Skip to content

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

1987 College Basketball Season

June 20, 2014

J.R. Reid

Top freshman J.R. Reid chose the North Carolina Tarheels *photo courtesy of Getty Images

The biggest thing that came into college basketball for the 1987 season was the three-point line that was here to stay (although it would be adjusted many times).

Of the pre-season top 5 teams for 1986-87, only one was a flop.  National Champion and #2 Louisville lost their first 3 games, hovered around .500 all season and finished at 18-14.  They did not make the NCAA tournament as no team from the Metro got invited (tournament champion Memphis was on probation).  But Pervis Ellison, Herbert Crook and co. would be back in 1988.

For the rest of the top 5 (#1 North Carolina, #3 Indiana, #4 Purdue and #5 UNLV), they would be around along with many other top teams battling for championships in their respective conferences and for positions in the polls for the rest of the season.  For top ranked North Carolina, they would travel to Hawaii and take on the Warriors to begin their season.  They won 98-78 but would have a challenge from a former superpower who was trying to get back up there.

December 1, 1986 – (#1)North Carolina Tarheels 84 @UCLA Bruins 89

UCLA in the two years since former star Walt Hazzard became coach had gone 36-26.  Good, yes, but nowhere near the impossible standard set by John Wooden.  While those standards were impossible, one expected more from UCLA.  Their last NCAA tournament appearance was in 1983.  But the Bruins did have some stars.  Senior Reggie Miller led the way along with sophomore point guard Pooh Richardson.

Other future NBA journeyman on UCLA’s roster were Trevor Wilson, Jack Haley, and Greg Foster (who would transfer to UTEP in 1988).  Haley was the only starter and non-freshman among those three.  The other two starters along with Miller, Richardson and Haley were junior forward Craig Jackson and senior guard Montel Hatcher.

For North Carolina, they had lost Brad Daugherty, Steve Hale and Warren Martin from their 1986 team.  But senior point guard Kenny Smith returned along with senior forwards Joe Wolf and Dave Popson.  Sophomore guard Jeff Lebo was around along with two freshmen.  The prize was 6’9″ J.R. Reid from Virginia Beach.  But they also got 6’10” Scott Williams from Hacienda Heights, California.  Williams started over Reid in this game because of being close to home.  Dean Smith would also count on senior Curtis Hunter and junior Ranzino Smith off the bench.  Both were athletic wings and were the only athleticism UNC had at the wings.  This would be a big factor in guarding guys like Reggie Miller.

Reggie gave UCLA their first lead at 6-4 when he took a lob from Richardson and laid it in.  But it was the role players that got UCLA off to a good start.  Montel Hatcher and Craig Jackson each scored 4 points to give the Bruins a 10-6 lead.  Jackson had the most impressive basket with a right-handed tip-dunk of a Miller miss.  Hatcher later scored 5 straight points to give UCLA a 15-8 lead.  Montel Hatcher got off to a good start with 9 points, it would be his last points of the day.

But UCLA’s defense and ball movement kept them the early lead.  Richardson got a steal and fed Foster for a slam.  Then passes from junior Dave Immel and Trevor Wilson found Miller for a slam.  When Jackson drove baseline and found Miller for a slam, UCLA led 23-15 and Pauley Pavilion was a madhouse for one of the few times in the last few years.

A Jackson baseline spin move and reverse from the post put the Bruins out ahead 27-17.  They later took a 12-point lead when Immel hit a three from the top of the key.  UCLA was continuing to impress and Reggie Miller was impressing Dick Vitale with his driving ability.  But after UCLA took a 39-26 lead, trouble came a brewing.

Williams and Kenny Smith combined to hit three free throws.  Then Smith found Lebo out in transition for a layup.  North Carolina put on the press and Smith got a steal, layup and drew an intentional foul.  This meant two shots and a 4-point play to cut the lead to 39-35.  Then Scott Williams got a steal and the press, a layup and a foul.  With a chance to cut it to one, Williams missed the free throw.  It would be the closest Carolina came.

Miller hit four free throws and Richardson hit a pull-up jumper.  Then with 14 seconds left, Haley hit two free throws to give UCLA a 47-39 lead at the half.

Despite committing his 3rd foul early in the 2nd half, Dave Popson came up with a key block and Kenny Smith nailed a pull-up three to cut the lead to 48-44.  But then Richardson hit a pull-up from the baseline.  This was followed by Miller nailing a deep three from the left wing in transition (if there was an NBA line, it would’ve been way behind it.. but, hey, we can’t be shocked.. we’ve come to know Reggie’s range).  UCLA led 53-44.

After struggling against the press in the 1st half, UCLA attacked the Tar Heels trap better in the 2nd and Miller got several layups after Richardson got the ball to Foster in the middle of the floor.  North Carolina couldn’t get back into the game despite scoring well, they just couldn’t stop the Bruins.

When Miller followed up an Immel miss on the break, UCLA led 69-60.  Later, Reggie made his most impressive move of the night.  He drove baseline past Popson (who had 4 fouls and couldn’t guard Reggie to save his life), spun around another defender in the post and then had a double-pump finish against two more Tar Heels while hanging in the air.  This move gave UCLA a 78-70 lead and gave Miller 28 points.  He would make four more free throws to finish with 32.

Carolina was really only able to make it close by nailing several threes.  But UCLA’s great passing continued (almost as if Wooden was coaching them again).  Richardson penetrated and found Trevor Wilson for a layup.  Then a possession later, quick passes from Richardson, Miller, and Foster found Wilson for another layup and an 86-75 UCLA lead.

Everyone watching probably got the signification that it was over when Joe Wolf missed two easy layups that could have cut it to 6 with around 1:00 left.  UCLA had their first big win in at least a few years.  And they took this momentum to a 24-6 finish to the regular season and an NCAA tournament berth.  They also won the inaugural Pac-10 tournament.

North Carolina also used this loss as a springboard to 10 consecutive wins heading into a rivalry matchup at Cameron Indoor Stadium against Duke.

North Carolina starters (points scored)

Dave Popson (16) – Small Forward

Joe Wolf (12) – Power Forward

Scott Williams (5) – Center

Kenny Smith (18) – Point Guard

Jeff Lebo (11) – Shooting Guard

North Carolina bench (points scored)

J.R. Reid (10)

Ranzino Smith (10)

Curtis Hunter (2)

Steve Bucknall (0)

North Carolina Coach: Dean Smith

UCLA starters (points scored)

Reggie Miller (32) – Small Forward

Craig Jackson (6) – Power Forward

Jack Haley (4) – Center

Pooh Richardson (6) – Point Guard

Montel Hatcher (9) – Shooting Guard

UCLA bench (points scored)

Greg Foster (13)

Trevor Wilson (9)

Dave Immel (6)

Charles Rochelin (2)

Kevin Walter (0)

Rod Palmer (2)

UCLA Coach: Walt Hazzard


Reggie Miller could even shoot the lights out at UCLA *photo courtesy of Brooklyn Fans

January 10, 1987 – (#3)North Carolina Tarheels 85 @(#17)Duke Blue Devils 77

Since losing to UCLA, North Carolina had rarely been challenged in its 10-game winning streak.  They were expecting a challenge from an unexpected source to try and keep the winning streak going.

The Duke Blue Devils had lost Johnny Dawkins, Mark Alarie, David Henderson and Jay Bilas from their 1986 finalist team and hadn’t been expected to do much.  But with the stepping up of some players and the emergence of others, Duke matched Carolina’s 10-game winning streak coming into this game and were 11-1.

Senior point guard Tommy Amaker, sophomore forward Danny Ferry, and junior defensive ace Billy King stepped up more after being major contributors in 1986.  The players that emerged were junior guard Kevin Strickland and 6’7″ “center” John Smith.  Both rarely saw time in 1986, especially Smith, but were in the starting lineup in 1987 and major factors.  Duke also had some young players as in sophomore point guard Quin Snyder and freshmen Robert Brickey and Alaa Abdelnaby coming off the bench.  Furthermore, Duke hadn’t lost a game at Cameron Indoor Stadium since UNC beat them in 1985.  A streak of 22 games.

John Smith got off to the good start as he scored 6 of Duke’s first 8 points in front of a frenzied Cameron Crazies.  Carolina was able to match them and took a 10-8 lead when Jeff Lebo found J.R. Reid for a layup.  The first time anyone took more than a two-point lead was when Brickey drove baseline for a layup to give the Blue Devils an 18-14 lead.

Carolina came back and took a 22-20 lead on a Kenny Smith three from the corner.  Fellow senior point man Tommy Amaker matched him with his second straight leaner and both teams continued trading punches.  Carolina’s biggest lead was 6 as Duke got into foul trouble.  Danny Ferry, Kevin Strickland and Quin Snyder each had 3 fouls.  But Duke cut it to 39-38 at the half by scoring the last four points.

Their run continued as King got a steal and Smith hit a pull-up in the lane.  Then Amaker found Ferry for a jumper from the foul line.  Still with a three-point lead later, Duke had a chance to build some momentum as King got a steal.  King scored and appeared to have drawn a foul but instead was called for a charge (despite the replay showing that the UNC player wasn’t quite set, sound familiar?).  Later, the same thing happened to Amaker when he got a steal and a breakaway but was called for a charge.

Despite two bad breaks, Duke stayed with the mighty Tarheels.  In fact, they took a 5-point lead before Joe Wolf hit 5 straight points after sitting for a few minutes with a back issue.  Duke regained a 56-52 lead when Strickland hit a three.  But Dave Popson found Wolf for a backdoor slam.  Then Kenny Smith got a steal and slam and Scott Williams followed up a Brickey shot-block on Curtis Hunter.  UNC led 58-56 and were on a 6-0 run that continued.  After Ferry committed his 4th foul, Kenny Smith hit a pull-up three to force a Duke timeout.

But after John Smith committed his 4th foul, a Kenny Smith baseline drive put Carolina up 66-59.  But young Duke responded as Strickland hit another three and then Amaker hit a pull-up in transition.  Strickland then tied it with two free throws after Lebo committed his 4th foul.  Back-to-back baskets by Wolf were then matched by back-to-back baskets from John Smith to tie the game at 70.

But disaster struck Duke with 3:29 left as Ferry fouled out.  Duke took its last lead when Strickland found Smith for a layup and his 22nd point.  The Blue Devils led 72-71.  But Wolf found Lebo for a three and UNC took the advantage.  Then J.R. Reid (who was a mismatch for Duke the entire game) rebounded a Strickland missed three and outletted to Kenny Smith who found Steve Bucknall on a 3-on-2 break for a layup.

But Reid made the most impressive play on Carolina’s next possession.  He offensive rebounded Wolf’s miss and then hit a right-handed banker while being knocked down.  He missed the free throw but UNC led 78-72 and Duke couldn’t get anything going on the next few possessions as Carolina put it away.

Duke ended up having a good season despite the turnover.  It set the stage for 5 straight Final Four appearances and 7 in 9 years.  Duke finished the regular season at 22-7 and 3rd in the ACC at 9-5.  They lost to NC State in the ACC Quarterfinals and were a 5-seed in the Midwest Regional.  They made it to the Sweet 16 before losing to top-seeded Indiana 88-82.  Amaker had 23 points against the Hoosiers in his last college game.

For North Carolina, they ended up suffering only one loss for the rest of the regular season.  That was a non-conference game at Notre Dame.  So, yes, you’ve figured it out.  North Carolina went undefeated in the ACC regular season for the 2nd time in 4 years.  But despite rarely getting challenged in the regular season, the Tarheels would get big challenges in the ACC tournament, including from a team featured in the next game.

North Carolina starters (points scored)

Curtis Hunter (5) – Small Forward

Dave Popson (8) – Power Forward

Joe Wolf (20) – Center

Kenny Smith (14) – Point Guard

Jeff Lebo (13) – Shooting Guard

North Carolina bench (points scored)

J.R. Reid (11)

Scott Williams (2)

Ranzino Smith (8)

Steve Bucknall (4)

North Carolina Coach: Dean Smith

Duke starters (points scored)

Billy King (7) – Small Forward

Danny Ferry (11) – Power Forward

John Smith (22) – Center

Tommy Amaker (19) – Point Guard

Kevin Strickland (12) – Shooting Guard

Duke bench (points scored)

Martin Nessley (4)

Quin Snyder (0)

Robert Brickey (2)

Alaa Abdelnaby (0)

Jon Goodman (0)

Duke Coach: Mike Krzyzewski

joe wolf

Joe Wolf with the ball against Danny Ferry in a game that wasn’t at Cameron Indoor Stadium (and so, as a result, wasn’t on January 10, 1987).  Wolf scored 20 points against Duke at Cameron in 1987, despite a back injury, to lead UNC to victory and snap Duke 22-game home winning streak *photo courtesy of

January 10, 1987 – Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 62 @(#18)NC State Wolfpack 63

On the same day that North Carolina took on Duke, another ACC matchup was going on between two teams that finished in the bottom half of the standings.  But one would make a run in the ACC tournament.

Georgia Tech was off to a 7-3 start on the season, but were out of the rankings for the season after losing to St. John’s on December 28.  Mark Price and John Salley were gone and Bruce Dalrymple, Duane Ferrell, and Tom Hammonds were expected to step up.  They were the only double figure scorers for the Yellow Jackets on the season.  Craig Neal ran the point, Antoine Ford manned the middle, and freshman Brian Oliver contributed off the bench.  Ford was out for the 1st half versus NC State after breaking a team rule.

NC State had made two Elite 8 appearances since winning the 1983 NCAA Championship.  Those appearances included future pro point guards Spud Webb and Nate McMillan.  But this team didn’t look like it would follow suit.  They featured guards Kenny Drummond and Walker Lambiotte who were key figures, along with other players, in Peter Golenbock’s best-seller that put a bad portrayal on coach Jim Valvano.  Drummond left after a rift between himself and Valvano and Lambiotte transferred to Northwestern.

Drummond and Lambiotte in the starting lineup meant that the Wolfpack player who would end up having the best pro career (maybe not coaching) was on the bench.  Junior Vinny Del Negro played in crunch time of this game though and cracked the lineup after Drummond and Lambiotte left later in the season.

The front court featured talented senior Bennie Bolton, troubled (to say the least, as it turned out) sophomore center Charles Shackleford and hard working sophomore Chucky Brown, who would have a nice pro career with many teams, and Indiana transfer Mike Giomi.

Giomi got the 9-2 Wolfpack off to a good start in this game by hitting his first 5 shots.  This helped NC State grab a 26-17 lead after having a 10-point lead.  Overall, the play was ugly on the court as each team had 10 turnovers at that point and there were a few scoring droughts.  But State ended up increasing the lead to 34-19 after Dalrymple committed his 3rd foul and Giomi scored 6 points in a row to finish with 16 in the half.  NC State led 38-25 at the half.

The 2nd half featured a complete 180.  Hammonds hit a turnaround from the post and Dalrymple hit a banker from the post.  This forced an early timeout from Valvano but it didn’t help.  Dalrymple hit a wing jumper and Hammonds hit in the lane to cut the lead to 39-33.  NC State salvaged the comeback for the moment when Giomi hit a runner in the lane and then hit Shackleford for a slam on a high-low feed.

But then the Jackets made the big run.  Antoine Ford, back after sitting out the 1st half, missed a shot but Brian Oliver put it back in.  Oliver had just come in for Dalrymple after Bruce committed his 4th foul.  While Oliver was a key factor in the comeback, he did make some freshman mistakes.  But first things first, a Craig Neal three cut the lead to 43-38.

Then Neal penetrated and found Ferrell for a layup and a foul.  After the three-point play, Hammonds tied the game with an elbow jumper.  Ford then followed up an Oliver miss to complete a 12-0 run and give Tech the lead.  NC State broke the run with back-to-back baskets but Neal alley-ooped to Ferrell for a slam and a foul.  Georgia Tech regained a 48-47 lead.

The lead increased.  Ford this time followed up a Hammonds miss and then Neal found Hammonds for a baseline jumper and his 20th point.  Georgia Tech now had a 52-47 lead.  NC State eventually responded though with an 8-0 run.  Drummond scored the last four of those points to give the Wolfpack a 57-54 lead.  Dalrymple followed up his own miss after coming back in to cut it to one.

It was only in the final 2:30 minutes that the scoring picked up and each team went back and forth.  Del Negro penetrated and found Giomi for a layup and NC State had a 59-56 advantage.  Ferrell and Ford worked a pick-and-roll for a Ford layup.  Drummond lobbed to Giomi for a layup.  Neal found Hammonds for a turnaround from the baseline.

With 1:02 left and Georgia Tech still trailing by one and defending, Neal committed a blocking foul on a Del Negro baseline drive.  Vinny made both ends of the 1-and-1 for a 63-60 Wolfpack lead.  Ferrell rebound-slammed a Ford miss at 40 seconds to cut the lead to one.  After a timeout, Dalrymple was called for a blocking foul on Drummond.  This fouled out Dalrymple but Drummond missed the front end.

Georgia Tech didn’t call a timeout and worked its offense.  Their shot came at 8 seconds but Ford was short on a turnaround jumper in the lane.  NC State rebounded and Drummond ran out the clock for a Wolfpack victory.

Despite the win, NC State finished at 6-8 in the ACC (good for 6th place) and at 17-13 overall (not helped by a 6-game losing streak).  Georgia Tech finished the regular season at 16-11 and was 7-7 in the ACC.

Georgia Tech starters (points scored)

Duane Ferrell (12) – Small Forward

Tom Hammonds (24) – Power Forward

Willie Reese (0) – Center

Craig Neal (12) – Point Guard

Bruce Dalrymple (6) – Shooting Guard

Georgia Tech bench (points scored)

Brian Oliver (2)

James Munlyn (0)

Antoine Ford (6)

Georgia Tech Coach: Bobby Cremins

NC State starters (points scored)

Bennie Bolton (7) – Small Forward

Mike Giomi (24) – Power Forward

Charles Shackleford (12) – Center

Kenny Drummond (8) – Point Guard

Walker Lambiotte (0) – Shooting Guard

NC State bench (points scored)

Vinny Del Negro (6)

Kelsey Weems (2)

Chucky Brown (4)

NC State Coach: Jim Valvano

January 22, 1987 – (#3)Indiana Hoosiers 88 @(#1)Iowa Hawkeyes 101

The Iowa Hawkeyes were in their first season under Dr. Tom Davis and were off to a 17-0 start in 1987 to climb to #1 in the polls.  The five starters for Iowa all went on to play at some point in the NBA.  Three of them were sophomores that ended up finishing in the top ten in all-time scoring at Iowa.  The Hawkeyes all-time leading scorer was forward Roy Marble.  He teamed with fellow underclassmen point guard B.J. Armstrong and center Ed Horton.  The upper-classmen in the starting lineup was redshirt senior forward Brad Lohaus and senior Kevin Gamble.

Iowa also had a bunch of upper-classmen on the bench.  This included juniors Jeff Moe, Gerry Wright, Al Lorenzen, Bill Jones, and Kent Hill.  The Hawkeyes had beaten two top 10 teams the previous week to remain undefeated.  Furthermore, they had beaten those teams (Illinois and Purdue) on their home courts.  But now perhaps their toughest challenge still was the Indiana Hoosiers, even though the game was in Iowa City.

Indiana had lost at Vanderbilt early in the season after beating Notre Dame and Kentucky earlier that week.  But it was Indiana’s only loss so far and they were on an 11-game winning streak.  They were led by seniors Steve Alford and Daryl Thomas but got a boost from a pair of junior college transfers, center Dean Garrett and athletic guard Keith Smart.  Sophomore Ricky Calloway was the fifth starter and Bobby Knight could go deep on his bench too, including to a talented freshman who was a major factor in this game but could only crack the lineup for 1 minute in the NCAA tournament.

Iowa got off to a flying start as Armstrong pushed the ball and got layups for Horton and Gamble to give the Hawkeyes a 6-0 lead.  A Horton jumper in the lane increased that lead to 9-1.  Then talented 6th man Jeff Moe came off the bench and scored 4 quick points to keep Iowa ahead.  But an Alford three and a Calloway pull-up from the baseline cut the lead to 15-12.

But Iowa never relinquished the lead as Armstrong kept pushing it and got Marble some easy baskets.  Later, a Moe three put Iowa up 28-20.  Then Gamble got a layup off an inbounds play.  Gamble got another layup after Calloway committed his 3rd foul and Iowa led 33-20.  Smart then committed his 3rd foul and the outlook looked bleak for Indiana.  But then in came the talented freshman.

Tony Freeman went to St. Joseph’s High School in Chicago (same school as former Hoosier Isiah Thomas, in fact he and Thomas were in constant contact) and was ready to be the next great point guard at Indiana.  But even before he enrolled, there were some questions as Freeman’s girlfriend was pregnant.  His first son was born on December 22 (his father’s 19th birthday).  After the season (and after playing only 1 minute in the NCAA tournament), Freeman left Indiana and eventually found some basketball prowess at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).  But not before having another child and dropping out of UIC once.

But for the time being against Iowa, Freeman was able to push the ball and find open teammates.  He fed Thomas for a slam and Garrett for a bank shot in the post.  He got more teammates involved as they got to the free throw line.  His pull-up jumper from the foul line cut the lead to 40-34.  He later penetrated and found Garrett for a slam and the lead was cut to 42-40.  He then found Thomas for a layup on the break to tie the game.  The performance of Freeman in this stretch had me wondering what happened to him, hence finding the above link.

But Iowa was able to grab a 46-44 halftime lead when Marble hit a wing jumper in the last 5 seconds of the half.  Freeman started the 2nd half in Smart’s place and found Alford for a wing jumper and then Thomas for a layup and a foul.  Indiana took its first lead of the game at 51-50 when Calloway hit a pull-up from the foul line.

The lead then went back-and-forth until Armstrong hit a pull-up in the lane against a smaller Freeman and drew Tony’s 3rd foul.  That three-point play put Iowa up 59-57.  Thomas tied it with two free throws but then Moe hit a three to start a run.  Marble followed up a Moe miss on the break to put Iowa up 66-61.  Then Moe got a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup.  Horton hit a hook from the post.  Marble got a steal and Gamble followed up his miss.

After a Smart basket, Al Lorenzen found Armstrong for a layup.  Then Moe got a steal on Iowa’s press and a layup.  Then Armstrong hit a driving banker in transition.  Iowa now led 78-63 and were on a 19-4 run.  Two Alford threes kept Indiana within that margin and later two more Alford threes cut the lead to 89-81.  Then after Lohaus committed his 4th foul, Garrett’s jumper cut it to 89-83 with about 4 minutes left.

Iowa had gone into “kill the shot clock” mode which may have helped Indiana get back into it.  But on the next possession, Armstrong hit a pull-up from the baseline.  But that man was back, Tony Freeman found Thomas for a layup and Lohaus’ 5th foul.  The three-point play cut it to 91-86 but Lorenzen followed up his own miss.  Freeman made both ends of a 1-and-1 before Horton missed the front end of his.  He got the rebound but Lorenzen committed an offensive foul with 1:45 left.  Indiana had the ball and was down 93-88.

But the worst break for Indiana came when Alford was called for stepping out of bounds just before hitting a three from the wing.  That ended up killing the Hoosiers in this game as Iowa put it away with layups from Armstrong, Marble, and Gamble to go 18-0 on the season.

But the Hawkeyes undefeated record came to a halt two days later when Ohio State beat them in Iowa City 80-76.  After that loss, Iowa dropped 3 of their next 8 games.  The last of those losses came to Indiana in Bloomington on February 21.  That would be Indiana’s 9th straight win since dropping the first game to the Hawkeyes.  By then, Indiana was 3.5 games ahead of Iowa in the standings and competing for the Big Ten title with Purdue, who was two games behind Indiana on Feb 21 but would make it closer.

Indiana starters (points scored)

Rick Calloway (9) – Small Forward

Daryl Thomas (22) – Power Forward

Dean Garrett (18) – Center

Steve Alford (21) – Point Guard

Keith Smart (10) – Shooting Guard

Indiana bench (points scored)

Steve Eyl (0)

Joe Hillman (0)

Todd Meier (0)

Brian Sloan (4)

Tony Freeman (4)

Indiana Coach: Bobby Knight

Iowa starters (points scored)

Roy Marble (16) – Small Forward

Brad Lohaus (13) – Power Forward

Ed Horton (14) – Center

B.J. Armstrong (16) – Point Guard

Kevin Gamble (17) – Shooting Guard

Iowa bench (points scored)

Jeff Moe (17)

Gerry Wright (0)

Al Lorenzen (3)

William Jones (3)

Kent Hill (2)

Iowa Coach: Tom Davis

02/27/88 Pg.110 #20 vs. Michigan

Roy Marble ended up the leading scorer in Iowa history *photo courtesy of The Starting Five

January 25, 1987 – (#18)Navy Midshipmen 69 @Kentucky Wildcats 80

On January 6, the Kentucky Wildcats were 7-2 and ranked #9 in the nation.  Then came two consecutive losses to Alabama and Tennessee and drop out of the top 20.  But the worst was yet to come.  In their first meeting against LSU since losing the Southeast Regional Final in 1986, the Tigers demolished Kentucky at Rupp Arena 76-41.  The Wildcats salvaged that a bit with a win at Vanderbilt but this would be their first game at Rupp Arena since that demolishing a week earlier.  And the fans who still packed the arena got to see a developing star.

In 1986, David Robinson was a one-man show for the Navy Midshipmen.  But he was more so in 1987 as seniors Vernon Butler and Kylor Whitaker exhausted their eligibility.  Head Coach Paul Evans used the 1986 success to land a job at Pittsburgh.  Pete Hermann was now at the reigns.  Doug Wojcik was a solid point guard and the Middies did have some other scrappers, but all in all (as this game would prove) it was Robinson and 4 other guys.

Kentucky, meanwhile, didn’t have anybody to handle Robinson.  Winston Bennett was red-shirting for this season and that stripped the Wildcats of any inside power.  Their strength came from the perimeter game and especially so from freshman Rex Chapman.  Chapman combined with upper-classmen Ed Davender and James Blackmon to nail threes.  Chapman and Davender would be the only double figure scorers for Kentucky in 1987.

The Wildcats threw junior Robert Lock to check Robinson.  Lock would play 20 games for the Los Angeles Clippers in 1989 and in this game, he did have some strong inside power against Robinson.  But for the most part, it was a mismatch (or an M&Mer as Dick Vitale would say).

Robinson started the Navy scoring by throwing down an alley-oop.  Wojcik’s pull-up from the foul line after a Robinson defensive rebound gave Navy a 4-2 lead.  It would be their only lead of the game.  Lock got a layup and Davender stole the ball on the Kentucky press and scored.  Davender later nailed a three for a 9-4 Wildcat lead.  Then after Robinson follow-slammed a miss, Chapman nailed back-to-back threes to give Kentucky a 15-6 lead.

Robinson then got a slam after a Wojcik entry inside and later hit a turnaround jumper that he would become more-or-less known for in the NBA.  Robinson threw down an alley-oop from Wojcik and later got a slam after stealing a rebound from Kentucky’s backup big man Cedric Jenkins.  After Wojcik found Robinson for a jumper in the lane, Navy had cut Kentucky’s lead to 23-18 and Robinson had 14 of those points.

Kentucky got back-to-back baskets before the Admiral hit two free throws and then was fouled while hitting a driving bank shot.  Robinson now had 19 and the lead was down to 27-23.  But then Lock got a slam that was followed by a Davender steal and Blackmon layup.  Later, Irving Thomas (who got a slightly bigger cup of coffee with the 1991 Lakers then Lock got with the 1989 Clippers) tipped in a miss and hit two free throws to give Kentucky a 35-25 lead.

Chapman then hit another three for Kentucky’s biggest lead but Navy was able to cut it to 40-31 at the half.  Robinson had 21 points.  The 2nd leading scorer for the Middies had 4 points.

Robinson started out the 2nd half as a ball of fire.  He hit a jumper from the top of the key and later a turnaround in the lane as Navy cut it as close as three.  But 7 straight points by Kentucky capped by a Blackmon three put the Wildcats up 50-39 and forced a Navy timeout.  A Blackmon baseline drive put Kentucky up by thirteen but Robinson hit two free throws and then threw down an alley-oop pass for his 31st point.

Then Robinson continued with another turnaround in the lane and another slam on an alley-oop.  And David got help for the first time in this game as teammate Derric Turner put back a miss and then got a layup to cut Kentucky’s lead to 54-51.  But whatever momentum Navy would have garnered went by the wayside when Robinson was called for two cheap fouls to bring his total to three.

Two threes from freshman Derrick Miller and a Davender steal and layup put Kentucky up 62-53.  Then Robinson committed his 4th foul on a charge.  For obvious reasons, Robinson stayed in the game.  But he couldn’t quite go on the shot-blocking, aggressive rebounding fury that he had previously in this game.  Furthermore, Kentucky’s press had forced many turnovers and easy baskets.

Even with his team at a disadvantage, Robinson fought mightily with many outstanding baskets (including throwing down an alley-oop with Irving Thomas hanging on his arm).  He ended up totaling 45 points, which set a Rupp Arena record that still stands.  But the closest Navy got was 74-69 with 1:30 left.  But Chapman hit a pull-up from the right of the lane after a spin move.  Navy couldn’t score any more points as Robinson didn’t get any more shots (coincidence? I think not?).

With 15 seconds left, Robinson was taken out of the game and received a standing ovation from the Kentucky fans and Vitale.  Along with his 45 points, the Admiral finished with 14 rebounds and 10 blocks.  If there was any doubt who the #1 pick in the 1987 NBA draft would be, it was answered in front of a national TV audience on January 25, 1987 at Rupp Arena.

Kentucky finished the regular season tied for 3rd in the SEC and 18-9 overall.  They would lose to Auburn in the 1st round of the SEC Tournament and, as an 8-seed in the Southeast Regional, lost to Ohio State 91-77 in the 1st round.  In 1988, Kentucky recruited Eric Manuel and LeRon Ellis and got Winston Bennett back to go along with Chapman and Davender.  They reached as high as #1 in the polls but, as a #2 seed in the Southeast Regional again, they were upset by 6th seeded Villanova in the Regional Semifinals.  Chapman left early for the NBA and was the #8 pick and by the time this blog picks up Kentucky again in 1988-89, big trouble was abrewin.

Navy won 13 straight games following the loss to Kentucky and won its conference tournament.  They were an 8-seed in the East Regional but lost to Michigan 97-82 in the 1st round.  Other than back-to-back appearances in 1997 and 1998, Navy would not appear in an NCAA tournament.  They have also not been in the rankings since David Robinson left.

Navy starters (points scored)

Carl Liebert (2) – Small Forward

Derric Turner (14) – Power Forward

David Robinson (45) – Center

Doug Wojcik (2) – Point Guard

Cliff Rees (0) – Shooting Guard

Navy bench (points scored)

Byron Hopkins (4)

Matt Nordmann (0)

Neal Fenton (0)

Bobby Jones (2)

Carry Manhertz (0)

Navy Coach: Pete Hermann

Kentucky starters (points scored)

Rex Chapman (22) – Small Forward

Richard Madison (6) – Power Forward

Rob Lock (12) – Center

Ed Davender (13) – Point Guard

James Blackmon (13) – Shooting Guard

Kentucky bench (points scored)

Derrick Miller (8)

Cedric Jenkins (0)

Paul Andrews (0)

Irving Thomas (6)

Mike Scott (0)

Kentucky Coach: Eddie Sutton


David Robinson scores 2 of his 45 points against Kentucky *photo courtesy of Big Blue History

February 2, 1987 – (#11)Georgetown Hoyas 65 @(#15)St. John’s Red Men 67 (OT)

Going into this mid-Big East season battle, Georgetown at 5-3 was 1 game out of 1st place behind three teams.  One of those teams was not a surprise, Syracuse (who Georgetown had just beaten two days earlier).  The other two were a surprise, Pittsburgh and Providence.  Pitt was coached by former Navy coach Paul Evans and would make a bigger impact in 1988, but they would be a 3-seed in the West Regional after finishing 6th in the Big East in 1986.  They were upset by Oklahoma in the 2nd round.  Providence will be covered more in the next game on this post, but they continued their surprise run.

The point is that Georgetown and St. John’s were 4th and 5th in the Big East at the time of their Monday night matchup at Madison Square Garden.  This was not the norm but then again both teams were young and had lost players.  For Georgetown, their 1986 back court of David Wingate and Michael Jackson had left.  They were replaced by two freshmen, Mark Tillmon and Dwayne Bryant.  The Hoyas did have 1st team All-American senior Reggie Williams and productive junior Perry McDonald at forward.  Other than them and the freshmen guards, John Thompson rotated in 8 other players who were mostly under-classmen.

St. John’s lost 1986 Player of the Year Walter Berry but had 2nd team All-American senior Mark Jackson at the point.  The forwards were veterans from their 1985 Final Four team, Willie Glass and Shelton Jones.  Both were talented but inconsistent.  At the other guard was powerfully built transfer Matt Brust.  The center position was interchangeable for Lou Carnesecca.  Terry Bross, John Hempel and Marco Baldi rotated in.  St. John’s came in at 4-4 in the Big East having lost to Georgetown earlier in the season.  Neither team had lost outside the Big East to that point.

The headliners were Mark Jackson and Reggie Williams and each started well.  Jackson hit a three from the top of the key, but that would be St. John’s only field goal for awhile.  Williams got started with a putback and a wing jumper.  Later, he stole a Jackson pass and went coast-to-coast (spinning by Willie Glass) for a layup.  Georgetown eventually took a 15-5 lead when Bryant hit a pull-up in the lane after a behind-the-back dribble.

But Jackson steadily led the Red Men back.  He got them into their offense and they got to the line as a result and when Jackson hit a driving up-and-under three-point play in the lane, the lead was down to 17-14.  Jackson continued scoring in the half with a corner three and a double-pump floater in the lane.  Williams and McDonald led Georgetown back to a 27-22 lead but a Jackson three from the top tied the game at 29.  The Red Men were able to take a 33-32 lead at the half after Shelton Jones hit his first field goal with a baseline jumper.

Jones and Jackson then led St. John’s to a 40-32 lead.  But Williams scored 7 points and a hook shot from junior Ronnie Highsmith cut the Red Men lead to 42-41.  Jackson responded with another three from the top and then he found Jones on the break for a layup.  Williams responded with a corner three and later hit a pull-up from the wing to cut St. John’s lead to 53-50.

Georgetown eventually took a 56-55 lead on a Tillmon breakaway but Brust gave St. John’s the lead back with two free throws.  Then Williams committed his 4th foul on Jackson after Mark blocked his shot.  Jackson hit two more free throws for 28 points.  Brust then found Jones for a reverse and St. John’s had a 61-56 lead with 3:01 left.

The action was then ragged for the rest of the game.  A Bryant pull-up cut the lead to three but misses and fouls were exchanged for the next few minutes until Jackson made two free throws with 55 seconds left for a 63-58 St. John’s lead.  Georgetown got two offensive rebounds before McDonald was fouled and hit two free throws with 37 seconds left.

St. John’s then couldn’t get it to Jackson and Brust was fouled with 23 seconds left.  He missed the front end of the 1-and-1 and Williams got the rebound for Georgetown.  Then two sophomore guards for the Hoyas who probably should have been starters over Tillmon and Bryant (they perhaps were knocked out of the starting lineup earlier in the year) combined to tie the game.  Charles Smith pushed the lead and threw a lead pass to Jaren Jackson for a corner three with 13 seconds left.

After a timeout, Jackson was stripped as he penetrated but St. John’s got one more chance in regulation after Georgetown knocked it out of bounds with 4 seconds left.  St. John’s called another timeout but couldn’t get it to Jackson.  Instead, Brust was short on a runner and the game went into overtime.

There were no points over the first 3:00 of overtime (as they say, a classic Big East battle).  The ice was finally broken when Jackson hit a pull-up from the left of the lane about 14 feet away.  Williams responded with a runner to tie it with 1:22 left.  Wouldn’t you know it, the ball went back to Jackson.  He backed in against his defender at the foul line and then turned and hit his own runner with 53 seconds left.

Georgetown ran the clock down and with 14 seconds left tried to break Williams free.  But a foul was called on Ronnie Highsmith as he set the screen.  It was a terrible call and it seemed to be a solid screen.  But luckily for Georgetown, Willie Glass (who shot 60% from the line) would have to nail both ends of a 1-and-1 to put the game away.  He missed the front end.  Williams was stripped by Jackson but the ball went out of bounds to Georgetown with 2 seconds left from under St. John’s basket.

But as fate would have it, after a timeout sophomore guard Bobby Winston threw what seemed to be a perfect inbounds pass to a cutting Charles Smith.  But Smith couldn’t handle it and St. John’s came away a winner.  Both teams were now 5-4 in the Big East.

But Georgetown would not lose the rest of the regular season and finish tied for 1st in the Big East with Pitt and Syracuse with a 12-4 mark.  They would win the Big East tournament and become a #1 seed in the Southeast Regional.  The Hoyas ran their winning streak to 13 games by beating Bucknell, Ohio State and Kansas in the first three rounds.  But then they were upset by a surprise Big East foe who will be featured on the next game.

St. John’s finished the Big East at 10-6 and were a 6-seed in the NCAA tournament after losing in the Big East quarterfinals handily to Providence.  The Red Men lost to DePaul in the 2nd round in overtime.

Georgetown starters (points scored)

Perry McDonald (14) – Small Forward

Reggie Williams (26) – Power Forward

Ben Gillery (0) – Center

Dwayne Bryant (4) – Point Guard

Mark Tillmon (10) – Shooting Guard

Georgetown bench (points scored)

Ronnie Highsmith (2)

Jaren Jackson (3)

Charles Smith (0)

Bobby Winston (2)

Anthony Allen (2)

Johnathan Edwards (2)

Sam Jefferson (0)

Georgetown Coach: John Thompson

St. John’s starters (points scored)

Shelton Jones (13) – Small Forward

Willie Glass (5) – Power Forward

Terry Bross (0) – Center

Mark Jackson (34) – Point Guard

Matt Brust (6) – Shooting Guard

St. John’s bench (points scored)

John Hempel (0)

Marco Baldi (6)

Marcus Broadnax (3)

St. John’s Coach: Lou Carnesecca

mark jackson reggie-williams

At left, St. John’s All-American Mark Jackson and at right, Georgetown All-American Reggie Williams *photos courtesy of San Francisco Gate and The Draft Review

February 3, 1987 – (#17)Providence Friars 66 @Boston College Eagles 67

For the current week, the Providence Friars were in the polls for the first time since the 1977-78 season, which was their last NCAA tournament appearance.  But a young Rick Pitino was building a winner in his 2nd season on the Friars bench led by another future prominent coach.  Senior (and future Florida coach) Billy Donovan led a run-and-gun offense that took full advantage of the new three-point line.

Donovan was joined by three other seniors in the starting lineup along with junior guard Delray Brooks, a transfer from Indiana.  Donovan, Brooks, and forward Ernie “Pops” Lewis were the shooters.  David Kipfer and Jacek Duda were inside presences.  Pitino also had a deep, young bench with bigs like Steve Wright, Abdul Shamsid-Deen and Marty Conlon and guard Carlton Screen.  Providence was 16-3 overall on the season and tied for 1st in the Big East at 6-2.  They were on a 7-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, Boston College was at the other end of the spectrum under first year coach Jim O’Brien.  They were 11-18 and their only Big East win in 9 games was at Seton Hall (yep, they hadn’t even won at home yet).  Sophomore point guard Dana Barros led the way but he didn’t have much help.  Senior big man Troy Bowers and junior shooter Skip Barry were inconsistent and O’Brien benched them at the start of this game for veteran bench-warmer Ted Kelley and freshman Robert Francis.  Junior Jamie Benton was teamed with Barros in the back court while junior Tyrone Scott started in the middle for this game.

BC played most of their home games at the Boston Garden but barely got respect there as a college three-point line was barely painted on there because the Celtics didn’t want to see it.  But it was still the best facility BC had because the Roberts Center sat 4,400 and the Conte Forum was a year away from being completed.

Perhaps the three-point line messed with the Providence shooters as their three-point attack was barely audible.  Despite that, the Friars were able to take an early 12-4 lead (although it took about 8 minutes to get there).  Donovan found Lewis for a corner jumper and Brooks for a three.  Brooks got a breakaway after a steal.  Kipfer made a jumper from the post and then stole a pass on Providence’s press.  Kipfer then got it to Donovan for a pull-up to give the Friars the 12-4 lead.

Delray Brooks’ main job was shadowing Dana Barros.  The BC offense couldn’t get anywhere near going because of Brooks’ success, as well as missed free throws from BC.  But Barros finally shook free for a three and then an elbow jumper.  Then Troy Bowers came in and seemed to be inspired by the benching.  He hit four free throws to give the Eagles a 13-12 lead.  It didn’t help the Friars that Kipfer committed his 3rd foul soon after Providence lost the lead.

Barros hit another elbow jumper to complete BC’s 11-0 run.  Lewis hit a three from the wing to tie the game at 15.  From there the teams battled back-and-forth.  Bowers continued to be a factor and Barros broke free for more shots.  But Providence’s bench of Conlon, Wright and Screen were factors as well.  With 15 seconds left in the half, Steve Benton hit two free throws for BC to give them a 32-30 lead.  That score held up at the half.

The teams continued to battle to a 36-all tie.  But BC took an advantage after Kipfer committed his 4th foul.  Barros got a breakaway after a Kelley steal and then on the next possession, hit a pull-up from the foul line after a 360 on the dribble.  But a 6-0 Friars run capped by a Brooks steal and Kipfer layup tied the game at 44.  But Tyrone Scott followed up a Barros miss with a rebound-slam to break the run.  Then Ted Kelley found Bowers with a full-length of the court inbounds pass that reminded the play-by-play man of Doug Flutie to Gerard Phelan (and probably BC fans too) and Bowers slammed it home.

BC’s lead reached as big as five when Barros got a breakaway after a Jamie Benton steal.  However, Donovan found Brooks for a three to cut the lead to 59-57.  But Providence had yet to grab the lead in the 2nd half and it continued as Bowers got a slam and BC led by four.  With 3:08 left, Kipfer fouled out with BC up two.  But Kelley missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Providence had a chance to tie.

They did so when Donovan took it into the lane against Barros and hit a leaner while drawing some contact (but no foul was called either way).  With 2:07 left, Bowers made two free throws for 20 points (an effort they may have helped BC’s season immensely had it come more consistently, according to analyst Bill Raftery).  BC had a chance to increase that lead but Barros missed two jumpers.

Then with under 1:00 to go, Donovan penetrated down the lane and kicked out to “Pops” Lewis in the left corner.  With 50 seconds to go, Lewis nailed a three and Providence had their first lead of the 2nd half at 66-65.  BC got a timeout with 35 seconds left.  They moved it around and held for the last shot.  With 10 seconds left, Jamie Benton penetrated on the baseline.  He missed but Kelley got an offensive rebound after clearly pushing Conlon in the back.  Kelley then put it in for his only two points of the game as Providence got a timeout with 2 seconds left and Pitino was incensed at the non-call.

Providence’s last chance was Conlon’s long pass to Jacek Duda at the top of the circle.  Duda airballed a hook shot and BC had their first home win (and last) of the Big East season as Pitino chased the referees into the locker room.  BC’s only other Big East win for the rest of the season was at UConn (with Jim Calhoun in his first season).  The Eagles beat UConn again in the Big East tournament play-in game before losing to top-seeded Georgetown to end their season at 11-18.  It would take 7 more seasons for O’Brien to lead them into the NCAA tournament.

Providence would lose their next game against Pitt and two more to finish the Big East season at 10-6, which was tied with St. John’s for 4th.  The Friars beat the Red Men 80-51 in the Big East quarterfinals before losing to eventual conference champion Georgetown.  It wasn’t the third time they had lost to Georgetown as they had beaten them at home just before traveling to BC.

But they would get a 4th matchup against the Hoyas in the Southeast Regional Finals after becoming the 6th seed in the Region.  The Friars raced out to a 54-37 halftime lead and was able to deny the top-seeded Hoyas their 4th Final Four of the decade by a final of 88-73.  They lost in the Final Four to another Big East foe in the Syracuse Orangemen 77-63.  After the season, Pitino left for the New York Knicks and Providence hasn’t made a Final Four since.

Providence starters (points scored)

Ernie Lewis (11) – Small Forward

David Kipfer (4) – Power Forward

Jacek Duda (6) – Center

Billy Donovan (10) – Point Guard

Delray Brooks (12) – Shooting Guard

Providence bench (points scored)

Steve Wright (7)

Darryl Wright (0)

Abdul Shamsid-Deen (0)

Marty Conlon (8)

Carlton Screen (6)

David Snedeker (0)

Brian Benham (0)

Providence Coach: Rick Pitino

Boston College starters (points scored)

Ted Kelley (2) – Small Forward

Robert Francis (6) – Power Forward

Tyrone Scott (7) – Center

Dana Barros (20) – Point Guard

Jamie Benton (7) – Shooting Guard

Boston College bench (points scored)

Skip Barry (3)

Troy Bowers (20)

Steve Benton (2)

Boston College Coach: Jim O’Brien


Billy Donovan and Rick Pitino led Providence to a Final Four in 1987 and each would have numerous coaching success *photo courtesy of ESPN

February 23, 1987 – (#6)Purdue Boilermakers 76 @(#14)Illinois Fighting Illini 75 (OT)

The Purdue Boilermakers came back strong in 1987 after being upset by LSU in the 1986 1st round.  Juniors Todd Mitchell and Troy Lewis led the way along with fellow junior Everette Stephens, sophomore center Melvin McCants and senior shooter Doug Lee.  That was the starting five for Purdue and their bench was nothing to speak of.  Purdue climbed as high as #2 in the polls in 1987 and their only losses so far were to North Carolina and to Big Ten opponents Iowa and Indiana.

The Boilermakers were on a 4-game winning streak since losing to Indiana at the end of January.  This included beating Iowa at Iowa to take 2nd in the Big Ten.  But Purdue continued to trail Indiana by one game in the loss column.  But they would get a chance to host the Hoosiers three days after going to Champaign, Illinois.

Illinois was 4th in the Big Ten (while still being ranked 14th) with 4 losses.  Each came to Indiana, Iowa twice and Purdue in their first meeting.  So not only had they not beaten the teams ahead of them in the standings but they had suffered some heartbreakers.  They lost to Iowa at home 91-88 after holding a 61-39 lead in the 2nd half.  They had also lost to Purdue in West Lafayette in overtime after Doug Lee nailed a tying three at the end of regulation.

Illinois was led by senior Ken Norman and got defensive and shooting help from 5th year senior Doug Altenberger.  Other than senior guard Tony Wysinger, the rest of the Illini roster was young.  The young included sophomore centers Jens Kujawa and Lowell Hamilton.  There was also freshman guards Steve Bardo and Kendall Gill, along with sophomore guard Glynn Blackwell.  Future Illini stars Nick Anderson and Kenny Battle were on campus in 1987 but were unable to play.  Anderson was ineligible from the new Prop 48 and Battle was sitting out a year after transferring from Northern Illinois.

The 1st half of this game signified perhaps how big this game was and how physical the Big Ten was.  Lewis and Lee made threes to get Purdue off 6-0.  Those were the only two threes of the half.  The shooting percentage of each team was in the 30’s and low 40’s (Illinois got off 21 more shots than Purdue in the half) and despite the physical contact, only five free throws were shot in the 1st half.

Ken Norman, a 2nd team All-American, hit a pull-up from the wing and hit Bardo for a layup to being the Illini back.  Then Wysinger found Kujawa for a layup and then got a breakaway after a Bardo outlet.  Bardo’s steal and breakaway layup tied the game and the teams continued tied at 14 with 7:00 left in the half.  Hamilton, Gill and Blackwell each contributed off the bench to lead the Illini to a 24-20 halftime lead.

The Illini started flying in the 2nd half as Wysinger found Gill with an alley-oop that forced a Purdue timeout.  An Altenberger three and a Gill putback put Illinois up 10.  Norman’s two free throws later put Illinois up 42-30.  These free throws gave ‘The Snake’ his 10th and last points of the evening.  An Altenberger three put the Illini up 46-30.  Purdue was able to get a field goal before the under 12:00 media timeout.

Then the game turned 180 degrees.  Illinois suddenly couldn’t put the ball in the hole and Purdue, after looking terrible on offense for most of the game to that point, suddenly came alive.  McCants hit a hook from the post.  Stephens got a steal and Lewis a breakaway.  McCants hit two free throws after Bardo’s 4th foul.  Then Lee found McCants on the break for a layup and the score was down to 46-40.

A free throw by Lewis cut the lead to five but Blackwell ended the 11-0 run and hit another jumper inside on a later possession.  But he was matched by Mitchell, who scored 9 of Purdue’s next 10 points to cut Illinois’ lead to 52-51.  Mitchell then blocked a Hamilton shot and Stephens went coast-to-coast as Purdue grabbed the lead before Lou Henson could get a timeout with 3:18 left.

About a minute and a half later, Troy Lewis nailed a three to give Purdue a 58-55 lead.  Then on the next possession, the Boilermakers found Lee at the top of the key for a jumper.  His foot was on the line but the refs called it a three and Purdue led 61-55 with 51 seconds left.  It looked like curtains after Altenberger missed a shot after an Illinois timeout and McCants got the rebound.  But Blackwell stole it and scored with 41 seconds left.

Then Hamilton stole the inbounds pass and Wysinger found Altenberger at the top of the key for a three.  It was now 61-60 and Purdue got a timeout with 24 seconds left.  Illinois fouled on the inbounds and Lewis made two free throws for a three point lead.  But Altenberger was now on a hot streak as he nailed a three from the wing to tie the game with 13 seconds left.

After a Purdue timeout, Lewis came off a screen but missed on a wing jumper and the game headed into overtime.  It was more of the same as the teams battled to a 67-all tie.  Then a Lewis pull-up from the elbow gave Purdue a lead and they got the ball back.  Stephens shocked everybody, especially the defense, by pulling up and hitting a three from the wing with under 1:00 left.  The Boilermakers now led 72-67.

Gill missed a shot from inside but got a steal and hit two free throws with 23 seconds left.  But Illinois was not able to climb back into it despite making two three-pointers because Purdue went 4-for-5 from the line in the final 20 seconds.

Illinois still hadn’t beaten a team ahead of them in the Big Ten standings.  However, they would get another chance as they would host Indiana 6 days later.

By the time that game happened, Indiana and Purdue would be tied for the Big Ten lead as the Boilermakers defeated the Hoosiers 75-64 in West Lafayette, breaking Indiana’s 9-game winning streak.

Purdue starters (points scored)

Doug Lee (14) – Small Forward

Todd Mitchell (19) – Power Forward

Melvin McCants (12) – Center

Everette Stephens (13) – Point Guard

Troy Lewis (18) – Shooting Guard

Purdue bench (points scored)

Kip Jones (0)

Jeff Arnold (0)

Tony Jones (0)

Purdue Coach: Gene Keady

Illinois starters (points scored)

Doug Altenberger (20) – Small Forward

Ken Norman (10) – Power Forward

Jens Kujawa (4) – Center

Steve Bardo (6) – Point Guard

Tony Wysinger (9) – Shooting Guard

Illinois bench (points scored)

Lowell Hamilton (4)

Kendall Gill (12)

Glynn Blackwell (10)

Illinois Coach: Lou Henson

March 1, 1987 – (#3)Indiana Hoosiers 67 @(#14)Illinois Fighting Illini 69

Illinois crushed Ohio State two days after their heartbreaking loss to Purdue.  But now was a chance to beat one of the top teams in the Big Ten for the first time all season.  Furthermore, Indiana was reeling after a loss at Purdue had tied them for the Big Ten lead against the Boilermakers.

The Illini pressure set an early tone.  Illinois had several possessions and 5 points before Indiana crossed half court.  Steve Bardo made a runner after Tony Wysinger got a steal off the press.  Then after Illinois forced another turnover, Jens Kujawa kicked out to Doug Altenberger for a corner three.  Wysinger later hit two pull-up jumpers to give Illinois an 11-5 lead.

But Steve Alford, Keith Smart and Dean Garrett brought the Hoosiers back.  They went on a 15-4 run capped by an Alford three-point play on a cut and a Smart feed.  Indiana took a 24-16 lead after ball movement found Smart and Garrett for two more jumpers.  When Illinois called a timeout down 26-19, Ken Norman had 2 points and seemed dis-interested.

But after the timeout, Norman re-awoke and so did his team.  Norman hit a jumper in the lane and found Bardo for an elbow jumper.  Later, Norman hit another pull-up in the lane after a spin and Illinois cut the Hoosiers lead to 30-27 when Lowell Hamilton tip-dunked a Norman miss.  An Altenberger three gave Illinois a 32-31 lead.  Then after Alford scored to give the advantage back to Indiana, Norman scored six straight points to bring his total to 14.  Illinois held on for a 40-36 halftime lead.

Norman started the 2nd half with a baseline jumper and then hit two free throws after Indiana senior Daryl Thomas committed his 3rd foul.  Another Altenberger three gave Illinois a 47-40 lead.  Then a Kujawa baseball throw outlet triggered a 2-on-1 break in which Wysinger found Norman for a flying slam and a foul.  The gave the Illini a 10-point lead and forced Bobby Knight to bring Daryl Thomas back in.

He did get a layup for his first two points but then committed his 4th foul.  But after Norman’s free throw gave Illinois a 53-44 lead, Indiana scored back-to-back buckets as the eeriness was filling Assembly Hall in Champaign.  Illinois had blown 2nd half leads before.  The run was halted for a while as Illinois maintained a 57-49 lead halfway through the 2nd half.

But then Alford found Smart for a pull-up jumper in the lane.  Rick Calloway found Garrett for a layup and then Calloway hit a runner on the baseline.  Illinois called a timeout but couldn’t halt Calloway from tying it at 57 with a banker from inside.  Indiana had two chances to take the lead but on the 2nd chance, Norman got a steal and hit a pull-up from the foul line.

Two more threes from Altenberger gave Illinois a 65-61 lead but Hamilton fouled out and Thomas hit two free throws just short of the under 4:00 media timeout.  Alford eventually tied the game with a runner in the lane.

Illini center Jens Kujawa was from Germany (called West Germany at the time) and was being criticized by Dick Vitale for not having a polished offensive game.  But Kujawa, who would go back to Germany after his junior year in 1988 and become a member of the 1992 Olympic German team, stepped through and hit a big hook shot from the baseline to give Illinois the lead.

Calloway missed with 1:51 left and Garrett fouled Kujawa on the rebound.  Jens then made both ends of the 1-and-1 and Illinois led 69-65.  After an Indiana timeout, Knight set a play in which Alford alley-ooped to Smart and the lead was down to two with 1:35 left.  Wysinger then missed from the wing and Bardo dribbled the ball out of bounds on the rebound with 51 seconds left.

Indiana called a timeout at 39 seconds but Alford could not shake free.  First, defensive stalwart Doug Altenberger was glued to him and then Ken Norman took him on a switch and forced a miss from Alford on a leaner just inside the three-point line with 7 seconds left.

Bardo got the rebound and was fouled with 4 seconds left.  Bardo missed the front end but made up for it by blocking Alford’s attempt from half-court to win it.

Illinois would finish the regular season strongly after finally beating a top team in their conference.  They beat Michigan and Michigan State on the road to finish 13-5, two games behind Indiana at the top and 4th overall.

Indiana would get to the top after Michigan helped them out on the final day of the season.  The Wolverines killed Purdue 104-68 and Purdue had to settle for a regular season tie with the Hoosiers.  However, Indiana won the tie-breaker and got to be a number 1 seed in the Midwest Regional and play their first two games in Indianapolis (which they won easily).  Purdue meanwhile was the 3 seed in the East Regional and lost in the 2nd round to Florida 85-66.

Purdue finished 27-3 in the 1988 regular season, including 16-2 in the Big Ten.  They were a 1-seed in the Midwest Regional and finally the senior class of Troy Lewis, Todd Mitchell and Everette Stephens would get a chance for some respect.  But the Boilers were upset again, this time by 4th seeded Kansas State in the Sweet 16.  Their next chance at relevancy would be when a Big Dog arrived in town.

Indiana starters (points scored)

Rick Calloway (8) – Small Forward

Daryl Thomas (4) – Power Forward

Dean Garrett (17) – Center

Steve Alford (17) – Point Guard

Keith Smart (19) – Shooting Guard

Indiana bench (points scored)

Steve Eyl (2)

Joe Hillman (0)

Magnus Pelkowski (0)

Kreigh Smith (0)

Indiana Coach: Bobby Knight

Illinois starters (points scored)

Doug Altenberger (20) – Small Forward

Ken Norman (24) – Power Forward

Jens Kujawa (6) – Center

Steve Bardo (5) – Point Guard

Tony Wysinger (10) – Shooting Guard

Illinois bench (points scored)

Lowell Hamilton (2)

Glynn Blackwell (2)

Kendall Gill (0)

Illinois Coach: Lou Henson

ken norman

Ken Norman delivered on senior day with 24 points to lead Illinois past Indiana *photo courtesy of Fighting Illini website

March 6, 1987 – ACC Tournament Quarterfinals: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 54, Virginia Cavaliers 55

The Virginia Cavaliers had finished at 8-6 in the ACC for 4th place.  It’s possible that they could have been challenging North Carolina for the top spot had Olden Polynice not been dismissed from the program before the season.  It was a move coach Terry Holland had to make after Polynice was caught shoplifting headsets from a local audio store.

But without Polynice, Virginia had a hole in the middle that had to be filled by senior Tom Sheehey at the end of the season.  Sheehey was 6’9″ but was more of a perimeter player.  He was flanked in the front court by the two Kennedys.  Mel was a junior and Andrew a senior.  Drew Kennedy (as Andrew was known) was a junior college transfer who led the Cavaliers in scoring.  The back court was junior point guard John Johnson and sophomore shooter Richard Morgan.  Not only was that starting five the only Virginia players to average double figures but they were the only players who averaged more than 4 points per game that season.  Also, none of those starting players (or any of the bench) would play a game in the NBA.

After Virginia lost three straight road games to the teams that finished atop them in the ACC standings (North Carolina, Clemson and Duke.. the Cavaliers gave the undefeated Tarheels their toughest ACC game, losing 74-73 in Chapel Hill.. they would give the Tarheels a tougher game in the ACC semis), the Cavaliers finished the regular season by winning 5 in a row.  This included a 60-58 win over Georgia Tech, their 1st round opponent.

The Yellow Jackets came in reeling, losing three games in a row after surprising Duke in Durham.  But for the first half, Tech looked like the team on the winning streak while Virginia looked like they were reeling.

The key may have been putting 7’0″ Antoine Ford on Andrew Kennedy, affecting his inside game.  Neither team was burning the net early as the game reached the under 16:00 timeout with Georgia Tech leading 4-2.  But Richard Morgan got going for UVA by hitting three jumpers, the last of which gave the Cavaliers a 10-9 lead.  Virginia had used its own box-and-1 defense to shut off Tom Hammonds and his inside game.

But two straight turnaround jumpers from Hammonds keyed an 8-0 Tech run.  Later, an 8-0 Virginia run tied the game at 21.  The Yellow Jackets recovered and grabbed a 29-24 halftime lead.

But Andrew Kennedy and Morgan each hit two field goals early in the 2nd half to cut Tech’s lead to 33-32.  Andrew later gave Virginia a lead when John Johnson found him for a baseline jumper.  Then Kennedy drew Ford’s 3rd foul and got a three-point play to put the Cavaliers up 38-36 and give him 17 points.  Hammonds’ fall-away tied the game.

The rest of the scoring was back-and-forth.  Tech was helped by senior Bruce Dalrymple and junior Duane Ferrell, who was battling a severe case of bronchitis.. according to Tech.  But Virginia took a 45-42 lead on a Sheehey breakaway three-point play.  Then after Tech freshman Brian Oliver (who was taking many of Craig Neal’s minutes because Neal had an injured hip flexor) picked up his 4th foul, Mel and Andrew Kennedy got field goals to give Virginia a 49-44 lead.

But Oliver put back a Hammonds miss and then Ferrell found Hammonds for a short jumper and the lead was one.  A Johnson alley-oop to Morgan put Virginia back up 51-48 and then Oliver picked up his 5th foul on Morgan.  But Richard missed the front end and Ford’s hook shot cut the lead back to one.  Georgia Tech then got the ball back and called a timeout with 2:11 left.

Neal then found Dalrymple for a banker and the Jackets had the lead.  Andrew Kennedy then found Sheehey for a runner and Virginia was up again.  Tech then threw the ball away with 40 seconds left.  But they got second life after Johnson missed the front end of a 1-and-1.  Ferrell penetrated and dished to Hammonds, who was fouled by Sheehey with 14 seconds left.

Hammonds made both free throws and Tech called their last timeout.  John Johnson handled the ball the full length of the court and missed a driving runner.  Andrew Kennedy got the rebound and was fouled by Ferrell with 3 seconds left.  Drew made both free throws as well and Virginia called its last timeout to set the defense.  Since Tech was inbounding from the back court, the defense was basically to prevent the long pass and not foul.

They did both as Dalrymple received it at half court and threw a heave over the backboard.  Georgia Tech would finish its season by losing 5 straight after they were invited to the NCAA tournament as a #7 seed in the Midwest.  They were eliminated by LSU for the 2nd straight year, this time in the 1st round.

Meanwhile, Virginia was set to tango with North Carolina.  And since NC State and Wake Forest upset Duke and Clemson, respectively, in the Quarterfinals, Virginia would have been the favorite in the title game if they could get past UNC.

Georgia Tech starters (points scored)

Duane Ferrell (10) – Small Forward

Tom Hammonds (18) – Power Forward

Antoine Ford (8) – Center

Brian Oliver (4) – Point Guard

Bruce Dalrymple (12) – Shooting Guard

Georgia Tech bench (points scored)

Craig Neal (0)

James Munlyn (2)

Georgia Tech Coach: Bobby Cremins

Virginia starters (points scored)

Mel Kennedy (4) – Small Forward

Andrew Kennedy (22) – Power Forward

Tom Sheehey (8) – Center

John Johnson (4) – Point Guard

Richard Morgan (13) – Shooting Guard

Virginia bench (points scored)

Bill Batts (2)

Darrick Simms (2)

Virginia Coach: Terry Holland

March 7, 1987 – ACC Tournament Semifinals: Virginia Cavaliers 82, (#2)North Carolina Tarheels 84 (2OT)

It was perhaps the most exciting ACC Semifinal day, in history.  At least it was the longest, especially for ESPN commentators Tim Brando and Dick Vitale.  Both games were exciting, yes, but both games going into double overtime.. that’s a hell of a day.

North Carolina had not lost to an ACC opponent since the 1986 ACC tournament.  But Virginia had come the closest, losing to UNC in Chapel Hill 74-73 when Richard Morgan missed at the buzzer.

Virginia started this game as if they had nothing to lose.  The two stars of the Quarterfinal win, Andrew Kennedy and Morgan hit the first two field goals as UNC missed their first 5 shots.  But Mel Kennedy committed his 2nd foul on a charge and Terry Holland had to bring in freshman Bill Batts.  After Carolina tied it at 4, Tom Sheehey found Batts for a banker on the inside.  Later, Sheehey found Batts for a slam to give Virginia a 10-6 lead.  A John Johnson breakaway on an Andrew Kennedy outlet put the Cavaliers up 12-6.

Joe Wolf scored 6 straight points for the Tarheels to tie it but Virginia came back on a 7-0 run as Batts tipped in a miss, Sheehey hit a runner on the baseline and Morgan nailed a three from the wing.  Virginia would build this lead to as much as 11 but Carolina, led by Wolf and Jeff Lebo, came back and trailed by only 38-33 at halftime.

But Carolina couldn’t overtake Virginia early in the 2nd half.  Tom Sheehey was having himself a game and his hustle and offensive boardwork helped the Cavs regain a 55-47 lead.  Then with just over 12:00 left, a clock malfunction delayed the game for about 5 minutes.  One could summarize perhaps that this killed Virginia’s momentum.  Fouls ultimately ended up killing Virginia’s momentum.

Andrew Kennedy committed his 4th and Carolina cut the lead to 55-51.  Baskets by Sheehey and Mel Kennedy stemmed the tide for a moment but three-pointers by Lebo and Wolf brought the Tarheels back to within 64-62.  John Johnson drove past Kenny Smith for a layup.  Then after a Carolina turnover, Dean Smith argued for a foul and received a technical.  It was about as animated as Dean Smith could be, according to Brando and Vitale.  Johnson made both shots and Virginia had a chance to go up by 8 with just over 6:00 left.  But Sheehey traveled trying to put back a miss.

Sheehey then committed his 4th foul after Lebo cut the lead to 68-64 on a runner from the baseline.  Wolf hit a turnaround from the baseline to cut the lead to two and then when Carolina had a chance to tie it, Sheehey and J.R. Reid were battling for position down low.  Each went to the ground and the officials called a double-foul.  That call was costly to Virginia as it was Sheehey’s 5th (while only being Reid’s 3rd).  It was a call that didn’t help the thought that the refs and everybody favored Dean Smith and UNC.

Lebo tied the game with a baseline drive and reverse layup.  Mel Kennedy gave Virginia the lead again with a banker.  But Reid took a Kenny Smith lob and laid it in to tie it again.  Carolina took their first lead of the game at 72-70 when Lebo hit a wing jumper with 2:25 left.  But Virginia tied it again 45 seconds later when Johnson found Andrew Kennedy for a jumper in the lane.

After Wolf missed a three, Virginia had a chance to lead again and J.R. Reid fouled Andrew Kennedy with 38 seconds left.  Kennedy had made the two free throws to beat Georgia Tech in the Quarters, but this time he missed both.  Batts got offensive rebound but John Johnson lost the ball into the back court with 26 seconds left.  Carolina ran down the clock after a timeout and Kenny Smith had the ball.  Smith drove the lane and dished to the freshman Scott Williams.  Williams looked like a freshman on his game-winning attempt as he overshot and airballed an 8-foot baseline jumper.  The game was headed to overtime.

Andrew Kennedy started the OT with a bank shot from the post.  Lebo tied it with 2 free throws.  Then Mel Kennedy hit a jumper from the top of the key.  Batts blocked a Williams shot and Johnson found Andrew for a wing jumper.  Virginia led 78-74.

Kenny Smith was fouled on a give-and-go but Kenny, uncharacteristically, missed the two free throws.  However, the Tarheels were saved again as Reid rebounded the second miss and put it back in.  The Virginia lead was two with about 2:30 remaining.  The Cavaliers had two chances to take a four-point lead over the next 2 minutes but couldn’t do it.  Smith had a chance to tie as he drove the lane.  Smith missed and Batts got the rebound with 7 seconds left.  But Scott Williams was able to successfully tie him up and the possession arrow was pointed North Carolina’s way.

The last 7 seconds took about 5 minutes and was one of the craziest overtime endings that just makes you want to face-palm.  Smith tried to inbound the ball from under Virginia’s basket with a bounce pass and his bounce hit out of bounds for a turnover.  After Virginia used its last timeout, they threw the ball ahead and tried to hit the speedy John Johnson on the other side of the court.  But Smith out-raced him to the ball and was able to call a timeout while only relinquishing one second.

Carolina though had to inbound at three-quarter court (where the timeout was called).  Lebo got the ball in the back court and dribbled all the way to the three-point line before going up with a shot.  As he went up, Johnson stripped it away (although it looked like a foul).  However, the ball went right to Scott Williams who had no time to think about it and just threw up a hook with one second left.  The ball went in and the game was incredibly going to a second overtime.  Williams had also made up for his airball at the end of regulation.

Both teams looked tired in the second overtime as the toll of the emotional, physical game was finally seeming to get to them.  For the first three minutes or so, the only points came on field goals from Morgan and Wolf.  But Williams gave UNC an 82-80 lead with a put back of a Smith miss.  But Williams fouled out with 35 seconds left after fouling Andrew Kennedy.  Kennedy, this time, made the two free throws to tie the game.

Carolina went for the last shot without a timeout and isolated Smith at the top.  He drove past Johnson into the lane and made a runner with 3 seconds left.  The clock was down to 1 second before the officials acknowledged a Virginia timeout.  This didn’t allow the Cavaliers any time to set a play on a long full-court pass.  They threw the pass away and Carolina survived.

Virginia’s effort earned them a 5-seed in the West Regional after not being ranked all season.  But the Cavaliers were upset by Fennis Dembo and 12th seed Wyoming (we’ll get to them later) 64-60 in the first game.  The next time the Cavaliers would be a factor was in 1989 when they made it to the Regional Finals.  They would then come back strong in Terry Holland’s final season in 1990 with a completely different roster (with some actual NBA players).

Virginia starters (points scored)

Mel Kennedy (12) – Small Forward

Andrew Kennedy (20) – Power Forward

Tom Sheehey (16) – Center

John Johnson (14) – Point Guard

Richard Morgan (14) – Shooting Guard

Virginia bench (points scored)

Bill Batts (6)

Darrick Simms (0)

Mark Cooke (0)

Virginia Coach: Terry Holland

North Carolina starters (points scored)

Dave Popson (4) – Small Forward

Joe Wolf (27) – Power Forward

J.R. Reid (15) – Center

Kenny Smith (8) – Point Guard

Jeff Lebo (22) – Shooting Guard

North Carolina bench (points scored)

Scott Williams (8)

Steve Bucknall (0)

Ranzino Smith (0)

Curtis Hunter (0)

North Carolina Coach: Dean Smith

March 7, 1987 – ACC Tournament Semifinals: Wake Forest Demon Deacons 73, NC State Wolfpack 77 (2OT)

Because the second semifinal game was between the 6th and 7th seed in the ACC, the first game between Virginia and North Carolina was called the championship.  Vitale said many times in the broadcast of the second game that he didn’t think either of these teams could stay with the Tarheels in the title game (that’s why we play the games).

Wake Forest had 2 wins in the ACC all season, both were against a win-less Maryland team.  But in the Quarterfinals against 2nd seeded Clemson, the Deacons shocked everybody by coming back from a 17-point deficit (helped by a 15-0 run) and beating the Tigers 69-62.  Clemson would still get a 4th seed in the NCAA tournament was their first game will be talked about later in this post.

Wake Forest had one man who was 50 percent of their offense (or perhaps much, much more).  They had one man who would get a chance to run on an NBA court.  That man was 5’3″ senior Muggsy Bogues.  The rest of the lineup was not very memorable and probably only known to devoted Wake Forest/ACC fans or Wake students who followed the team at the time.

Bogues back court partner was Rod Watson, who had scored 21 points against Clemson to match Bogues’ total.  Senior Mark Cline was at forward along with two freshmen, Sam Ivy and Greg Keith.  The bench included under-classmen Cal Boyd, Ralph Kitley, Tony Black and Antonio Johnson.

NC State, meanwhile, had upset Duke in overtime 71-64 in the Quarterfinals.  Vinny Del Negro was starting to become a factor, along with Bennie Bolton, Chucky Brown and Charles Shackleford.  Junior Quentin Jackson manned the point guard role after Kenny Drummond left and was able to distribute to all these scorers.

This game was nothing like the first game in terms of intensity.  In fact, for many stretches of this game the offensive output was ugly.  For example, it was 2:00 into the game before a Shackleford hook shot put the first points on the board for either team.  Those first two minutes included two missed layups from Ivy.

But Bogues finally got the Wake offense going.  He hit a pull-up from the wing.  He found Ivy for a short jumper.  And he found Cline for back-to-back jumpers.  A three in transition by Boyd put the Deacons up 13-5.  Wake maintained a 25-17 lead but then Bogues picked up his 2nd and 3rd fouls and was forced to the bench.  Without Bogues, Wake’s offense resembled next to nothingness and NC State ran off an 11-0 run, capped by a Del Negro three and baseline drive, to take the lead.  The Wolfpack held a 34-31 lead at the break.

With Wake trailing by five early in the 2nd half, Bogues committed his 4th foul on a coast-to-coast drive.  The Deacons though were able to stay with NC State as the Wolfpack was trotting around a limping Charles Shackleford.  Shackleford gritted through the pain but played as if he was high (ouch! bad joke! but hey maybe it helped him through the pain).

Del Negro, despite injuring his leg early in the 2nd half, kept NC State ahead with back-to-back jumpers and then a runner on the baseline to make the score 54-49 Wolfpack.  But Bogues came back in and led the Deacons on a 6-0 run to take the lead with about 5:00 left.  The score stood at 55-54 for way too long as Shackleford and Watson missed free throws.

Finally with about 2:00 left, Del Negro outletted to a streaking Quentin Jackson.  Jackson scored his layup and drew an intentional breakaway foul.  This meant two shots for Jackson.  He made both and NC State led 58-55.  But Bogues tied it with a three after a good screen by Keith.  Shackleford missed a turnaround jumper but Watson missed at the other end.  Bogues rebounded his miss and ran down the clock but could not get free from the Wolfpack defense.  Finally, he had to give the ball up to Cline, who airballed at the buzzer.  This was the third overtime of the day in that same building.

Ivy fouled out early in overtime after having an effective day.  But a Bogues three-point play gave Wake Forest a 61-60 lead.  Then Muggsy found Keith on a 3-on-1 break for a layup.  Bolton’s two free throws cut it to 63-62.  Wake ran down the shot clock (though not intentionally) and were trouble by the end.  Bogues seemed to bail them out with 1:32 left by banking in a three from beyond the NBA line in the Capital Centre in Landover (where Bogues would play his home games in his rookie year).  But after the officials discussed it, they waived it off.  ESPN never did show a replay but Wake probably would have won had that bucket counted, although I guess one can’t be sure.

Either way, it was momentum killer and NC State took the lead when Jackson found Mike Giomi for a layup.  After Bogues hit two free throws, Jackson again penetrated and this time found Chucky Brown for a slam with under 1:00 to go.  Wake actually got a seemingly good shot to retake the lead as Watson drove down the lane.  But his lefty finger-roll went off the back rim and Wolfpack reserve Kelsey Weems (who was in the game to defend Bogues) was fouled with 9 seconds left.

He made the first to give NC State a 67-65 lead but missed the second.  Wake rebounded and Bogues pushed.  He was able to find Antonio Johnson for a layup at the buzzer to remarkably send the game into a second overtime.

The scoring finally picked up a bit in the second OT as Shackleford and Brown got field goals for NC State and Bolton gave them a 73-69 lead with 2:30 left with a jumper in the lane.  However, Bolton missed a chance to increase that lead by missing the front end of a 1-and-1 and Wake cut it to 73-71 with 51 seconds left after Cline nailed a jumper from the top.

Boyd fouled Del Negro before the ball was inbounded and Vinny made two free throws.  Bogues came back with two free throws with 45 seconds left and NC State tried to kill the clock.  Wake finally fouled Mike Giomi with 19 seconds left and Mike left the door open by also missing the front end of a 1-and-1.

Bogues pushed it down and found Tony Black, who missed a baseline jumper.  Bolton got the rebound and was fouled with 8 seconds left.  Bolton this time made the two free throws to put it away.

NC State was now on to challenge to mighty Tarheels in the title game.  But after two double overtime semifinals, the question would be who was the fresher team.

For Wake Forest, that was the final game in the college career of Muggsy Bogues as the Deacs didn’t go to the NCAA or NIT tournament.  Their next bout with relevancy would come in 1991 when they had Rodney Rogers and Randolph Childress on board.

Wake Forest starters (points scored)

Mark Cline (13) – Small Forward

Sam Ivy (13) – Power Forward

Greg Keith (6) – Center

Muggsy Bogues (17) – Point Guard

Rod Watson (10) – Shooting Guard

Wake Forest bench (points scored)

Cal Boyd (5)

Ralph Kitley (2)

Tony Black (2)

Antonio Johnson (5)

Alan Dickens (0)

Wake Forest Coach: Bob Staack

NC State starters (points scored)

Bennie Bolton (16) – Small Forward

Chucky Brown (13) – Power Forward

Charles Shackleford (17) – Center

Quentin Jackson (6) – Point Guard

Vinny Del Negro (15) – Shooting Guard

NC State bench (points scored)

Mike Giomi (9)

Walker Lambiotte (0)

Kelsey Weems (1)

Avie Lester (0)

NC State Coach: Jim Valvano

March 8, 1987 – ACC Championship Game: NC State Wolfpack 68, (#2)North Carolina Tarheels 67

The fresher team for this Championship Game wasn’t quite answered but it was obvious who was the more aggressive team.  Amazingly, North Carolina didn’t shoot a free throw until late in the 2nd half.  That should answer the question of who dictated the game.

NC State was a big underdog in this game but sophomore Chucky Brown (who was a reserve until the tournament) had his coming out party.  He grabbed two offensive rebounds early and got fouled after each board.  He hit four free throws to give the Wolfpack the lead by that margin.  Later, it was Brown’s baseline jumper on a Vinny Del Negro feed that broke a 10-all tie.

The game stayed back and forth until J.R. Reid picked up his 2nd foul for the Tarheels and Mike Giomi came in for the Wolfpack.  Giomi sparked a 10-0 run that broke a 14-all tie by scoring 6 of those points.  Meanwhile for UNC, Scott Williams and Dave Popson also picked up their 2nd fouls.

Giomi and Brown continued to keep NC State ahead for the rest of the half.  The halftime score was 32-25 Wolfpack but it could have been 34-25.  However, Charles Shackleford’s putback was just a second after the buzzer (Shackleford was still hobbling around on an injured ankle and wasn’t as effective as he maybe could have been).

In the 2nd half, UNC sped the tempo up some more after being held to their lowest scoring half of the season.  Joe Wolf alley-ooped to Popson to start an 8-2 run, which concluded when Kenny Smith got a steal and J.R. Reid hit a runner in transition, to cut the Wolfpack lead to 36-35.

A Quentin Jackson baseline jumper stemmed the tide for a minute but a Jeff Lebo pull-up in the lane and then a Smith layup on a 2-on-1 break gave UNC the lead.  They increased it to 41-38 when Williams hit a fall-away in the post.  However, J.R. Reid picked up his 4th foul battling for position on that play and had to sit down.

Bennie Bolton hit a three to tie it.  Then a putback by Brown and a face-up jumper by Giomi gave the Wolfpack a 45-43 lead.  Williams tied it with a jumper from the top but Del Negro and Bolton responded with baseline pull-up jumpers to put NC State up 49-45.  Just before the under 8:00 timeout, Steve Bucknall signified how the game was going for the Tarheels by dropping the ball out of bounds right under the basket when he was open for a layup.

NC State eventually gained a 58-51 lead.  UNC started its comeback when Williams shot the Tarheels’ first free throws of the game.  He made the first and missed the second, but rebounded his miss and eventually screened for and handed off to Lebo for a three and the lead was 58-55.  Then Kenny Smith came off a Popson screen and hit a three from the top to tie it.

But NC State never let Carolina grab the lead thanks to Brown.  He assisted on a Del Negro baseline jumper, his two free throws after grabbing an offensive rebound and then scored a layup after a Quentin Jackson lob.  But two turnaround jumpers by Reid from the post and a Popson banker on a Wolf assist tied the game at 64 with 1:26 left.

Bolton missed on the drive, but Giomi tipped in the miss against Reid and Wolf for a two-point lead.  Reid was then fouled on the drive with 42 seconds left.  J.R. missed the first and made the second.  NC State got a timeout with 35 seconds left, up 66-65.

One of the big reasons that Carolina was able to come back on Virginia in the Semifinals was stealing an inbounds pass.  They did the same after NC State over-threw Del Negro.  Vinny got to the ball but had to save it from going out of bounds.  He tried to knock it off Popson but Dave moved his leg back and the throw went right to Kenny Smith.

Smith then went coast-to-coast and finished with an up-and-under reverse layup to give UNC the 67-66 lead with 27 seconds left.  NC State then did perhaps the smartest thing and didn’t call a timeout.  Del Negro drove baseline and was fouled with 14 seconds left.

Vinny made both free throws to complete NC State’s 14-for-14 afternoon from the foul line.  Carolina got two final attempts to take the lead and win the game.  But wing jumpers by Wolf and Ranzino Smith hit nothing but backboard.  Giomi rebounded Smith’s miss and fell to the floor as the buzzer went off.

Another big key to that final defensive stand was reserve Kelsey Weems successfully denying Kenny Smith the ball.  This helped immensely in Carolina not getting a good shot.

Jim Valvano had his 2nd ACC Championship.  The first one, in 1983, was followed up by an unlikely NCAA Championship.  Jimmy V wasn’t as lucky this time as the Wolfpack, as an 11-seed in the East, dropped their 1st round game to Florida 82-70.  North Carolina was the top seed in the East Regional, despite the loss.  They were upset in the Regional Finals by Syracuse 79-75.

NC State starters (points scored)

Bennie Bolton (13) – Small Forward

Chucky Brown (18) – Power Forward

Charles Shackleford (6) – Center

Quentin Jackson (7) – Point Guard

Vinny Del Negro (12) – Shooting Guard

NC State bench (points scored)

Mike Giomi (12)

Kelsey Weems (0)

Avie Lester (0)

NC State Coach: Jim Valvano

North Carolina starters (points scored)

Dave Popson (12) – Small Forward

Joe Wolf (10) – Power Forward

J.R. Reid (17) – Center

Kenny Smith (7) – Point Guard

Jeff Lebo (10) – Shooting Guard

North Carolina bench (points scored)

Scott Williams (9)

Curtis Hunter (0)

Steve Bucknall (0)

Ranzino Smith (2)

North Carolina Coach: Dean Smith

1987 acc championship

Jim Valvano standing with his starting back court, Vinny Del Negro (left) and Quentin Jackson, on the 1987 ACC Champion NC State Wolfpack team *photo courtesy of

March 12, 1987 – Midwest Regional 1st round: (#13)Xavier Musketeers 70, (#4)Missouri Tigers 69

In 1986, the Xavier Musketeers, under first-year head coach Pete Gillen, made it to the NCAA tournament for the 2nd time in their history.  They were a 12 seed after a 25-5 record and lost in the 1st round to Alabama.

But Gillen lost four seniors from that team and the 1987 team struggled for much of the season.  They finished the regular season at 15-12 and were 3rd in the Midwest Collegiate Conference at 7-5.  But Xavier won the conference tournament to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA’s.  The Musketeers only prominent NBA talent was a freshman in 1987 and wasn’t quite what he would become.  That was center Tyrone Hill.

The Musketeers were led by their back court.  Point guard Stan Kimbrough was a sophomore and did play a few years in the NBA.  But Xavier’s leading scorer and still the school’s all-time points leader was junior guard Byron Larkin.  Larkin’s brother, Barry, became a Hall-of-Fame shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds.  Along with Hill, Kimbrough, and Larkin was junior big man Dexter Campbell and swingmen Kyle Taylor and J.D. Barnett.

Missouri, meanwhile, was making its 2nd straight NCAA tournament appearance.  Coach Norm Stewart was in his 20th year at Mizzou and was trying to lead them to their first ever Final Four.  Missouri had won their last 6 regular season games to finish two games ahead of powerhouses Kansas and Oklahoma at the top of the Big Eight.  The Tigers continued that streak by winning the Conference tournament, beating Kansas 67-65 in the Final.

The Tigers were led by junior forward Derrick Chievous, who along with center Gary Leonard was the Tigers’ NBA talent that year.  Junior Lynn Hardy and sophomore Mike Sandbothe filled the wings and the point guard was freshman Lee Coward.  Off the bench was sophomore big man Greg Church and freshman wing player Nathan Buntin (who’s late father, Bill, was an All-American at Michigan).

Missouri got off to a fast start, led by Chievous.  Derrick started the game with a pull-up from the wing.  He later had a three-point play on a Coward lob and then Coward found him for a breakaway.  When Hardy found Church for a layup, Missouri led 13-4 and Xavier was putting dents in the rim and backboard.

Finally, Kimbrough broke the ice with a pull-up three from the top and then Larkin went coast-to-coast for a three-point play.  Missouri kept its lead for awhile despite getting nothing from Chievous after the first few minutes.  But Xavier kept attacking and eventually took a 27-26 lead when Tyrone Hill hit a turnaround in the post.  That would be the last lead change of the game.

The Musketeers took a 32-26 lead when Kimbrough got a steal and layup.  Larkin was doing his part as well by going 8-for-9 from the foul line in the 1st half.  But a Chievous pull-up from the wing (his first points since scoring 7 of the first 11 for Mizzou) cut the lead to 36-32 at the half.

Things didn’t get better for the Tigers as Hardy committed his 4th foul and Kimbrough scored 5 straight points to give Xavier a 41-32 lead.  But Hardy, despite the fouls, responded with 7 straight points of his own later in the half to cut the lead to 43-41.  Back-to-back baskets by Buntin and Sandbothe tied the game at 45.

At a critical moment when the momentum was going towards Missouri, Larkin stepped up and nailed the biggest shot of the game.  He hit a three-pointer from the top.  He later hit back-to-back field goals after committing his 4th foul to put Xavier up 54-48.

Larkin and Kimbrough held off the Tigers for the next few minutes, but it was J.D. Barnett who hit two big jumpers to put Xavier up 8.  The last of which made the margin 65-57 with about 2:30 to go.

Chievous went to the line, made the first and missed the second.  But he rebounded his own miss, scored and was fouled again.  That three-point play put Missouri back into the game.  But Larkin hit 3-of-4 free throws to give Xavier a 68-61 margin with 1:30 left.  Hardy made a pull-up three and then the Tigers forced a traveling call on Kimbrough.  Then Hardy lobbed to Chievous for a layup and the lead was 68-66.

With 48 seconds left, Kimbrough missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and the Tigers rebounded.  Hardy pushed it and the ball swung around to Buntin.  Nathan’s wing jumper was partially blocked by Dexter Campbell and Larkin got the rebound and was fouled with 31 seconds left.  He made both free throws for a 70-66 lead.

Byron had a chance to increase that lead with more free throws after a Missouri miss but Larkin couldn’t connect on the front end of the 1-and-1.  Hardy eventually hit a three from the corner with 13 seconds left to cut the lead to 70-69, but Missouri could not foul a Xavier player as the Musketeers moved it around and ran out the clock.

Xavier went on to lose to Duke 65-60 in the 2nd round for Tommy Amaker’s final win as a Blue Devil.  The Musketeers went 26-4 in 1988 but were the first victim of Danny Manning and the miracle Jayhawks.  In 1989, they gave Michigan coach Steve Fischer his first win and the Musketeers lost to the Wolverines in the 1st round.  They advanced to the Sweet 16 in 1990 and didn’t lost to an eventual champ as Texas took them down in the Regional Semifinals.  That would be the last time Xavier advanced beyond the first weekend of the tournament until 2004.

For Missouri, this wouldn’t be the last time that they were upset in the 1st round.  In 1988, as a 6 seed in the East, they lost to Rhode Island 87-80 but that wouldn’t be as bitter as 1990 and the Northern Iowa Panthers.

Xavier starters (points scored)

Kyle Taylor (3) – Small Forward

Dexter Campbell (13) – Power Forward

Tyrone Hill (6) – Center

Stan Kimbrough (14) – Point Guard

Byron Larkin (29) – Shooting Guard

Xavier bench (points scored)

J.D. Barnett (5)

Robert Koester (0)

Xavier Coach: Pete Gillen

Missouri starters (points scored)

Mike Sandbothe (8) – Small Forward

Derrick Chievous (16) – Power Forward

Gary Leonard (2) – Center

Lee Coward (6) – Point Guard

Lynn Hardy (21) – Shooting Guard

Missouri bench (points scored)

Greg Church (8)

Nathan Buntin (8)

Devon Rolf (0)

Bradd Sutton (0)

Michael Ingram (0)

Missouri Coach: Norm Stewart

byron larkin

Byron Larkin driving against Missouri in the 1987 Midwest Regional 1st round *photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

March 12, 1987 – Southeast Regional 1st round: (#14)Austin Peay Governors 68, (#3)Illinois Fighting Illini 67

Austin Peay Head Coach Lake Kelly may have been 53 when coaching the Governors into the 1987 NCAA tournament, but he looked like Steve Alford.  Kelly orchestrated this first installment of Peaymania when he led the Governors to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 1973.  They beat Jacksonville in the 1st round before losing in overtime to Kentucky 106-100 in the Regional Semifinals.

Kelly led them back into the tournament in 1974 but left Austin Peay after a 24-4 season in 1977.  Kelly coached Oral Roberts for two years and was a high school coach in Kentucky for the next 4 before Joe B. Hall (the head man of the Kentucky team that Austin Peay challenged heavily a decade earlier) hired Lake as an assistant.

After two years on Hall’s staff, Kelly was re-hired by Austin Peay in 1985.  Then started Peaymania II in 1987.  They finished 4th in the Ohio Valley Conference but then beat Morehead State in the 1st round of the Conference tournament after trailing by 22 with 8 minutes to go.  They went on to beat Eastern Kentucky 71-68 in the championship game when Lawrence Mitchell hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.

So Austin Peay had improbably made its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1974.  But they were a 14-seed in the Southeast Regional and the luck that had gotten them there could only carry you so far.

The Governors had a bunch of JC transfers as the only regular who wasn’t a senior and wasn’t a transfer was forward Tony Raye.  Mitchell, center Darryl Bedford, point guard Richie Armstrong and two guard Mike Hicks were the starters along with Raye and they played most of the minutes.

Illinois had finished the Big Ten season strong with 4 straight wins and Kenny Norman and company were looking to continue that run as the #3 seed in the Southeast Regional.

They did start off well with a 10-5 lead over Austin Peay after forcing 4 turnovers.  But the 6’9″ Bedford shocked everybody by nailing a three (Bedford was, in essence,  about 15 years ahead of his time).  Mitchell followed up an Armstrong miss to give the Governors an 11-10 lead.

Lowell Hamilton provided a spark for the Illini off the bench as he scored 6 quick points to push Illinois’ margin back to five.  Norman put back a Glynn Blackwell miss to give the Illini a 22-15 lead.

But Mitchell hit a pull-up in the laneand then Armstrong finished a 3-on-1 break with a layup.  Eventually a steal and flying slam by Hicks cut Illinois’ lead to 26-25 and proved to everybody watching that Austin Peay was going to stay with the Illini for the long term.

Austin Peay almost made a critical mistake by fouling Doug Altenberger with 1 second left in the half.  Altenberger made two free throws to give Illinois a 32-29 lead.  But then Raye threw a long pass to Mitchell who banked in a three from the top at the buzzer to tie the game.  This shot gave the Governors oodles of momentum going into the locker room.

Illinois started the 2nd half with a 4-point lead but two three-pointers by Bedford put Austin Peay up 42-40.  Then on a later possession, Hicks hustled down a miss and fed Mitchell for a double-pump layup and a foul.  The three-point play put APeay up 45-40.  They took a 49-42 lead on a Mitchell baseline drive.

But missed free throws and foul trouble allowed Illinois to hang around.  Bedford committed his 3rd foul but Altenberger and Hamilton each picked up their 4th for the Illini.  However, a Tony Wysinger pull-up from the top completed a 6-0 run and put Illinois ahead 56-55 with 6:30 to go.  The teams then exchanged baskets before Mitchell picked up his 4th foul on Blackwell.

Glynn missed the front end of a 1-and-1 but Norman picked up the rebound and put it back in to give Illinois a 60-59 lead.  Bedford tied it with a free throw and Altenberger missed the front end of a 1-and-1 after Raye picked up his 4th foul.

Raye did hit two free throws before Bedford committed his 4th (if you’re keeping track at home, all starting front court players for APeay have 4 fouls).  Norman though only hit 1-of-2 free throws and Illinois trailed 62-61.  Bedford then went to the post and pulled off a dipsy-doo up-and-under layup against Hamilton for a three point lead.

Armstrong then committed his 4th foul for APeay (that’s 4 starters) and Wysinger made both ends of a 1-and-1 to cut the lead to 64-63.  But the Governors quickly broke the press as Bedford lobbed one to a streaking Hicks.  Hicks found Mitchell for a slam.  Hamilton responded with a baseline jumper and Illinois got the ball back with 1:16 to go after Hicks was called for a travel.

However, Raye stole freshman Steve Bardo’s attempted pass to Norman and Austin Peay ran down the shot clock with under 1:00 to go.  They couldn’t get a good shot however and Bedford settled for a long three that was short.  Wysinger handled the rebound, pushed the ball, and had a 2-on-1 with Norman.  Wysinger pulled up at the foul line and hit the jumper with 13 seconds left and Illinois led 67-66.

Austin Peay didn’t call a timeout and that was almost costly.  Armstrong dribbled the ball to the corner and was trapped.  But he was able to find Raye right by the basket as the Illinois weak side defense was asleep.  Raye was fouled by Norman with 2 seconds left.  Going into Raye’s attempts, Austin Peay was 12-for-22 from the line.  Raye himself was 4-for-7.

But Tony rattled the first one in and then got the bounce on the second.  Illinois called timeout and had full court to go.  Altenberger threw a long pass to Bardo just past half court.  Steve smartly called another timeout with 1 second left so Illinois could set a more reasonable play.

They ended up getting a good shot as Bardo inbounded to Norman at the foul line.  But the Snake’s shot rolled off the rim and Kenny fell to the floor as Austin Peay celebrated with their many fans that traveled down to Birmingham, Alabama from Clarksville, Tennessee.

Austin Peay lost to Providence 90-87 in overtime in the next round.  The Friars would go on to the Final Four and Austin Peay would make its next NCAA tournament appearance in 1996 with Bubba Wells leading the way.

But that was long after Lake Kelly left Austin Peay and returned to Prep Coaching and Administration.  Kelly died in 2009 but did get a shining moment in the NCAA tournament which would put him alongside other mid-major coaches.

Austin Peay starters (points scored)

Lawrence Mitchell (22) – Small Forward

Tony Raye (6) – Power Forward

Darryl Bedford (24) – Center

Richie Armstrong (8) – Point Guard

Mike Hicks (8) – Shooting Guard

Austin Peay bench (points scored)

Eric Orr (0)

Bob Thomas (0)

Austin Peay Coach: Lake Kelly

Illinois starters (points scored)

Doug Altenberger (12) – Small Forward

Ken Norman (17) – Power Forward

Jens Kujawa (2) – Center

Steve Bardo (6) – Point Guard

Tony Wysinger (16) – Shooting Guard

Illinois bench (points scored)

Lowell Hamilton (12)

Glynn Blackwell (2)

Kendall Gill (0)

Illinois Coach: Lou Henson

lake kelly

Lake Kelly still looked like a young man in 1987 despite being in his early 50’s *photo courtesy of Oral Roberts website

March 13, 1987 – Southeast Regional 1st round: (#13)Southwest Missouri State Bears 65, (#4)Clemson Tigers 60

Just like Lake Kelly a day before, Charlie Spoonhour now had a chance for a shining moment in the NCAA tournament.  Spoonhour had been an assistant coach and and junior college coach for 14 years before getting hired by SW Missouri State in 1983.  One of his assistant coaching positions was at SW Missouri State when it was in Division II.

1987 would be their first NCAA tournament appearance as senior guards Basil Robinson and future NBA guard Winston Garland led them past 1986 cinderella Cleveland State 90-87 in the Mid-Continent Tournament championship game.  The Bears came in at 27-5 and were 1st in the Mid-Continent standings with a 13-1 mark.

Clemson was making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1980 and were in the rankings for the first time since 1981.  They finished 2nd in the ACC with a 10-4 record and had the ACC player of the year, senior Horace Grant.  Grant teamed with fellow seniors Anthony Jenkins, Michael Tait and Larry Middleton.  Middleton came off the bench along with Syracuse transfer Michael Brown and future NBA big man Elden Campbell.  Campbell was in his freshman season.  The other key players were point guard Grayson Marshall and sophomore swingman Jerry Pryor.

Clemson took an early 7-2 lead as Grant got inside for two baskets (SW Missouri State didn’t have anyone over 6’7″ to check Horace).  But Garland scored 9 early points and his three gave the Bears an 11-9 lead.  SW Missouri State built an 18-14 lead after Campbell committed his 2nd foul.  But back-to-back buckets by Grant tied the game.  Then Clemson went on a 6-0 run after Grant’s defender, Kelby Stuckey, committed three very quick fouls.

But reserve Clay Holt, who came in for Stuckey, made a big three to cut the lead to 24-22.  This three also propelled a 9-0 SW Missouri State run before two layups from Grant tied the game at the half at 28.  Horace finished with 14 points and Garland did as well.

Stuckey committed his 4th foul early in the 2nd half and Marshall hit a three to put Clemson up 34-30.  The margin stayed at four as both teams exchanged baskets but then Basil Robinson nailed his patented three from the top of the key (he apparently liked that shot) and the score was 38-37.

Clemson stayed in the lead until Robinson hit two shots with his foot on the line (one from the top) to give the Bears a 45-44 lead.  Larry Middleton hit two free throws to briefly give Clemson its last lead.  A Garland pull-up and then Garland feed to Holt, combined with back-to-back Clemson turnovers, built an advantage.  It went to 51-46 on a Stuckey putback and Clemson called timeout.

Clemson cut it back to 54-52 as Grant hit two free throws for his first 2nd half points.  Campbell then blocked a shot at the other end but the ball went out to Garland.  Winston made a jumper from the top with his foot on the line, but it was called a three (REPLAY) and SW Missouri State led 57-52.  A possession later, Robinson hit a jumper after recovering another Campbell block.  With 2:18 left, SW Missouri State led 59-54.

Grant missed a seemingly easy banker and Middleton fouled Stuckey on the rebound.  Stuckey missed his free throw but Greg Bell tipped it back to Stuckey.  However, he was called for a travel with 1:20 left.  But Clemson missed two threes and Robinson put it away with 2 free throws with 41 seconds left.  The Bears led by as many as 8 in the final minute but two Michael Brown threes made Clemson’s losing margin closer.

SW Missouri State lost in the 2nd round to Kansas 67-63 but made the NCAA tournament in 4 of the next 5 seasons (losing in the 1st round each time).  Spoonhour then moved on to Saint Louis and led them to three NCAA tournament appearances.  Charlie died in 2012.  His son, Jay, started coaching at Eastern Illinois right after his father’s death.  SW Missouri has made one NCAA tournament appearance since Spoonhour left.  In 1999, the 12th seeded Bears, led by coach Steve Alford, upset Wisconsin and Tennessee (with two very pretty final scores of 43-32 and 81-51) before losing to Duke in the Regional Semis.  This run helped Alford land a job at Iowa.  SW Missouri State would become Missouri State in 2005 after a long legislative battle.

Clemson would go back to 7th in the ACC in 1988 after losing Grant but made it back to the tourney in 1989 with a 7-7 ACC record (it probably helped that they had one home loss in the ACC that year and that was in the first game of the season to NC State).  They won their first tournament game since 1980 but were wacked in the 2nd round by Arizona.  They would make a more extended run in 1990.  Speaking of Arizona, they’re coming up next.  And they have many of the same players who were on the 1989 team that wacked Clemson 94-68.

SW Missouri State starters (points scored)

Stan Worthy (6) – Small Forward

Greg Bell (7) – Power Forward

Kelby Stuckey (6) – Center

Basil Robinson (13) – Point Guard

Winston Garland (24) – Shooting Guard

SW Missouri State bench (points scored)

Clay Holt (9)

Scott Hickox (0)

SW Missouri State Coach: Charlie Spoonhour

Clemson starters (points scored)

Anthony Jenkins (0) – Small Forward

Jerry Pryor (4) – Power Forward

Horace Grant (16) – Center

Grayson Marshall (3) – Point Guard

Michael Tait (6) – Shooting Guard

Clemson bench (points scored)

Larry Middleton (11)

Michael Brown (14)

Elden Campbell (6)

Jeff Holstein (0)

Clemson Coach: Cliff Ellis

charlie spoonhour

Charlie Spoonhour had his one shining moment in 1987 *photo courtesy of Sporting News

March 13, 1987 – West Regional 1st round: (#10)Arizona Wildcats 91, (#7)UTEP Miners 98 (OT)

From 1981-1983, the Arizona Wildcats had gone 13-42.  Their only NCAA tournament wins came in 1976.  They didn’t have much of a basketball history.  Then in 1983, they lured Lute Olson away from Iowa (because, I mean, who would want to go from Iowa to Arizona in basketball season?).  In his 2nd season there, Olson guided them to their first of 25 straight NCAA tournament appearances.  A basketball program had arrived.

But for the last two seasons, the Wildcats had not gotten out of the 1st round.  Now they were favored, even though they were a lower seed, because this 1st round game was at McKale Center in Tucson on the campus of the University of Arizona.  They also had a young team in which no senior saw significant playing time.  A player who would’ve been a senior but was red-shirted in 1987 was Steve Kerr.  Kerr came back to average just under 13 points per game in 1988 and was the last pick of the 2nd round in the NBA draft.  He ended up having a pretty nice NBA career.

Key players for Arizona were sophomore forwards Sean Elliott and Anthony Cook, junior big men Tom Tolbert and Joe Turner, and the back court of junior Craig McMillan and sophomore Kenny Lofton (yes, the future MLB player).  The Wildcats had finished the regular season at 18-11 and were 2nd in the Pac-10 behind UCLA.

UTEP (or, the University of Texas at El Paso) had not made noise in the NCAA tournament since winning the 1966 NCAA Championship in a watershed racial moment.  Don Haskins, who coached that team, was still coaching the Miners in 1987.  Their future NBA players weren’t quite what they’d become in 1987.  Tim Hardaway was a sophomore and was the weak link of the starting five.  Antonio Davis was a freshman who only saw time in this game because his teammates were in foul trouble.

UTEP relied on senior swingmen Quintan Gates and Hernell “Jeep” Jackson for scoring, as well as senior big man Mike Richmond and junior forward Chris Sandle.  Junior Chris Blocker came off the bench along with Wayne Campbell to provide some punch.  UTEP was 24-6 coming into this game and had gone on a 9-game winning streak before losing to Wyoming in the WAC tournament semifinals (Wyoming will be covered next).

UTEP had not used the three-pointer as much of an option during the season (in fact, Arizona had made more threes then UTEP attempted), but Gates started out with two early treys and 8 points to keep the Miners in the game early.  But Tolbert alley-ooped to Cook to complete a 6-0 run and give Arizona a 17-9 lead.  But Jackson hit a corner jumper and was fouled.  Gates then hit his third and fourth bomb from downtown and the lead was now 19-18.  A Campbell slam after Blocker penetration gave the Miners a lead.

UTEP continued to hold that lead even though Campbell had 3 fouls and Sandle had 2 early.  Gates went off in the 1st half and scored 20 points (which was one point higher then his season high).  He was the only man for either team in double figures as UTEP led 41-39 at the half.

The Miners kept the lead early in the 2nd half but then Richmond, Jackson and Gates each picked up their 3rd foul.  An Elliott three tied the game at 47.  Then after Gates hit a jumper, Lofton fed Tolbert for a slam over Gates and Quintan’s 4th foul.  Gates was able to get one more basket before going out but Arizona and the crowd gained momentum on an Elliott rebound-slam.

Sandle ended up fouling out.  The leading scorer for the Miners was held to 9 points.  Then Richmond committed his 4th foul and Joe Turner hit two free throws to give Arizona a 69-66 lead.  The lead grew to four after McMillan alley-ooped to Elliott but UTEP tied it at 71 with 2:15 left on a driving banker from Blocker.

Then the play that should have cost UTEP happened.  Gates fouled Elliott with 2:05 left and was disqualified.  But to compound it, Gates was called for a technical.  Elliott would get three shots and Arizona would get the ball back.  But Elliott only hit 1-of-3 from the line and the Arizona problems from the stripe began to manifest itself.  Cook did hit two free throws after drawing the 5th foul from Campbell and Arizona led 74-71 (Campbell’s 5th foul brought Antonio Davis into the game).  Cook then blocked a Richmond shot with 1:40 left and Arizona got the ball back.

Lofton made two free throws for a 76-71 lead.  Richmond put back a Jackson miss.  Lofton hit two more free throws with 50 seconds left.  Elliott made a bone-head play and fouled Blocker on a three.  However, at the time one only got two shots despite being fouled on a three-point attempt.  Blocker made 1-of-2.  McMillan missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 36 seconds left.  Jackson hit a three and the score was 78-77 Arizona.

The Wildcats then turned the ball over and gave UTEP a chance to win it.  Hardaway penetrated and found Davis.  But Antonio charged into McMillan with 6 seconds left.  Lofton then went to the line after Hardaway committed his 5th foul (this brought little-used Terry Stallworth into the game).  The future leadoff man for the Astros, Indians, Braves, Indians again, White Sox, Giants, Pirates, Cubs, Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers, Rangers, and Indians once again (yes, I did just name all of the teams Kenny Lofton played on) missed the first free throw.  But he hit the second and it was 79-77 Arizona.

UTEP was out of timeout so Blocker had to take it the length of the floor.  Chris launched from the top of the key while still going full speed.  The ball went in and it was originally thought that Blocker’s shot was a three and UTEP won the game.  However, an official saw that his foot was on the line (thank heavens, can you imagine a team losing a tournament game on a three that was actually a two) and the game went into overtime.

UTEP was somehow still alive after three players fouled out and they had to play with two players who rarely took off their warm-up jacket.  The teams went back-and-forth for the first few minutes of overtime.  But Elliott missed a key 1-and-1 and a three from Jackson gave UTEP an 86-85 lead.  Jackson then got a steal and layup.  The Wildcats never really recovered as Stallworth hit a key jumper at the end of the shot clock.

UTEP then put the game away from the line and had eliminated Arizona on their home court.  This gave the Miners a chance to play 2-seed Iowa in the 2nd round.  The Hawkeyes survived 84-82 as Roy Marble led the way with 28 points.  Iowa would get a chance at the Final Four by playing UNLV in the Regional Final.

For UTEP, they would make the tournament the next three seasons but not make it out of the 2nd round.  They would get another chance to make it to the final 16 in 1992.

Arizona starters (points scored)

Sean Elliott (26) – Small Forward

Anthony Cook (13) – Power Forward

Joe Turner (10) – Center

Kenny Lofton (12) – Point Guard

Craig McMillan (15) – Shooting Guard

Arizona bench (points scored)

Tom Tolbert (15)

Jud Buechler (0)

Harvey Mason (0)

Brian David (0)

Bruce Frasor (0)

Arizona Coach: Lute Olson

UTEP starters (points scored)

Quintan Gates (26) – Small Forward

Chris Sandle (9) – Power Forward

Mike Richmond (18) – Center

Tim Hardaway (2) – Point Guard

Jeep Jackson (23) – Shooting Guard

UTEP bench (points scored)

Chris Blocker (12)

Wayne Campbell (5)

Antonio Davis (0)

Terry Stallworth (3)

UTEP Coach: Don Haskins


Chris Blocker’s jumper at the end of regulation was originally thought to have won the game for UTEP, but it was correctly called a two-pointer to tie the game *photo courtesy of All Sports Tucson

March 14, 1987 – West Regional 2nd round: (#12)Wyoming Cowboys 78, (#4)UCLA Bruins 68

Most of Wyoming’s tournament history had come before the television era.  This included winning the national championship in 1943 with the man who was credited for innovation on the jump shot, Kenny Sailors.

Jim Brandenburg was hired to coach the Cowboys in 1978 and led them to the NCAA tournament in his 3rd and 4th seasons.  Then in 1986, they lost to Ohio State in the NIT Finals after finishing 1st in the WAC but losing to UTEP in the tournament championship game.

In 1987, they finished 4th in the WAC but made a run in the conference tournament and won the championship.  This included beating UTEP in the Semifinals.  Unlike 1986, the WAC got two teams into the tournament and both had won their 1st round games.  Wyoming had upset 5th seeded Virginia 64-60 in round 1 to get a chance to take on UCLA.

Wyoming had some stars who wouldn’t quite pan out in the pros, but at Wyoming they were stars and made names for themselves in this NCAA tournament.  These stars were both juniors.  Forward Fennis Dembo and center Eric Leckner.  The rest of the roster was role players.  Point guard Sean Dent and forward Jonathan Sommers were passers and defenders.  Guards Reggie Fox and Turk Boyd were spot up shooters and Willie Jones was a physical presence.

After losing 4 straight road games early in the season, UCLA went on a 21-2 streak which included winning the initial Pac-10 tournament.  They were 24-6 entering the NCAA tournament and destroyed 13th seeded Central Michigan 92-73 in the 1st round.  The Bruins had put sophomore forward Charles Rochelin and junior guard Dave Immel into the starting lineup (along with Reggie Miller, Pooh Richardson and Jack Haley) after the 4-game losing streak and the Bruins took off.

They continued to take off early in the 2nd round game despite what amounted to a home-court disadvantage for the Bruins.  The site for this game was in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was 6 hours from Laramie, Wyoming.  This was opposed to 10 hours from Los Angeles and I’m sure many Bruins fans were saying that they’ll catch them in Seattle (where the next game would be played).  As a result, the crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Wyoming.

Despite that, Miller hit a three and Richardson hit a pull-up from the wing and then found Rochelin for a banker on the break.  This gave UCLA an early 7-2 lead.  But Fennis Dembo eventually scored 7 straight points (on 4 free throws and a three, this would become a theme) to give the Cowboys an 11-9 lead.

Dembo later hit two more threes after committing his 2nd foul but UCLA stayed right with them and actually took a 29-23 lead after senior Montel Hatcher hit two straight threes.  Richardson hit two free throws to make the margin 31-23 and UCLA had chances to increase that lead but never could.

Leckner and Dembo scored the next 9 Wyoming points to cut the lead to 33-32.  Dembo finished the 1st half with 18 points while Leckner had 12.  But Immel got hot for the Bruins and kept them ahead for the rest of the half.  The Bruins took a 44-38 lead into the break after Richardson rebounded an Immel miss and put in a double-pump shot in the lane at the buzzer.

UCLA came out cold in the 2nd half but Wyoming could only cut it to 44-43 on 5 points from Dembo.  The Bruins eventually re-awoke as Miller scored 6 straight points to give UCLA a 52-45 lead.  Foul trouble was starting to pile up on the Cowboys’ role players as Jones and Dent each committed their 4th fouls.  But the 6th three of the game from Dembo cut the lead to 54-52 and the crowd was back into it.

But UCLA kept holding tight to the lead despite Dembo continuing to hit free throws.  Miller got a three-point play, Hatcher found Craig Jackson for a layup and Immel hit a jumper.  But finally the big run came.  Dembo hit his 7th three for his 37th point to cut UCLA’s lead to 64-63.  Then Leckner hit two straight turnaround jumpers from the post to finally give Wyoming a lead and force a UCLA timeout with 4:32 left.

The Cowboys defense had also began to tighten in this late stretch as Rochelin was forced to take several key shots for the Bruins.  UCLA’s last chance to lead came and went when Immel missed a breakaway layup.  He then committed a foul on the rebound and Sommers hit two free throws with 2:15 left and Wyoming led 69-66.

UCLA then couldn’t connect on their next three shots and Dent made two free throws with 1:10 left for a 71-66 Cowboys lead.  The Bruins then went to the three-point arsenal despite the fact that there was still time to get two-pointers.  Immel, Miller and Pooh missed the threes and Dembo hit two more free throws with 38 seconds left to give Wyoming a 73-66 lead.

The final curtain was drawn when Hatcher missed another three attempt and Miller ended his college career by fouling out.  Reggie was 2nd in career scoring behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the time.  Not a small feat at UCLA.

Wyoming finished the game with an alley-oop as Dent found Boyd at the buzzer.  The Cowboys would go on to lose to top-seeded UNLV in their next game 92-78.  4 days later, Brandenburg left for mysterious reasons to San Diego State.  With Dembo and Leckner as seniors in 1988, the Cowboys lost to an emerging Loyola Marymount team in the 1st round.  The only time Wyoming has made the NCAA tournament since was 2002.

It looked like UCLA was back however despite the loss.  But in 1988, the Bruins finished at 16-14 and lost in the 1st round of the Pac-10 tournament to lowly Washington State, coached by a young Kelvin Sampson.  This loss hurt the Bruins as they failed to make the NCAA tournament and Walt Hazzard got the boot.  But UCLA would start to rebound after Jim Harrick was hired as coach.

Wyoming starters (points scored)

Fennis Dembo (41) – Small Forward

Jonathan Sommers (6) – Power Forward

Eric Leckner (20) – Center

Sean Dent (2) – Point Guard

Reggie Fox (1) – Shooting Guard

Wyoming bench (points scored)

Turk Boyd (6)

Willie Jones (2)

David Lodgins (0)

Tim Hunt (0)

Wyoming Coach: Jim Brandenburg

UCLA starters (points scored)

Reggie Miller (24) – Small Forward

Charles Rochelin (5) – Power Forward

Jack Haley (5) – Center

Pooh Richardson (8) – Point Guard

Dave Immel (10) – Shooting Guard

UCLA bench (points scored)

Montel Hatcher (10)

Craig Jackson (4)

Greg Foster (0)

Trevor Wilson (2)

Rod Palmer (0)

UCLA Coach: Walt Hazzard


Fennis Dembo had the game of his life against UCLA in 1987 *photo courtesy of Cougar Board

March 19, 1987 – East Regional Semifinals: (#6)Florida Gators 81, (#2)Syracuse Orangemen 87

For Jim Boeheim, this was his 9th NCAA tournament appearance in his 11th season at Syracuse.  He had yet to advance beyond the Sweet 16.  Syracuse had finished tied for 1st in the Big East, but lost the conference championship game to Georgetown.  It was their 3rd loss of the season to the Hoyas.  They had also lost twice against Pitt before beating them in the Big East semis.  But for the good news, they were 27-1 against non-Pitt/Georgetown teams.  This included winning the first two rounds of the tournament at the Carrier Dome (you would normally think that was a cinch but they had lost to Navy in the 1986 tournament at home).

The Orangemen starters and freshman reserve guard Stephen Thompson played in all of their games.  Their starters were seniors role players, forward Howard Triche and guard Greg Monroe, and three future NBA players, sophomore point guard Sherman Douglas, freshman forward Derrick Coleman and junior center Rony Seikaly.  Seikaly would end up being the key against Florida and their 7-footer.

Florida didn’t have much of a basketball history to speak of.  This was highlighted by the fact that 1987 was their first ever NCAA tournament appearance.  But the Gators did have a coach who won an NCAA championship.  Norm Sloan had in fact coached Florida for 6 seasons in the ’60’s before moving on to NC State and capturing the 1974 Championship.  He returned to Florida in 1980 in what was thought to be a foolish move.  But Sloan slowly and surely was making some headway after a 5-22 season in 1982.

The Gators had a quick back court combination of M&M boys.  The point guard was senior Andrew Moten and the shooting guard was volatile future NBAer Vernon Maxwell.  They had brothers who were shooters, Joe and Pat Lawrence.  They had physical and athletic Kenny McClary and Melven Jones as well as swingman Clifford Lett, who would get a cameo in the NBA.  But the center matchup was the one being talked about.  Sloan had finally been able to recruit a top in-state player when he grabbed 7’2″ Dwayne Schintzius.  But Schintzius was a freshman and Seikaly questioned whether this would really be an even matchup after Rony had taken on Patrick Ewing and other great centers.

Seikaly set out to prove his superiority early and Douglas helped him by finding him.  Twice Douglas alley-ooped to Seikaly to get him going.  Then Triche penetrated and found him for a turnaround jumper.  Florida’s steady play was keeping them in it early but Seikaly got back-to-back baskets (both on Douglas assists) to give the Orangemen an 18-11 lead.

Later, Triche lobbed to Rony for a basket and a foul.  This three-point play gave Seikaly 13 points and gave Syracuse a 23-16 lead.  All of this happened before Schintzius was able to get on the board.  Dwayne struggled mightily throughout and looked awkward with his hook shot (airballing a few).  But two threes by each M&M boy cut the lead to 27-24.  But Seikaly got two straight follow-ups (the second of which SHOULD have been offensive goaltending) to keep Syracuse ahead.

Florida wasn’t helping themselves as they missed four easy layups in the 1st half.  The last of which by Maxwell could have cut the lead to one.  As a result, Syracuse was able to grab a 40-33 halftime lead with Seikaly leading the way with 23 points.  His career high was 29.

In the 2nd half, the M&M boys injected life into the Gators and gave them a brief sugar rush (sorry, I tried).  Maxwell drove down the lane for a layup on the first possession and then Moten got a steal and breakaway.  Seikaly halted them for a second with a layup and the 3rd foul on Schintzius.  But then Moten got a layup after a deflection and Maxwell split three guys in transition for another layup.  The score was now 42-41 and Syracuse called timeout.

After a Monroe drive put the Orangemen up three, Maxwell tied it with a bomb from the top that banked in.  Schintzius then outletted to Maxwell for a breakaway and later Moten went coast-to-coast after a McClary blocked shot.  Florida was up 49-46 when Coleman and Seikaly got back-to-back slams.  Then Monroe and Triche got field goals to end the 8-0 run and put Syracuse up 54-49.

But back came Maxwell and Pat Lawrence with consecutive treys to give the Gators the lead again.  The lead then went back and forth before Schintzius committed his 4th foul with 9:38 left and Florida up 59-58.  Seikaly hit two free throws for points number 28 and 29.

The game continued to go back and forth until Florida gained a bit of an edge.  Lett hit a three from the wing and then found McClary for a layup.  This gave Florida a 67-62 lead with 7:39 left and forced a tired Syracuse team to call a timeout.  Each team got a basket in the next two minutes before a perhaps game-saving play happened for Syracuse with just over 5:00 left.

Coleman had a great block on a Moten drive.  Then Douglas pushed a 3-on-1 break and found Triche for a layup and McClary’s 4th foul.  Triche made the free throw and then Coleman made two more to tie the game at 69.  Syracuse then took the lead when Douglas penetrated and found Triche for a baseline jumper.  McClary then threw a long pass to a streaking Maxwell for a layup.  While this play worked, it set the stage for Florida’s biggest mistake.

Schintzius fouled out with 3:37 left and Seikaly hit two free throws for a 73-71 Syracuse lead.  Schintzius finished 3-for-10 while Seikaly’s banker from the post a possession later gave him 33 points.  Game.  Set.  Center Match.

But the game itself was yet to decide.  Moten put back a Maxwell airball to tie the game at 75.  With under 2:00 left, Triche entered the ball to Coleman in the post.  Derrick wheeled and slammed one down for a two-point lead.  McClary and Maxwell then tried their connection that worked earlier but Kenny over-threw Vernon on the long pass and it was a turnover.

The Orangemen then ran the shot clock down before Triche found Monroe for a wing jumper with 1:15 left.  While that didn’t exactly seal the game, Syracuse hitting their next 6 free throws did.  The free throw line would come back to haunt Syracuse at a later time.

The Orangemen moved on after almost getting upset by Florida.  In the next round, it was the Orangemen doing the upsetting as they beat top-ranked North Carolina 79-75.  The Orangemen advanced to the Final Four and may have had a 4th chance at Georgetown.  But, as covered earlier, the Hoyas were upset by Providence in the Regional Finals.  Syracuse then went on to beat the Friars for a 3rd time that season to advance to the National Championship Game.

Florida would make the NCAA tournament the next two seasons but not get beyond the 2nd round.  Then after the 1989 season, Sloan retired and Florida was back to its irrelevant ways in the early ’90’s.  But Lon Kruger would turn it around in one big tournament run.

Florida starters (points scored)

Joe Lawrence (3) – Small Forward

Melven Jones (0) – Power Forward

Dwayne Schintzius (6) – Center

Andrew Moten (18) – Point Guard

Vernon Maxwell (25) – Shooting Guard

Florida bench (points scored)

Andrew Lawrence (14)

Kenny McClary (7)

Ronnie Montgomery (0)

Clifford Lett (6)

Chris Capers (2)

Florida Coach: Norm Sloan

Syracuse starters (points scored)

Howard Triche (17) – Small Forward

Derrick Coleman (15) – Power Forward

Rony Seikaly (33) – Center

Sherman Douglas (10) – Point Guard

Greg Monroe (12) – Shooting Guard

Syracuse bench (points scored)

Stephen Thompson (0)

Derek Brower (0)

Syracuse Coach: Jim Boeheim


Rony Seikaly scored 33 points to lead Syracuse past Florida before delivering 26 points of 11-for-15 shooting in the Regional Final upset of North Carolina *photo courtesy of My Beat Fix

March 22, 1987 – Midwest Regional Final: (#10)LSU Tigers 76, (#1)Indiana Hoosiers 77

Just like 1986, those LSU Tigers were at it again in the NCAA tournament.  They were at it despite losing 4 starters from 1986 (although Ricky Blanton would be back in 1988 after being red-shirted in 1987).  LSU had finished the regular season at 18-13 and were 7th in the SEC, but put together a run in the SEC tournament before losing in the Finals to top-seeded Alabama.

But the run allowed them an invite as a 10-seed in the Midwest.  From there, Dale Brown and his group upset 7-seeded Georgia Tech, 2-seeded Temple and 3-seeded DePaul to bring them into the position of taking on 1-seeded Indiana.  Despite losing 4 starters, LSU did have Nikita Wilson coming back after being academically ineligible in 1986.  Nikita was a skilled inside presence.  Nikita and Anthony Wilson (the only returning starter) were the only double figure scorers for LSU.  Senior Oliver Brown and junior Jose Vargas were physical presences.  Bernard Woodside was a defensive specialist.  And 1st year players, JC transfer Darryl Joe and freshman Fess Irvin were the point guards.

Indiana had not lost a game since being taken down at Illinois in a game earlier in this post.  They had run through Fairfield, Auburn and Duke without much trouble in the first three rounds, making big runs in the 1st half for the difference.

It was clear from the beginning that Indiana had the stronger inside presence.  Darryl Thomas and Dean Garrett went to work against a front line who’s tallest player was 6’8″ Nikita Wilson.  Indiana took an early 14-6 lead in front of a partisan Indiana crowd in Cincinnati (usually the underdog gets most of the support but it literally felt like a road game for LSU).

But Woodside hit a surprising wing jumper to respond.  Then Oliver Brown and Nikita Wilson got field goals and the lead was down to 16-14.  LSU was also helped by a Bobby Knight technical during a timeout.  They took a 21-20 lead on a Woodside three.  Later, the Tigers had a 28-22 advantage after Woodside got a steal and layup.

Bernard had also done a whale of a job holding down Steve Alford so far in the game, but Alford shook free to bring Indiana back.  He scored 8 points to give the Hoosiers a 34-30 lead.  Alford combined with the continued dominance of the inside game kept Indiana ahead.  Alford finished with 18 first half points but an Anthony Wilson wing jumper cut the Hoosiers’ lead to 47-46 at the half.

But Indiana came out ice cold in the 2nd half and LSU took advantage.  Nikita and Anthony Wilson got field goals and then Joe hit a three for a 53-47 LSU lead.  It continued after the Hoosiers cut it to 53-51.  Brown scored on a stick-back.  Joe found Nikita Wilson for a slam on a 3-on-1 break.  Woodside then put back an Anthony Wilson miss on a play in which Indiana’s Rick Calloway re-injured a knee and looked to be really hurt.

Calloway did come back a few minutes later but by the time that happened, LSU had taken a 61-51 lead on Nikita Wilson’s turnaround fall-away from the post.  Then Brown fed Nikita on a high-low for a slam.  LSU had a 12-point lead about halfway through the 2nd half and Indiana looked like they were in trouble.  Alford had not scored in the half.

But Woodside then committed his 4th foul.  And, although Alford didn’t shake free as a result of this, Indiana got going.  Calloway found Garrett for a hook in the middle of the lane.  Then Alford found Smart for a baseline jumper.  Jose Vargas briefly stopped the run but Indiana came back as Thomas hit two free throws and then Smart chased down Darryl Joe on a breakaway and forced a miss.  Keith then took it coast-to-coast to cut the LSU lead to 65-59.

The game then went back-and-forth for awhile as Fess Irvin was making an impact off the bench for the Tigers.  LSU went on an 8-5 run to take a 75-66 lead and Irvin had 6 of those points.  The last of which happened when he pulled up at the foul line on the break after Anthony Wilson gave him a behind-the-back pass.

Indiana, despite its initial run, was really starting to come unglued.  Knight took out Smart after he made an uncalled for behind-the-back pass which led to a turnover.  The  with 4:38 left, Calloway missed a slam on a baseline drive and Indiana had to give up the ball down 9.

But the Hoosiers got it back and Garrett rebound-slammed a Calloway miss.  Then Thomas got a steal and Alford fed Smart’s replacement, Joe Hillman, for a layup and a foul.  This three-point play fouled out Woodside with 3:45 left and cut the Tigers’ lead to 75-71.

The lead was down to two with 3:01 left after Thomas made another pair of foul shots.  But each team exchanged turnovers and misses for the next few minutes as Indiana couldn’t get over the hump.  They fouled Joe with 50 seconds left and Darryl made the front end of the 1-and-1 but not the back end.  It was 76-73 LSU.  Smart, who was back in, missed a long pull-up jumper.  But he rebounded his miss and was fouled.  With 40 seconds to go, Smart made both ends of his 1-and-1.

Calloway fouled the freshman Irvin with 26 seconds left.  Fess had been a major factor in this game for LSU but was now a negative factor as he missed the front end of the 1-and-1.  Indiana didn’t call timeout.  They eventually got it to Thomas in the middle of the lane.  Daryl developed alligator arms and threw up an airball but Calloway, after being what looked to be injured seriously earlier, followed up the miss with 7 seconds to go.  IU led 77-76.

LSU called timeout and had to go the full court.  They got it to Joe, who sped the dribble across half-court.  Darryl was able to find Nikita in the lane.  Wilson missed his turnaround and Indiana won.  It would have been interesting to say the least if Nikita had hit that last shot because replay showed that it was released after the clock hit :00, but I think it would have counted.  Just imagine how Bobby Knight would have reacted to that, even to this day.

Instead, Sir Knight was going to the Final Four and had a chance to take on either the top team in the nation for most of the season, or a Big Ten opponent who had given them one of their 4 losses.

LSU starters (points scored)

Bernard Woodside (13) – Small Forward

Oliver Brown (6) – Power Forward

Nikita Wilson (20) – Center

Darryl Joe (4) – Point Guard

Anthony Wilson (15) – Shooting Guard

LSU bench (points scored)

Fess Irvin (14)

Jose Vargas (4)

LSU Coach: Dale Brown

Indiana starters (points scored)

Rick Calloway (11) – Small Forward

Daryl Thomas (16) – Power Forward

Dean Garrett (17) – Center

Steve Alford (20) – Point Guard

Keith Smart (10) – Shooting Guard

Indiana bench (points scored)

Steve Eyl (0)

Joe Hillman (3)

Kreigh Smith (0)

Indiana Coach: Bobby Knight

March 22, 1987 – West Regional Final: (#2)Iowa Hawkeyes 81, (#1)UNLV Rebels 84

In the first season of the three-point shot, nobody took advantage more than Jerry Tarkanian and the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.  They attempted 791 treys for the season and were never out of games because of their lethal-ness behind the line and their fast pace.

The Rebels had only lost one game during the season, an 89-88 decision to another high-scoring bunch in the Oklahoma Sooners.  Ironically, UNLV almost got a rematch against Oklahoma in the Regional Finals.  But Iowa beat them in overtime 93-91 on a three-pointer from Kevin Gamble.  But not only had UNLV only lost one game, they had rarely been challenged.  Since the calendar turned to 1987, the Runnin’ Rebs were only in 3 games that were decided by less than 10 points.  One was the loss to Oklahoma.

UNLV featured All-American senior Armen Gilliam, as well as a senior back court of point man Mark Wade and sharpshooter Freddie Banks.  Junior Gerald Paddio and sophomore Jarvis Basnight started up front with Gilliam.  Off the bench were 5th year seniors Eldridge Hudson and Gary Graham, as well as defensive ace Richard Robinson.

UNLV had no trouble with Idaho State, Kansas State and Wyoming in the first 3 rounds, while Iowa had 2-point victories in their last two games against UTEP and Oklahoma.  The winning team reached 80 points in all of those games, so one realistically expected a shootout.

It didn’t disappoint.  Brad Lohaus and Basnight each had follow slams as UNLV took a 7-6 early lead.  But field goals by Lohaus, B.J. Armstrong, Kevin Gamble and Gerry Wright put Iowa ahead 14-7.  The Hawkeyes’ pressure defense had also forced some turnovers.

Armen Gilliam kept UNLV around with field goals from the post.  But Iowa kept its lead at 24-16 after Lohaus tipped in a missed free throw.  But Graham came in to spark the Rebels with 8 points and 2 threes as UNLV eventually tied the game at 31.  Then the wheels fell off.

Hawkeyes reserve Michael Reaves went coast-to-coast for a driving banker.  Then Gamble hit a pull-up in the lane over Basnight while drawing Jarvis’ 3rd foul.  Eldridge Hudosn also picked up his 3rd foul as Armstrong hit 4 free throws to put the Hawkeyes up 42-31.

Then B.J. found 6th man Jeff Moe for a corner three to give Iowa a 45-33 lead.  Ed Horton, who had started the 1st 24 games for Iowa, then got three layups off assists from Roy Marble, B.J. Armstrong and Al Lorenzen.  Suddenly, Iowa had a 51-33 lead.  Believe it or not, that was not the most impressive run of the day.

Iowa’s lead grew to as big as 19 before settling for a 58-42 halftime lead.  Things didn’t look to be getting much better for UNLV early in the 2nd half as Iowa still led 64-47.

But Banks found Gilliam for a baseline jumper and then Paddio nailed his first triple of the game.  Gamble committed his 4th foul on a charge and UNLV had a chance to cut into it more.  Graham missed a three but Paddio got the rebound and got it to Freddie Banks for a triple and it was suddenly 64-55.  Banks hit two more free throws before Lohaus briefly stopped the bleeding with a putback.

But then Wade, who sat out the early part of the 2nd half with 4 fouls, entered the ball to Gilliam for a hook shot in the lane.  Wade had set an NCAA single-season assist record in 1987.  He kept piling them on when he found Paddio and Banks for back-to-back threes.  The lead was now cut to 66-65 and there was still halfway to go in the 2nd half.

After an Iowa timeout didn’t result in a basket, Wade found Paddio again for a corner three and UNLV led.  But Wade wasn’t done as he found Banks for another three.  The score was 71-66 UNLV and the Runnin’ Rebels were on a 24-2 spurt.  The crowd was into it and the Iowa bench was shell-shocked.

Armstrong came right back with a driving layup but the lead eventually grew to 76-68 when Gilliam hit a turn-around from the baseline.  But suddenly Iowa started the make a push after UNLV slowed the ball a bit.  Layups from Marble and Gamble cut the lead to 78-74.  But the Hawkeyes split their next 4 free throws after Gilliam and Basnight picked up their 4th fouls.

Wade then entered the ball to Gilliam for a jumper in the lane and the score was 82-76 UNLV with 3:19 left.  Each team traded misses before Armstrong hit a runner on the break at the 2:05 mark to cut the lead to four.  Lohaus and Wade then exchanged steals before Banks uncharacteristically missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1:03 left to go.

Iowa moved it around but couldn’t seem to find a good shot.  Finally, Gamble pulled up for three at the top and nailed it with 35 seconds to go.  The clock kept running and Iowa put on the pressure.  UNLV didn’t call timeout and ended up turning the ball over on a 10-second half-court violation (you have to get the ball across halfcourt within 10 seconds, now the rule is 8 seconds).

Iowa didn’t call a timeout either and Gamble, in trying to lob the ball to Lohaus for an alley-oop, threw the ball off the side of the backboard and out of bounds.  With 14 seconds to go, UNLV called a timeout.  Marble fouled Graham with 10 to go.  Graham made both ends of the 1-and-1 for an 84-81 Rebels lead.

The Hawkeyes pushed it down again with Tom Davis having faith in his team (no timeout again).  They got a decently good shot but Gamble was long on an NBA three-point attempt from the wing and the buzzer went off.

UNLV was headed to the Final Four for a heavy-weight matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers.

Iowa starters (points scored)

Roy Marble (9) – Small Forward

Gerry Wright (8) – Power Forward

Brad Lohaus (12) – Center

B.J. Armstrong (18) – Point Guard

Kevin Gamble (18) – Shooting Guard

Iowa bench (points scored)

Jeff Moe (4)

Ed Horton (8)

Al Lorenzen (0)

Michael Reaves (4)

William Jones (0)

Iowa Coach: Tom Davis

UNLV starters (points scored)

Gerald Paddio (20) – Small Forward

Armen Gilliam (27) – Power Forward

Jarvis Basnight (7) – Center

Mark Wade (3) – Point Guard

Freddie Banks (17) – Shooting Guard

UNLV bench (points scored)

Eldridge Hudson (0)

Gary Graham (10)

Richard Robinson (0)

David Willard (0)

Lawrence West (0)

UNLV Coach: Jerry Tarkanian

armen gilliam

All-American Armen Gilliam led UNLV to the Final Four in 1987 with 27 points against Iowa in the Regional Final *photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

March 28, 1987 – National Semifinal: (#1)UNLV Rebels 93, (#1)Indiana Hoosiers 97

It was almost preposterous to think of a veteran system coach like Bob Knight going up-tempo.  But Knight was a little calmer for this game after getting a technical in the Regional Finals against LSU and screaming at an NCAA representative at the scorer’s table.  Perhaps, the calmness helped when his team went a little more up-tempo against the run-and-gun UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.  Perhaps, it was the strategy.  Or perhaps, it helped that Indiana held a lead for most of the game.  Either way, Bobby Knight’s team got it done despite giving up 93 points.

UNLV took an early lead though when Mark Wade assisted on the first three baskets.  Indiana got into further trouble when Daryl Thomas committed his 3rd foul and Wade got assists number 4 and 5 on three-pointers from Gerald Paddio and Freddie Banks.  These threes gave UNLV a 14-9 lead.  But two things happened that changed the momentum.

First, Wade got his 2nd foul and had to sit.  Although Wade rarely took a shot (and wasn’t guarded as a result), he ran Jerry Tarkanian’s offense to perfection and set up shooters and inside people succinctly.  As a result, Wade set a single-season D1 assist record and would hand out an NCAA tournament record 18 assists in this game.  Second, Thomas’ replacement, Steve Eyl, came in and was a factor.  Eyl would get a tip-in and later a driving layup.  But Eyl’s defense and ability to handle the ball for a big man helped Indiana immensely at times.

Eyl also assisted to Dean Garrett on a lob pass to give the Hoosiers a 16-14 lead.  A three from Steve Alford put Indiana up 21-16.  Later, two free throws from Keith Smart gave Knight and his team a 29-20 advantage.  Armen Gilliam’s All-American performance kept UNLV within striking distance but the Rebels couldn’t contain Alford and his ability to move without the ball and draw fouls.

They also couldn’t contain Alford’s shooting, even when they fouled him.  Rick Calloway kicked out to Steve at the wing beyond the three-point line.  Alford drilled it from downtown while a UNLV defender ran into his chest.  The four-point play gave Indiana a 41-27 lead.

But Freddie Banks hit two threes and Gilliam and Eldridge Hudson got going inside as UNLV cut into the lead.  A three-point play by Gilliam, on a running hook in the lane, cut the lead to 47-42.  It was the closest UNLV got as they shot themselves in the foot by going 3-for-9 from the foul line in the 1st half.  Indiana took a 53-47 lead into the locker room.

UNLV started the 2nd half on a 9-2 run to take the lead.  Gilliam got two baskets inside.  Banks nailed his 5th three in 7 attempts.  And Wade lobbed to Jarvis Basnight for the Runnin’ Rebels advantage.

But Alford continued his great play.  He nailed a baseline jumper and then fed Thomas for a slam to tie the game at 59.  He later hit two straight baseline jumpers to put Indiana ahead 65-63.

The Hoosiers used a 6-0 run to take a 73-65 advantage.  Joe Hillman made a contribution off the bench for the Hoosiers with a field goal and, later, a free throw.  Hillman was also the man who got an offensive rebound and kicked out to Alford for a long two.  The Hoosiers led 76-68.  Alford then made four straight free throws after missing a pair.  A banker from Calloway in the post made the score 82-70.

But UNLV’s chance came because Freddie Banks kept nailing threes.  He’d hit 10 in all in this game.  That combined with the continued brilliant play of Gilliam got UNLV back to within 90-85 with 1:38 to go.  Hillman found Smart for a cutting layup but Vegas responded as Banks nailed a tough pull-up three from the corner.  The Rebels than had a golden opportunity when Eyl missed the front end of a 1-and-1.

But Banks and Paddio missed threes and Banks missed a layup.  Gilliam then fouled Garrett with 38 seconds left.  But Dean missed the front end and the game was still alive.  Banks missed another three but got fouled by Smart on the rebound with 28 seconds to go.  But the poor free throw shooting carried over at the worst possible time, Banks missed the front end of the 1-and-1 and UNLV was forced to foul Alford.

Alford made both free throws and the game was put away when Steve Eyl rebounded a Wade missed three and took it coast-to-coast for a layup and a foul with 13 seconds to go.  The breakaway finish even got a fist pump from Knight as Indiana took a 9-point lead and held off the Rebels to move onto the Championship Game against Syracuse.

UNLV, despite losing seniors Banks, Gilliam, and Wade, would reload and be a monstrous factor in the next few years under Tarkanian.

UNLV starters (points scored)

Gerald Paddio (6) – Small Forward

Armen Gilliam (32) – Power Forward

Jarvis Basnight (6) – Center

Mark Wade (4) – Point Guard

Freddie Banks (38) – Shooting Guard

UNLV bench (points scored)

Gary Graham (1)

Eldridge Hudson (6)

Richard Robinson (0)

David Willard (0)

UNLV Coach: Jerry Tarkanian

Indiana starters (points scored)

Rick Calloway (12) – Small Forward

Daryl Thomas (6) – Power Forward

Dean Garrett (18) – Center

Steve Alford (33) – Point Guard

Keith Smart (14) – Shooting Guard

Indiana bench (points scored)

Steve Eyl (7)

Joe Hillman (7)

Todd Meier (0)

Kreigh Smith (0)

Indiana Coach: Bobby Knight

alford vs banks

Steve Alford (#12) works his way against Freddie Banks (#13) in the 1987 National Semifinal, each scored over 30 points in the game *photo courtesy of NCAA photos

March 30, 1987 – National Championship Game: (#2)Syracuse Orangemen 73, (#1)Indiana Hoosiers 74

It perhaps seemed only fitting.  In 1982, in the National Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, one of the greatest NCAA Championship games would be capped by Michael Jordan hitting a winning jumper for North Carolina.  As it turned out, in 1987 at the Louisiana Superdome, another #23 would cap off one of the greatest championship games ever with a game-winner from the left side (the same side as Jordan’s shot).

It seemed like Syracuse came in with the inside superiority of Derrick Coleman and Rony Seikaly.  Both had had tremendous NCAA tournaments thus far (highlighted by Seikaly getting 33 and 26 points in the Regionals against Florida’s Dwayne Schintzius and North Carolina’s J.R. Reid and Joe Wolf).  Coleman’s would continue with one of the best rebounding games ever seen in the tournament, while Seikaly would be hampered by Dean Garrett.  Garrett and Daryl Thomas proved to have much frontcourt strength to match Syracuse.

Indiana seemed to have the back court strength with Steve Alford and Keith Smart.  However, Sherman Douglas came into his own in this Championship game and held strong with the Hoosiers guards.  With all of these seemingly matchup advantages by one team being neutralized by the other, we were in for a classic.

The teams matched each other early as both teams went inside.  Coleman got the first field goal for Syracuse while Thomas and Garrett scored baskets for Indiana.  Douglas fed seniors Howard Triche and Greg Monroe for layups early and then hit a pull-up jumper from the top.  But Garrett and Thomas matched him while Alford was slow getting started.

Indiana’s Rick Calloway would pick up 2 early fouls and be a non-factor.  Finally, Alford got free on a broken scramble play in which Seikaly almost got a steal.  His open three from the wing put Indiana ahead 15-13.  Douglas matched him with a three coming right back.  But Smart found Alford in transition for another three and another Hoosiers lead.

Syracuse grabbed the biggest lead of the 1st half (24-20) when Douglas threw two alley-oops that Seikaly finished (the second alley-oop was intended for Howard Triche but deflected by Steve Eyl right to Seikaly).  But Seikaly missed a key breakaway layup to keep it going and back-to-back inside shots from Thomas tied the game at 24.

The Orangemen then grabbed a 5-point lead before Alford hit another three from the wing.  Then after the teams traded a few misses, Indiana got it back for the last shot of the half, trailing 33-31.  Smart found Joe Hillman on the baseline.  Meanwhile, Alford broke free from freshman Stephen Thompson on Syracuse’s box-and-1.  Alford came around Hillman and took a handoff while Hillman screened Seikaly.  As a result, Alford had an open three and nailed it at the buzzer to give Bob Knight and his team a 34-33 lead at the half.

Indiana grabbed an early 41-37 lead when Alford nailed his 5th three from the top.  But then Seikaly hit a turnaround in the post and was fouled by Garrett.  The three-point play was one of the few times he beat Dean in the post.  Syracuse’s defense stepped up and forced a Keith Smart turnover on an errant pass.  Knight was not happy with Smart’s decision and benched him for Joe Hillman.

Seikaly subsequently put back a Douglas miss and then Douglas found Monroe in transition for a three to make the score 45-41 Syracuse.  Alford cut it to one with his 6th three.  But Syracuse ran down the shot clock on the next possession and Monroe was able to find reserve Derek Brower inside for a layup and a foul with 4 seconds left on the shot clock.  That three-point play and a subsequent Brower layup on a Coleman entry put the Oranegmen up 50-44.

Jim Boeheim’s team built its lead to 52-44 when Douglas found Triche for a wing jumper in transition.  They had a chance to increase it but Monroe was short on a three.  Indiana finally got a basket when Garrett rebounded a badly missed three from Alford and hit a jumper in the lane.  But Knight couldn’t hold it down any longer, he had to get the athletic (even if sometimes erratic) Smart back into the game.  He would go with the 3-guard lineup of Smart, Alford and Joe Hillman for the rest of the game.

Smart then forced a turnover on Douglas and drew Sherman’s 3rd foul.  Later, Hillman found Alford for a baseline three (his 7th) to cut the lead to 52-50.  Then Smart penetrated and found Daryl Thomas for a slam to tie the game.  Indiana completed a 10-0 run and took the lead when Smart drove baseline a connected on a double-pump shot around Seikaly.

But Syracuse responded with a 7-0 run capped by a Douglas three from the wing.  Sherman later connected on a driving finger roll in the lane to make the score 61-56 Syracuse.  But Smart’s penetration and feed to Thomas cut the lead to 61-59.  Then Smart hit a banker in the lane to tie the game with 5:31 left.  It was back and forth from there.

Coleman grabbed his 18th rebound of the game on a Douglas miss and put it back in.  Alford found Smart on a cut for a layup.  Douglas’ runner in the lane got the roll.  Then after Monroe airballed a three (in which he wasn’t in rhythm) in transition, Thomas rebounded and found Alford for a breakaway layup and his only two-pointer of the game.

Smart gave the Hoosiers a 67-66 lead with a runner off the glass.  But Douglas came right back with a breakaway after his behind-the-back pass-fake nearly brought Joe Hillman out of his shoes on a 2-on-1.  With under 2:00 left, Triche found Seikaly inside for a banker and Garrett’s 4th foul.  The basket gave Syracuse a 70-68 lead.  Seikaly missed the free throw but Coleman got his 19th and last rebound of the game to preserve the possession.  Douglas missed on the drive and Indiana tied the game when Smart drove baseline and hit on a reverse.

The Orangemen worked it around until, with under a minute to go, Monroe found Triche in the lane for a leaning jumper.  Smart came back but missed a pull-up from the right baseline with 40 seconds to go.  Triche got the rebound and was fouled.  He made the front end of the 1-and-1 to give Syracuse a 73-70 lead but was way short on the back end.

Smart took the rebound and went coast-to-coast for a pull-up jumper in the lane with 30 seconds to go.  After an Indiana timeout, they fouled the freshman Coleman.  Coleman’s great rebounding game would be overshadowed when he was way short on the front end of the 1-and-1 and Indiana got the ball back with a chance to lead.

They worked it around before Smart drove in and found Thomas in the post.  Daryl didn’t have a shot with Coleman defending, so he brought it back out to Smart who drove down the left baseline.  Keith then pulled up with Triche lunging at him and nailed the jumper with 4 seconds left.  Syracuse had one timeout left but didn’t get it acknowledged until there was 1 second left (remember, at the time the clock kept running after a made basket).

This left Syracuse with just a chance to throw a full-length pass and try for an immediate shot.  Coleman threw long for Douglas but Smart intercepted it and the Hoosiers had won.  This gave Knight his 3rd (and last) NCAA Championship.  Only two coaches had previously won more than two, Adolph Rupp and John Wooden.  This also made the Hoosiers a perfect 5-0 all-time in NCAA Championship games.

While Indiana had some NBA talent, none of it would amount to much of anything.  So for many, this was their most memorable night.  This was especially so for Keith Smart, who’s life would never be the same (like Lorenzo Charles after hitting the winning slam in the 1983 NCAA Championship Game).  Smart would be named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, based solely on his 17-point 2nd half performance (15 since being benched by Knight) and his game-winner.  For Syracuse, they had already established themselves as a perennial contender, but would not make another Final Four for 9 years.

Syracuse starters (points scored)

Howard Triche (8) – Small Forward

Derrick Coleman (8) – Power Forward

Rony Seikaly (18) – Center

Sherman Douglas (20) – Point Guard

Greg Monroe (12) – Shooting Guard

Syracuse bench (points scored)

Derek Brower (7)

Stephen Thompson (0)

Syracuse Coach: Jim Boeheim

Indiana starters (points scored)

Rick Calloway (0) – Small Forward

Daryl Thomas (20) – Power Forward

Dean Garrett (10) – Center

Steve Alford (23) – Point Guard

Keith Smart (21) – Shooting Guard

Indiana bench (points scored)

Kreigh Smith (0)

Steve Eyl (0)

Joe Hillman (0)

Todd Meier (0)

Indiana Coach: Bob Knight

NCAA Championship Game 198723-KeithSmart(260x386)


Keith Smart’s game-winner over Howard Triche earned him and Indiana a National Championship *photos courtesy of and Wisdom Portal

For the college heroes of this 1987 post that went into the 1987 NBA draft, here they are.  Navy’s David Robinson went 1st to the San Antonio Spurs.  UNLV’s Armen Gilliam went #2 to the Phoenix Suns.  Georgetown’s Reggie Williams went 4th to the Los Angeles Clippers.  North Carolina’s Kenny Smith went 6th to the Sacramento Kings.  Clemson’s Horace Grant went 10th to the Chicago Bulls.  UCLA’s Reggie Miller went 11th to the Indiana Pacers.  Wake Forest’s Muggsy Bogues went 12th to the Washington Bullets.  UNC’s Joe Wolf went 13th to the Clippers.  St. John’s Mark Jackson went 18th to the hometown New York Knicks.  Illinois’ Ken Norman went 19th to the Clippers.

UNLV’s Freddie Banks was the 1st pick of the 2nd round to Detroit but he never played an NBA game.  Steve Alford went 26th to the Dallas Mavericks.  LSU’s Nikita Wilson went 30th to the Portland Blazers.  Purdue’s Doug Lee went 35th to the Houston Rockets.  Southwest Missouri State’s Winston Garland went 40th to the Milwaukee Bucks.  Iowa’s Brad Lohaus was the 45th pick of the Boston Celtics.  Virginia’s Andrew Kennedy and Georgia Tech’s Bruce Dalrymple were also taken in the 2nd round but never played an NBA game.

In later rounds, Iowa’s Kevin Gamble was a 3rd round pick of the Portland Blazers.  Providence’s Billy Donovan was a 3rd round pick of the Utah Jazz.  UCLA’s Jack Haley was a 4th round pick of the Bulls and UNC’s Dave Popson was picked by Detroit a pick later.  Duke’s Martin Nessley was taken in the 6th round by the Clippers.

Heroes of past college basketball posts who were taken in the 1987 NBA draft include: Ohio State’s Dennis Hopson, taken with the 3rd overall pick by the New Jersey Nets.  Virginia’s Olden Polynice, taken at #8 by the Bulls (who would be traded to the Seattle Sonics just a little later for Scottie Pippen, the 5th pick).  Houston’s Greg “Cadillac” Anderson was taken with the last pick of the 1st round by the Spurs.  Anderson’s teammate Rickie Winslow was taken in the 2nd round by the Bulls.  Memphis State’s Vincent Askew was taken in the 2nd round by the Philadelphia 76ers.  Michigan State’s Darryl Johnson was taken in the 3rd round by the Golden State Warriors.

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: