Friday, February 24, 2012

Stallworth’s 50 turns 40

Bud Stallworth from his 50-point game against Missouri at Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 26, 1972

Bud Stallworth from his 50-point game against Missouri at Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 26, 1972


Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most remarkable days in Kansas University basketball history: the day Isaac “Bud” Stallworth exploded for 50 points in a 93-80 victory over Missouri in Allen Fieldhouse.

The sweet-shooting 6-foot-5 senior from Hartselle, Ala., hit 19 of 38 shots and 12 of 13 free throws on Feb. 26, 1972, thrilling a packed Allen Fieldhouse crowd that included his mother, who was watching her son play in KU’s tradition-rich building for the first time.

Members of KU’s 1952 national title team, who were in town for a 20th-reunion celebration, also were on hand to see Stallworth’s one-for-the-ages outing.

“It was a great, great day — a remarkable performance,” former KU coach Ted Owens said of the second-highest scoring output from a Jayhawk. Stallworth’s ‘half-a-hundred’ points trailed only Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 52 points against Northwestern on Dec. 3, 1956. It remains the most points a Jayhawk has scored in a conference game.

“It’s not like we were playing a bad team. Missouri was good. Norm (Stewart, MU coach) tried everything. He put three different guys on Bud. Bud just had one of those nights,” Owens said.

Stallworth — he had the front-end of a one-on-one free throw make erased when teammate Wilson Barrow stepped into the lane — scored 50 without benefit of the three-point line.

“Think about this ... 13 of those baskets would have been three-pointers today,” Owens said. “That’s 63 points.”

Stallworth, who played in the NBA for five years and returned to Lawrence in 1987 to work in design and construction management at both KU Med Center and KU, has been reminded of his 50-point outing on almost a daily basis since that amazing day.

“I can’t believe it’s been 40 years,” Stallworth said with a laugh. “That 40 years have passed is kind of a monumental thing. I think it’s great to be alive and an honor to have played at KU. It’s been quite a ride. Individually, that was icing on the cake. That was the individual highlight, but team-wise (11-15 record) we were disappointed we didn’t have the success we had the previous year (when KU reached Final Four and went undefeated in Big Eight).”

Stallworth averaged a whopping 25.3 points a game his senior season en route to winning Big Eight player-of-the-year honors. He had his jersey hung in the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 31, 2005, with that 50-point outing of course prominently mentioned that day.

“Missouri had a chance to win the Big Eight championship if they beat us,” Stallworth recalled. “The shots started falling, and Norm tried all different defenses. I guess I just got on a hot streak, and the rest is history. To do something like that your last time as a senior is a storybook kind of thing. More so than anything else though, we ended up beating Missouri my last game.”

As co-host of the “Rock Chalk Sports Talk” radio show on Lawrence’s KLWN, he has spent a lot of time talking about Missouri’s leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, starting next season.

“I have no heartache of them going to the SEC,” Stallworth said. “I have heartache not playing them anymore. I have good relationships with a lot of people from Missouri. I see Norm on the celebrity golf circuit and speaking circuit. I never had hatred for Missouri. We just wanted to beat them.

“The thing about this rivalry ... it goes deep,” Stallworth added of the passions of the fans. “To get a feel for it, you have to be in Lawrence or Columbia. It’s not just two schools or cities. It’s two states going against each other.”

What follows is former Journal-World Sports Editor Chuck Woodling’s actual account of Stallworth’s 50-point game written back in 1972.

By Chuck Woodling

Former Journal-World Sports Editor

His real name is Isaac Stallworth and, as you might expect, he doesn’t especially like it when you address him by his real name.

But Bud Stallworth won’t cringe if you happen to call him by the name he inherited from his father. Bud will just smile.

In fact, you can call Bud Stallworth any name you want to and he’ll smile. Bud’s entire gamut of emotions consists of a smile.

That’s why the Bud Stallworth grin never left his face after the 6-5 senior had scored half a hundred points against Missouri Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.

Likely Bud would have been smiling if he scored only five against the Tigers ... provided the Jayhawks had won. And of course they did.

Kansas crunched the Tigers, 93-80, and threw a roadblock in their hopes for the Big Eight Conference title.

Only the fabled Wilt Chamberlain, who threw in 52 points in his first game as a Jayhawk, ever scored more among Big Eight performers. No one had ever scored 50 points in a conference game. Chamberlain’s record output came against Northwestern.

In funneling 50, Stallworth eclipsed the old standard of 47 in a conference game set by Colorado’s Cliff Meely last year. Bud actually broke Meely’s record with 2:22 left in the game when he hit a free throw after being fouled by Missouri’s Chuck Link.

Nevertheless, because of some apparent confusion late in the game, the Jayhawks fed the ball to Bud for one more shot. It was the only time during the game they were really trying to get the ball to him.

“They called down,” KU coach Ted Owens said, “and said Bud was within two points of breaking some record. I didn’t know what it was. I thought he had 35 points maybe. I forgot he had 27 at halftime.”

So with four seconds left, Bud took and missed a desperation 30-footer. But MU’s Steve Blind fouled him and Bud wrapped things up with a pair of free throws.

The record will show Stallworth connected on 12 of 13 free throws that historic afternoon. In reality he hit them all. With 9:36 to go in the first half, Stallworth earned a two-shot try at the line after being fouled by Mike Jeffries. Bud hit the first and then the second. But the second was disallowed because Wilson Barrow was in the lane too soon.

So Bud Stallworth, the sweet-shooter who was discovered by Jo Jo White here for the Kansas summer band camp, really tallied 51 points against the Tigers.

Bud earned them all. At times he was really dragging out there and the punishment he took from the muscular Tigers was often brutal.

Once in the second half, Owens instructed his team to spread the offense and try to kill some time. Owens did that, he pointed out later, to give Bud time to catch his breath. Stallworth on the other hand, would never admit to dragging his feet.

“You don’t get tired,” he smiled (what else?), “when you are winning.”

Bud put up 38 shots, hitting 19, and it would seem his arm must have gotten tired, at least.

“Naw,” Bud said, grinning, “it never gets tired.”


Zoann Merryfield 2 years, 1 month ago

Does anyone know if I can buy a DVD of this game?


Jim Roth 2 years, 1 month ago

That's brilliant, sychophant. That back story is a wonderful complement to the article.


Bob Forer 2 years, 1 month ago

In those days, the youth of Lawrence could buy a season football/basketball ticket for a few bucks. I went to as many games as I could. My favorite spot was the front row baseline bleachers. The bleachers were a lot closer to the floor (which was elevated) back then, and not only did you get a great view of the game, but as a 13 year old boy other views were equally as thrilling.

I was at the game. It seems like Bud couldn't miss, even with one of their best players, Mike Jerffries all over him on defense.

At halftime the crowd tossed a frisbee around. An errant throw landed on the floor near the basket where the Hawks were warming up. Bud retrieved it, and if my memory serves me well, had a nice long throw into the upper deck to the delight of the fans.

I think we sometimes take Bud for granted. Sure, he was a great player. But he was also an accomplished student and has always been one heck of a down-to-earth nice guy.

Hawk Nation has been lucky to have him for all these years.


Scott MacWilliams 2 years, 1 month ago

"So Bud Stallworth, the sweet-shooter who was discovered by Jo Jo White here for the Kansas summer band camp, really tallied 51 points against the Tigers."

What?? Say again???

Stallworth came to KU for band camp?? And was discovered there by Jo Jo White? That is the most ridiculously amazing thing I've ever heard!!

I want more of that story -- P L E A S E !!!

Oh yeah, Lets shave some Tigger Tails tomorrow!!!

Rock Chalk!!!


Jeeveshawk 2 years, 1 month ago

It is a good life to be a jayhawk fan. Your hated rival Missouri does have a slight edge in a close all-time football battle between two B-class programs, and from what I have heard MU always does better than us at the sports that nobody cares about (baseball, soccer, track and field, etc.) but we jayhawks loom over them with our far superior basketball record. Needless to say, this has resulted in tigers sitting around campfires and telling jayhawk stories, and I love hearing them. I love hearing about how Bud Stallworth dropped 50 on Missouri, and I love hearing about Paul Pierces 30 point game againt Missouri. But there is one tragic victory over Missouri that I wish never happened: the sellouts moving to the SEC.

This movement for the tigers is a victory for the jayhawks because it gives us the bragging rights about how we would never walk away from a rivalry that rooted back to bleeding Kansas, and it gives us the bragging rights of being the ones who hold the superior intellect, for they blame the collapse if this beloved fued on us. But this "victory" for Kansas has stabbed college basketball right in the heart. Now the fans of this nation have been forced to turn their heads toward lesser rivalries such as UNC vs Duke, Louisville vs Kentucky, and KU vs KState. Missouri has done this to people everywhere for what? Money? So now the ncaa is evolving into an NBA-esque money making franchise, with a heart blacker than coal and more frigid than ice. But the worst part is that the NCAA cannot compete with the NBA at that style of attention-seeking. The ncaa has always sported the fact that the players actually gave a d@mn about their team, and those kids played their hearts out and fought throughout every second of every game to claim a victory for their schools.

So now Missouri has started what is possibly, although very unlikely, the downhill sled of college hoops. So after Kansas players such as Bud Stallworth and Paul Pierce punished Missouri, it is time for Thomas Robinson or Tyshawn Taylor to do the same, and remind the tigers that they will always be our annoying toothless cousin, before they slither away from basketball, and head towards cash.


jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

Basketball men and women, coaches, assistant coaches, players, trainers, ball boys/girls, anyone that works around the game a long time and so sees more than one of these visionary games, recognize that there are not words to adequately describe such games had by these prophets of what human beings are capable of. Basketball men, speak of these moments instead simply as "one of those games," rather like persons of certain religions simply refer to their gods indirectly, because words are not up to the descriptive challenge of the sacred.

The prophet Isaac, called Bud by most, had one of these games.

But before he had one of these games, he had many, many fine performances that marked him a far above average players, but he also had many, many performances where he subordinated himself to his team and fulfilled many functions, not just that of visionary gunner.

This is the way of prophets. They are human, too. They are of us mostly and only vastly beyond us briefly.

The prophet Elijah has has recently been doing his earthly chores, as all prophets do before their stars and their faith align. But as he has done them, he has shown flashes of excellence that often suggest a player destined to elevate game to the sublime. He has dared to do the impossible occasionally, as in trying to deny his man the ball for an entire game. And he has learned to walk humbly among his brothers of the wood and anoint their games with glue. He has played deep into gaping maw of a Satanic shooting slump and has feared no evil, nor lost his faith in balling. He has suffered the neglect and the doubt of scribes and board rats questioning his game without castigating them. He has in fact walked the long saintly path of repetition and drudgery that is the mark of the saint with great hops.

The prophet Elijah will be blessed with more talent next year than the prophet Isaac had when he beatifically made every kind of move 13 times on the perimeter to cause the scoreboard to twinkle with 26 pre-trinitarian rain bow points, in addition to the 24 made among mere mortals playing that game 6 score and 4 years ago.

And so Elijah may not hang 50 in a biblical sense, as Isaac did.

But it is ever so likely that one game next season, when most least expect it, even Elijah himself will perhaps not expect it in any earthly, temporal sense of the meaning of expect, Elijah is going to walk on to the sacred wood and he is going to find himself moving through a vision that only he can play out.

And only those that are there will be transfigured by it, as I was by the prophet Isaac's game so long ago.

It is foreshadowed and so it will be.

Rock Chalk!!

P.S.: For a look at "The Man" recently, here is a link.


jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

But all collegiate prophets can get on a roll in the universitatis game, the universita game, the jami'a game, aka the college game that has nothing to do with lands of ball beyond the Dead Sea that separates the college game from the pro game.

And all the college prophets tend to get on these rolls from outside the mainstream, say, 20-26 feet outside the mainstream. And when the prophets get on these rolls, they begin to make shots that fall in long arcs that amaze and fill witnesses with awe.

And these prophets on these rolls are said to be in a visionary state in which their almost unconscious actions reveal the human potential for a kind of sublimity that reaches far beyond mathematical measures of numerologistas like William of James and verbal hyperbolics like jay of bate.

Ordinary men and women that witness such visionary behavior are forever changed by it. The games they see after and the lives they lead after are held up to a new standard ever after. It is not one measured in FGAs and FGs, or percentages, or even in hands and cubits normalized for 40 minutes, but rather in form languages and dynamics of motion as far beyond words and numbers as the is a great film the moment it leaps entirely beyond its story and plot and achieves the pure cinematic experience of motion across an eye screen. Such games are retinal ecstasies that at times can trigger cheering in tongues an uncontrollable launching of pop corn boxes heavenwards.

With all due respects to Picasso and Michelangelo, these moments of sublime basketball vision played out on hardwood in front of mortals' eyes exceed mere masterpieces of static images caught in pigments on canvas, or even those sweat-chiselled in stone, with but one lone exception: Giotto's Scrovengi Chapel murals in Padua, which reduces all other human achievement to fast food. But I digress.

These visionary games by perimeter players are phenomena that keep witnesses speaking of them 40 years after, 50 years after, for as long as they live after. They are unforgettable to those that witness the transcendence in person.


jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

"Prophets Past and Present"

Isaac was the first Prophet of KU basketball IMHO, though I confess to fading memory and to not knowing many of the greats before World War II.

Elijah is the second.

Isaac hung 50 in a year when he had to be most of the offense, because the team was thin, after a Final Four season. These things can happen at KU.

The prophet Isaac was an outside shooter that averaged 25ppg...without the trinity and its Homoousian implications.

For the young that may wonder, the prophet Isaac would fit in with Self Ball. He had hops and could run the floor. He could play.

Though I never met him face to face, I have a friend I trust about things such as spirit and character. He says Bud--the name he is known by when not transcending--is a person of great character lo these many years later. This does not surprise me.

In the vision business, there are long prophets and short ones, brawny prophets and athletic ones. In the case of Isaac, the prophet was one of the long and athletics--the same in some regards as KU's current prophet--Elijah.

In the vision business, one prophet foreshadows the next prophet, as much as foretelling when a savior may come, or what a god may do with his world and apple gobbling mortals subdividing the land of Nod, East of Eden Towne Mall.

And remember, always, that many prophets foretell nothing at all, and in so doing, are among the most accurate prophets, for the more things change, the more they stay the same: Isaac 6'5", Elijah 6'4". Given the vagaries of measurement of players and prophets, a mere inch is as insignificant as a cubit measured by a blind man caught in the black pitch oozing from the Fertile Crescent even back in biblical times.

Of course, prophets do differ in particulars. Some can swing 1/2/3, like the prophet Elijah, whereas some can only swing 2/3, like the prophet Isaac, though there are some that said he could have put the ball on the Sistene deck had he been asked to, despite the doubters that remind that the prophet Isaac was not a long career man in the land of milk and honey--the L.


Steve Brown 2 years, 1 month ago

I miss you guys, yes we came in early for every game and watched the freshmen beat up local junior colleges. Recall very well the "when you say Bud Stallworth, you've said it all" song.

Also recall that coach took Bud out with some time left and the guys above us on the tables were yelling for coaches to pick up the phone under the seat, we students had to yell at top of our lungs, only 3' behind them, to get the phone answered, then coach was told "48 pts." and put him back in....

We were so upset when a portion of our regular seating was masking taped off marked 'reserved' we almost removed the tape. Then when the 'old guys' 1952 olympic team came in by us, we were proud. Seems like we were 7-8 at home to that point, facing a top ten MU team and by beating them gave KState our conference NCAA invite so Norm had to stay home. It preserved our 'never a home losing season in AFH' as I recall.

So many memories, thanks guys, one of the old regulars....didn't we use home blues back then? and yes it was afternoon game....sun in the south windows.

Recall couple years later, crafty Norm as the visitor switched sides with us, and took the south side first giving us the north basket the 1st half.....

Aloha, recall the KC Sports picture well as I'm back to camera front center, that pix hung in Ted's office. Yes, hate to admit it, but we stormed the court. The student regulars behind the team comprise the crowd..we need a reunion. ..late.


2 years, 1 month ago

Thanks to all of the posters today who are sharing their memories of experiencing this game in person! Being an MU grad, the story above must have been particularly hard for Chuck Woodling to write :^)


William Blake 2 years, 1 month ago

"“It’s not like we were playing a bad team. Missouri was good. Norm (Stewart, MU coach) tried everything. He put three different guys on Bud. Bud just had one of those nights,” Owens said."

We all know Norm's childish behavior of never buying anything in the State of Kansas... so does he also not by Bud beer? Makes sense... er... senseless.


BainDread 2 years, 1 month ago

Could someone who was at the game shed light on the inconsistency between Gary's account and Mr. Woodling's account? Gary writes that Wilson Barrow stepped in the lane on the front end of a one-and-one free throw, implying that had he not done so, Bud could have had two more points and thus tied Wilt's record. However, Woodling's account clearly says Barrow's lane violation was on the second of two free throws. Gary's account makes for a better story, but I tend to believe Woodling's account, probably written the night of the game, is the correct one.


jhox 2 years, 1 month ago

I would like to see T Rob or Tyshawn hang 50 on them tomorrow, That would be a great going away gift to Missery.


hawken 2 years, 1 month ago

My memory of it was that he missed a couple of easy shots early and I thought he was going to have a bad day:) Wow! what a show! And some of those shots were way outside of where the 3 point line would have been.


BrooksideJayhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

I too remember it as an afternoon game. I also remember the pep band playing a Budweiser beer jingle that was very popular at the time ("When you say Budweiser, you've said it all."), and the crowd singing along, "When you say Bud Stallworth, you've said it all."


jayhawkfox2 2 years, 1 month ago

My fave Jayhawk as well!! I was at the game too, nine years old and mesmerized. I clearly remember the free throws at the end to get Bud to 50. The place went crazy!!! However, I remember it as being on a Sat. afternoon, with the sun through the AFH windows shining down on the court, not at night as suggested in the article. Aloha do you remember or am I just getting old with a failing memory?


ejlumus 2 years, 1 month ago

My all time favorite Jayhawk!!!!


Alohahawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Stallworth's 50 point game was somewhat of an iconic moment for me. It was the only time I ever set foot on the AFH court. The students stormed the floor at the end of the game, and I was all for celebrating the moment. I had friends contact me over the next few days about a picture that appeared in the Kansas City paper of the crowd on the court. I'm 6'7", stuck out above the crowd, and was easily recognizable. For some crazy reason I was holding my hand above my head pointing up with my index finger. It was such a let down season after the previous year's success (final four in Houston), that we had to celebrate something. And winning over Mizzery (and "Sit down Norm") was a nice way to end the season.

Sure do wish I could be there this coming Saturday. Would love to watch in person when the Jayhawks show no mercy to Mizzery. Sound them out the door to in'sec'urity with their tails between their legs, Hawks!!!


Jim Baker 2 years, 1 month ago

A memorable day indeed! The basketball gods will be visiting AFH again to anoint the Jayhawks on 50-eve for what should make for another memorable day in KU history. Rock Chalk!!


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