NCAA Tournament of All-Time Rosters: Quarterfinal Action Concludes

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NCAA Tournament of All-Time Rosters: Quarterfinal Action Concludes

Game Three: (3) Kansas v (6) Maryland

During warmups Maryland Coach Gary Williams kept focusing on Kansas center Wilt Chamberlain and wished the no-dunk rule was still in place. It wasn’t that he lacked confidence in his front line of Len Elmore, Buck Williams, and Len Bias.

But Wilt was a man-mountain who lived in the rarefied air of pivot-man elitism.

Fortunately for Coach Williams the backcourt took matters into their own hands. Point guard John Lucas shut off the penetration of counterpart JoJo White and Chamberlain was forced to resort to offensive rebounds for scoring opportunities.

Problem was, Buck Williams and Elmore did a fine job of limiting those opportunities and Maryland had a 20-12 lead with eight minutes left in the first half. Kansas Coach Phog Allen took Danny Manning and Raef Lafrentz out, clearly disappointed with their efforts, and inserted Drew Gooden and Clyde Lovellette.

On offense, Chamberlain was able to get free thanks to the sumo match between Lovellette and Williams underneath and Lovellette managed a couple putbacks of his own. At the half, Kansas enjoyed a 28-27 advantage.

The second half was a tennis match replete with volleys. Even though the frontcourts were the strength of both teams there were very few fouls called and the action was smooth, almost like a well-choreographed dance.

No team had more than a four-point advantage until Kansas’ Paul Pierce, who had scored 17 points at the two-minute mark, turned the ball over with the Jayhawks down by three. What happened during the next offensive possession was a testament to successful gambling.

Lucas dribbled around the perimeter and nearly managed a turnover of his own but the hands of Bias kept the ball secure. Guard Albert King, who was still looking for a three-pointer, worked his way free from Pierce and got the ball from Bias with a minute and a half left.

He was slightly off-balance and Pierce got a hand in his face but the shot fell through and silenced the partisan Kansas City crowd.

From there the Jayhawks, stunned in disbelief, could not get within a basket. At the end Lucas curled up in the fetal position with a death grip on the ball and tears of joy streaming down his face.

Final Score: Maryland 74, Kansas 70

 

Game Four: (2) UCLA v (10) Michigan State

Magic Johnson was a special player. Nobody doubted that. But even the special ones get worn down occasionally.

For the Spartans to have any chance of an upset Johnson would have to successfully and repeatedly break the vaunted UCLA press while Greg Kelser and Co. would have to take care of business against Lew Alcindor, Jamaal Wilkes, etc.

Johnson did his part, having eight assists to only two turnovers, an almost unheard-of statistic against John Wooden’s defense.

But Kelser, Morris Peterson, Kevin Willis, Zach Randolph and even Johnny Green couldn’t come up with an effective combination against the Bruins front line.

In the end, as the bench players finished the game whose outcome was decided several minutes ago, Johnson couldn’t find a smile for the first time in the tournament. UCLA’s players didn’t smile either. Maybe it’s because they knew their mission wouldn’t be complete for two more games.

Final Score: UCLA 85, Michigan State 68

 

Monday: Final Four from NYC

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