Jan. 21, 2005
#54 (Friday, Jan. 21, 2005)
Thirty-one years to the week later, `100 Years of Notre Dame Basketball in 100 Days' will spend a whole week looking back at the greatest game in Irish basketball history - Jan. 19, 1974: Notre Dame 71, UCLA 70.
ND - UCLA '74, Day Five
The Aftermath of an Upset
The victory over UCLA in 1974 was more than just a streak-breaking win for Notre Dame. It was noteworthy in many other ways as well:
Notre Dame's 11-0 finish in football in 1973 and 12-0 start in basketball (after defeating UCLA and winning two more games) gave the school 23 straight victories in its two marquee sports. The national record is 29 by Texas A&M in 1919-20.
During Notre Dame's 1973-74 basketball season, John Wooden was one of seven national title coaches, past of future, whom the Irish defeated during the year.
The other six were Fred Taylor (Ohio State), Bob Knight (Indiana), Joe B. Hall (Kentucky), John Thompson (Georgetown), Al McGuire (Marquette), Frank McGuire (South Carolina) and Rollie Massimino (Villanova). Plus, the Irish vanquished tradition-rich programs Kansas, Duke and DePaul and future NBA Championship coaches Paul Westhead (LaSalle) and Tex Winter (Northwestern).
Notre Dame's victory propelled the Irish to #1 for the first time in the AP's 36-year history. The stay was short-lived, as UCLA avenged its loss in Los Angeles the next week, but the #1 finish in football and #1 ranking in basketball in the same month was an unprecedented achievement for anyone at that time.
The victory was a repeat of 1957 when Notre Dame snapped Oklahoma's NCAA-record 47-game football winning streak. In similar fashion to UCLA starting its streak against Notre Dame in 1971, Oklahoma had started its streak with a win over the Irish in 1953.
The win knocked UCLA out of the number one spot in the polls for the first time since 1971 - and Notre Dame played a part in that as well. The Irish defeated Marquette in 1971, allowing UCLA to take over the #1 ranking.
#55 (Monday, Jan. 24, 2005)
Taking a look at some head coaches who have played a fundamental role in shaping the Irish basketball legacy.
#53 (Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005)
ND - UCLA '74, Day Four
The Ice Man Does It Again
When Dwight Clay drained a jumper from the corner with 0:29 seconds remaining in the game, UCLA might have been surprised but a dedicated Notre Dame fan would have said "That makes sense."
Clay was already nicknamed The Ice Man before the UCLA game in 1974. That name was earned on Jan. 13, 1973, when Clay hit a jump shot with two second left as Notre Dame defeated Marquette 71-69 - ending an 81-game win streak by the Warriors.
Clay recalls the play against the Bruins: "The plan was for (John) Shumate and (Gary) Brokaw to try and set up a two-on-one situation on the other side. They had been so effective that (UCLA's Tommy) Curtis tried to cheat by dropping off and helping (Keith) Wilkes. That left me alone in the corner and I was waving my hand feverishly when Brokaw read it and passed me the ball.
"I knew the shot was good as soon as it left my hands. We had practiced against zone defenses so much that I was deadly from those corners. I just never got the ball that often once we were in the game.
"I am always getting calls from reporters and it helps bring back some nice memories. I definitely liked to shoot the ball, and that shot, along with the shot against Marquette and the 50 points I scored in a high school game, stand out as the highlights. There were games in which I played much better, but there weren't any better or bigger games than the one with UCLA. It was really a crusade for us."
#52 (Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2005)
ND - UCLA '74, Day Three
The Mother of all Rallies
It was 31 years ago today when UCLA entered the Joyce Center with an 88-game winning streak (the longest ever in college basketball) and eventually limped out with a shocking 71-70 loss to the Fighting Irish.
The victory by Notre Dame was not surprising overall (the Irish were ranked #2 behind the #1 Bruins), but it was the way the Irish won the game which shocked UCLA, the Irish fans and every one watching on television.
It was the mother of all rallies, down by 11 points with 3:22 left in the game. Perhaps the legendary John Wooden described it best - "What bothered me and concerned me about the loss to Notre Dame was how we lost and the fact we went dead in the final three minutes. Notre Dame scored 12 straight points and I didn't think that was possible against any team with Bill Walton on it."
You can't blame Wooden for his confidence in Walton. Notre Dame's win on Jan. 19, 1974, was the first loss the senior had suffered in his basketball career since his junior year of high school.
Here is how the last 3:22 of the game played out, after Notre Dame called a timeout trailing 59-70.
3:07 - John Shumate scores over Bill Walton, 61-70
2:57 - Shumate lay up after a steal (Notre Dame had slapped on a press after the previous field goal), 63-70
2:22 - Adrian Dantley scores another lay up after a steal, 65-70
2:16 - With the ACC rocking, UCLA's Tommy Curtis travels to give Notre Dame the ball back.
2:01 - Gary Brokaw drills a 20-foot jumper from the corner, 67-70
1:25 - UCLA's Dave Meyers misses a shot.
1:11 - Brokaw hits a jumper from the free throw line, 69-70
0:45 - UCLA's Keith Wilkes gets called for an offensive foul.
0:29 - `The Ice Man' Dwight Clay hits a jumper from the corner on a pass from Brokaw to give Notre Dame its first lead of the game, 71-70.
0:21 - John Wooden breaks from his tradition of not calling a timeout at the end of the game.
0:06 - UCLA's Curtis misses, then a flurry of Bruin shots fall short as time runs out.
Or, as Dick Enberg called the final play on TVS: "Trgovich...Meyers...Shumate... IT'S ALL OVER!"
#51 (Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2005)
ND - UCLA '74, Day Two
No One Leaves Notre Dame #1
While this sentiment seems arrogant now, at the time Notre Dame toppled UCLA in 1974 it was clearly the mission of the school's athletic teams. Perhaps the freshman class of 1970-71 could explain it best - they saw the football team defeat #1 Texas in the Cotton Bowl 24-11 on Jan. 1, 1971. Twenty-two days later Johnny Dee's basketball team defeated #1 UCLA 89-82. Two weeks later, the hockey team, enjoying its most prosperous time under Lefty Smith, snapped #4 Denver's 12-game unbeaten streak.
This same group, the freshman class of 1970-71, would experience a senior year that they will never forget. In a span of 20 days during the 1973-74 school year, they witnessed:
Ara Parseghian's football team defeat 11-0 and #1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl 24-23 to claim the national title on Dec. 31, 1973.
On Jan. 18, 1974, the eve of the showdown with UCLA, Lefty Smith's Irish hockey team routed #1 Michigan Tech 7-1 (incidentally, the current Irish will face Michigan Tech this evening in Green Bay, Wis.).
The next day, the `triple crown' was completed with the upset of #1 UCLA.
#50 (Monday, Jan. 17, 2005)
ND - UCLA '74, Day One
It is the Notre Dame basketball program's `Miracle.' It is Notre Dame basketball's greatest accomplishment and memory. The UCLA triumph in 1974 surpasses all other victories in Irish basketball by leaps and bounds (which is a bold statement, considering the outstanding history of upsets the Irish have written).
As we look back at the 1974 UCLA game (of course we are talking about the one the Irish won, as the Bruins claimed a bit of revenge with a 95-74 victory in Pauley Pavilion just seven days later) this week, we will examine the pre-game hype, the amazing comeback over the final 4:17 and the incredible aura that surrounded the entire Notre Dame athletic department during the '74 season.
Notre Dame seemed to show up on UCLA's schedule at crucial times. The 88-game win streak began with a victory 89-82 victory over Notre Dame on Jan. 23, 1971. The streak crushed the previous best, a 60-game run by the 1954-56 San Fransisco Dons (who were led by Bill Russell).
The game was a showdown between #1 UCLA and #2 Notre Dame - the first and only time the Irish basketball program has experienced a #1 vs. #2 drama. A record college basketball audience of 13.5 million tuned into TVS (an independent network) with an unknown announcer at the time - Dick Enberg. The contest was also played on "College Basketball Day," so named because the sport reputedly was first played on Jan. 19, 1892, in Springfield, Mass.
In addition, Notre Dame was looking to become the only school in NCAA history to claim a number one ranking in football and basketball in the same month.
The game eventually lived up to all the hype.
Previous 100 Years in 100 Days updates:
Week Seven (#45-#49)
Week Six (#39-#44)
12 Days of a Notre Dame Basketball Christmas (#27-#39)
Week Five (#21-25)
Week Four (#16 - #20)
Week Three (#11 - #15)
Week Two (#6 - #10)
Week One (#1 - #5)