Early in the 1982-83 season, Virginia was coming off a tough non-conference spurt that had included wins over Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas and Akeem Olajuwon’s Houston Cougars.
7’4” center Ralph Sampson, on his way to his third consecutive Naismith award, was the leader of the top-ranked Cavaliers, but sharp-shooting Rick Carlisle (now the Mavericks’ head coach) gave them a serious perimeter presence as well.
On their way back from a trip to Japan, the Cavaliers had scheduled what appeared to be a throwaway game against Chaminade.
The NAIA Silverswords had just beaten Division I Hawaii, but there was no reason to believe they could do the same against mighty Virginia.
The key for Chaminade was 6’5” center Tony Randolph.
Though he was surrendering nearly a foot in height and 80 pounds of weight to Sampson, Randolph had faced the Cavaliers’ star when both were Virginia high-schoolers, and knew that with help, he would have a chance to contain him.
Randolph got that help (some of it from a flu bug Sampson was battling), and the national player of the year scored just 12 points on the night (while contributing to his team's ugly total of 25 turnovers).
On the other end of the floor, Chaminade swingman Richard Haenisch lit up Virginia for 38 points. Even then, Chaminade needed more than a little luck to finish off the upset.
A controversial double-dribble call against Virginia’s Othell Wilson killed the Cavaliers’ chance at a game-tying basket, and the Silverswords hit their free throws to finish out the most unbelievable win in college basketball history.
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