March 16th, 2006
Tournament: Great First Round Performances
Certainly, you remember
Christian Laettner’s performance against Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional
Final, where he was not only perfect from the foul line and the field, but
also hit “the shot.” But do you remember Connecticut’s Tony Kimball pulling
down 29 rebounds against St. Joseph’s in 1965?
Well, in all likelihood,
probably not, because, for starters, who on earth is Tony Kimball? And,
also, he did it in the first round, where there’s considerably less fanfare,
so that’s perhaps another reason why.
Regardless, as we head
into tomorrow’s first round match-ups, keep Kimball in mind, as well as
these other extraordinary opening round performances from years gone by:
Elvin Hayes, Houston
Big E scored 49 points and snatched 27 rebounds against Loyola-Chicago. To
this day, he’s the only player ever to score more than 40 points and tally
more than 25 rebounds in a tournament game.
Austin Carr, Notre Dame
most players would be lucky to get 21 points in an entire game, Carr got
that in the first 11 minutes, and didn’t stop until he scored a tournament
record 61 in Notre Dame’s 112-82 victory over Ohio. In three tournament
games that year he averaged 52.7, another record.
David Robinson, Navy
Entering the tournament as the nation’s player of year, averaging 28
points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks, Robinson did not disappoint as he went off
for 50 against Michigan. However, in a testament to the Admiral’s
exceptionally ordinary supporting cast, the Midshipmen still lost by 15.
Bo Kimble, Loyola-Marymount
Kimball torched New Mexico State for 45 points and 18 rebounds less than two
weeks after his childhood friend, Hank Gathers, died on the court during the
West Coast Conference tournament. In a memorable tribute to his fallen
teammate, Kimble, who was right-handed, shot his free throws left handed,
just as Gathers, a notoriously poor free-throw shooter, had done. Making
the performance all the more impressive: Kimble played the entire second
half with four fouls. The Lions won the game 111-92.
Shaquille O’Neal, LSU
up against 7’6’’ Shawn Bradley, Shaq put up a triple-double, scoring 26
points, 13 rebounds and a tournament record 11 blocks, as seventh-seeded LSU
beat BYU 94-83. As a side note, and certainly not to take anything way from
the Daddy’s performance, but considering his physical prowess—especially
relative to college players—how in the world were the Tigers only a seven
Sam Crawford, New Mexico
The nation’s leader in assists that year, Crawford tallied 16 helpers
to go along with 20 points in the Aggies’ 93-79 win over Nebraska. His 16
assists are tied for the second most ever in a tournament game, behind Mark
Wade of UNLV, who had 18.
Bryce Drew, Valporaiso
Clearly, putting up 22 points and scoring a big upset, while impressive,
doesn’t compare to the others. Yet, hitting one of the most famous shots in
tournament history has to count for something. Trailing Ole Miss 69-67 with
2.5 seconds remaining, Valpo’s Bill Jenkins corralled a three-quarter-court
pass and in one motion threw the ball to his left where an onrushing Drew
sank a game winning 22-footer.
Harold Arceneaux, Weber
Nicknamed “the show,” Arceneaux hit 5 of 7 three-point attempts on his way
to 36 points, including 20 in the second half, as the 14th-seed,
Weber State, upset perennial power North Carolina.