

Addison and Ewing each made two free throws over the next two minutes.  Then Georgetown had the ball with the lead after Syracuse senior Andre Hawkins lost the ball.  It was the last year that the NCAA, as a whole, didn’t have a shot clock.  But most conferences had it and used it throughout the game (in 1984, they turned off the clock in the last 4:00).  With that being said, as the clock ran down Georgetown tried to force it into Ewing, Syracuse deflected it away and stole it.  They called timeout with 38 seconds left and since the shot clock was at 45, Syracuse could hold for the last shot.

The Orange got another timeout with 16 seconds left and then got it to Pearl after he apparently told Boeheim that he would hit the shot.  Pearl went 1-on-1 with Michael Jackson, spun a few times and got Jackson off-balance, and then pulled up at the elbow and did what he told Boeheim he would do.  He nailed the shot with 8 seconds left and Georgetown got a timeout with 6 seconds left.

However, Georgetown threw the ball away and Pearl hit a free throw with 4 seconds left to give Syracuse a two-point lead.  With no timeouts, Georgetown gave it to Jackson who pulled up but airballed a jumper at the buzzer.  With that, the Syracuse fans stormed the court and set off a wild scene that included former ESPN reporter Tom Mees throwing an elbow during his post-game report.

Georgetown, for a rare time, had lost two games in a row.  However, they would win their next 17 games going into the National Championship Game.  Syracuse moved up to #6 in the polls and traveled to Boston a week later to take on the Boston College Eagles.

Georgetown starters (points scored)

Reggie Williams (7) – Small Forward

Bill Martin (15) – Power Forward

Patrick Ewing (21) – Center

Michael Jackson (12) – Point Guard

David Wingate (4) – Shooting Guard

Georgetown bench (points scored)

Horace Broadnax (2)

Ralph Dalton (0)

Perry McDonald (2)

Kevin Floyd (0)

Grady Mateen (0)

Georgetown Coach: John Thompson

Syracuse starters (points scored)

Rafael Addison (26) – Small Forward

Andre Hawkins (6) – Power Forward

Rony Seikaly (7) – Center

Pearl Washington (11) – Point Guard

Michael Brown (4) – Shooting Guard

Syracuse bench (points scored)

Wendell Alexis (7)

Greg Monroe (4)

Derek Brower (0)

Syracuse Coach: Jim Boeheim


The legend of Pearl Washington grew with his game-winner against Georgetown *photo courtesy of

February 5, 1985 – (#6)Syracuse Orangemen 66 @Boston College Eagles 67

After their win against Georgetown, Syracuse defeated Villanova and Marquette (who wasn’t in the Big East yet then) to raise their record to 15-3.  But those three games came within a week and two days after their Marquette game, the Orange had to travel to Boston to take on BC.

Boston College had been ranked for a few weeks in January but had lost three games in a row and now were trying to stockpile enough wins to get an NCAA tournament bid.  A victory against #6 Syracuse would help.  The Eagles had lost forwards Jay Murphy and Martin Clark from the year before, but they were led by senior point guard Michael Adams.  Adams fed wing players such as Stu Primus, Dominic Pressley and Terrance Talley as well as big guys like Roger McCready, Trevor Gordon and Troy Bowers.  The Eagles were coached by Gary Williams.

The Orangemen, led by Pearl, took an early 12-4 lead.  Washington had 6 of those points while Adams had all 4 BC points.  Syracuse was normally a man-to-man team that season but packed in a zone against the Eagles to cut off their athleticism and make them shoot from the outside, a weakness.

Rafael Addison hit two straight jumpers to keep the lead at eight and then Greg Monroe hit a wing jumper to put the Orange up 24-16.  But then Bowers tipped in a Talley miss, McCready hit from the post and then the wing, and then Primus hit Pressley for a reverse and a foul on the break.  The three-point play completed a 9-0 run that gave BC a 25-24 lead.  After Rony Seikaly hit a free throw, McCready found Adams for a baseline jumper and then Adams found McCready with a whip pass for a three-point play.  The Eagles were ahead 30-27 at the half.

The 2nd half started slowly but BC kept a small lead.  A sequence of unbelievable basketball plays from BC that got the Boston Garden crowd going ensued about 5:00 into the 2nd half.  First, the 5’10” Adams hit on a driving up-and-under layup to put BC up 37-32.  Addison then hit a wing jumper and Seikaly slammed home an offensive rebound to cut the lead to one.  But then Bowers rebound-slammed an Adams miss.  After Pearl hit a pull-up from the elbow the most unbelievable play (or the most luckiest play) happened.

Primus, from the left wing, threw a cross-court pass to the right corner where initially nobody was.  Adams was running over there but sped up when the ball was thrown.  He was able to get to it but not before jumping over the out-of-bounds area in front of his bench.  While in the air, Adams was not only able to save it but he threw it toward the basket.  Swish.  The crowd and BC went nuts and Dick Vitale was his normal over-excited self (but hey that shot did step it up a level).

BC grabbed a 48-44 lead when Gordon hit a three-point play and drew Seikaly’s 4th foul.  But Syracuse tied it at 50 when Addison found senior Andre Hawkins for a layup.  But another Gordon three-point play started a 13-6 BC run that concluded with just over 3:00 left when Primus found McCready for a slam after the Eagles broke the press.

But then with a 63-56 lead, BC started to turn the ball over.  Pearl and Seikaly each hit two free throws to cut the lead to three.  Then McCready airballed a short shot after Adams broke the press.  Roger then committed his 4th foul and Orangemen reserve junior Wendell Alexis hit two free throws to cut the lead to 63-62 with 2:16 left.

BC maintained a 65-64 lead with 1:00 left.  The game at this point would be defined by a bad call and then perhaps a make-up for that bad call.  BC had the ball with their lead and was running down the shot clock.  Adams was dribbling against Pearl when he was called for a 5-second violation.

For those that don’t know, the 5-second violation was basically to prevent a player, with the ball, to just stand there or dribble around near half court.  That said player had to make a move toward the basket within 5 seconds or it would be a turnover.  The hash mark at 3-quarter court (which has been referred to as the coach’s box) was set as a marking point to which if a player passed that point, a new count would start.  It is a call that is called about as often as Kanye West acts humble.

Anyway, Adams had clearly penetrated passed that line but the 5-second call was still whistled with 44 seconds left.  On Syracuse’s next possesion, Addison missed on a runner but Alexis got the offensive rebound and was fouled by McCready.  McCready fouled out on the play and with 16 seconds left, Alexis hit two free throws to give the Orangemen a 66-65 lead.

After a BC timeout, Stu Primus airballed a contested shot from the elbow.  Seikaly got the rebound and was fouled with 6 seconds left.  Rony missed the front end of the 1-and-1.  Bowers rebounded and threw it to an open area where Adams had to run it down (similar to the wild shot mentioned earlier).  Adams ran it down outside the NBA three-point line just before he slammed into Andre Hawkins with 1 second left.  Hawkins was called for a blocking foul and Adams got two free throws.

Perhaps, even in a normal situation, there was just too much contact to go with a no-call but then the block-charge interpretation comes into play.  So even if you think the right call was made, it turned out to be a bailout as Adams would have to attempt a wild shot to try and win it.  My personal opinion was that it was probably the right call, although I could see the argument for a charge.  There was simply too much contact that affected the play to just let it go.  But with the 5-second call earlier, it turned out to be poetic justice in a way.

Adams made the two free throws and Pearl missed from half court at the buzzer.  BC had a signature win and they would have a chance for another against Villanova a week and a half later.

Syracuse would finish the regular season at 20-7 and would lose to Georgetown in the Big East tournament semifinals.  This made them a 7-seed in the East Regional (which was the same regional as Georgetown).  But they wouldn’t get to their 4th matchup with the Hoyas as the Orangemen lost in the 2nd round to Georgia Tech, 70-53.

Syracuse starters (points scored)

Rafael Addison (16) – Small Forward

Andre Hawkins (4) – Power Forward

Rony Seikaly (11) – Center

Pearl Washington (17) – Point Guard

Michael Brown (6) – Shooting Guard

Syracuse bench (points scored)

Wendell Alexis (10)

Greg Monroe (2)

Herman Harried (0)

Syracuse Coach: Jim Boeheim

Boston College starters (points scored)

Terrence Talley (2) – Small Forward

Roger McCready (16) – Power Forward

Trevor Gordon (10) – Center

Michael Adams (16) – Point Guard

Dominic Pressley (11) – Shooting Guard

Boston College bench (points scored)

Skip Barry (6)

Stu Primus (0)

Troy Bowers (6)

Boston College Coach: Gary Williams

February 16, 1985 – (#16)Villanova Wildcats 61 @Boston College Eagles 62

Coming into this game, Villanova was 4th in the Big East with a 7-5 record.  Boston College was still 6th with a 6-6 mark, and it was thought that they still needed one more big win to get 6 Big East teams into the NCAA tournament.

Villanova’s losses had basically been to the heavyweights.  They had lost two in a row (to St. John’s and Georgetown) coming into this game.  Only Frank ‘Happy’ Dobbs was gone from the 1984 team that upset Georgetown early in the season.  Ed Pinckney, Dwayne McClain, and Harold Pressley were in the front court.  Gary McLain and Dwight Wilbur were in the back court with Harold Jensen coming off the bench.  Pinckney, McClain and McLain were the senior leaders.

The first half was basically described as two alley cats who hated each other going after it.  Neither team grabbed more than a four-point lead and the score was tied at 30 at the half.  Dwayne McClain led Villanova with 10 while Harold Pressley and Ed Pinckney followed with 8 and 6, respectively.  Dominic Pressley led BC with 8 and Michael Adams and Roger McCready were right behind him with 6.

A point guard battle between Adams and Gary McLain started the 2nd half.  Each hit three field goals.  McLain’s third gave Villanova a 38-36 lead.  Then Wilbur swung the ball to Dwayne McClain for a wing jumper.  On the next possession, McClain skip passed to Wilbur for a wing jumper.  The Wildcats took a 46-38 lead on a Wilbur baseline drive and then took a 10-point lead on two Pinckney free throws.  Boston College then called a timeout as Villanova’s slow pace was dominating.

Villanova took an 11-point lead when McClain recovered a failed alley-oop pass, scored and was fouled.  His three-point play gave him 15 points and gave the Wildcats a 53-42 lead.  But then for BC, it was Roger McCready time.  Roger first hit a little runner in the lane and was fouled.  Then McCready put back a miss to cut the lead to 55-47.

This was followed by a Trevor Gordon tip-in and then a Dominic Pressley steal and layup.  Villanova called timeout with the lead cut to 55-51.  But the run didn’t end after the timeout.  Adams, from half court, whipped a pass to McCready for a layup and a foul.  It was a one-point game and the Roberts Center was going crazy.

Villanova stemmed the tied initially when McClain hit a runner in the lane and Pressley took a Pinckney lob and laid it in.  Villanova was up 59-54 with 6:04 left.  After that, Villanova tried to slow the game down a little bit and perhaps it took away from their momentum.  They had a few chances to go up seven but failed.  Then after Adams hit two free throws to cut it to three, Pinckney turned the ball over when he tried to pass instead of taking what was a wide-open layup.

McCready cut it to 59-58 with a running hook.  Then McClain hit another runner in the lane to put Villanova back up by three.  Stu Primus hit from the elbow to cut it back to one.  McClain followed that up by short-arming two free throws.  But Harold Pressley stole a pass and Villanova got a timeout with 1:21 left, up 61-60.

The Wildcats ran down the shot clock and Gary McLain had to force a shot which missed.  Harold Pressley had the rebound for a second, but Primus knocked it away and Dominic Pressley took the ball.  He fed Adams, who converted on a 2-on-1 break to give BC a 62-61 lead with 34 seconds left.

Villanova set up for the last shot and Harold Pressley got a good shot from the baseline.  But he was short on it and the clock ran out before anything else other than a scramble could happen.  This turned out to be a big win for BC because they would lose their last 3 Big East games of the season and then in the first round of the Big East tournament to Syracuse (by one point), but they would make the NCAA tournament as an 11th seed in the Midwest.  They ended up making a run in tournament.

Villanova would finish 4th in the Big East and lost in the Semifinals of the Big East tournament to St. John’s.  As an 8 seed in the Southeast Regional, the Wildcats tournament run, especially their final result, would be well-documented in NCAA annals.

Villanova starters (points scored)

Dwayne McClain (19) – Small Forward

Harold Pressley (10) – Power Forward

Ed Pinckney (12) – Center

Gary McLain (10) – Point Guard

Dwight Wilbur (10) – Shooting Guard

Villanova bench (points scored)

Harold Jensen (0)

Mark Plansky (0)

Chuck Everson (0)

Villanova Coach: Rollie Massimino

Boston College starters (points scored)

Dominic Pressley (8) – Small Forward

Roger McCready (24) – Power Forward

Trevor Gordon (4) – Center

Michael Adams (16) – Point Guard

Stu Primus (4) – Shooting Guard

Boston College bench (points scored)

Terrence Talley (4)

Troy Bowers (2)

Skip Barry (0)

Mark Schmidt (0)

Boston College Coach: Gary Williams

February 16, 1985 – Michigan State Spartans 57 @(#11)Iowa Hawkeyes 55

Coming into this game, the Iowa Hawkeyes were 2nd in the Big Ten but had lost two days earlier at home against the number one team, Michigan.  Iowa came in at 19-5 (including 8-3 in the Big Ten) and was led by senior big men Greg Stokes and Michael Payne.  Other assets included junior point guard Andre Banks, freshmen Jeff Moe and Al Lorenzen, and transfer Gerry Wright.

Michigan State had started the season at 12-1 but then lost 6 of their next 9 games coming into this one.  They were 6th in the Big Ten with a 6-6 record.  The Spartans had not made the NCAA tournament since winning the 1979 National Championship and basically were paced by their back court.  Future NBA players Scott Skiles and Sam Vincent were the go-to guys, while everyone else struggled to score.

Each team matched each other early on.  Stokes and Banks got off to good starts for the Hawkeyes.  Meanwhile, senior Sam Vincent (pretty much by himself) kept Michigan State in the game.  He scored 8 of their first 14 points, 4 of the other six came from Skiles.

Iowa held a small lead throughout most of the first half as Banks paced them with 8 points.  Their biggest lead was 7 but a Spartans 6-0 run got them right back in it.  Michigan State was able to cut it to 31-29 at the half as Vincent led them with 13 points.

The Spartans came out flying in the 2nd half.  Senior center Ken Johnson hit a layup after a good pivot move.  Later, Skiles hit from the top of the key to give Michigan State a 34-31 lead.  This was followed by two Vincent field goals and suddenly Michigan State had outscored Iowa 9-0 in the 2nd half.

But just like that, a 6-2 Iowa run forced a Michigan State timeout.  Payne’s wing jumper cut it to 40-39 but Iowa was never able to take the lead.  Two Skiles field goals and four Vincent free throws gave the Spartans a 50-43 lead three quarters of the way through the 2nd half.

But then Banks found Wright for a three-point play to cut the lead to four.  Each team traded missed free throws for the next few minutes before the Hawkeyes cut it to 50-48 with a Banks slam after a Payne steal.  With 1:16 left, Spartans junior forward Larry Polec made 1-of-2 free throws.  Then Wright hit two free throws 9 seconds later to cut the lead to 51-50.

Iowa put on the press but the Spartans were able to break it.  Polec found reserve Darryl Johnson for a layup and a foul with 55 seconds left.  Johnson missed the free throw though and Stokes cut it back to one with a putback with 44 seconds left.  After an Iowa timoeut, Johnson made both ends of a 1-and-1.  Then after Banks missed, he committed his 4th foul on Skiles.

Scott missed the front end though but Iowa wasn’t able to score.  Vincent was fouled on a breakaway and seemed to put it on ice with two free throws with 19 seconds left to put Michigan State up 57-52.  But Payne hit from the elbow and Iowa got a timeout.  Then Iowa fouled reserve Greg Pedro, who was seeing his first action of the game.  Pedro missed the front end and Stokes was fouled with 7 seconds left.

Greg made 1-of-2 and the Hawkeyes fouled Johnson.  He missed the front end and Iowa had a chance to tie.  But Moe’s shot hit nothing but backboard at the buzzer and the Spartans escaped.

Iowa’s slide continued as they finished the season losing 4 of their final 6 games to finish tied with Michigan State for 5th in the Big Ten with a 10-8 record.  The Hawkeyes were a 8-seed in the West Regional but lost in round 1 to Arkansas.

Michigan State’s next game would be against in-state rival Michigan to try and take down the Big Ten’s best team for the first time since Illinois did it way back on January 10.

Michigan State starters (points scored)

Larry Polec (1) – Small Forward

Richard Mudd (3) – Power Forward

Ken Johnson (6) – Center

Scott Skiles (16) – Point Guard

Sam Vincent (23) – Shooting Guard

Michigan State bench (points scored)

Ralph Walker (2)

Barry Fordham (2)

Darryl Johnson (4)

Greg Pedro (0)

Michigan State Coach: Jud Heathcote

Iowa starters (points scored)

Gerry Wright (10) – Small Forward

Michael Payne (8) – Power Forward

Greg Stokes (11) – Center

Andre Banks (16) – Point Guard

Jeff Moe (4) – Shooting Guard

Iowa bench (points scored)

Al Lorenzen (6)

William Jones (0)

Todd Berkenpas (0)

Michael Reaves (0)

Iowa Coach: George Raveling

sam vincent

Sam Vincent was the Big Ten’s leading scorer in 1985 *photo courtesy of

February 23, 1985 – Purdue Boilermakers 72 @Indiana Hoosiers 63

Things had fallen on hard times for Indiana since their loss to Ohio State covered earlier.  They were now in 7th place in the Big Ten, Mike Giomi had left to transfer to NC State, and Delray Brooks was on his way out to go to Providence.  For this game against in-state rival Purdue, Knight was using his 17th different starting lineup.. in 24 games.

Purdue came in 5th in the Big Ten with an 8-6 record.  They were led by seniors Steve Reid and James Bullock.  Reid was the 5’10” floor general and Bullock was the power player inside.  The Boilermakers also had a few freshmen in guard Troy Lewis and forward Todd Mitchell.

Purdue coach Gene Keady was looking for his 100th win at Purdue with this one against Indiana.  Bullock hit two early field goals to give them a 5-0 lead and then Mitchell and Lewis got field goals before Reid’s banker from the wing put Purdue up 11-2.  Indiana cut it to 11-6 before the memorable play of this game happened.

Indiana’s Steve Alford was called for a foul when he felt it should have been a jump ball and then sophomore Daryl Thomas (who was just returning from a stress fracture in his foot) was called for a cheap foul.  Mr. Bobby Knight was not liking any of this and got called for a technical.  Knight’s response to the T was to throw his chair cross court.

Knight got two more technicals and was ejected.  All in all, Reid got to shoot six technical free throws (he made three of them).  This was probably Knight’s biggest non-post game interview meltdown.

After a firework like that, the game became ho-hum.  Purdue grabbed a 10-point lead later but Indiana came back sparked by freshman Kreigh Smith, who was starting his only game of the year.  Smith hit two jumpers and then freshman Steve Eyl got two field goals for the Hoosiers.

Indiana took the lead when Uwe Blab hit two free throws after Bullock committed his 3rd foul and had to leave with 12 points.  But then after Purdue grabbed the advantage back, Indiana’s only chances to regain it was missed on two front ends of 1-and-1’s.  Mitchell scored his 10th and 11th point on two free throws to give Purdue a 35-32 halftime lead.

For awhile, Indiana stayed within striking distance at 43-40.  But then Lewis came off a screen and hit a jumper from the foul line.  Reid hit a pull-up from the foul line and then lobbed to Bullock for another score.  Then the senior point guard got a layup off an inbounds pass.  This completed an 8-0 run that gave the Boilermakers 1 51-40 lead.

Purdue eventually grabbed a 13-point lead when reserve Robert Littlejohn got a layup and a foul.  Indiana went on a 10-2 run and made it interesting with 5:00 left when Stew Robinson hit a jumper.  But after that, Indiana was out of answers and Purdue finished them off at the free throw line.

Purdue eventually finished tied for 3rd in the Big Ten with an 11-7 mark.  They were a 6-seed in the Southeast Regional but lost to Auburn 59-58.  Indiana finished 7th in the conference with a 7-11 mark.  Indiana reached the finals of the NIT, but lost to UCLA 65-62.  UCLA will be covered later after another Big Ten clash on the same day as Indiana/Purdue.

Purdue starters (points scored)

Todd Mitchell (21) – Small Forward

James Bullock (15) – Power Forward

Mark Atkinson (6) – Center

Steve Reid (13) – Point Guard

Troy Lewis (8) – Shooting Guard

Purdue bench (points scored)

Mack Gadis (4)

Robert Littlejohn (5)

Herb Robinson (0)

Purdue Coach: Gene Keady

Indiana starters (points scored)

Steve Eyl (9) – Small Forward

Daryl Thomas (6) – Power Forward

Uwe Blab (10) – Center

Steve Alford (8) – Point Guard

Kreigh Smith (10) – Shooting Guard

Indiana bench (points scored)

Marty Simmons (0)

Stew Robinson (14)

Todd Meier (0)

Dan Dakich (6)

Indiana Coach: Bobby Knight

February 23, 1985 – (#3)Michigan Wolverines 75 @Michigan State Spartans 73

*note – it’s been said on various web sites that this game took place on February 21 but in fact it took place on the 23rd.

Michigan State was a game over .500 in the Big Ten after their upset of Iowa.  But this would be a tough test.  Michigan came into Jenison Field House on an 11-game winning streak and poised to make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1977.  Furthermore, they had no senior in the starting lineup.  Their star was junior Roy Tarpley.  He was joined in the front line by juniors Richard Rellford and Butch Wade.  Rellford and Wade were physical while Tarpley was more finesse.

Their back court attack consisted of freshman Gary Grant and sophomores Garde Thompson and Antoine Joubert.  Joubert was usually the starting point guard but came off the bench for this game because he missed a practice during the week.  Thompson started in his spot and got the Wolverines off to a good start.  He found Rellford on the break for a layup and then hit two quick field goals.  Jud Heathcote had to call a quick timeout with his team down 6-0.

Thompson hit another field goal after Sam Vincent finally hit for the Spartans.  Michigan State was able to force two quick fouls on Tarpley, but Roy stayed in the game and hit two turnaround jumpers from the post after the Spartans had cut it to one.  Thompson and Rellford then led Michigan on an 8-2 run before Tarpley committed his 3rd foul.

With that, he went to the bench and Vincent led Michigan State back as he had 14 first half points.  But Scott Skiles scored the Spartans final 6 points of the half to pull them even at 29 at the half.

Michigan State took what turned out to be their only lead early in the 2nd half as Larry Polec hit a wing jumper.  Joubert responded to his demotion by playing an excellent 2nd half.  His wing jumper gave Michigan the lead again and then a Tarpley turnaround from the wing put them up 37-33.

Michigan State came back to tie it but back-to-back Tarpley jumpers put the Wolverines up again and then reserve Robert Henderson’s follow-up gave Michigan a 45-39 lead.  Tarpley and Joubert then led the Wolverines to a double-digit lead.  It became as big as 55-43 when Joubert hit a tough layup on the break and was fouled.

Sam Vincent responded to Joubert’s three-point play with one of his own.  And then Skiles found Richard Mudd for a slam and the lead was cut to 57-50.  To add to the Spartans momentum, Tarpley picked up his 4th foul.  But Joubert and Grant helped push the lead back to double digits.

Michigan State made their final push as Sam Vincent’s 2nd three-point play of the half cut the lead to 62-57 with 2:47 left.  Then after Joubert missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Vincent came back down and scored again on a driving layup.  With there still being a shot clock, Michigan didn’t try to run out the clock.  They were aggressive instead and kept scoring.

Grant’s pull-up from the baseline and then two Thompson free throws kept the Spartans at bay.  But then Tarpley committed his 5th foul on an offensive foul and Skiles made both ends of the 1-and-1 to cut the lead to 66-63.  No problem as Thompson found Grant for a layup to break the press.

Vincent hit a wing pull-up to cut the lead to 70-67 with under 1:00 to go but then committed what could have been a fatal mistake.  Vincent reached and swiped the ball away from Michigan before the Wolverines inbounded it.  In 1985, that was classified as a two-shot technical foul.  But Thompson uncharacteristically missed both shots.

But the icing seemed to for sure be put on the cake when Joubert made two free throws and then Grant got a steal and layup.  Not so fast.  Vincent went coast-to-coast and then called Michigan State’s last timeout with 38 seconds left.  Grant then made 1-of-2 free throws to put Michigan up 75-69.  Skiles found Mudd for a baseline jumper and then Michigan committed a back court violation with 21 seconds left.

Ken Johnson then found Polec for a layup with 13 seconds left and the lead was two.  The Spartans sent the freshman Grant to the line for a 1-and-1.  He missed the front end and Michigan State had a chance to tie.  But Skiles missed a running top of the key jumper from beyond where the NBA three-point line would be at the buzzer.

Michigan would become a #1 seed in the Southeast Regional and would increase their winning streak to 17 games before they became Villanova’s first upset victim in the 2nd round, 59-55.  The Wolverines, with everybody returning, would climb as high as #2 in the rankings in 1986.  They were a 2-seed in the Midwest Regional but was upset again in the 2nd round by 7-seeded Iowa State.  After that, Tarpley began a tumultuous NBA career.  Gary Grant would also play in the NBA for 13 seasons.

Michigan State would finish the Big Ten season at 10-8 and would be a 10 seed in the Midwest Regional.  They would lose to 7-seed UAB in the 1st round, 70-68, despite 32 from Vincent.  But as was pretty typical for the 1985 Spartans, Vincent and Skiles were the only ones in double figures.  Skiles would lead the Spartans farther into the 1986 NCAA tournament, which will be covered in the next College Basketball post.

Michigan starters (points scored)

Richard Rellford (13) – Small Forward

Butch Wade (0) – Power Forward

Roy Tarpley (15) – Center

Gary Grant (13) – Point Guard

Garde Thompson (14) – Shooting Guard

Michigan bench (points scored)

Antoine Joubert (18)

Robert Henderson (2)

Leslie Rockymore (0)

Michigan Coach: Bill Frieder

Michigan State starters (points scored)

Larry Polec (10) – Small Forward

Richard Mudd (7) – Power Forward

Ken Johnson (2) – Center

Scott Skiles (16) – Point Guard

Sam Vincent (34) – Shooting Guard

Michigan State bench (points scored)

Darryl Johnson (4)

Barry Fordham (0)

Ralph Walker (0)

Greg Pedro (0)

Michigan State Coach: Jud Heathcote


Roy Tarpley (#42 in white) going against Villanova’s Harold Pressley.  Top-seeded Michigan was upset by Villanova in the 1985 NCAA tournament *photo courtesy of Villanova hoops

February 28, 1985 – USC Trojans 80 @UCLA Bruins 78 (4OT)

In the bitter rivalry between the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles, one team has dominated in a major sport.  For the most part, USC has a better football history but in Men’s Basketball, UCLA has far and away dominated the rivalry.

This was personified in 1985 when USC was going for its first season sweep of UCLA since 1951.  The Trojans had won the first game in double overtime when sophomore Derrick Dowell had 24 points and 21 rebounds.  Dowell was joined in the starting lineup by junior point guard Larry Friend and seniors Clayton Olivier, Ron Holmes and Wayne Carlander.  Nobody on the USC roster played a game in the NBA.

After a disappointing 1984, UCLA hired former guard Walt Hazzard as head coach.  Hazzard had future NBA star and sophomore Reggie Miller on the roster.  Reggie wasn’t quite the Reggie Miller we would come to know and love (or hate).  His sister Cheryl Miller was playing at USC at the time and Reggie was still hearing chants of ‘Cheryl’s better!’  UCLA also had senior leaders Brad Wright, Nigel Miguel, and Gary Maloncon who were the only ones playing that was a part of UCLA’s last NCAA tournament team in 1983.

Because this game at Pauley Pavilion went 4 overtimes, the ESPN Classic replay only showed the last 5 minutes of regulation.  USC was up 55-52 and Wayne Carlander had 29 points.  But not all was well for USC.  Dowell and Friend had 4 fouls.  After UCLA cut it to one, sophomore guard Montel Hatcher fouled out on a cheap foul and Hazzard got a technical arguing it.  Carlander and Friend each hit two free throws to give USC a 59-54 lead.

In 1985, the Pac-10 was one of the few leagues that still didn’t play with a shot clock.  So USC’s 5-point lead was perhaps larger.  They maintained it until under 2:00 when Dowell fouled out with 4 points and no field goals.  Maloncon hit 1-of-2 free throws and then Friend hit two free throws after sophomore Corey Gaines fouled him.  USC led 63-57.

But Gaines then found Wright in the post.  Brad pump faked Olivier, drew the foul and made the basket.  Furthermore, Olivier fouled out and Wright’s three-point play cut it to 63-60.  UCLA cut into it further when Friend, this time, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Miguel took it coast-to-coast for a layup.  Gaines then committed his 4th foul but again Friend missed the front end with 32 seconds left.  But UCLA lost the rebound out of bounds.  Carlander then made 1-of-2 free throws for his 34th point and UCLA got a timeout with 16 seconds left, down 64-62.

UCLA worked the ball trying to get it inside.  But with time running out, Gaines took it to the elbow, pulled up and nailed the jumper that ultimately sent the game into overtime.  Corey Gaines would eventually transfer to Loyola Marymount to play along with Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble (who ironically started their careers at USC) and be the start of Paul Westhead’s up-tempo offense.

The overtime offense eventually started when Trojans reserve Glenn Smith hit a pull-up in the lane.  Brad Wright responded with a banker from the post but he hurt himself on the play.  Wright was out for the rest of the first overtime.  With that, USC reserve big man Charlie Simpson took advantage and put back a Smith miss.  Miguel tied it again with two free throws with 1:13 left.  USC ran it down for the last shot but Ron Holmes missed a wild shot and the game continued, tied at 68.

The 2nd overtime was about as exciting as watching grass grow.  Each team held the ball but nobody scored.  The game went into a third overtime after Miller missed a long jumper from the top of the key at the buzzer.  It was UCLA’s first field goal attempt in the 2nd overtime.

The 3rd overtime got off faster when Carlander put back a Smith miss and was fouled.  Wayne missed the free throw but USC retrieved the ball and Carlander scored again for his 38th point.  Each team then traded free throws and missed free throws until a Maloncon banker cut the USC lead to 73-72 with 1:26 left.  UCLA had a chance to lead after Miller got a steal, but Maloncon missed a baseline jumper and Friend was fouled on the rebound.

Larry made 1-of-2 free throws with 36 seconds left to give USC a 74-72 lead.  Friend clearly felt the pressure as he airballed the second free throw (and he didn’t airball it short, he airballed it to the left).  Miguel drove to the lane to try and tie it.  He missed a jumper.  Maloncon got the rebound and missed again.  But the hero of regulation, Corey Gaines, got another rebound and laid it in.  USC got a timeout with 8 seconds left and Carlander got a good shot from the elbow, but he missed and the game continued farther.

Early in the 4th overtime, Gaines fouled out and Holmes made 1-of-2 free throws.  Then Carlander lobbed to Simpson to give USC a 77-74 lead.  Wright lobbed to Miguel to cut it to one and Holmes again hit 1-of-2 free throws and USC led 78-76.  Miller tied it with a pull-up jumper on the baseline after a spin.  This was Reggie’s 20th point but 15 of them came in the first half.

UCLA reserve sophomore Dave Immel got a steal and UCLA held the ball for the last shot and got a timeout with 15 seconds left.  After the timeout, Immel drove the lane and was fouled.  However, Immel was long on both free throws.  Friend got the ball and drove coast-to-coast.  He found Simpson for a layup at the buzzer to stun the crowd and give USC a season sweep of the Bruins for the first time in 34 years.

USC ended up tied for first place in the Pac-10 with Washington (who had Detlef Schrempf by the way).  UCLA finished tied for 3rd with Oregon State and Arizona.  But USC, Washington, Oregon State and Arizona ended up being the Pac-10 representatives in the NCAA tournament.  Each lost in the first round.  USC was an 8-seed in the Midwest and lost to Illinois State 58-55.  UCLA did better in the tournament it got invited to, the NIT.  They won that tournament by beating Indiana.

USC starters (points scored)

Wayne Carlander (38) – Small Forward

Derrick Dowell (4) – Power Forward

Clayton Olivier (2) – Center

Larry Friend (9) – Point Guard

Ron Holmes (13) – Shooting Guard

USC bench (points scored)

Glenn Smith (6)

Kevin Steward (2)

Charlie Simpson (6)

USC Coach: Stan Morrison

UCLA starters (points scored)

Reggie Miller (20) – Small Forward

Craig Jackson (4) – Power Forward

Brad Wright (15) – Center

Nigel Miguel (17) – Point Guard

Montel Hatcher (2) – Shooting Guard

UCLA bench (points scored)

Corey Gaines (8)

Gary Maloncon (12)

Kelvin Butler (0)

Dave Immel (0)

UCLA Coach: Walt Hazzard

March 2, 1985 – (#11)Kansas Jayhawks 88 @Oklahoma State Cowboys 79

Larry Brown was in his second season at Kansas and was steadily building the nice powerhouse that the Jayhawks have been since.  For this Kansas team, the prize was freshman Danny Manning.  But three juniors also led the way.  Center Greg Dreiling and swingmen Ron Kellogg and Calvin Thompson.  The floor leader was sophomore Cedric Hunter with fellow sophomore Mark Turgeon coming off the bench.  The Jayhawks were 23-6 coming into the final regular season game and were locked in 2nd place in the Big Eight (the Big 12 was known as the Big Eight until 1996).

Oklahoma State was perhaps best known in history for winning back-to-back National Championships in 1945 & 1946 with Bob Kurland in the middle.  But since 1958, the Cowboys had only made two NCAA tournament appearances.  The latest of which came in 1983 when they won the Big Eight tournament and was a #5 seed in the West Regional.  They lost in the 1st round to Princeton and by 1985, they had fallen back on hard times.  They were 12-14 and last in the Big Eight going into their season home finale.

But they did get a chance to start five seniors, three of which were part of that 1983 team.  Since none played in the NBA, the most famous of which later became the Kansas coach.  None other than Bill Self was the point guard.  Self and forwards Charles Williams and Rick Anderson, along with JC transfers center John Nielsen and guard Win Case were in the lineup.  Normal starters like Joe Atkinson came off the bench in this game.

It was over 1:00 into the game until we got the first basket, Charles Williams followed up a Bill Self miss.  But the Kansas swingmen then got going as Kellogg and Thompson each scored 8 points for Kansas’ first 16.  Then came Manning’s first field goal on a leaning jumper from the mid-post area.  Even with this, the Cowboys stayed in range.

But then after Manning hit a hook and then a turnaround inside, Kansas led 25-16 and Oklahoma State called a timeout.  Win Case’s shooting brought the Cowboys back to within five at one point in the half but Manning and eventually Dreiling dominated inside to push Kansas ahead.  Another highlight was a Turgeon alley-oop to Calvin Thompson.  The Jayhawks took a 43-32 lead at the half.

After each center traded baskets, Rick Anderson and Win Case hit field goals to bring the Cowboys within 45-38.  Then reserve David Taylor got a steal, finished on the break and was fouled.  The three-point play cut the lead to four.  Case then found Anderson for a baseline jumper.  Taylor hit a pull-up from the baseline and just like that, the game was tied at 45.

The momentum continued despite Charles Williams missing a breakaway layup.  Case and John Nielsen hit field goals to match a Kansas bucket.  Then the Cowboys took their biggest lead at four when Taylor got a steal and Williams, this time, finished with a runner off the glass.  Kansas called a timeout down 51-47.

After the timeout, the momentum turned a full 180 degrees.  Cedric Hunter got a three-point play on a drive down the lane.  Then Manning hit two turnaround jumpers in the post and later tipped in a Tad Boyle miss.  Freshman Milt Newton (who took Kellogg’s playing time in the 2nd half) hit a pull-up banker on the break to give Kansas a 60-53 lead.

Then Newton hit Manning with a lob and after a steal, Turgeon hit a tough running hook on the break and was fouled.  Although that three-point play wasn’t completed, the Jayhawks still led 64-53 and two Manning free throws increased it to 13.  It was then that Bill Self saw his first 2nd half action.  He got Oklahoma State back on the board with a driving banker and a foul.

But Dreiling and Manning kept Kansas ahead by double digits.  You know its a bad day for Oklahoma State when on one play they got a deflection on a pass to Manning.  But after saving it inbounds, the ball bounced off somebody’s foot right to Manning for a slam.  Finally with 4:05 left, Case hit two free throws to cut Kansas’ lead to 76-68.  The lead might have been less except the Cowboys were struggling at the line.

Dreiling fouled out as Rick Anderson cut it back to eight on a drive.  But he missed his 2nd straight free throw and Calvin Thompson’s two free throws with 2:46 left put Kansas back up 80-70.  Anderson was fouled again on an offensive rebound and this time made two free throws.  The Cowboys then sent Hunter to the line.  Cedric shot just over 50% from the line and missed two front ends.  Self hit a runner to cut it to 80-74 and then senior Tad Boyle went to the line for a 1-and-1.  He missed the front end and Self drove and drew Hunter’s 5th foul on a blocking call.

However, Self missed the front end of the 1-and-1 and fouled Turgeon with 1:20 left.  Mark missed the front end and Case hit a jumper from the foul line with 1:07 left to cut the lead to 80-76.  Kansas quickly broke the press and Turgeon was fouled by Mitch Jones on a shot, although it looked like a clean block.  This time Mark made both free throws.

Case hit again from the top of the key to cut the lead back to four.  But Kansas broke the press again as Thompson found Boyle for a layup.  The game was later sealed when the Jayhawks broke the press again and Manning got a breakaway slam for his 35th point, a season high.

Kansas, after losing in the Semifinal of the Big Eight tournament, was a 3-seed in the Southeast Regional.  They were upset in the 2nd round by 11-seeded Auburn 66-64 as Manning was held to 7 points on 3-for-12 from the field.  It wouldn’t be Manning’s most famous struggle in an NCAA tournament game.  But even with that, all five Kansas starters would be back in 1986 to make an NCAA tournament run.

Oklahoma State would have to wait until 1991 to see the NCAA tournament.  This would be when Eddie Sutton took over and built a nice program that is still going strong in basketball.

Kansas starters (points scored)

Ron Kellogg (8) – Small Forward

Danny Manning (35) – Power Forward

Greg Dreiling (10) – Center

Cedric Hunter (3) – Point Guard

Calvin Thompson (14) – Shooting Guard

Kansas bench (points scored)

Tad Boyle (4)

Mark Turgeon (6)

Chris Piper (0)

Altonio Campbell (0)

Milt Newton (8)

Kansas Coach: Larry Brown

Oklahoma State starters (points scored)

Charles Williams (10) – Small Forward

Rick Anderson (12) – Power Forward

John Nielsen (8) – Center

Bill Self (7) – Point Guard

Win Case (22) – Shooting Guard

Oklahoma State bench (points scored)

Terry Faggins (6)

Joe Atkinson (6)

Shawn Baker (0)

Mitch Jones (1)

Ray Alford (0)

David Taylor (7)

Oklahoma State Coach: Paul Hansen

self oklahoma state

Self would later coach Kansas to a National Championship *photo courtesy of Kansas City Confidential

March 10, 1985 – ACC Tournament Championship: (#6)North Carolina Tarheels 54, (#9)Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 57

In the ACC in 1985, three teams finished at the top with a 9-5 record.  Two of them squared off in the Championship Game.  Georgia Tech was technically the top seed but each team wore their home jerseys (Georgia Tech wore yellow at home).

Georgia Tech, mainly because of injuries, were down to mainly its starting five.  Senior forward Scott Petway teamed with senior center Yvon Joseph and junior forward John Salley.  The back court consisted of junior Mark Price and sophomore Bruce Dalrymple.  Because these games played most of the last two games in the ACC tournament, they were pretty tired.

That along with perhaps championship game jitters contributed to the Yellow Jackets slow start.  Meanwhile, the Tarheels started fast.  Brad Daugherty hit a jumper from the foul line.  Kenny Smith hit a pull-up from the elbow after a steal and then Steve Hale found Daugherty in the post for a jumper.  It wasn’t until 16:45 on the clock that Salley got Georgia Tech on the board.

But UNC’s run continued as Hale hit a driving layup in transition and Daugherty hit another jumper from the post.  Even reserve Warren Martin got into the act with two buckets as the Tarheels took a 14-3 lead.  Mark Price uncharacteristically missed two open shots on one transition break.  His third shot went in-and-out from the wing.

He would get it going but not before Salley hit back-to-back jumpers from inside and then Dalrymple went baseline and got a basket on a Martin goaltend.  Then Bruce found Price for a corner jumper and the lead was cut to 14-11.

After that first shot went in, Price hit his next several but Carolina was able to keep the lead thanks to Daugherty, Smith and Hale.  Their biggest lead was seven, but two Joseph free throws cut it to 30-27 with 9 seconds left in the half.  But Carolina got it down and Dalrymple committed a silly reach-in on Smith as Kenny went up for a tough shot.  With 2 seconds left, Smith gave Carolina a 32-27 lead at the half with two free throws.

As you could probably guess with the score, the points didn’t come fast and furious.  This meant the game was in Carolina’s tempo.  The Tarheels crawled to a 38-30 lead when Joe Wolf hit a turnaround from the post.  But then Dalrymple tipped in a Joseph miss.  Price hit a pull-up wing jumper on a dime after a fake.  Dalrymple hit a wing jumper.  Then after a timeout, Petway alley-ooped to Salley and the game was tied at 38.

Carolina was uncharacteristically turning the ball over a bit more than usual.  This helped contribute to Georgia Tech’s 8-0 run.  But with the game tied at 40, Smith hit a wing jumper and then Wolf hit a turnaround jump hook from the post.  The Yellow Jackets called timeout with 7:47 left and Carolina leading 44-40.

After the timeout, Dalrymple cut it to two with a pull-up from just inside the elbow.  But again the points came at a slow pace.  Yvon Joseph finally tied it at 48 with 3:36 left with two free throws.  It took almost two minutes for the next points to be scored.

Kenny Smith drove and was fouled.  With 1:38 left, he hit two free throws to give Carolina a 50-48 lead.  But Salley put back a Price miss to tie it with 1:16 left.  Then Joseph stole an entry pass to Daugherty in the post.  Wolf fouled Yvon on a reach-in on the steal.  The big Haitian hit the front end of a 1-and-1 with 52 seconds left to give Georgia Tech their first lead.

He missed the second but Salley got the offensive rebound and Georgia Tech killed clock while Carolina let them because the shot clock was still on.  But Price and drew Warren Martin’s 5th foul with 22 seconds left.  Anybody that knows anything about Mark Price wouldn’t be shocked to hear that he nailed two free throws to give the Yellow Jackets a 53-50 lead.

Smith hit a baseline pull-up to cut it to one and UNC got a timeout with 14 seconds left.  Then something interesting happened when Georgia Tech inbounded the ball.  The clock didn’t start for at least 8 seconds when Price and the Jackets were running around trying to avoid the foul.  Because instant replay was about as plausible as cell phones at the time, the officials discussed and put 8 seconds on the clock when Price was finally fouled.  It didn’t end up costing Georgia Tech as Price again hit both.

Then Dalrymple got a steal and sealed it with two free throws.  Georgia Tech, in their 4th year in the ACC, had not only tied for the regular season championship but won the tournament.  It may have helped a little that the tournament was played at the Omni in Atlanta.

With the win, Georgia Tech was the #2 seed in the East Regional.  Unfortunately for the Jackets, Georgetown was the 1 seed in that Regional.  The Hoyas beat Georgia Tech 60-54 in the Regional Finals.  North Carolina was a 2-seed in the Southeast Regional and made it to the Regional Finals before becoming Villanova’s 3rd upset.

Georgetown, Villanova and St. John’s would create the only Final Four with three teams from the same conference.  The only regional that didn’t produce a Big East team was the Midwest (although it was close to).  It was the Midwest Regional that would have the one and two-point games covered next.

North Carolina starters (points scored)

Dave Popson (2) – Small Forward

Joe Wolf (4) – Power Forward

Brad Daugherty (16) – Center

Kenny Smith (16) – Point Guard

Steve Hale (8) – Shooting Guard

North Carolina bench (points scored)

Warren Martin (6)

Buzz Peterson (2)

Curtis Hunter (0)

North Carolina Coach: Dean Smith

Georgia Tech starters (points scored)

Scott Petway (2) – Small Forward

John Salley (14) – Power Forward

Yvon Joseph (13) – Center

Mark Price (16) – Point Guard

Bruce Dalrymple (12) – Shooting Guard

Georgia Tech bench (points scored)

Antoine Ford (0)

John Martinson (0)

Jack Mansell (0)

Georgia Tech Coach: Bobby Cremins

john_salley_1984_03_01 mark price

Future NBA stars John Salley (top) and Mark Price led Georgia Tech to the 1985 ACC Championship *photos courtesy of Spokeo and Ramblin Wreck

March 17, 1985 – Midwest Regional 2nd round: (#11)Boston College Eagles 74, (#3)Duke Blue Devils 73

Boston College was one of the last teams invited into the tournament, but they wouldn’t be one of the first to leave.  Michael Adams hit a game-winner against Texas Tech in the 1st round.  This snapped a four-game losing streak.  The prize was getting a chance to play Duke, who had beaten Pepperdine 75-62 in the 1st round.

This game was played in the Hofheinz Pavilion on the campus of the University of Houston.  Since Houston was far from Boston and Durham, North Carolina (and because Duke wasn’t quite Duke yet), the crowd was sparse for this game (a little over 3,000 people or so).  This was also the last game of the day after the UAB / Memphis State game (which Memphis State won in overtime and would play the winner of this game) in which the location of the schools is much closer than BC / Duke.

Duke came in at 23-7.  All of their losses were to ACC teams but they were banged up.  Mark Alarie had an injured hip pointer that affected his performance in this game.  6th man David Henderson also sprained his ankle in the 1st round and only played briefly in the 2nd half.

The stars of this game were the first to get on track.  BC’s first four points were scored by Michael Adams and Roger McCready, while Duke’s first field goals were scored by Alarie and Johnny Dawkins.  But Alarie committed two quick fouls and Duke relied on Jay Bilas and Tommy Amaker to put points on the board, not usually their role.

A Dawkins jumper in the lane gave Duke a 15-10 lead.  The Eagles responded with a 6-0 run to regain the lead.  Duke retook a 19-16 lead before Adams made a great shot with the right hand from behind the left side of the backboard, while Amaker was in his face too.  The 5’10” Adams then posted Amaker on the next possession and scored.

But then Duke scored the next 12 points, half of them from the free throw line.  It concluded when Amaker got a steal and layup.  But Boston College, led by Adams and McCready, brought the score back to 37-32 at the half.  McCready had 10 while Adams had 8 to lead BC.  Dawkins had 12 while Amaker had 8 in the first half.

Despite Adams committing his 3rd foul early in the 2nd half, BC went on a 6-0 run that concluded with an Adams elbow jumper to cut the lead to 39-38.  But Duke regained its advantage when Dawkins hit a nice up-and-under reverse shot after breaking the BC press and was fouled.  Bilas put back a Dawkins shot that was blocked on the next possession.  Later, Dawkins broke the press again and found Bilas for a three-point play.  Duke led 49-41 at this point.

But then McCready scored five straight points.  First, he was fouled while making a strong move in the post and scoring a basket.  Then Roger banked one in from inside to cut the lead to 49-46.  Eventually an Adams runner from the elbow tied the game at 53.  Then a pull-up from the foul line from Adams gave BC a 55-54 lead.

Adams then lobbed to Troy Bowers for a layup to give BC a 57-55 lead.  But then Michael committed his 4th foul and sat down.  The Eagles were able to keep the lead for awhile but Duke regained it at 64-63 when freshman Billy King (yes, the future NBA GM) split a pair of free throws.  It was at this time at 7:11 to go that Adams came back in.

Duke countered by slowing the game down.  In the last NCAA tournament without a shot clock, Duke killed about a minute and 30 seconds before missing.  BC took the lead when McCready hit two free throws and then increased it to 67-64 with an Adams runner on the break.  Reserve center Tyrone Scott hit a free throw with 4:03 left to give BC a 68-64 lead after Alarie committed his 4th foul.

Amaker responded with a jumper in the lane.  Adams’ runner in the lane bounced in at the other end.  Amaker then found Alarie for a baseline jumper and Duke called a timeout with 2:49 left, down 70-68.  40 seconds later, Alarie fouled out on an Adams drive.  Michael made 1-of-2 to give him 19 points.  At the other end, Bilas missed two free throws and BC had the ball and a three-point lead.

With 1:07 left, King fouled Terrance Talley.  He made both free throws for a 73-68 BC lead.  Dawkins hit a jumper from the right of the lane and Duke called its last timeout with 55 seconds left.  This timeout ended up costing them.  With 43 seconds left, King fouled Talley again.  This time, Terrence missed the front end.  Duke came down and Dawkins missed two jumpers, but got a third chance and was fouled.

Dawkins made the first but missed the second and King fouled McCready on the rebound.  But Roger missed the front end, giving Duke a chance to tie it.  Dawkins got the ball on the right baseline, pump faked Stu Primus and drew the foul with 14 seconds left.  However, Dawkins missed the front end and Bilas went over Tyrone Scott’s back on the rebound and was caught.

Scott made 1-of-2 free throws with 13 seconds left to give BC a 74-71 lead.  Dawkins found Amaker for a bank shot with 5 seconds left but because Duke was out of timeouts, the clock kept running and ran out.  BC had pulled the upset and now were set to go to the Regionals in Dallas to play Memphis State.

Boston College starters (points scored)

Terrence Talley (2) – Small Forward

Roger McCready (20) – Power Forward

Trevor Gordon (0) – Center

Michael Adams (19) – Point Guard

Dominic Pressley (7) – Shooting Guard

Boston College bench (points scored)

Troy Bowers (8)

Stu Primus (8)

Skip Barry (4)

Mark Schmidt (0)

Tyrone Scott (6)

Boston College Coach: Gary Williams

Duke starters (points scored)

Dan Meagher (3) – Small Forward

Mark Alarie (12) – Power Forward

Jay Bilas (15) – Center

Tommy Amaker (19) – Point Guard

Johnny Dawkins (18) – Shooting Guard

Duke bench (points scored)

David Henderson (2)

Weldon Williams (2)

Kevin Strickland (0)

Billy King (2)

Duke Coach: Mike Krzyzewski

March 21, 1985 – Midwest Regional Semifinal: (#5)Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 84, (#1)Oklahoma Sooners 86

For the Regionals in Dallas, there were three great games played.  The first of which featured two future NBA stars.  Louisiana Tech, with Karl Malone, took on Oklahoma, with Wayman Tisdale.

Louisiana Tech came into the game with a 29-2 record, one of their losses had been to Oklahoma on December 30.  With Malone leading the way, the Bulldogs top six players averaged in or around double figures scoring.  The Bulldogs won the Southland Conference and were a #5 seed.  They beat #12 Pitt and upset #4 Ohio State easily.

Oklahoma, with junior and three-time All-American Tisdale, had been ranked all season and climbed to as high as number 4.  Their other future NBA player was JC transfer Anthony Bowie.  Oklahoma played primarily six players with Bowie, Tisdale, Darryl ‘Choo’ Kennedy and reserve David Johnson in the front court.  The guards were junior Linwood Davis and sophomore Tim McCalister.  Oklahoma, the highest scoring team in the nation, won the Big Eight title and was on an 8-game winning streak.

The game started with Malone and fellow Bulldog big man Willie Simmons giving Tech an early lead.  Then the Bulldogs backcourt of Alan Davis and Wayne Smith each hit field goals for a 12-6 Tech lead.  Malone hit his first five shots, all were from the outside.  Meanwhile, Tisdale got off to a slow start and committed two early fouls.

Louisiana Tech took as big as an eight point lead before Bowie started a run with two elbow jumpers.  Then after Malone’s fifth basket, Tisdale and David Johnson hit turnaround jumpers in the post.  Then after Malone committed his 2nd foul, Johnson alley-ooped to Tisdale to tie the game at 26.

Kennedy then followed up a McCalister miss on the break to keep the run going and give Oklahoma the lead.  Bowie then foun McCalister for a jumper in transition.  After that, the Sooners went on a 3-on-2 break in which the ball went from Bowie to McCalister to Johnson for a layup.  Malone fed Wayne Smith on a cut to trim the lead to 32-28 at the half.

Tisdale scored five quick points in the 2nd half to give Oklahoma a seven point lead.  They increased it to 43-34 when McCalister hit a runner on a 3-on-1 break.  The Sooners increased that lead to ten but Alan Davis hit three straight field goals to not let the margin get over 10.

The game went back-and-forth on a fast pace as the Oklahoma lead stayed from 6 to 10 throughout much of the 2nd half.  Finally, with 4:25 left and Oklahoma still up 68-62, Tech reserve (and 2nd leading scorer) Willie Bland pick-pocketed McCalister in the back court and slammed one down to swing the momentum.

Two offensive rebounds and put backs from Bland cut the lead to 72-70.  Then Smith got a steal and Davis hit a baseline jumper to tie the game.  Oklahoma got a timeout with 2:19 left.  After the timeout, Tisdale hit a turnaround from the post to give the Sooners a 74-72 lead.

Each team then traded missed field goals and free throws as well as turnovers.  The biggest turnover came on a 5-second inbounding violation from Oklahoma with 1:11 left.  Louisiana Tech forward Robert Godbolt then got fouled with 50 seconds left.  But he missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Bland had to foul Bowie with 45 seconds to go.

Bowie missed the front end too and Tech got the rebound.  Without a timeout, they worked it around to Wayne Smith at the elbow.  Smith airballed his shot but it ended up being a perfect pass to Bland, who tied it with the put back.  Oklahoma didn’t call a timeout either and Linwood Davis missed in the lane.  Godbolt’s desperation heave hit the backboard and we were going into overtime.

The overtime was a good thing to Louisiana Tech as they had won their last 8 OT games (however, one obviously questions whether they played an opponent to the quality of Oklahoma in any of those games).  Off the jump ball, the Sooners proved that fact as Bowie quickly found Davis for a layup.  Bland tied it with another stick back.

After Malone committed his 4th foul, Tisdale hit two free throws.  Then after Malone found Bland for another layup, Tisdale hit two jumpers from the post to give the Sooners an 82-78 lead.  Bland penetrated and found Malone for a layup to cut the lead to two.  But with 56 seconds left, Bowie drove baseline for a layup.  But Smith pushed it right back and fed Malone for a short banker.

Then on a 2-on-2 break after the Sooners broke the press, Bowie took it himself and charged into Malone while trying to slam it.  The foul was called on Bowie with 36 seconds left.  On the next Tech possession, Malone penetrated and found Godbolt who was fouled.  With 18 seconds left, Godbolt tied it with two free throws.

Billy Tubbs again didn’t call an Oklahoma timeout.  McCalister somehow got the ball to Tisdale through a triple-team in the post.  Wayman went up with his customary turnaround jumper with 6 seconds left.  The ball bounced and rolled around the rim before finally falling in.  Not only did it give Oklahoma the lead but it killed four seconds on the rim before the ball went in.  Tech had to call a timeout with 2 seconds left to go the full-length of the court.

The long pass went to Malone who touch passed it to Smith.  Smith, instead of shooting, called a timeout and got it just in the nick of time.  Can you imagine the fall-out Smith would have received if that didn’t work out, but in Wayne’s defense (in a way) he didn’t look anywhere near confident on any jumper he attempted during the game.  So maybe it was best he called timeout.

Anyways, with 1 second still left.  Godbolt tried to alley-oop it to Malone.  But the inbounds pass almost went in the basket and Malone was unable to get a hand on it.

That would be the farthest Louisiana Tech would ever reach in the NCAA tournament.  They haven’t made an appearance since 1991.  Meanwhile, Oklahoma would get a chance to shoot for its first Final Four since 1947.

Louisiana Tech starters (points scored)

Robert Godbolt (10) – Small Forward

Karl Malone (20) – Power Forward

Willie Simmons (10) – Center

Alan Davis (18) – Point Guard

Wayne Smith (6) – Shooting Guard

Louisiana Tech bench (points scored)

Willie Bland (18)

Adam Frank (2)

Louisiana Tech Coach: Andy Russo

Oklahoma starters (points scored)

Anthony Bowie (16) – Small Forward

Darryl Kennedy (21) – Power Forward

Wayman Tisdale (23) – Center

Linwood Davis (6) – Point Guard

Tim McCalister (10) – Shooting Guard

Oklahoma bench (points scored)

David Johnson (10)

Shawn Clark (0)

Chuck Watson (0)

Oklahoma Coach: Billy Tubbs

wayman vs malone

Wayman Tisdale going against Karl Malone in the 1985 Midwest Regional *photo courtesy of SI vault

March 21, 1985 – Midwest Regional Semifinal: (#11)Boston College Eagles 57, (#2)Memphis State Tigers 59

The second game of the night from Dallas was just as good as the first.  The 2-seeded Tigers had just survived an overtime game against UAB 67-66 on an Andre Turner foul-line jumper.  The 5’10” Turner continued his legend in this game.

He got a banker off the tip to get the Tigers on the board against BC.  But Michael Adams came right back with a pull-up from the foul line.  While the point guard matchup was even, Memphis State had a big advantage down low.  They ran 6’10” Keith Lee and 7’0″ William Bedford against an Eagles team who’s tallest player was 6’8″.

Bedford hit a hook to give the Tigers a 6-4 lead and then took an alley-oop from Turner.  On the other hand, the All-American Lee (who had already had his number retired by Memphis State) committed three fouls before he could even attempt a shot.  But senior Willie Becton came in for him and nailed several wing jumpers.

Bedford also had it going but BC stayed with the Tigers in the 1st half led by Stu Primus.  The senior swingman who sometimes started but was a reserve in this game hit eight consecutive Eagle points on four outside shots.  His fifth field goal from the perimeter cut the lead to 27-25.  Bedford then got an offensive goaltending on a Turner drive.  This allowed Adams to tie the game on a baseline runner.

Adams’ steal and layup gave BC a 31-29 lead with 49 seconds left in the half.  But eventually the Tigers got it to Bedford, who hit two free throws to tie the game with 4 seconds left.  Bedford had scored 15 points in the first half as the size mismatch was proving to be a factor.

Two more turnarounds from Bedford early in the 2nd half gave Memphis State a 38-33 lead and forced Gary Williams to call a timeout.  It didn’t help as Bedford tipped in a Lee miss to increase the lead.  Lee then got his first field goal when he hit a short jumper and was fouled.  The three-point play put the Tigers up 45-35.  Turner increased it to 12 with an elbow jumper.

Just when it looked like BC was down and out halfway through the 2nd half, unexpected help came.  Senior Terrence Talley, who averaged about 5 ppg in Big East competition, drove for a layup and then got another layup after the BC press got a steal.  After another Bedford jumper from the post, Talley hit an up-and-under after Adams fed him.

Memphis State regained a 12-point lead at 53-41 when Lee tipped in a Bedford miss and then Becton hit his fourth wing jumper of the game.  But then Talley tipped in a Trevor Gordon missed free throw.  Primus got a block and Adams pushed it to Talley for a reverse.

The press then took its major effect as Gordon got a steal and Adams hit a pull-up.  Then Gordon got a three-point play and Talley hit another free throw to cut the lead to 53-51.  Talley got another steal and Roger McCready finished with a layup to tie the game.  Lee and Primus then exchanged field goals before a timeout was called with 5:01 left and the game tied at 55.

For whatever reason, the rest of this game seems to have vanished from me (I’m sorry, nobody is perfect).  But I can tell you that with the game tied at 57, BC had the ball with over 2:00 left.  They held it and called a timeout with 14 seconds left.  But Memphis State came out pressuring the ball and freshman Vincent Askew stole it from McCready.  Askew penetrated to the baseline before finding Andre Turner at the foul-line.  Turner took a few dribbles to his left before hitting a jumper at the buzzer to send BC home and send Memphis State on to play Oklahoma.

Boston College’s loss denied the chance for there to be four Big East teams in the 1985 Final Four.  Ironically, the three Big East teams that did make it (Georgetown, St. John’s and Villanova) beat three ACC teams in the Regional Finals (Georgia Tech, NC State and North Carolina).  So just to think, it could have been an ACC Final Four party instead of the Big East.

BC’s next tournament appearance was in 1994, where they would make another run as an underdog.

Boston College starters (points scored)

Terrence Talley (11) – Small Forward

Roger McCready (9) – Power Forward

Trevor Gordon (9) – Center

Michael Adams (12) – Point Guard

Dominic Pressley (2) – Shooting Guard

Boston College bench (points scored)

Stu Primus (14)

Troy Bowers (0)

Skip Barry (0)

Mark Schmidt (0)

Tyrone Scott (0)

Boston College Coach: Gary Williams

Memphis State starters (points scored)

Baskerville Holmes (4) – Small Forward

Keith Lee (8) – Power Forward

William Bedford (23) – Center

Andre Turner (12) – Point Guard

Vincent Askew (2) – Shooting Guard

Memphis State bench (points scored)

Willie Becton (8)

Dwight Boyd (2)

Memphis State Coach: Dana Kirk

March 23, 1985 – Midwest Regional Final: (#2)Memphis State Tigers 63, (#1)Oklahoma Sooners 61

With two game-winners already under Turner’s belt, he started the Regional Championship with a foul-line jumper.  But with that, each team started slowly even though the pace was fast.  Memphis State hit one of their first six shots while Oklahoma hit one for their first five.  The Sooners one hit was when Darryl ‘Choo’ Kennedy found Tim McCalister at the foul line.

But then Kennedy and McCalister each hit wing jumpers.  Then David Johnson (who was starting for Linwood Davis to match the height of Memphis State) followed up a McCalister miss and, later McCalister hit a runner to give the Sooners a 10-5 lead.  Tisdale missed his first few shots but he did find McCalister for another wing jumper to keep Oklahoma ahead.

William Bedford picked up three early fouls in this game and Keith Lee came to his rescue.  Lee’s first field goal was a driving layup and a foul after a good pump fake from the post.  This three-point play cut the Sooners lead to 15-12.  Lee’s turnarounds matched Oklahoma’s outside shooting.  All in all, Lee scored 13 points before committing his 3rd foul late in the half.

Tisdale’s first field goal was a put back the gave Oklahoma a 23-18 lead but once again, Memphis State got a spark from Willie Becton off the bench.  He hit two more wing jumpers and his free throw gave the Tigers a 27-24 lead.  Bowie then hit back-t-back field goals to give the Sooners the lead again.

But after Memphis State regained its three-point lead, Lee’s third foul came when David Johnson alley-ooped it to Tisdale, who finished with a left-handed slam over Lee.  This three-point play tied the game at 31 with 1:55 left.  Memphis State had every intention to run the clock out with Bedford and Lee both on the bench with three fouls.

McCalister put a wrench in that plan at first with a steal and layup with 1:00 left.  But the Tigers were more successful the second time around and Turner again beat the buzzer with a foul-line jumper, but this buzzer-beater only ended the first half tied at 33.

Bedford started the 2nd half fast with six quick points but he committed his 4th foul with Memphis State ahead by four.  Lee helped him out with two more turnaround jumpers from the post before he committed his 4th foul.  With that, coach Dana Kirk decided to bring Bedford back in for Lee.

William responded by finishing two alley-oop passes from Turner against the Sooners zone to keep Memphis State ahead.  The Tigers took a 53-47 lead when Becton found Turner for a foul-line jumper.  They had a chance to increase it but freshman Dewayne Bailey missed a layup.

Darryl Kennedy hit back-to-back field goals to cut the lead to 53-51 with just over 5:00 left.  It was then that Kirk decided to hold the ball, even though Oklahoma was now in a pressure man-to-man defense.  The strategy did work a bit as Memphis State was able to get a timeout with 4:01 left to get Lee back in.  Then even though Lee missed a turnaround with 2:47 left, Oklahoma looked like the fast-paced team that hadn’t seen the ball in 2 1/2 minutes and rushed its possession that ended in a Bowie airball.

Oklahoma got the ball back with a chance to tie it but Lee stole a Kennedy entry pass to Tisdale, who was being shut down by Memphis State’s collapsing zone.  Lee then got a layup with 1:33 left after freshman Dwight Boyd penetrated and found him.

Oklahoma finally found the range but each basket was matched by Keith Lee hitting both ends of two 1-and-1’s to keep the Tigers ahead.  With 35 seconds left, Turner got a breakaway to give Memphis State a 61-57 lead.  But Tisdale got a basket on a Bedford goaltending for his 11th point.  Turner hit two free throws before Kennedy hit an elbow jumper with 13 seconds left to cut the lead to 63-61.  Oklahoma used its last timeout.

McCalister then fouled out after getting the call on Turner moments after a palming non-call on Andre.  Justice was perhaps served when Turner missed the front end of a 1-and-1 giving Oklahoma a chance to tie.  But Bowie’s runner from the wing went off the back of the rim at the buzzer.

Memphis State would be the only non-Big East team in the Final Four but were unable to fully crash the party as they lost to cinderella Villanova 52-45 in the National Semifinal.  This set up a Villanova/Georgetown classic in the title game.

Oklahoma, despite losing Tisdale after his junior year to the NBA, would have good teams the next two seasons but didn’t get another chance at the Final Four until 1988.  No prominent player on the 1985 team was still around.

Memphis State starters (points scored)

Baskerville Holmes (4) – Small Forward

Keith Lee (23) – Power Forward

William Bedford (12) – Center

Andre Turner (12) – Point Guard

Vincent Askew (1) – Shooting Guard

Memphis State bench (points scored)

Dewayne Bailey (2)

Willie Becton (7)

Dwight Boyd (2)

Memphis State Coach: Dana Kirk

Oklahoma starters (points scored)

Darryl Kennedy (16) – Small Forward

Wayman Tisdale (11) – Power Forward

David Johnson (10) – Center

Tim McCalister (14) – Point Guard

Anthony Bowie (10) – Shooting Guard

Oklahoma bench (points scored)

Linwood Davis (0)

Shawn Clark (0)

Oklahoma Coach: Billy Tubbs


All-American Keith Lee led the Memphis State Tigers to the Final Four in 1985 *photo courtesy of Privateer Island

April 1, 1985 – National Championship Game: (#8)Villanova Wildcats 66, (#1)Georgetown Hoyas 64

Perhaps more so in retrospect, it’s not as big a surprise that Villanova beat Georgetown in the National Championship Game.  They did know each other well being in the same conference.  And not only had the Wildcats played the Hoyas well during the season, they held Georgetown to under 60 points in the last 3 matchups.  Not only that but Villanova had beaten Georgetown in the last two seasons.

But after the way Georgetown destroyed St. John’s in the National Semifinal (holding Chris Mullin to 8 points while winning 77-59), they seemed to be a lock.  The Hoyas had the best defense in the country with Patrick Ewing anchoring it.  But Villanova had a sound strategy, perhaps from experience.

They took advantage of this being the last game played without a shot clock.  They moved the ball around and only took good open shots from the outside.  They also attacked Patrick Ewing and ended up getting good shots as Ewing wasn’t his normal tiger-self on defense (Billy Packer thought he looked tired).  Thinking about it, it’s pretty amazing that Villanova only took 28 shots in the game (perhaps almost as amazing as them hitting 22 of them).

But Georgetown’s trap defense did produce many turnovers from the Wildcats.  Despite hitting their first three shots from the field, Villanova trailed 10-6 after Bill Martin rebounded a Ewing missed jumper and hit a turnaround in the lane.  Georgetown also fast breaked after Villanova’s first miss as Michael Jackson found David Wingate for a layup.  The Hoyas took a 20-14 lead when Ewing kicked out to Reggie Williams for a corner jumper.  Williams got off to a good start but didn’t score in the 2nd half and was in and out of the game as he was battling a sprained ankle.

When Dwayne McClain spun on the baseline and hit a jumper over Ewing, Villanova had tied the game at 20 with 7:00 left.  But Patrick Ewing got going late in the half.  Jackson found him three times (including alley-oops on back-to-back possessions) for slams.  But Villanova’s hot shooting continued.  Harold Pressley’s runner bounced in.  Point guard Gary McLain and reserve Harold Jensen hit field goals to cut Georgetown’s lead to 28-27.

Late in the half, senior big man Ed Pinckney got his only rest with two fouls.  After Martin missed a turnaround jumper in the lane, Villanova ran off the final 1:45 of the first half with Pinckney on the bench.  It worked as Pressley tipped in his own miss to give the Wildcats a 29-28 lead.  After David Wingate shot an airball at the buzzer, Reggie Williams slapped the ball in the face of Villanova backup center Chuck Everson.  Williams was kind of known for his dirty plays.  There was no technical or any kind of penalty on Williams or Georgetown.

The 2nd half offered more intensity and dirtiness from Georgetown, especially near the end.  Ewing hit a turnaround from the post to give Georgetown the lead but after committing no fouls in the first half, Ewing committed three quick ones.  One of those came on a Pinckney three-point play in which he kind of shoved the ball up toward the basket while drawing contact.  And by golly, the ball went in.  A Gary McLain jumper put Villanova up 36-30.

After Georgetown cut it to two, Dwayne McClain hit a runner off the glass while he was fouled.  His three-point play put the Wildcats up 41-36.  But Georgetown responded as Ewing hit a jump hook and then Martin hit a turnaround in the lane.  On the next Villanova possession, they were patient but Ewing blocked McClain’s shot from inside.  It was Villanova’s only missed field goal of the 2nd half.

Wingate hit a driving banker to give Georgetown a 42-41 lead.  The lead then swung back and forth until Villanova grabbed a 51-48 lead on two Pinckney free throws.  Then Pinckney hit a jumper in the lane after stepping past Ewing to give Villanova a 53-48 lead and force a Georgetown timeout.

The timeout helped as the defense stepped up for the Hoyas and then Jackson hit a jumper from the top of the key.  Reserve Horace Broadnax hit two free throws to cut the lead to one and then a Wingate banker from the wing gave Georgetown a 54-53 lead.  After Pinckney lost the ball out of bounds, Georgetown was determined to give Villanova some of its own medicine with under 4:00 left.

The Hoyas went into a stall game but the strategy foiled when a pass to Broadnax went off his foot and into Villanova hands.  Wildcats coach Rollie Massimino called a timeout with 3:25 left.  Again, Villanova was patient and eventually Pressley swung the ball to Harold Jensen for a wing jumper and a 55-54 Villanova lead with 2:35 left.  Jensen was 5-for-5 off the bench and this shot was Villanova’s last field goal attempt.

Pinckney got a steal from Wingate as David drove baseline and tried to dish to Ewing.  Wingate then committed his 4th foul on Pinckney and Ed hit both ends of the 1-and-1.  Wingate then missed a baseline jumper and Jackson had to commit a foul on Jensen with 1:24 left.  Harold hit both ends of the 1-and-1 to give the Wildcats a 59-54 lead.

After Broadnax hit in the lane, Jackson fouled Jensen again and Harold made two more free throws.  It looked over when Ewing missed a turnaround and McClain got the rebound and was fouled.  But Dwayne missed the front end.  No matter as Jensen got a steal and was fouled with 52 seconds left.  But this time, Jensen missed the front end.

Georgetown cut it to 61-58 when Ewing slammed home a Williams airball and Georgetown called their last timeout, despite John Thompson not wanting it to be called.  On the inbounds, Broadnax pulled down Harold Pressley in trying to make it look like a charge and ended up slamming Harold to the ground.  Nothing was called there but Ewing was called for his 4th foul on McClain.  This time, Dwayne made both free throws.

Georgetown almost got a break after Wingate drove for a layup to cut it to 63-60.  Villanova was about to be called for a 5-second inbounding violation but Williams was called for holding McClain just before the call was made.  Dwayne hit two more free throws.  Jackson drove for a layup and Broadnax committed an intentional foul on Pressley before the ball was inbounded.  This one was called.

Pressley made 1-of-2 before Jackson drove for another layup to cut the lead to 66-64 but with no timeouts, Georgetown had no way of stopping the clock.  Except for knocking the ball into the crowd and committing, in effect, a delay of game penalty.  It stopped the clock with 2 seconds left, forced Villanova to call a timeout and inbound it one last time.

Dwayne McClain was tripped by Wingate (I’ll give the Hoyas the benefit and say it was accidental.. actually probably not) before the ball was inbounded again.  But it wasn’t called and the ball was inbounded to McClain on the ground.  Wingate didn’t foul him and the clock ran out.  The great upset had happened.

This was the first year that the NCAA tournament held 64 teams and games like this make the tournament perhaps the most intriguing event in sports during the year.  You just never know who is going to win in a 1-game scenario, which is why its fun to fill out brackets and compete in pools.  This upset is still a prime example today of that fact.

Villanova starters (points scored)

Dwayne McClain (17) – Small Forward

Harold Pressley (11) – Power Forward

Ed Pinckney (16) – Center

Gary McLain (8) – Point Guard

Dwight Wilbur (0) – Shooting Guard

Villanova bench (points scored)

Harold Jensen (14)

Mark Plansky (0)

Chuck Everson (0)

Villanova Coach: Rollie Massimino

Georgetown starters (points scored)

Reggie Williams (10) – Small Forward

Bill Martin (10) – Power Forward

Patrick Ewing (14) – Center

Michael Jackson (8) – Point Guard

David Wingate (16) – Shooting Guard

Georgetown bench (points scored)

Horace Broadnax (4)

Ralph Dalton (2)

Perry McDonald (0)

Georgetown Coach: John Thompson

vnova1 vnova2 vnova3

At top, Ed Pinckney skies into Patrick Ewing.  In middle, coach Rollie Massimino cutting down the nets.  At bottom, senior Gary McLain holding the trophy *photos courtesy of Open Salon and Real Clear Sports

Because of the initial 1985 NBA Draft lottery, the New York Knicks got to select Patrick Ewing with the #1 pick.  At #2, the Indiana Pacers took Oklahoma’s Wayman Tisdale.  SMU’s Jon Koncak went at #5 to the Atlanta Hawks.  St. John’s Chris Mullin went #7 to the Golden State Warriors.  Ed Pinckney was selected at #10 by the Phoenix Suns.  Memphis State’s Keith Lee went #11 to the Chicago Bulls and was traded to Cleveland for Charles Oakley, the #9 pick.

The Washington Bullets selected Wake Forest’s Kenny Green at #12 and the Utah Jazz got their prize with Louisiana Tech’s Karl Malone at #13.  In back-to-back picks, the Dallas Mavericks got St. John’s Bill Wennington at #16 and Indiana’s Uwe Blab at #17.  Michigan State’s Sam Vincent went to the Boston Celtics at #20.

In the 2nd round, Georgetown’s Bill Martin and Villanova’s Dwayne McClain went to the Indiana Pacers in back-to-back picks.  I’m sure a discussion of the National Championship Game ensued.  Michigan State’s Ken Johnson was selected by the Bulls but he was sent to Portland, along with the Bulls 1984 2nd round pick, Ben Coleman, on draft day.  Iowa’s Greg Stokes went to the Philadelphia 76ers.  Georgia Tech’s Yvon Joseph went to the New Jersey Nets.  Maryland’s Adrian Branch was selected by the Bulls but didn’t play an NBA game until he was signed by the Lakers in 1986-87.

In later rounds, UCLA’s Brad Wright was selected in the 3rd round by Golden State.  Boston College’s Michael Adams was taken by the new Sacramento Kings in that same round.  Wake Forest’s Delaney Rudd was taken in the 4th round by Utah.

Players in past college basketball posts taken in the 1985 draft go as high as #6 as former Notre Dame center and current Arkansas Razorback Joe Kleine was taken by Sacramento.  In the 2nd round, San Antonio took DePaul’s Tyrone Corbin and Atlanta took 1983 Championship Game hero, NC State’s Lorenzo Charles.  Charles’ teammate Cozell McQueen was taken in the 4th round by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: