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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--UNLV (35-5; coached by Jerry Tarkanian/17th of 19 seasons with Rebels; tied for first place with New Mexico State in Big West with a 16-2 record).
NIT Champion--Vanderbilt (21-14; coached by Eddie Fogler/first of four seasons with Commodores; tied for seventh place in SEC with a 7-11 record).
NCAA Probation--Cleveland State, Kentucky, North Carolina State.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Derrick Coleman, F, Sr., Syracuse (17.9 ppg, 12.1 rpg, 2 bpg, 55.1 FG%); Chris Jackson, G, Soph., Louisiana State (27.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 91 FT%); Larry Johnson, F, Jr., UNLV (20.6 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 1.6 spg, 62.4 FG%); Gary Payton, G, Sr., Oregon State (25.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 8.1 apg, 3.4 spg, 50.4 FG%); Lionel Simmons, F, Sr., La Salle (26.5 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.9 spg, 2 bpg, 51.3 FG%).
National Player of the Year--Simmons (AP/UPI/NABC/USBWA/Naismith/Wooden).
National Coaches of the Year--Connecticut's Jim Calhoun (31-6/AP, UPI); Georgia Tech's Bobby Cremins (28-7/Naismith); Michigan State's Jud Heathcote (28-6/NABC), and Kansas' Roy Williams (30-5/USBWA).
The most tragic moment in the history of any league tourney occurred in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament at Loyola Marymount when Hank Gathers, the league's all-time scoring leader and a two-time tourney MVP, collapsed on his home court during the Lions' game with Portland. He died later that evening of a heart ailment and the tournament was suspended. The Lions still earned an NCAA Tournament bid because of their regular-season crown and advanced to the West Regional final behind the heroics of Bo Kimble, who was Gathers' longtime friend from Philadelphia.
Loyola Marymount, leading the nation in point production for the third consecutive season under coach Paul Westhead, set an NCAA record for highest scoring average per game (122.4). The Lions scored at least 99 points in all but two of their 32 games. They also established a mark for largest-ever margin over the national runner-up (21.1 over Oklahoma). Gathers and Kimble became the only set of teammates to surpass the 2,250-point plateau. Kimble (35.3 ppg), Gathers (29) and Jeff Fryer (22.7) combined for 87 points per game to become the highest-scoring trio in a single season in Division I history. Kimble had four games with at least 50 points.
A couple of years later, Loyola Marymount paid $1.4 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Gathers' mother. In deposition testimony during that span in connection with a $32.5 million suit filed by the Gathers family against Loyola and 13 other defendants, his mother and brother (Derrick, a Cal State Northridge player) claimed Hank was given money by USC Trojan boosters before transferring and received about $50,000 from a prominent LMU booster.
La Salle's only regular-season defeat was against Loyola Marymount, 121-116. The Explorers, making their first Top 20 appearance in a final wire-service poll since 1969, were the third straight school to lead the nation in winning percentage but not reach the Final Four. La Salle's Lionel Simmons ended his career with an NCAA-record 115 consecutive games scoring in double figures. Simmons, the only four-time All-MAAC first-team selection in league history, became the fourth player in NCAA annals to pace a league in rebounding four straight seasons. He is also the only player in MAAC history to lead three consecutive conference champions in scoring and rebounding.
Oregon State's Gary Payton (58 points vs. Southern California in OT), LMU's Kimble (54 at St. Joseph's), Mississippi Valley State's Alphonso Ford (51 vs. Texas Southern in overtime), Nevada-Reno's Kevin Franklin (48 at Loyola Marymount), St. Louis' Anthony Bonner (45 in overtime at Loyola of Chicago) and Morgan State's James McCoy (38 vs. Georgia State in Chattanooga) set school Division I single-game scoring records. Marquette guard Tony Smith tied a school mark with 44 points in an 82-65 loss at Wisconsin. . . . Kimble (35.3 ppg), Ohio's Dave Jamerson (31.2), Alabama State's Steve Rogers (29.7), Duquesne's Mark Stevenson (27.2), Towson State's Kurk Lee (26), Liberty's Bailey Alston (25.5), Marquette's Smith (23.8), College of Charleston's Donnelly McCants (20.9), Maryland-Baltimore County's Larry Simmons (20.4), San Diego's John Jerome (19.3) and Sam Houston State's Derrick Gilliam (18.6) established school Division I records for highest scoring average in a single season.
Northwestern's Todd Leslie set an NCAA record for most consecutive successful three-point baskets with 15 in a span covering four games from December 15-28. . . . OU's Jamerson had 14 treys vs. Charleston (S.C.) in 31 minutes en route to a 60-point outing that is a school and Mid-American Conference record. He contributed five three-pointers in a span of less than four minutes midway through the first half to help the Bobcats increase their lead from two to 16 points.
Georgia Tech's perimeter marksmen Dennis Scott (27.7), Brian Oliver (21.3) and Kenny Anderson (20.6) were known in Hoopdom as Lethal Weapon 3 when they became the first ACC trio to all average more than 20 points per game in the same season. They were also the only threesome ever to achieve the feat for a Final Four team. Anderson, the sixth Tech player in eight years to be named ACC Rookie of the Year, had his best all-around game when he collected 32 points, 12 rebounds and 18 assists in a 93-92 triumph over Pittsburgh. The Yellow Jackets' six ACC defeats were by a total of 14 points. . . . Georgia, coached by Hugh Durham, captured its lone SEC regular-season title one year after finishing ninth in the 10-team league. Durham incurred at least a single one-point setback each of his last 16 seasons with the Bulldogs.
La Salle (30-2/coached by Speedy Morris), Xavier (28-5/Pete Gillen), Georgia Tech (28-7/Bobby Cremins), Coppin State (26-7/Fang Mitchell), Southern, La. (25-6/Ben Jobe), Hawaii (25-10/Riley Wallace) and Texas-San Antonio (22-7/Ken Burmeister) had their winningest seasons in school Division I history. . . . Southern Illinois (26-8 overall and 10-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference) ended a streak of 10 consecutive losing league marks.
Georgetown, coached by John Thompson Jr., finished among the Top 10 in a final wire-service poll for the seventh time in 11 years. . . . Connecticut, improving from a tie for seventh place in the Big East the previous season to a tie for first place under coach Jim Calhoun, made its first appearance in the top 20 of a final wire-service poll since 1965. . . . Providence lost 21 consecutive games to Syracuse until edging the Orangemen, 87-86. . . . Villanova began a streak of four consecutive double-digit victories at Syracuse after losing in the Carrier Dome by 33 points the previous year. . . . Seton Hall guard Marko Lokar, a native of Italy making his first college start, scored a Big East Conference-freshman record 41 points against Pittsburgh. In his total of 33 other games with the Pirates this season and a portion of next year, Lokar scored 99 points with only two double-digit outings (15 and 12). Lokar, a pacifist, was opposed to war of any kind and left school because of the reaction he received following his refusal to wear an American flag on his uniform along with the remainder of his teammates during the Gulf War. . . . St. John's became the first school to participate a total of 20 times in both the NCAA Tournament and NIT. The Redmen reached that plateau in the NIT in 1971.
Rob Lanier, who led St. Bonaventure in assists for the second straight season, went on to become Siena's coach. . . . Drexel's Clarence Armstrong supplied the year's most amazing finish by hitting three three-point baskets in the last 17 seconds to give the Dragons an 87-86 win at Bucknell. Before his trifecta, Armstrong had missed 12 consecutive three-point attempts, and had scored only one point in Drexel's previous four games. . . . Monmouth junior guard Dave Calloway, an All-Northeast Conference second-team selection, became head coach of his alma mater later in the decade. . . . Cliff Warren, who averaged 10.4 ppg and 5 apg to lead Mount St. Mary's to its first winning season in Division I (16-12), eventually coached Jacksonville. . . . Fairleigh Dickinson (16-13), coached by Tom Green, had 14 of 15 games in a mid-season stretch decided by fewer than six points. . . . Penn State (25-9), coached by Bruce Parkhill, won 10 games by fewer than five points.
Purdue's Steve Scheffler overcame dyslexia to finish with a Big Ten career record for field-goal shooting (minimum of 400 baskets). He hit 68.5 percent of his field-goal attempts (408 of 596). . . . Michigan State won the Big Ten title just one year after finishing in a tie for eighth place. . . . Kendall Gill (20.4 ppg) became the first Illinois player in 47 years to lead the Big Ten in scoring in conference competition. . . . Tracy Dildy, who led Illinois-Chicago in assists, went on to coach in the city for Chicago State.
Oklahoma gave Northeastern Illinois a rude welcome to Division I basketball with a 95-point victory (146-51). Later, the Sooners won back-to-back Big Eight Conference games against Missouri and Kansas by a total of 39 points when their opponents were ranked No. 1 in the nation. OU finished among the Top 15 in a final national poll for the seventh straight season and among the top four for the third consecutive campaign. . . . Mizzou whipped Kansas twice in a two-week span when the Jayhawks were ranked No. 1 in the country. . . . Iowa State, coached by Johnny Orr, compiled a 2-10 mark in games decided by fewer than six points. . . . Swingman Porter Moser, Creighton's top outside shooter, went on to become Arkansas-Little Rock's coach. . . . Terrell Jackson, who quit Drake in a dispute that led to the late-season resignation of coach Tom Abatemarco, sued the school, alleging it reneged on a promise to provide him an education. The lawsuit claimed that Drake lured him with promises of academic support to complete his degree, then made it virtually impossible to receive a diploma. The suit alleged the school, through Abatemarco and his staff, asked Jackson to plagiarize term papers, urged him "to register for classes that detracted or conflicted least from the basketball schedule and would provide high grades essential to maintaining academic eligibility regardless of their academic worth." . . . Texas A&M's Shelby Metcalf finished his career as the SWC's all-time winningest coach. . . . Rice (11-17), coached by Scott Thompson, had a 14-game stretch the first half of the season where nine of the contests were decided by fewer than four points, winning four of them in a row. . . . All-Missouri Valley Conference second-team selection John Cooper, Wichita State's leader in scoring and rebounding, went on to become coach for Tennessee State.
Kentucky had eight different players hit a three-point basket in a 104-73 victory over Furman on December 19, 1989. Four days later, Kentucky (53) and Southwestern Louisiana (31) combined for 84 three-point field-goal attempts when USL upset UK, 116-113. The Wildcats averaged an NCAA-record 28.9 three-point attempts per game during the season. . . . Florida wound up in the SEC cellar after finishing in first place the previous year. The Gators snapped a 14-game losing streak by leveling LSU, 76-63. Among O'Neal's teammates were two future NBA first-round draft choices--guard Chris Jackson and center Stanley Roberts. Jackson had an all-time high six 40-point games for a Top 10 team.
Clemson, en route to capturing its only ACC regular-season title, closed out its first perfect month of February in 70 years (8-0) with a 97-93 victory over fifth-ranked Duke. The Tigers were coached by Cliff Ellis. . . . North Carolina, sans an All-ACC first- or second-team selection for the only time since the formation of the league in 1954, didn't finish among the top 10 in a final AP poll for the first time in 10 years. The Tar Heels, after winning 29 of their previous 34 meetings with Maryland, were swept by the Terrapins. . . . Southern Mississippi tied for second place in the Metro Conference after tying for last the previous year. . . . Coastal Carolina wasn't invited to the NCAA Tournament or NIT for the third consecutive campaign despite capturing an undisputed Big South Conference regular-season crown each season.
Washington's five-man coaching staff boasted more talent than most starting lineups in the Pacific-10. Head coach Lynn Nance (all-conference second-team pick in 1964-65 with Washington) and assistants Russ Critchfield (second team in 1965-66 and first in 1966-67 and 1967-68 with California), Steve Hawes (second team in 1969-70 and 1970-71 and first in 1971-72 with Washington) and Trent Johnson (second team in 1977-78 with Boise State in Big Sky) were joined by David Carter (playmaker for Saint Mary's all-time winningest team the previous season under Nance).
Texas-El Paso's school-record 31-game homecourt winning streak ended when the Miners lost to Indiana, 69-66. UTEP coach Don Haskins missed much of the season when doctors ordered him to abandon his coaching duties because of an acute case of laryngitis. . . . New Mexico's Rob Robbins set a Western Athletic Conference record by converting 52 consecutive free-throw attempts. . . . New Mexico State nipped UNLV, 83-82, for the Aggies' lone victory over the Rebels in their first 21 meetings from 1984 to 1993. . . . Pacific lost 19 consecutive games to UC Irvine in their series before upending the Anteaters, 70-58. . . . UC Santa Barbara's Eric McArthur set a school single-game record with 28 rebounds against New Mexico State. . . . Oregon State's Payton led the Pacific-10 Conference in assists for the fourth consecutive season. . . . Oregon outlasted UCLA, 105-99, for the Ducks' lone victory over the Bruins in a 16-game stretch of their series from 1987 to 1994. . . . Leonard Perry, who started at point guard for Idaho against Louisville in the NCAA playoffs, went on to become coach of his alma mater.
Massachusetts (17-14/coached by John Calipari) posted its first winning record in 12 years. . . . Hardin-Simmons (Tex.) competed in its final season at the Division I level. . . . Tennessee's Wade Houston became the first African-American head coach in the SEC. He compiled a 19-10 mark in games decided by fewer than four points through 1993-94. . . . National personality Jim Valvano was forced out as coach at N.C. State. The Wolfpack had entered the season on a sour note following the publication of "Personal Fouls," a book alleging a wide range of wrongdoing at the school. A private attorney retained by N.C. State was convinced that the institution could successfully sue Valvano for failing to ensure the academic progress of his student-athletes. Valvano became an ESPN/ABC commentator who died three years later after a courageous fight against cancer.
1990 NCAA Tournament
Summary: UNLV's 103-73 rout of Duke when the Rebels became the only team to score more than 100 points in a championship game established a record for widest margin of victory in a final. UNLV forced Duke's starting backcourt, Bobby Hurley and Phil Henderson, into a total of 11 turnovers. The Rebels blew the game open by reeling off 18 unanswered points in less than three minutes in the second half. Larry Johnson, 6-7, finished with the highest rebounding average for a player on an NCAA titlist (11.4 rpg) since North Carolina State's Tom Burleson (12.2 in 1973-74). The Rebels excelled although frontcourter George Ackles was a medical redshirt because of a wrist injury. "Quickness, not height, is probably the greatest attribute a team can have," UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian said.
Outcome for Defending Champion: Michigan (23-8) finished third in the Big Ten after dropping three of four conference contests late in the season. The Wolverines are the only defending champion ever to be eliminated by more than 25 points (149-115 loss to Loyola Marymount in the second round of the West Regional).
Star Gazing: UNLV guard Anderson Hunt is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player since 1954 to never play in the NBA. . . . Two days after UConn escaped Clemson on a controversial last-second shot, Duke turned the tables on the Huskies when Christian Laettner inbounded the ball with 2.6 seconds remaining in overtime, received a return pass and sank a leaning jumper from the left side at the buzzer to give the Blue Devils a 79-78 triumph in the East Regional final. In the semifinals, it was difficult to comprehend how UConn's Tate George had sufficient time with one second on the clock to receive a full-court pass, come down, square up and get off a winning jumper from the right baseline in a 71-70 decision over Clemson. . . . Stacey Augmon led UNLV in scoring in four of six playoff games after pacing the Rebels in that category just once in their first 34 outings (team season-high of 34 points vs. Utah State). . . . Transfer Kurt Lee scored a game-high 30 points for Towson State in the opening round against Midwest Regional top seed Oklahoma after going scoreless for Western Kentucky in 28 minutes against West Virginia in 1987.
Biggest Upset: Northern Iowa (14th seed) defeated Missouri (3), 74-71. It was the third time in four years that the Tigers were eliminated by a double-digit seeded opponent.
One and Only: Georgia Tech guard Kenny Anderson became the only freshman on a Final Four team to score more than 20 points in as many as four tournament games. . . . Loyola Marymount's Bo Kimble became the only player to score at least 40 points in a playoff game the same year the opponent captured the NCAA Tournament title (42 in the West Regional final). . . . UAB's 68-56 first-round defeat against UCLA enabled Gene Bartow to become the only individual to meet two different schools in the playoffs he had previously coached to the Final Four. He had lost against Memphis State, 67-66, in the second round in 1985.
Celebrity Status: Terry Kirby, Virginia's career rushing leader, was scoreless in two NCAA Tournament games with the Cavaliers' basketball squad before becoming a starting running back for the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns. Kirby was a member of the Oakland Raiders' Super Bowl-bound team in 2002. . . . Terrell Lowery, who scored at least 16 points in each of the last three NCAA playoff outings for Loyola Marymount's West Regional runner-up (against Michigan, Alabama and UNLV), eventually became a major league outfielder with the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and San Francisco Giants. He went 15 for 34 from the plate (.441) with the Giants in 2000.
Numbers Game: Georgia Tech is the only Final Four team to have three players each average more than 20 points per game in the same season. The trio, known as Lethal Weapon 3, included Dennis Scott (27.7), Brian Oliver (21.3) and Anderson (20.6). . . . Each Final Four participant received more than $1.47 million, a whopping increase of about 2,870 percent in just 20 years. Trying to minimize emphasis on the intrinsic dollar value of "six-figure shots" taken by players, the NCAA implemented a new revenue-sharing formula beginning with the next season. . . . UNLV was the sixth champion in eight years to endorse Nike sneakers. . . . The record for most three-point field goals in a playoff game was set by Loyola Marymount senior guard Jeff Fryer with 11 against Michigan. Fryer (41) and Kimble (37) became the only set of teammates to score more than 35 points in the same tourney game when they combined for 78 vs. Michigan in the highest-scoring game in NCAA playoff history. Kimble had poured in a tourney-high 45 points in a 111-92 triumph over New Mexico State in the opening round. The Lions set an NCAA record for highest scoring average in a playoff series (105.8 in four games). . . . Michigan's Loy Vaught grabbed a tourney-high 21 rebounds in a 76-70 victory over Illinois State in the first round of the West Regional. . . . Louisville's LaBradford Smith finished his playoff career with 95.7 percent accuracy from the free-throw line (45 of 47 in eight games). . . . The four second-round games in the Midwest Regional were decided by an average of two points. . . . Classic example of parity: Neither Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina nor UCLA was a No. 1 seed for the third consecutive year.
What Might Have Been: Anderson averaged 27 points per game in his first four tournament contests as a freshman for Georgia Tech. If only he reached that figure in his fifth game instead of scoring 16 points in the national semifinals, the Yellow Jackets could have defeated eventual champion UNLV rather than blowing a seven-point halftime lead and losing 90-81. . . . Illinois (21-8/without Nick Anderson), Indiana (18-11/Jay Edwards) and North Carolina (21-13/J.R. Reid) might have fared better in the playoffs if standout players had exercised their remaining eligibility instead of defecting to the NBA. Ditto Oklahoma (27-5) if forward Jeff Webster didn't miss the season because of a foot injury before leading the Sooners in scoring the next year as a freshman. . . . Memphis State (18-12) probably would have participated in the NCAA Tournament instead of the NIT if Sylvester Gray didn't leave school early for the NBA two years earlier after his sophomore season. . . . South Florida (20-11) might have given #2 seed Arizona more of a scare in the Bulls' initial NCAA playoff appearance if forward Gary Alexander didn't miss the season because of a knee injury. Alexander led them in rebounding the next two years to finish his career with the school's best rebound average (9.9 rpg). . . . Brigham Young might not have lost a close opening-round game against Clemson if center Trost, an eventual two-time All-WAC selection, wasn't on a Mormon mission.
NCAA Champion Defeats: Neutral court vs. Kansas (14-point margin), at Oklahoma (8), at New Mexico State (1), at LSU (2), and at UC Santa Barbara (8). . . . Kimble's 42 points was the highest scoring output against UNLV during the season, but it didn't prevent the Rebels from winning by 30 points (131-101).
Scoring Leader: Dennis Scott, Georgia Tech (153 points, 30.6 ppg).
Highest Scoring Average: Bo Kimble, Loyola Marymount (143 points, 35.75 ppg).
Rebounding Leader: Larry Johnson, UNLV (75 rebounds, 12.5 rpg).
Highest Rebounding Average: Loy Vaught, Michigan (38 rebounds, 19 rpg).
Stacey Augmon, F, Jr., UNLV (34 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists in final two games)
Phil Henderson, G, Sr., Duke (49 points, 10 rebounds)
*Anderson Hunt, G, Soph., UNLV (49 points, nine assists, nine three-pointers)
Larry Johnson, F, Jr., UNLV (37 points, 16 rebounds)
Dennis Scott, F, Jr., Georgia Tech (29 points/one Final Four game)
*Named Most Outstanding Player.
Championship Team Results
First Round: UNLV 102 (Augmon team-high 16 points), Arkansas-Little Rock 72 (Scott 23)
Second Round: UNLV 76 (Johnson 23), Ohio State 65 (Carter 15)
Regional Semifinal: UNLV 69 (Augmon/Johnson 20), Ball State 67 (Thompson 21)
Regional Final: UNLV 131 (Augmon 33), Loyola Marymount 101 (Kimble 42)
National Semifinal: UNLV 90 (Augmon 22), Georgia Tech 81 (Scott 29)
Championship Game: UNLV 103 (Hunt 29), Duke 73 (Henderson 21)