The crowd of 10,666 waited... and waited... and waited some more for
Kansas to blow out Mississippi here Friday night.
They'll have to wait until the next time the two teams meet.
Kansas didn't lose to the Rebels in the sub-regional portion of the
NCAA's Midwest Regional at Henry Levitt Arena, but the Jayhawks got the
scare of their lives.
edged Mississippi, 69-66, but not before the Southeastern Conference
team came roaring back from a 12-point deficit with eight minutes left
to cut the lead to a single point.
victory, not a masterpiece by any means, improved KU to 23-7 for the
season and advanced the Hawks into a second-round game Sunday afternoon
against fifth-ranked Arizona State. In the second game Friday, Wichita
State hammered Southern, 95-70; and will meet Iowa Sunday at noon.
Miss, just 16-13 for the season, was like a persistent door-to-door
salesman- always coming back for more. Playing a tenacious man-to-man
defense, the Rebels frustrated KU at nearly every turn.
started off tight and never really got loosened up until the second
half," KU coach Ted Owens said. "But I can tell you that we'll play
better against Arizona State simply because we're going to have to."
almost wasn't an Arizona State to get ready for. After grabbing a 52-40
lead with 8:48 left in the game, Mississippi came back with a rush. The
Rebels pulled within eight points at the 3:09 mark and then closed to
within two points (62-60) on buckets by Chris Barrett and a fielder by
All-SEC player Elston Turner.
Neal gave KU a 64-60 lead with 41 seconds left on a driving layup, but
Ole Miss came right back when Turner scored 12 seconds later.
John Crawford was then fouled by Cecil Dowell with 22 seconds left.
Crawford knocked down both charities to give the Jayhawks a 66-62
advantage, but Roger Stieg tipped in a MU miss to close the gap to two
Guy hit a free throw with 11 seconds left to give Kansas a 67-64 lead,
and after Turner put in a layup with four seconds remaining, Guy sank
two more charities with just two seconds left on the clock to insure the
have to give a lot of credit to our team for coming from behind like
they did," Mississippi coach Bob Weltlich said. "I thought we played
well enough to give us a chance to win, but Kansas is very deserving.
They made the right plays under control and deserved to win."
Darnell Valentine, who led KU with 15 points, played in Wichita for the
first time since he left Wichita Heights High School in 1977. The 6-2
senior received a standing ovation when the KU starting lineup was
think the whole team was appreciative of the way the crowd responded to
us," Valentine said. "It's nice to come back for something like this."
Valentine led a parade of KU players in double figures. He was followed
by Guy with 14 points, Crawford with 12 and Art Housey and David Magley
with 11 each. Turner and Stieg paced Mississippi with 22 and 17
respectively as the Rebels made their first-ever NCAA tournament
big news in the second game wasn't the final score of the Wichita
State-Southern game. The outcome was never in doubt after the opening
moments of the second half.
main interest was the case of Ozell Jones, Wichita State's 6-11
sophomore center, who was a starter for the Shockers. Jones was declared
ineligible last week because of a transcript technicality and had asked
for an injunction from U.S. District Judge Patrick Kelly so he could be
reinstated to the team until a complete trial could be held.
Kelly denied the injunction and Jones has been lost to the WSU team for
the remainder of the season. Jones earlier had obtained a 10-day
restraining order in federal court that allowed him to play in the
Missouri Valley Tournament, but his season came to an end Friday
afternoon when Kelly declined to extend the order.
with Jones on the bench, the Shockers have dedicated the rest of their
games this season to their teammate.
dedicated this game and the rest of our tournament to Ozell," WSU coach
Gene Smithson said. "It's something the kids feel strongly about and
it's something I feel strongly about."
Shockers didn't need Jones against Southern. WSU still outrebounded the
Jaguars, 44-36, and also hit a sizzling 58 percent from the field.
Sophomore forwards Cliff Levingston and Antoine Carr led the winners
with 23 and 18 points respectively. Levingston also pulled down 14
rebounds as the Shockers improved their record to 24-6. Alvin Jackson
scored 21 points to pace Southern, which ended its season at 17-11.
ANGELES (UPI)- Randy Reed scored 24 points and Kansas State overcame a
nine-point halftime deficit Thursday night en route to a 64-60 victory
over San Francisco in the opening round of the NCAA West Regional.
State, 22-8, moved into the second round and will face No. 2 ranked
Oregon State Saturday. San Francisco finished its season with a 24-7
Kansas State-Oregon State game will be televised by KARD-TV (channel 3)
beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Wildcats shot just 44 percent in the opening half and fell behind 34-25
at intermission. But they inched their way back early in the second half
and pulled within 50-48 with 7:30 remaining.
Francisco maintained its 2-point lead until 3:07 when Kansas State
center Ed Nealy hit two free throws to tie the score 58-58. San
Francisco regained the lead, 59-58, on a free throw by Ken McAlister.
State then claimed the lead for good with 2:16 remaining on a field goal
by Rolando Blackman.
Francisco had a chance to tie the game with five seconds remaining but
missed a 10-foot jump shot. Ed Galvao sank two free throws with no time
remaining for Kansas State.
Reserve Les Craft added 10 points for the Wildcats, who finished second
behind Missouri in the Big Eight Conference.
led San Francisco with 20 points and Wallace Bryant added 15.
we fell nine and 11 points behind I was beginning to wonder," said
Kansas State coach Jack Hartman.
takes a lot of poise to show patience and not try to catch up in a brief
period of time. I thought our players did a good job of controlling that
ANGELES (UPI)- As Rolando Blackman faked to his left and went up for
the 18-foot baseline jumper, he had only one thing in his mind- hitting
nothing but net.
Kansas State guard's concentration was so intense that he said he never
saw the two Oregon State defenders swarming over him Saturday. He looked
surprised when writers told him of the two defenders. And his shot was
perfect, nestling into
the net with two seconds remaining to lift the Wildcats to a stunning
50-48 victory over second-ranked Oregon State in the second round of the
NCAA West Regional playoffs.
the first time Kansas State had led in the game after falling behind the
Beavers by seven points at halftime and 11 points five minutes into the
State, now 23-8, advanced to the regional semifinals at Salt Lake City
and will face Illinois, a 67-65 winner over Wyoming in the second game
in Pauley Pavilion.
Wildcats made it clear the shot that kept alive their Cinderella season
was not just a desperation heave.
was a planned shot," said Blackman.
went into the delay game with about 1:50 or so left. I felt real good
about the shot. When it left my hands, I knew it was in.
feel absolutely super. We worked very hard and put our hearts out. We
feel good about going on."
State Coach Jack Hartman was jubilant with his team's performance.
key to the game was the that we were able to stay within reach although
we didn't play well," Hartman said. "The guys executed that last play
perfectly. It was perfect timing and Blackman showed perfect poise."
Blackman, a 6-foot-6 senior guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., and a member of
the U.S. Olympic Team, took a pass on the baseline with four seconds
remaining, faked once and lofted his winning shot (video). A desperation shot
by Oregon State at the buzzer fell short.
Wildcats, who finished tied for second behind Missouri in the Big Eight,
tied the game at 48-48 with 3:23 remaining on a pair of free throws by
Ed Nealy, setting up the dramatic conclusion. Nealey's free throws
capped a 16-6 Kansas State spurt in a span of 7:41.
two minutes remaining, Oregon State's Charlie Sitton missed the front
end of a 1-and-1 free throw situation and Kansas State then held the
ball for the final shot.
State had been ranked No. 1 in the nation for most of the year and
finished in the No. 2 spot with a 26-1 record after losing its final
game of the regular season to Arizona State.
Blackman led the Wildcats with 14 points, while Tyrone Adams added 12
and Nealy, who battled Oregon State star center Steve Johnson under the
boards throughout the game, finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Beavers were paced by Johnson's 16 points before he fouled out with 3:23
left in the game. Guard Ray Blume added 10 points for Oregon State.
The list of scalps in the NCAA Basketball Tournament continues to grow.
Nationally-ranked teams such as DePaul, Kentucky, Louisville, Oregon
State, Iowa and Wake Forest have fallen by the wayside after just two
fifth-ranked Arizona State to that list.
Sun Devils fell farther and landed heavier than any of the nation's
powerhouses over the weekend when Kansas hammered them, 88-71, here
Sunday afternoon in the second round of the Midwest Regional.
Arizona State entered the game with a glossy 24-3 record and the owner
of a 20-point win over Oregon State last week. But Sunday afternoon, the
Sun Devils were no match for KU guard Tony Guy and Co.
was brilliant. The 6-6 Junior from Towson, Md., poured in a career high
36 points, including 21 in the first half when the 19th-ranked Jayhawks
raced to a stunning 45-29 lead in front of a jam-packed crowd of 10,666
in Henry Levitt Arena.
shots were there and I took them," said Guy after the game. "But I have
to give credit to my teammates for getting me the ball."
Guy got the ball, he knew what to do with it. He hit 13-of-15 shots from
the field and 10-of-12 from the free throw line, grabbed five rebounds
and made four steals.
has played a lot of great basketball for us, but this was his finest
hour," said KU coach Owens, who then added, "but we'd like to have a
couple more of them just like it before the season is over."
Arizona State coach Ned Wulk echoed most everyone's feelings, who were
in Levitt or tuning in on a regional television broadcast, when he said,
"Guy just murdered us early and played an outstanding game."
win boosted the Jayhawks to 24-7 for the season and into a matchup
against Wichita State next Friday night in New Orleans.
immensely proud of Kansas basketball and not just University of Kansas
basketball," Owens said. "There are only sixteen teams left and all
three of our state schools are still in the running."
and Wichita State will meet for the first time since 1955.
objectives against the powerful Sun Devils were to crash the backboards
and clog up the inside game of 7-0 center Alton Lister. The Jayhawks
accomplished both, grabbing a 43-37 rebound advantage and holding Lister
to just 12 points and 7 rebounds.
problem was that we got nothing from the offensive backboards
...absolutely nothing," Wulk said. "We played a horrendous game and it
couldn't have come at a worse time."
a 21-21 game through the first 10 minutes and Guy had already totaled 14
points when the Jayhawks made their first run. KU outscored the Devils,
10-2, to lead 31-23 at the 6:04 mark and then reeled off 10 straight
points in the final 2 ˝ minutes of the half to take a 16-point lead
into the locker room.
Sun Devils, who ended their season with a 24-4 record, gave KU fans a
few anxious moments early in the second half when they closed the
Jayhawk advantage to just nine points on a couple of occasions and had
along came Guy with a pair of field goals and David Magley followed with
a breakaway layup to give the Jayhawks a 53-38 lead with 14:26 left.
Arizona State was never closer than 13 points the rest of the way and
the game turned into such a runaway (24-point margin at times) that
NBC-TV switched away from the game midway through the second half.
is the greatest moment of my life," said Guy, who was named the MVP of
the game by NBC with more than 10 minutes remaining. "I was pretty
nervous before the game started, but when I'm real nervous, it brings
out the best in me."
now it's on the New Orleans and the much-awaited meeting with Wichita
"Wichita State is a very good basketball team and we're looking forward
to playing them," KU guard Darnell Valentine said. "It'll be nice to
play against Antoine (WSU's Carr). He was a teammate of mine in high
individual performance overshadowed the fine play of Valentine and John
Crawford. Valentine ended the game with 16 points, seven assists and
three steals, while Crawford scored 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds
and slammed home three dunks.
lone bright spot for Arizona State was sophomore Byron Scott's 32
points. The 6-3 guard pumped in 15-of-22 shots from the field.
Lute Olson is generally regarded as one of the nation's finest
collegiate coaches. The Hawkeye boss, who guided his team to the Final
Four last year, has been named Coach of the Year in the Big 10
Conference each of the last three seasons.
was a rare mistake by Olson which led to 12th-ranked Iowa's 60-56 loss
to Wichita State here Sunday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA's
Midwest Regional. With the score deadlocked at 56-56 with five seconds
remaining and WSU's Antoine Carr at the free throw line to shoot the
front end of a one-and-one, Olson
ordered reserve guard Bob Hansen to call a timeout. Hansen's request was
granted but Iowa was subsequently assessed technical foul because the
Hawkeyes had spent their fifth and final allotted timeout 12 seconds
called the timeout- the big error was obviously mine," Olson said.
was a lack of communication. It's obvious I thought we had a time out
left or I wouldn't have called for one."
missed his free throw attempt, but senior guard Randy Smithson sent the
capacity crowd of 10,666 at Henry Levitt Arena into a frenzy when he
sank both technical shots to give the Shockers a 58-56 lead.
was then fouled on the inbounds pass and sank a pair of free throws with
three seconds remaining to give Wichita State its final four-point
Smithson, a 6-3 senior, called his free throws "the biggest I've ever
like being in that situation- I really do," he said. "But I thought
Antoine would hit his. I didn't think I would have any pressure on me.
Then (after Carr missed) I realized 'hey Jack, it's up to you.'"
victory advanced Wichita State into next week's Midwest Regional in New
Orleans. Wichita State will carry a 25-6 record into Friday's battle
for a long time Sunday, it appeared the Shockers would be buried in
front of their home fans. Iowa rode the hot outside shooting of Vince
Brooking and Kenny Arnold, and the inside power of Steve Krafcisin to a
36-25 halftime lead.
when the Hawkeyes scored the first two buckets after intermission to up
their advantage to 15 points, it appeared Wichita State was headed for
elimination in this prestigious tournament.
looked like we were out of it," acknowledged WSU forward Cliff
was Levingston, along with Carr, who sparked the Shocks on a tear which
saw them tally 15 unanswered points to deadlock the game at 40-40 with
which went 8:49 without scoring during the dry stretch, finally got
itself untracked again and the Hawkeyes never trailed until Smithson
canned his free throws with five seconds left.
looked to be in excellent shape when Steve Waite tallied a three-point
play at the 3:35 mark to give the Hawkeyes a 56-52 lead.
Levingston cut the deficit to two with a short jumper from the baseline,
Iowa went into an all-out delay. But the Hawkeyes ran the delay game
poorly as they committed three turnovers during a 53-second span.
played very unintelligently," Olson said. "That's not the way we
Wichita State was also having problems at the offensive end in the late
going. But Levingston, who took game high honors with 25 points, got the
contest tied with 1:12 left when he hit a six-foot jumper in the lane.
then held the ball until Kevin Boyle put up a 10-foot jumper with seven
seconds left. Carr grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Brookins, which
set up Olson's miscue from the bench.
cited Krafcisin's foul problems (he exited with 5:36 remaining) as a
contributing factor in his club's poor offensive play in the second
"Losing Krafcisin certainly hurt us," the Iowa coach said. "But the big
thing was that we became far too conservative."
also gave credit to the pro-Wichita State crowd for inspiring the
crowd was a definite factor in the game," Olson said. "They gave them
hope when there didn't appear to be any."
coach Gene Smithson called the win a "fantastic" one.
our goal is not to stop in New Orleans," the Shocker coach said.
LAKE CITY (AP) - A sign toted around the Special Events Center by a pert
Kansas State cheerleader told the story.
"Jack's Giant Killers," it read. And through three tumultuous NCAA West
Regional games, they have been.
Jack Hartman's K-State Wildcats changed the script in one notable
fashion Thursday night, however. In place of the dramatic, last minute
rallies that vaulted them over San Francisco and second-ranked Oregon
State in the subregionals last week, the Wildcats bolted to an 11-2 lead
and held on down the stretch to upset No. 19 Illinois 57-52 in the
semifinals of the West Regional.
first semifinal match, No. 4 North Carolina, with Al Wood, James Worthy
and Sam Perkins combining for 45 points, brushed aside frigid shooting
hometown favorite Utah 61-56. Kansas
State, now 24-8, and North Carolina, 27-7, will meet at 11:24 a.m. MST
Saturday for the West Regional
championship and a trip to the
Final Four in Philadelphia.
"We knew we couldn't get into a full court game with
Illinois," said Hartman,
whose Wildcats were one of the last teams picked to fill
out the 48-team field and have been the underdogs in all three
worried a lot about their board game. All in all, I thought we had an
excellent 40 minutes of basketball."
Jankovich, Rolando Blackman and Ed Nealy sank crucial free throws in the
final minutes as Illinois, trailing the entire game, made a futile
effort to penetrate K-State's zone defense but instead wound up sending
the Wildcats to the foul line.
the end, many of Illinois' top guns were in foul trouble, and Mark Smith
Griffin fouled out.
did a poor job against their zone," agreed Coach Lou Henson of Illinois,
which goes home with a 21-8 record.
"Ordinarily we play well against the zone and have won all season
against it. We just weren't sharp tonight. I'm not taking anything away
from Kansas State, but we just didn't play well. Also, we got in early
foul trouble and we couldn't do some things we would liked to have done
offensively or defensively."
Kansas State's bulky 6-foot-7 center, made victory possible with a
game-high 14 rebounds against the taller Illini.
get position, it's going to take a lot of effort to get around me," he
said. "I watch the ball in flight and I can usually tell where it is
going to come off the rim. We were trying to keep the ball outside and
force a hurried shot. We let them take the 20-footer and if it went in,
it wouldn't hurt us that bad."
Billed as a clash between two of college
basketball's elite front lines, the North Carolina-Utah semifinal turned
into a nightmare for the Utes.
While the Perkins-Wood-Worthy front line was scoring 45 points, Utah's
trio of Danny Vranes, Karl Bankowski and Tom Chambers were scoring 26,
about half their combined season average. Bankowski,
ordinarily Utah's deadliest outside shooter, was almost totally
ineffectual while scoring only two points.
"I have never seen Karl have a night like that," said Vranes, who did
not score a bucket until about two minutes remained in the first half.
"Usually, he can stick those jumpers in. And when he sticks them in, it
opens it up more inside for the rest of the guys. They played great
defense and really collapsed around us inside."
Trailing by as many as 12 in the first half, the Utes ignited the crowd
by pulling to within two at halftime on Scott Martin's 49-footer at the
buzzer, then knotted the score at 27-27 on the first bucket of the
second half. But North Carolina was unstoppable the rest of the way and
the Utes never got closer than four points.
"We tried to control the tempo to keep the crowd out of the game," said
Tar Heel coach Dean Smith. "We couldn't get our break going so we
decided to get it inside. Al Wood is a true All-America. His leadership
was a big factor down the stretch. I think we are a good team playing
Utah Coach Jerry Pimm credited the Tar Heels with smart basketball.
"I thought North Carolina played smart. They got into the spread court
game which gave them high-percentage shots," he said. "They were reading
our defenses well. I was happy with our defense. Even late in the game
we still had a shot."
By Chuck Woodling
Lawrence Journal-World Sports Editor
NEW ORLEANS- Before they finally went
to sleep Friday night, each and every Kansas basketball player no doubt
envisioned that rainbow shot by Wichita States' Mike Jones.
It came with four seconds remaining,
touched nothing but net and doomed the Jayhawks to a 66-65 defeat in the
NCAA Midwest Regional basketball tournament in the Superdome.
The high-arching jumper by the WSU
reserve guard from about 25 feet seemed like it would never come down (video).
"It was a pretty desperation shot on
his part," allowed KU guard Darnell Valentine. "It was fantastic...it
just went in."
And yet the Jayhawks still had a
chance. They had called time with :02 showing and coach Ted Owens
diagrammed a clever desperation strategy. It worked, and yet it didn't.
Booty Neal was to throw the ball in
from the WSU end of the floor. He was to fake a long pass downcourt,
then run along the baseline where Valentine set himself like a rock
hoping to draw a foul and, since the Shockers were over the limit, earn
a bonus free throw opportunity.
WSU defender Jay Jackson bought it,
crashing into Valentine, who went thudding to the floor. No whistle (video).
"I think 30,000 thought it was a
foul," said Owens, "except the three (officials) who didn't call it. It
was very obviously a flagrant foul."
Added Valentine, who spent several
seconds jawing with the baseline official after Neal had called time
again: "I positioned myself and he (Jackson) ran into me. I thought it
Maybe someday that sucker play will
work for Kansas.
"We tried a couple of years ago
against Kansas State at home," Owens noted, "with a similar result. No
After the time out, Neal did toss a
court-length pass. It eluded John Crawford's grasp under the basket,
went out of bounds and that was it- although Randy Smithson missed a
free throw with one tick showing after being fouled by Neal on the
What made Friday's loss so frustrating
was the fact Kansas had a three-point lead and the ball with less than a
minute to play. Trouble started when Valentine misfired on a bonus
charity try at :56 and the Shockers closed within one at :46 when Jones
swished a jumper from basically the same area as his game-winner (video).
Kansas still had control, however.
up, on the other end, may have been the games' critical play. After a KU
time out at :33, Tony Guy flung a half-court baseball pass to Valentine
who had raced behind Smithson and had a clear layup.
Valentine twisted, the ball went up,
hit the backboard and rolled off the front lip at :28 (video).
It was a dead-open crip which could have conceivably clinched it for
There wasn't much Valentine could say
except he missed it.
"I should have made it," he conceded,
"but it rolled off the front of the rim."
Should have the Jayhawks held the ball
then instead of looking for a quick
score? Both Valentine and Owens said
I don't regret trying it," Darnell
stressed. "In those situations, you can't be passive. You have to take
Added Owens: "I would go with Darnell
Owens would have settled for less than
100 percent shooting Friday night, but not the sub-par 45.9 percent he
watched instead. That was better than WSU (43.5), but the Shockers'
37-24 board advantage made up for it.
Valentine was the bulk of the offense,
scoring 21 points. Guy, his backcourt mate, had perhaps an inevitable
comedown from that career high 36-point performance against Arizona
State in the sub-regional last Sunday.
Guy made just four of 12 shots, a far
cry from his 13 of 15 accuracy against the Sun Devils. His nine points
matched his season low which had occurred in early February against
"It was more my shot selection than
anything," Guy explained. "It just wasn't as good as the game before."
During the 32-game season- the longest
incidentally, in KU history- those two nine-point games were the only
ones in which Guy didn't reach double figures.
Wichita State, in defeating KU for the
first time ever, was a slight underdog, ostensibly because point guard
Tony Martin had a bad back and wasn't expected to play.
Martin saw 25 minutes of duty,
although he wasn't much of a factor. He did, however, give WSU badly
needed backcourt depth.
"If there was something wrong with
him," said Valentine, "it wasn't his back- not with all the bending and
shooting he was doing."
Kansas goes home with a 24-8 record,
its best mark since the 1977-78 team went 24-5. Wichita State, 26-6,
meets LSU on Sunday afternoon for the right to advance to the NCAA Final
LAKE-CITY (AP) Sixth-ranked North Carolina’s towering front line was
"very imposing inside," said Kansas State Coach Jack Hartman following
his team's loss to the Tar Heels. “They were more than we could deal
Carolina's 82-68 win the final game of the NCAA West Regional advances the
Tar Heels into the Final Four in Philadelphia next Saturday.
They'll play the winner of the Virginia-Brigham Young Eastern Regional
Rolando Blackman, who led the Wildcats with 21 points, assessed the loss
by saying, "Basically, I thought Carolina shot the ball extremely well.
We didn't. We had some bad streaks. We weren't attacking their defense."
Hartman said Blackman, who scored only six of his points in the first
half, "didn't get up enough shots early."
whole he fought hard and was looking for the ball, especially near the
end," Hartman said.
State's Ed Nealy, who led the Big Eight in rebounding this season, was
held to one rebound in the first half and had three fouls against him
I picked up my third foul, I couldn't be as aggressive," Nealy said. "I
had to lay back a little.”
knew coming into the game they were going to be tough to handle inside,"
the beefy 6-foot-7 Wildcat center said of North Carolina's front line-
sensation Sam Perkins, James Worthy, 6-9, and Al Wood, 6-6, who was
named the tournament's most outstanding player.
Hartman said, "Their inside people are very quick and they have good
size, especially in comparison to us. They were very difficult for us to
closing of the first half was the key to the game. We had closed to
within three inside of four minutes. We were beginning to think we were
on a roll and didn't firm up at the other end of the court. At that
point, North Carolina fired up and attacked."
Carolina led 42-29 at halftime. Said Nealy, "We're glad to have
had the opportunity to play to get into the Final Four. North Carolina
outplayed us today and they deserve to win and go on."
ORLEANS (AP) Coach Dale Brown's joy over Louisiana State University's
Midwest Regional championship was tempered by the realization that his
team must now face Indiana for the national championship.
whipped Wichita State 96-85 in the regional championship game Sunday,
breaking the game open with a 14-0 scoring surge midway through the
first half. Three minutes into the second half, LSU opened a 22-point
Wichita State pared that to nine points three times in the final 54
seconds of play, but never seriously threatened.
is the happiest moment of my athletic career, but I still realize that
we have some things left to do," he said. "We have now reached four of
our five goals for this season. We have bettered our record of last
year; we have won the Southeastern Conference championship; we received
an NCAA bid, and we have now made it to the Final Four. Our fifth goal
is to win the national championship."
beat Arkansas 72-56 Friday night to win the right to play Wichita State
for the regional championship. Wichita State beat Kansas 66-65- the
first time in 25 years the teams have met, although they are only about
three hours apart.
missed several easy shots early, and we gave them too many offensive
boards," said Gene Smithson, Wichita State's coach. "We didn't get our
share of the easy buckets, and LSU got their share," he said.
Brown's joy was also tempered by concern for his star forward, Rudy
Macklin, who was named the tournament's most valuable player after
scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds against Wichita State.
hit Macklin on the end of the little finger of his right hand,
dislocating the finger and causing a cut that required three stitches.
can't play basketball with one hand," Brown said, expressing hope that
Macklin would be ready for Indiana Saturday.
Although the game was a matchup of powerful front lines, both teams got
scoring punch from their guards. LSU point guard Ethan Martin got 13
points to go with his 10 assists. Wichita State's Randy Smithson got 18
points and five assists.
the big men dominated a rough, bruising game.
Antoine Carr and Cliff Levingston accounted for 41 points and 15
rebounds for Wichita State. Macklin, forward Leonard Mitchell and center
Greg Cook accounted for 57 points and 23 rebounds for LSU.
the end it was North Carolina that Bobby Knight shoved up against the
wall in Philadelphia. Let that be the story of Indiana's 1981 NCAA
championship, not the tawdry tale of Knight's scrap two nights before.
The 63-50 beating the Hoosiers administered to Carolina on Monday night
in the Spectrum was not so much a win as a wearing-out. This unrelenting
team performance couldn't be upstaged by individual heroics. Not by the
wondrous leadership of Isiah Thomas and his game-high 23 points. Not by
James Thomas, who was off the bench and on the boards and everywhere
that the Tar Heels' star marksman, Al Wood, was sure to go. And
certainly not by the Challenge at Cherry Hill, in which Knight roughed
up an LSU fan who had called him names in a New Jersey hotel lounge.
After Knight shoved him, the fan landed in a wastebasket.
Monday night the coach made his presence known in more subtle, but
equally forceful, ways. With the Hoosiers behind by eight points (16-8)
midway through the first half and looking surprisingly vulnerable, he
sent in the 6'3" Jim to join the 6'1" Isiah for an all-sophomore,
all-Thomas backcourt. On offense. Guard Randy Wittman moved to the wing,
where he "took what I could get" in the way of shots. That turned out to
be four bombs that shredded the Carolina zone and gave the Hoosiers a
27-26 halftime lead, their first of the game.
defensive adjustments forged by the entrance of Thomas, J. were even
more important. When he moved in to guard Wood, Landon Turner switched
over to guard Center Sam Perkins, who had scored seven points in the
first 9˝ minutes. Now, Knight had the matchups he surely wanted all
Indiana "plays five guards- one point and four pulling," another coach
had said jokingly earlier in the tournament, although such a definition
neglects the contributions of Thomas, J., who has both size and speed.
"We just kept pounding away," said the 6'10", 241-pound Turner more
second half this is what the Indiana defense wrought: Thomas, J. and
Turner held Wood and Perkins to five baskets and five rebounds between
them. Ray Tolbert thwarted the dangerous James Worthy even more,
spinning a one-hit shutout. In that final period, Worthy tallied one
rebound and no points and fouled out with 5:07 to play and the game long
gone. This was in severe contrast to the afternoon in December when the
Tar Heels beat Indiana 65-56. In that game Isiah played so poorly Knight
went sour for Carolina immediately following intermission. Thomas, I.,
who had shot a pitiful 1 for 7 in the first half, stole a pass near
midcourt and went in for the crip. Although Perkins got the basket back
with an alley-oop drop-in, Indiana's little prophet with the balloon
cheeks soon was off and away. Next Isiah fed Turner- 31-28. Then Isiah
picked off another pass, this one intended for Perkins down low ("The
ball was slippery," Isiah modestly said), and raced in to give Indiana a
33-28 lead. "The way they jumped on us there broke our backs," Wood
admitted later. Two more Isiah baskets and it was 39-30. Isiah from the
circle and Wittman, who finished with 16 points, off the glass made it
45-34 at 12:31. Meanwhile, at the other end of the floor it was obvious
that the Tar Heels weren't going to pierce the Hoosier defenses if they
played until July.
Knight's objective- "to break down" the other team psychologically and
physically- was being realized all too clearly. Even when Wood, who would
get 18 points, brought his team back to within seven with eight minutes
remaining, all the Hoosiers did was spread out against Carolina's
half-court traps and get the ball into Isiah's fast and sure hands.
1976 national champion Hoosiers, who were regarded as the terror of the
age, beat their five tournament opponents by a total of 66 points. This
edition beat its five foes by 113.
was billed as a Big Top of Final Fours, a veritable Barnum & Bailey
production featuring the game's most famous faces, talents and- college
basketball being that most overcoached of all sports- brains. Imagine.
Dean Smith! Bobby Knight! The Four Corners! General Patton!
quartet of teams- Virginia and LSU filled out the hand opposite North
Carolina and Indiana- had won 111 games all told, had hardly been tested
in their regionals and had all peaked to become the four best in actual
fact if not in the final poll. Too often the meek inherit the NCAA
finals; this year, no. Here were the game's reigning giant, Ralph
Sampson; its beaming cherub, Isiah Thomas; the Tar Heels' baseline of
first-round draft-choice celebrities; and the Tigers' den of versatile,
gold-jewelry-adorned athletes who had an edge, said one coach, "only if
Sammy Davis Jr. shows up to referee."
a bit of color to the usual gubernatorial wagering on the semifinal
games (Dalton of Virginia put up a ham against a bushel of oysters from
Hunt of North Carolina; Treen of Louisiana put up crawfish against
popcorn and ripe persimmons from Orr of Indiana) was an agreement
between the Charlottesville Daily Progress and The Chapel Hill Newspaper
that the loser's hometown journal must print its Monday
logo in the hues of the winning school, orange or blue.
had prepared for LSU during Indiana's Mideast Regional victory over
Alabama-Birmingham, a team similar in size and style to the Tigers. He
had matched up Turner on Rudy Macklin (size and speed trump speed) and
Tolbert on Leonard Mitchell (senior trumps freshman), and he wasn't
about to be doubting his Thomases: if Isiah was delivered into foul
trouble, Jim was sure to bail the Hoosiers out.
Thomas, J., whose middle name is destined to be No Relation, is a
sophomore from Florida who used to be known as the only player Knight
has recruited outside his Indiana-Illinois-Ohio power base. That was
before he gained a new dimension by starring off the bench at two
positions in the regional. But LSU Coach Dale Brown didn't know that.
"The new guy. The guy we didn't even talk about," Brown called him after
Thomas, J. replaced Thomas, I. and accomplished the little things- a
couple of blocks and assists, a steal and defensive harassment, a
team-leading nine rebounds- to key the 67-49 humiliation of LSU in the
didn't start as a blowout, though. Even with Macklin subpar (his split
finger forced him to "re-catch" passes, as he put it) and the team
shooting 40%, Brown had watched his game plan unfold perfectly. The
Tigers were clawing on defense. Point Guard Ethan Martin had slithered
his way to seven points and seven assists, had in fact contained Thomas,
I., and had forced him to the bench with three fouls with 3:14 left in
the first half. But now, with a 30-27 lead, Brown removed Martin "for a
rest" and went into a delay game.
LSU meant to do was spread its offense for only one possession. But, in
fact, the Tigers never attacked at all. They didn't take advantage of a
tight and anxious Indiana that was on the ropes and missing its leader
as well as its easy shots. They didn't increase the lead to five or six
or 10 points, which seemed within their reach. They didn't take one more
shot before the end of the half.
they hadn't slowed it down...well, we were content to be down three,"
locker room, where the Indiana coach wins most of his battles, he won
another. Instead of screaming at Turner and Tolbert (4 of 13)- "Ray's a
hyper kid, he was in the ozone," Knight said- or eating a chair. Knight
settled his troops, urging them to sit back, relax, "sprawl out." The
Hoosier defense was intense enough; there would be no change in
assignments. Offensively, the Indiana shooters were told to act with
poise, not anxiety. "We had the shots, but we were goosing the ball up
there. No finesse," Knight said later. "We played like we would get one
point for hitting the backboard."
revived Tolbert roared out and slam-dunked a rebound, and the Hoosiers
got the first 11 points of the second half. While Macklin and Willie
Sims- who together missed 16 of 20 shots- and the other LSU shooters
either walked or forced bricks or simply panicked. Turner scored on a
turnaround, a layup three-pointer, a tip-in. At 36-30 Thomas, I.
committed his fourth foul and left the game again. But LSU's Greg Cook
missed a point-blank jumper, and Thomas, J. ripped the rebound off the
iron to start a fast break that Turner ended with his fourth basket in a
40-34 the Indiana long knives came out. Ted Kitchel and Wittman buried
two faraway jumpers apiece in a 12-2 run that made it 52-36 with 9:01
left. From Tiger rag to Tiger gag. LSU tried to recover too quickly. Its
players were under duress and questioning themselves. Their shots
wouldn't fall. Tap-backs, roll-arounds, lip-outs. "They broke our
spirit," Brown said.
had a good, mobile team, seemingly in control of its destiny, gone so
quickly, so quietly. Or been so devastated. Turner, who scored a
game-high 20 points, held Macklin scoreless in the second half. Thomas,
J. did likewise to Martin. During one agonizing stretch that began late
in the first half, LSU went 9 for 21. Nine points, 21 minutes. "I get in
foul trouble and everybody goes haywire," said Thomas, I.
wire is what North Carolina vs. Virginia had been in two previous
matchups. The Tar Heels spent so much time figuring out how to control
Sampson, they forgot how to control the ball with 13 and 16 point
leads. "I don't think the down 13 trick will work again," UVA Coach
Terry Holland said. When Carolina's Wood drove the baseline for a
double-pump, no-look no-chance, oly-oly-oxen-free, reverse layup either
over or under or between Sampson- no one was quite sure- the score was
74-58 Carolina with 1:13 remaining, and Holland was out of tricks.
been said that no mere mortal can beat the Dean of basketball three
times in one season. After the ACC tournament, the gag was that Holland
would take his 2-0 over Smith and go home. Certainly, though, the Tar
Heels, who won Saturday's semifinal 78-65, laughing, would have lost if
Sampson had played like the young Abdul-Jabbarian clone he's supposed to
be. Or if Wood had broken both his legs. What was significant was not so
much the adjustment Carolina had to make for the 7'4" Sampson, but what
Virginia had to do against the 6'6" Wood.
Cavaliers began and ended the first half in a zone, then moved to a
diamond and one, then straight-up man-to-man. At least five different
Cavs tried to guard or at least knock on Wood. Result: Al was 14 for 19
from the floor; 11 for 13 from the line; 39 points; 10 rebounds. A
semifinal scoring record. "I didn't dominate," said Wood, being modest
and wrong all at once. "It just so happens I had a short guy on me."
just so happens that over a stretch of 10:28 late in the second half,
Wood scored nine baskets and 22 points. The spree went from UNC up 39-37
to UNC up 74-58. Al Wood 22, Virginia 21. Say good night, Wahoos.
about the big guy? In UNC-UVA I, Smith threw a collapsing zone at
Sampson; in II, more man defense with help. This time Carolina combined
the two and was more effective primarily because the 6'9" Perkins was
able to combat Sampson virtually head-on, alone.
the game was close- through the middle of the second half- the Tar Heels
would constantly switch defenses, and when Perkins himself wasn't
denying Sampson room- "I've learned how to touch him, to use my arms and
hands," Perkins said- he got help from Worthy in from the wing or 6'1"
freshman swing-man Matt Doherty sagging down. After 10 to 15 seconds of
not getting the ball each time down the court, Sampson's resolve visibly
weakened. He was flat-footed, standing around. Perkins matched his stats
exactly, 11 points and nine rebounds. But Perkins was 4 for 7 from the
floor and Sampson 3 for 10. Late in the game Sampson even leaned against
the basket post in a way that caused Wood to ask after his health.
Offensively, the Virginia center got little help from the perimeter- Jeff
Lamp and Jeff Jones shot 12 for 31- and, though Lee Raker did his usual
escapee-from-M*A*S*H routine, his 13 points were not enough.
line: Holland and the Cavs were as unable to deal with Sampson's
offensive difficulties as they were with Wood's offensive brilliance.
"He was so aggressive with the ball," Lamp said. Yes. Wood off the
glass. Wood to the end-line. Wood out front. Wood had gotten 33 points
against Virginia the last time, so the Cavs were aware of the danger.
"We got beat by a great player having a great day," Holland said.
Monday night it was back to Biblical times, in a manner of speaking. For
much of the weekend Isiah's thunder had been stolen by Wood, by another
guy on his own team with his own name- and by a wastebasket, for
goodness' sake. On Sunday, Thomas was asked if Knight had ever thrown
him into a wastebasket. "Not yet," he said.
after grinning all over the Spectrum and bearing the national
championship away, what else could a nice and easy fellow like Thomas, I