1 / 3
2 / 3
3 / 3

1983 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament

In the last match, played in Albuquerque, New Mexico, NC State led at halftime by a score of 33–25. Houston was hampered by foul trouble that plagued celebrity Clyde Drexler, who picked up four first half fouls. From the second halfof the Cougars came out with a second wind and based control of the match, eventually taking a seven-point lead.
But, things weren’t all great for Houston. Considering that the match was played in Albuquerque, players needed to deal with the town’s mile-high elevation. The Cougars’ star center, Akeem Olajuwon, had difficulties adjusting to the surroundings and tired quickly, having to test out of the match multiple times so he could wear an oxygen mask and then recuperate. With Olajuwon on the bench, Houston head coach Guy Lewis determined that so as to protect the lead and the health of his big man in precisely the exact same time, the Cougars had to start slowing down the game.
Once again, this enabled the Wolfpack to go back to their standby strategy of extending the game. Houston’s free throw shooting was very suspect entering the match, which functioned greatly in NC State’s favor as they could rally back and even the score at 52 in the final two minutes. On what would be the last Houston ownership, Valvano called for his players to back away and allow freshman guard Alvin Franklin bring the ball up the court. The Wolfpack defenders would allow the Cougars employ their lag strategy of passing around. When the ball got back to Franklin he was to be fouled immediately. With 1:05 left, the freshman was fouled and sent into the line to get a one-and-one. The thought to foul Franklin sprung in the enormity of this second; NC State believed that the comparatively inexperienced Franklin couldn’t resist the strain of going to the line together with the championship at stake and understanding that fifty million viewers were tuned in to watch the match. The theory was correct as Franklin failed to convert and the Wolfpack caught the rally. Valvano called timeout with 44 seconds left and drew up a play for senior defender Dereck Whittenburg through the timeout, which required the team to pass him the ball with ten seconds left on the clock so that he could take the final shot.
Houston needed a defensive stop so they could get another chance to close out the game. Lewis decided to move from the man-to-man shield his team had been running the whole game to a half court trap defense. The Wolfpack, who weren’t expecting the defensive adjustment, were made to deviate and began passing the ball around simply to maintain the Cougars from stealing it. Houston nearly obtained the turnover it had been searching for if Whittenburg made an errant pass to Gannon which Drexler nearly came away with prior to the sophomore regained control of the ball. The ball finally wound up at the palms of guard Sidney Lowe, who gave it to forward and fellow senior Thurl Bailey at the corner.
Trying to keep the ball going, as he had been double teamed when he received the pass, Bailey looked back toward Whittenburg, that was roughly thirty feet away from the hoop near midcourt. Bailey threw what Whittenburg would call a”poor fundamental” overhanded pass which Houston’s Benny Anders, guarding Whittenburg on the play, was in position to steal. At this point, Whittenburg hearkened back to his high school days with Morgan Wootten in DeMatha Catholic High School, where he was taught to always catch the basketball with both hands. If Whittenburg hadn’t tried to do this in this case, Anders might have gotten the steal and a game-winning breakaway layup. In college basketball at the time, the match clock continued to run after a made field goal, and the Wolfpack likely would not have had time to inbound the ball. Since it was, Anders knocked the ball from Whittenburg’s hands, but Whittenburg immediately regained control.
The clock, meanwhile, had ticked down to five seconds and Whittenburg was still standing a substantial distance from the objective. After he regained control, Whittenburg turned and started a desperation shot, afterwards claimed by Whittenburg to be a pass, to try and win the game for NC State. The shot’s trajectory took it on the front of the basket where Olajuwon was covering Wolfpack center Lorenzo Charles. As he watched the shooter, Olajuwon said he knew the shot was likely to come up short but he also did not wish to go for the ball too early because of the prospect of goaltending. Charles took advantage of this indecision by Olajuwon and went up for the air ball, and, in one movement, he scored the go-ahead points with a two-handed dunk. The last second ticked off the clock prior to Houston could inbound the ball, and with that, the match ended, and the Wolfpack were the winners.

Read more: sportscoverage.net