Friday, April 1, 2011

Danny Manning, Clyde Lovellette included on title-game list


Reputations, good and bad, are molded in NCAA Final Fours. Lew Alcindor and Chris Webber immediately come to mind.

So before another college basketball championship is decided Monday night, here’s one observer’s top-10 list of memorable individual performances in national title games. Remember, these are finals, so Bill Bradley’s 58-point game on 22-of-29 shooting against Wichita State in the 1965 third-place game is reserved for another listing:

Bill Walton, 1973

Arguably the greatest performance in NCAA history. The UCLA center made 21 of 22 shots, scored 44 points and added 13 rebounds in an 87-66 win over Memphis State. “That was the best performance I’ve seen,” Memphis coach Gene Bartow said afterward. “Ever.”

Lew Alcindor, 1969

The man later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar completed his third consecutive Most Outstanding Player performance with 37 points and 20 rebounds in UCLA’s 92-72 domination of Rick Mount and Purdue. In two games, Alcindor scored 62 points and grabbed 41 rebounds.

Bill Russell, 1956

Before he started winning NBA titles on a yearly basis, Russell led San Francisco to two NCAA titles in a row. His final college game was an 83-71 victory over Iowa in which the Dons’ center contributed 26 points, 27 rebounds and a giant defensive presence.

Danny Manning, 1988

“Danny and the Miracles,” as the Kansas Jayhawks were known, beat conference rival Oklahoma, 83-79, in the championship game. Manning scored 31 points and added 18 rebounds, five steals, two blocks and converted four clutch free throws in the final seconds.

Gail Goodrich, 1965

UCLA had more than dominating big men. Goodrich, a lefty-shooting guard, scored 42 points in a 91-80 victory over Michigan in which he shot 12-of-22 from the field — many of which would have been three-pointers today — and 18-of-20 from the line.

Jack Givens, 1978

Duke played a zone against Kentucky in the championship game. Big mistake. Givens, a lefty-shooting, 6-foot-4 forward, came through with 41 points on 18-of-27 shooting in the 94-88 victory. He scored Kentucky’s last 16 points of the first half.

Pervis Ellison, 1986

“Never Nervous Pervis” was a cool customer in leading Louisville to a 72-69 win over Duke. With top scorers Billy Thompson and Milt Wagner not shooting well, the freshman forward took up the void with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

Keith Smart, 1987

Indiana’s point guard scored all the important points in the Hoosiers’ 74-73 comeback win over Syracuse, including a 16-foot jumper with five seconds left for the winning basket. Smart scored 12 of Indiana’s final 15 points to deny a Syracuse freshman named Derrick Coleman a national title.

Clyde Lovellette, 1952

St. John’s run to the championship game was spoiled by Kansas and its imposing 6-foot-9 future pro. The New Yorkers were defenseless as Lovellette scored 33 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in an 80-63 win. Lovellette also scored 33 points in the Jayhawks’ semifinal win over Santa Clara.


jhox 10 years, 9 months ago

I remember Walton's 21 of 22 game. I don't recall many of those coming from more than 2 feet from the basket. Play was a lot less physical then. As good as he was that night, with today's inside physical play, that kind of performance would not happen.

Manning's 1988 game is all the more impressive when you realize how much of the defensive focus was on him that night. We were a team of Manning and a bunch of role players. Milt Newton was good that night as well, but Manning was a man among boys, and KU was playing a much more talented team at nearly every other position. Clint Normore, a football player walk on had a great game that night as well, and his contribution is often overlooked.

What can you say about Kareem? Simply unstoppable with that sky hook. That was as automatic of a shot, as there has ever been in the game of basketball.

Saguaro_Jayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Dunking was a rules violation during Walton's era. iirc, a majority of his 21 of 22 FG shooting used the glass from many angles. Definitely a neglected or lost art.

Walton was not looked upon favorably by many sports journalists of that era. Him refusing to play for Hank Iba at the 1972 Munich Olympics was a big reason. Plus, he was outspoken against both R. Nixon and the FBI. Definitely a polarizing character.

I watched a lot of UCLA hoops during the Wooden era and did not particularly care for them. But Walton's performance vs Memphis State was the best when it happened.

Saguaro_Jayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Dunking was rules violation during Walton's era. In his 21 of 22 FG shooting vs Memphis State he used the glass from many angles. Definitely a neglected or lost art.

Walton was not looked upon favorably by many sports journalists of that era. Him refusing to play for Hank Iba at the 1972 Munich Olympics was a big reason. But he was also very outspoken about R. Nixon and the FBI. Certainly a polarizing character almost as much as Clay/Ali.

I watched a lot of UCLA hoops during the Wooden era. Walton's performance during that 1973 Finals was certainly the best in NCAA Finals history when it occurred.

Saguaro_Jayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Strange. Looks like my 1st comment wasn't lost in cache. Wish I wouldn't have wasted the time retyping it!

hawksquawk 10 years, 9 months ago

It's actually pretty impressive how close you were to matching the original post. Some of the sentences are carbon copies.

justinryman 10 years, 9 months ago

AMAZING There are no Dookies on the list, I thought for sure Laettner would be on the list. Not saying he should be, but surprised he wasn't then again nobody made the list after Manning in 1988.

Good to see two Jayhawks make the team, only second behind UCLA's three, that's saying a lot!! Way to go Clyde and Danny.


trueblue68 10 years, 9 months ago

I still say that Gail Goodrich's performance was the greatest, & I am a KU Grad.

Gail was only 6'1", only 1 of 2 starters back from their 1964 Championship team.

Please note that he hit 18 out of 20 free throws towards his 42 points which means he was going to the rim & getting fouled, not just outside shooting. This was against an outstanding Michigan team which was led by AA Cazzie Russell.

Gail should have been the MOP, but The Voters gave it to Bill Bradley, because he got 58 in a MEANINGLESS 3rd place game against Wichita State. Thank goodness they did away with the 3rd place games a few years later.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 9 months ago

Keith Smart didn't dominate that game in 87, kind of strange to see his name on this list.

My KU years were 85-88. Not once did I ever hear the term "Danny and the Miracles". Anyone remember where/when that term was coined? I wouldn't bet the house on it, but I'd bet it didn't come until sometime after KU won it.

Tuskin 10 years, 9 months ago

My KU years were 86-91. I heard the term there.

Hank Cross 10 years, 9 months ago

Keith Smart was an odd choice. I don't remember anything else he did other than that shot.

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

Didn't Kyle Singler score 40, or so, in the 2010 game vs. Butler?

Woody Cragg 10 years, 9 months ago

Big Clyde is the only guy to lead the nation in scoring AND a NC in the same year. Also, it may have been Jim Nance or Billy Packer to coin the phrase, "Danny & the miracles." It's somewhat of a take-off phrase from the old R&B band, "Danny & the Juniors."

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