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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--Arkansas (31-3; coached by Nolan Richardson/ninth of 17 seasons with Razorbacks; won SEC Western Division title by two games over Alabama with a 14-2 record).
NIT Champion--Villanova (20-12; coached by Steve Lappas/second of nine seasons with Wildcats; finished in a three-way tie for fourth place in Big East with a 10-8 record).
New Rules--Shot clock reduced to 35 seconds from 45, five-second defensive pressure call is eliminated, game clock stopped in the last minute after every basket and trash-talking prohibited.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Grant Hill, F-G, Sr., Duke (17.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 5.2 apg, 1.9 spg); Jason Kidd, G, Soph., California (16.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 9.1 apg, 3.1 spg); Donyell Marshall, F, Jr., Connecticut (25.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 3.2 bpg, 51.2 FG%); Glenn Robinson, F, Jr., Purdue (30.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg); Clifford Rozier, C-F, Jr., Louisville (18.1 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 61.8 FG%).
National Player of the Year--Robinson (AP/UPI/NABC/USBWA/Naismith/Wooden).
National Coaches of the Year--Purdue's Gene Keady (29-5/shared NABC); Arkansas' Nolan Richardson (31-3/Naismith, shared NABC); Saint Louis' Charlie Spoonhour (23-6/USBWA), and Missouri's Norm Stewart (28-4/AP, UPI).
By the end of the decade, a federal grand jury investigated accusations that Arizona State guard Stevin "Hedake" Smith took thousands of dollars from a gambler who bet heavily against the Sun Devils and that two other players might have shaved points. Several casinos took the unusual step of barring wagering on ASU's March 5 game against Washington because of the large bets on the visiting Huskies in a contest the Sun Devils were heavily favored to win. After missing its first 14 shots, ASU won, 73-55, surpassing even the original 11-point spread posted for the game.
Smith and teammate Isaac Burton cooperated with federal investigators after pleading guilty to charges for their roles in a point-shaving scheme. Smith, the Sun Devils' No. 2 career scorer, fixed four games for a Chicago bookmaker, partly to erase a $10,000 gambling debt to the mastermind of the scheme, then figured he could make extra money by getting another party to also pay him. Smith, sentenced in November 1999 to a year in prison and three years' probation plus an $8,000 fine, was paid roughly $100,000 for the first three games but never received the $50,000 he was to get for the fourth contest. Burton was paid $4,300 for helping fix two games.
A glaring lack of fundamentals was apparent as shooting percentages continued to decrease. Free-throw shooting across the country dipped to 67.1 percent, the lowest mark since 1959. Teams shot an all-time low 34.5 percent from three-point range.
Purdue junior Glenn Robinson became the first Big Ten player to lead the country in scoring (30.3 points per game) since the Boilermakers' Dave Schellhase in 1966. Robinson was at his best against the Big Ten's elite, scoring 73 in two games against Michigan and 72 in two outings against Indiana. Purdue's 29-5 record is much more impressive when one notes that the teams with the other five national scoring leaders from 1991-96 combined for an average mark of 9-17. Robinson's early departure to the NBA left the Patriot League as the only Division I conference in history ever to return two of the top three leading scorers in the country--Holy Cross' Rob Feaster (28 ppg) and Colgate's Tucker Neale (26.6 ppg). Feaster set the Patriot League game record with 46 points against Navy in overtime.
Donyell Marshall, the first Connecticut player ever to become an NCAA consensus first- or second-team All-American, hit 39 of 40 free throws in averaging 37.7 points per game in three contests against St. John's as the Redmen absorbed their first losing record since 1962-63. St. John's wound up in ninth place in the Big East after finishing second the previous year. . . . Villanova won the NIT after finishing in sole possession of the Big East Conference basement the previous year.
Houston's streak of 34 consecutive non-losing seasons came to a halt when the Cougars dropped 13 straight games in mid-year en route to compiling an 8-19 record. . . . Kentucky tied an NCAA record by overcoming a 31-point, second-half deficit in a 99-95 victory at LSU (see accompanying box). The deflating defeat contributed to ending LSU's streak of 17 consecutive non-losing records. . . . Louisville's Clifford Rozier set an NCAA record by hitting all 15 of his field-goal attempts in a game against Eastern Kentucky (see accompanying box). Rozier, a transfer from North Carolina, became the only NCAA consensus first-team All-American in a 60-year span from 1949-50 through 2008-09 to previously play at least one season for another four-year college. . . . Auburn's Wesley Person finished his career with 2,066 points to join his brother, Chuck (2,311), as the only sibling combination to score more than 2,000 for the same school. . . . Auburn led the nation in field-goal percentage despite a losing record (11-17). The four previous schools to pace the country in shooting from the floor--Kansas, UNLV, Duke and Indiana--each won at least 30 games.
Cleveland State (39) and Kent (36) established an NCAA standard for most points in overtime periods, both teams, when they combined for 75 in the Vikings' 104-101, four-overtime triumph. . . . La Salle (11-16) incurred its first losing record in 18 years. . . . Dartmouth lost by 21 points (94-73) to Boston College, but the Big Green had nine different players hit a three-pointer, an NCAA record (see accompanying box). . . . Providence's Michael Smith set a Big East Conference single-game record by grabbing 26 rebounds against Syracuse. . . . Vermont sophomore guard Eddie Benton set a school and North Atlantic Conference record with 54 points against Drexel. . . . Monmouth finished in second place in the Northeast Conference after tying for last the previous year. . . . New Hampshire's seven-game winning streak was the school's longest in more than 50 years.
Marist's Danny Basile converted all 60 of his free-throw attempts in Northeast Conference regular-season play. Teammate Izett Buchanan set a school record and Northeast Conference standard with 51 points at Long Island University. . . . Also establishing school Division I single-game scoring records were Siena's Doremus Bennerman (51 points vs. Kansas State in NIT third-place game), Idaho's Orlando Lightfoot (50 at Gonzaga), Winthrop's Melvin Branham (45 at Charleston Southern), Arkansas State's Jeff Clifton (tied with 43 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock), Nebraska's Eric Piatkowski (42 vs. Oklahoma in Big Eight Tournament quarterfinals), Liberty's Matt Hildebrand (41 vs. Charleston Southern) and Northern Iowa's Cam Johnson (40 at Drake). Excluding Lightfoot, the remainder of Idaho's team scored just 19 points in a 76-69 setback at Gonzaga. . . . Western Carolina's Frankie King (26.9 ppg), Vermont's Benton (26.4), Missouri-Kansas City's Tony Dumas (26), Siena's Bennerman (26), Marist's Buchanan (25.4), Idaho's Lightfoot (25.4), Arizona's Khalid Reeves (24.2), Northern Iowa's Randy Blocker (23), Alcorn State's Marcus Walton (22) and Robert Morris' Myron Walker (20.1) set school Division I records for highest scoring average in a single season.
California's Lamond Murray and teammate Jason Kidd became the first Bears players since 1960 to earn spots on an NCAA consensus first- or second-team All-American squad. It was also the first Top 20 appearance in a final wire-service poll for Cal since 1960. . . . Washington went 5-22 in Bob Bender's first season as coach, but one of the Huskies' victories came against Final Four-bound Arizona, 74-69. . . . Washington State, 10-8 in the Pacific-10 Conference, posted its first winning league record in 11 seasons. . . . Coach Rick Majerus won only one of 10 games decided by fewer than six points to register his only non-winning mark (14-14) in 15 years with Utah through 2003-04. . . . Santa Clara coach Dick Davey had gifted guard Steve Nash in his lineup but lost six two-point decisions. It represented the only time in Davey's first 12 years with the Broncos through 2003-04 where he posted a losing mark in games decided by fewer than six points. . . . Idaho had an eight-game mid-season stretch when seven of the contests were decided by fewer than four points. Joe Cravens won almost two-thirds of his games decided by fewer than four points in his 11 seasons as coach of the Vandals, Utah and Weber State (39-20 in those close contests).
Missouri, coached by Norm Stewart, went unbeaten in the Big Eight Conference after finishing in seventh place the previous year. The Tigers lost their second game of the campaign by 52 points at Arkansas but dropped only one other regular-season outing (by four points at Notre Dame). . . . Guard Donnie Boyce scored 20 consecutive second-half points for Colorado and finished with 46 but it wasn't enough to prevent an 83-68 defeat at Oklahoma State. . . . Askia Jones exploded for a national-high and Big Eight Conference-record 62 points in boosting Kansas State to a 115-77 rout of visiting Fresno State in the NIT quarterfinals. Jones had 14 three-pointers, hitting 11 of 14 shots from beyond the arc after intermission to set an NCAA mark for most treys in a half. . . . Coach Dana Altman departed K-State after only four seasons with the Wildcats despite a glittering 20-6 mark in games decided by fewer than five points. . . . Oklahoma State guard Brooks Thompson, an All-Big Eight first-team selection, went on to coach Texas-San Antonio. . . . Texas, coached by Tom Penders, captured the SWC regular-season championship just one year after finishing in seventh place. The Longhorns frustrated Utah, 93-91, in double overtime when Tremaine Wingfield hit two buzzer beaters after receiving length-of-the-court passes from Penders' son (Tommy). Wingfield sank an 18-footer at the end of regulation and a 16-footer as time expired in the second extra session. The play at the end of regulation began with :00.2 on the clock, while the play to end the game began with :01.4 remaining. The next spring, the NCAA ruled that the only way a team could score on a play that begins with :00.3 or less on the clock is by a tip-in of an inbounds pass. . . . Baylor forward Jerode Banks, the SWC freshman of the year, died before the start of the next season in a one-car accident. . . . Texas-Pan American's Greg Guy (29.3 ppg in '93 to 19.2) became the only defending national scoring champion other than Temple's Bill Mlkvy (29.2 in '51 to 17.4 in '52) to have a scoring average decrease of more than 10 points per game. . . . Texas-El Paso, coached by Don Haskins, had 11 victories by fewer than five points. The Miners averaged seven triumphs annually by fewer than six points under Haskins in a 10-year span from 1985-86 through 1994-95.
Wisconsin-Green Bay (27-7/coached by Dick Bennett), Southwest Texas State (25-7/Jim Wooldridge), Ohio University (25-8/Larry Hunter), Towson State (21-9/Terry Truax) and Campbell (20-9/Billy Lee) had their winningest seasons in school Division I history. Purdue (29-5/Gene Keady) and Canisius (22-7/John Beilein) tied their school single-season Division I marks for most victories. . . . Siena won 25 games for the third time in six years. . . . Towson wasn't invited to the NCAA Tournament or NIT for the third time in four years despite capturing an undisputed conference regular-season crown. . . . Canisius, after finishing in sixth place the previous year, captured the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season crown just two seasons after the school suffered an all-time high in losses (8-22 mark in 1991-92). It is believed that Beilein became the only active coach in the country to register 20-win seasons at the junior college, NAIA, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division I levels. . . . Temple coach John Chaney was suspended for one game because of a postgame tirade involving Massachusetts counterpart John Calipari.
Two of Campbell's victories were on the road over schools from the vaunted ACC (North Carolina State) and SEC (South Carolina). . . . Russ Bergman, Coastal Carolina's all-time winningest coach, phoned a local sports editor late in the season and candidly told him: "I understand the (NCAA) rules and I understand that I broke the rules." Bergman said he was motivated to call after seeing the movie "Blue Chips," where actor Nick Nolte's guilt-ridden Pete Bell character informed a group of reporters following his biggest victory in years that his team of heralded freshmen was bought by alumni, with his consent. Then Bell quits, walking off into the California night to teach playground kids the rudiments of the game. "When you build a program that's so used to winning, you create your own monster," said Bergman, who won four straight Big South Conference regular-season championships from 1987-88 through 1990-91.
Saint Louis, coached by Charlie Spoonhour, compiled a 23-6 record to finish in a final wire-service poll for the first time since 1961. The Billikens finished in last place the previous year. Fellow Great Midwest Conference member Marquette compiled a 24-9 mark under coach Kevin O'Neill to finish in a final national poll for the first time since 1979. . . . Dayton's lone Great Midwest victory came against Saint Louis (82-77 in overtime) when freshman guard Shawn Haughn hit all eight of his shots from beyond the three-point arc. . . . DePaul junior guard Tom Kleinschmidt set the Great Midwest game record with 37 points vs. UAB. . . . Valparaiso, ending its streak of 16 consecutive losing seasons, compiled a 20-8 record under coach Homer Drew. . . . Ricky Byrdsong, in his first of four seasons as coach for NIT-bound Northwestern, was given a leave of absence in the aftermath of his erratic behavior in a loss at Minnesota. Several times during the game, he went into the stands to shake hands with fans. After leaving the Wildcats, Byrdsong was murdered in a drive-by shooting while he was jogging. He had an abysmal record in close contests in nine years with Detroit and Northwestern (19-37 in games decided by fewer than six points). . . . Iowa wound up in the Big Ten basement after finishing in a tie for third place the previous season. . . . Illinois backup Gene Cross eventually coached Toledo. . . . Ball State boasted two All-Mid-American Conference first-team choices for the fourth time in six seasons. . . . Paul Lusk, an All-Missouri Valley Conference second-team selection as SIU's leading scorer, went on to coach MVC rival Missouri State.
New Orleans, coached by Tim Floyd, extended its Sun Belt Conference-record winning streak to 21 consecutive league games before losing. . . . Pepperdine's WCC record of 38 consecutive victories against conference opponents (six in postseason tourney play) ended when the Waves were edged by San Francisco, 75-72. . . . San Jose State and Utah State both lost their first 25 meetings with UNLV until defeating the Rebels.
Senior forward Eric Kubel was named Southland Conference player of the year although Northwestern State (La.) finished in a tie for eighth place with a 6-12 league mark. . . . Appalachian State's Ricky Need finished his four-year career with an NCAA record for field-goal shooting (69 percent, 412 of 597). . . . Davidson lost 34 consecutive games to North Carolina State until edging the Wolfpack, 64-63. . . . Central Florida (21-9) won 10 games by fewer than six points in Kirk Speraw's first season as coach. . . . Georgia Southern's Charlton "C.Y." Young, a three-time All-Southern Conference selection, went on to coach his alma mater.
Georgia Tech twice defeated North Carolina when the Tar Heels were ranked No. 1 in the country. . . . Clemson overcame a halftime deficit against Carolina to defeat the Heels (77-69) after trailing at intermission against them for the first time since 1954. Earlier, the Tigers were clobbered by 44 points against Carolina (106-62). . . . Tim Duncan, a freshman center from the Virgin Islands, was scoreless for Wake Forest in a season-opening loss to NCAA Division II Alaska-Anchorage. In 1997, Duncan became the top pick in the NBA draft. . . . Quarterback Charlie Ward, the Heisman Trophy and Sullivan Award winner, averaged 10.5 points with team highs of 4.9 assists and 2.8 steals per game for Florida State's basketball squad (see accompanying box). FSU flogged Virginia by 36 points (100-64) after losing to the Cavaliers by 20 (84-64).
Former national coaches of the year Butch van Breda Kolff and Johnny Orr retired from Hofstra and Iowa State, respectively. VBK had three seasons in a seven-year span from 1984-85 through 1990-91 with Lafayette and Hofstra where more than 1/2 of his games were decided by fewer than six points.
1994 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Third-year SEC member Arkansas, boasting a roster with 11 different players who had a season high in scoring of more than 10 points, ended the SEC's dry spell in the NCAA playoffs. Despite having an average of three first-round NBA draft choices annually in 15 years since 1979, no current member of the 12-team SEC reached the NCAA Tournament championship game in that span although every school participated in the playoffs at least once. Arkansas' title vindicated coach Nolan Richardson, who probably would have been dismissed in 1987 after his second season with the Hogs if they didn't rally from a 21-point second-half deficit in the NIT to edge Arkansas State, 67-64, in overtime. But that wasn't the most strain he faced that year because his 16-year-old daughter, Yvonne, died of leukemia. "The people who barbecued me ran out of sauce," said Richardson, who was also a leading figure in a national controversy concerning alleged racial injustices. Pressure was also intense on Arkansas swingman Scotty Thurman with the shot clock winding down and the score tied with 40 seconds remaining when he lofted a three-point attempt over Duke's Antonio Lang that hit nothing but net. Thurman attributed his ability to get off such a high arc shot to an age-old drill shooting over a defender with a broomstick his coach at Ruston (La.) High School employed during practices. "He made a great play," Duke guard Chris Collins said of Thurman after the Razorbacks' 76-72 victory. "The national championship, less than a minute left, tie game--he made a great shot."
Outcome for Defending Champion: North Carolina's streak of 13 consecutive trips to a regional semifinal ended when the Tar Heels lost to Boston College in the second round. The Tar Heels (28-7) finished in second place in the ACC after incurring at least five league losses for the fourth time in six years. Their only non-conference setback was to Massachusetts in the Preseason NIT.
Star Gazing: Final Four Most Outstanding Player Corliss Williamson of Arkansas briefly surpassed Bill Walton's playoff field-goal shooting record (68.6 percent) before missing his first five shots in the final against Duke's Cherokee Parks and finishing the game 10 of 24 from the floor. Williamson's Final Four heroics overshadowed a brilliant performance against him by Michigan's Juwan Howard in the Midwest regional final. Howard outscored Williamson (30-12) and outrebounded him (13-6), but the Wolverines concentrated so much on "Big Nasty" that Arkansas hit 10 three-pointers. . . . Connecticut All-American Donyell Marshall missed two free throws at the end of regulation in the East Regional semifinals and the Huskies wound up losing to Florida, 69-60, in overtime.
One and Only: Richardson became the only coach to win national championships in junior college (1980 with Western Texas), the NIT (1981 with Tulsa) and the NCAA. . . . Duke guard Chris Collins became the first championship game player to be the son of a former NCAA consensus All-American. His father, NBA analyst Doug Collins, was an All-American for Illinois State the year after playing for the 1972 U.S. Olympic team.
Celebrity Status: Forward Mark Hendrickson, Washington State's leading rebounder, went on to become a starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. . . . Lamont Frazier, captain of Missouri's No. 1 seed, became an All-Big Eight Conference second-team selection as a football tight end the next year.
Numbers Game: Neither Kentucky, North Carolina nor UCLA won at least two playoff games for the first time in 31 tournaments. . . . Arkansas became the first SEC member other than Kentucky ever to win a Final Four game. . . . Skip Prosser of Loyola (Md.) became the only active coach to engineer a turnaround that included an NCAA playoff appearance in his first full year at a new job although the school registered a record of more than 20 games below .500 the previous season. The Greyhounds, 2-25 in 1993-94, improved by 13 1/2 games when Prosser assumed control and compiled a 17-13 mark. . . . Gary Williams, leading Maryland to the Midwest Regional semifinals, became the only individual to win games while coaching schools from the three conferences with the best winning percentages in NCAA Tournament history reflecting actual membership--ACC, Big East and Big Ten. He is also the only coach to win games with as many as three different schools (Boston College, Maryland and Ohio State) although they were seeded ninth or worse. . . . Duke's Mike Krzyzewski became the only coach to win his first seven NCAA regional finals. . . . Boston College's Jim O'Brien defeated two of the three coaches with at least 40 tourney victories (North Carolina's Dean Smith and Indiana's Bob Knight in back-to-back East Regional games). . . . Arizona guard Khalid Reeves (20th in scoring with 24.2 points per game) was the only player ranking among the nation's top 60 scorers, top 30 in assists and top 30 rebounders to participate in the Final Four. . . . Fourteen of 17 worst-seeded winners in the tournament shot better behind the three-point arc, by an average of 43.8 percent to 27.5 percent. . . . Wisconsin tied Brown for the longest drought in NCAA Tournament history for schools previously participating in the playoffs. The Badgers' last appearance was in 1947. Brown didn't earn a bid from 1940 through 1985. . . . Saint Louis, coached by Charlie Spoonhour, appeared in the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 1957. . . . Tulsa, coached by Tubby Smith, tallied its first NCAA Tournament triumph since 1955. . . . Florida made its only Final Four appearance in the 20th Century. . . . The most points Arkansas yielded in a game was 35 by Tulsa's Gary Collier in the Midwest Regional semifinals.
What Might Have Been: Alabama (20-10/without James Robinson), Kentucky (27-7/Jamal Mashburn), Michigan (24-8/Chris Webber), Seton Hall (17-13/Luther Wright) and Wake Forest (21-12/Rodney Rogers) might have fared better in the playoffs if standout players had exercised their remaining eligibility instead of defecting to the NBA. Seton Hall was also without guard Danny Hurley (sabbatical to tend to personal problems). Virginia (18-13) didn't live up to billing because standout guard Cory Alexander was on the sideline with a broken ankle. . . . Brigham Young (22-10) probably would have participated in the NCAA Tournament instead of the NIT if Shawn Bradley didn't leave school early for the NBA. . . . Tennessee State, which lost to Kentucky 83-70, could have given the Wildcats a scare and been capable of pulling off one of the biggest upsets in history if swingman Monty Wilson, the 1993 OVC Tournament MVP and eventual two-time all-league selection, didn't miss the playoffs as a medical redshirt (hand injury).
Overcoming Adversity: Arkansas lost two of three SEC road games from January 8-19 and nearly lost three of four but capitalized on Thurman's three-pointer with nine seconds remaining to escape with a 65-64 victory at Tennessee, which finished with the league's worst record (2-14). Thurman scored a season-low seven points against the Volunteers. The Hogs also almost lost at home to a second-division team, but LSU missed two shots in the final 10 seconds to fall short, 84-83, in the only game at Arkansas' brand new Walton Arena that would be less than a double-digit victory. Later, Arkansas erased a four-point deficit in the last 12 seconds of regulation and two-point deficit with less than 20 seconds remaining in overtime to win at LSU, 108-105.
NCAA Champion Defeats: At Alabama (2-point margin), at Mississippi State (1), and SEC Tournament vs. Kentucky at Memphis (12).
Scoring Leader: Khalid Reeves, Arizona (137 points, 27.4 ppg).
Highest Scoring Average: Gary Collier, Tulsa (94 points, 31.3 ppg).
Rebounding Leader: Cherokee Parks, Duke (55 rebounds, 9.2 rpg).
Highest Rebounding Average: Juwan Howard, Michigan (51 rebounds, 12.8 rpg).
Corey Beck, G, Jr., Arkansas (24 points, 14 rebounds)
Grant Hill, G, Sr., Duke (37 points, 20 rebounds)
Antonio Lang, F, Sr., Duke (27 points, 10 rebounds)
Scotty Thurman, G-F, Soph., Arkansas (29 points, 13 rebounds)
*Corliss Williamson, F, Soph., Arkansas (52 points, 21 rebounds, eight assists)
*Named Most Outstanding Player.
Championship Team Results
First Round: Arkansas 94 (Williamson team-high 24 points), North Carolina A&T 79 (Brice/Bunn 20)
Second Round: Arkansas 85 (Williamson 21), Georgetown 73 (Brown 13)
Regional Semifinal: Arkansas 103 (Thurman/Williamson 21), Tulsa 84 (Collier 35)
Regional Final: Arkansas 76 (Thurman 20), Michigan 68 (Howard 30)
National Semifinal: Arkansas 91 (Williamson 29), Arizona 82 (Reeves 20)
Championship Game: Arkansas 76 (Williamson 23), Duke 72 (Lang 15)