Add Event My Events Log In

Upcoming Events

    LouLife

    Photo courtesy Louisville Cardinals Basketball Facebook Page
    Print this page

    On Friday, March 14, 1980 at The Summit (which is now home to Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church Central Campus) in Houston, the University of Louisville men’s basketball team met Texas A&M in the Midwest Regional semifinals.

    The Aggies had been No. 14 in the Associated Press preseason poll, but lost their first two games - to Iona and Lamar - and would never return to the rankings. Despite losing those first two, and two more of its first six games, A&M would win 19 of its next 22 to capture the Southwest Conference regular-season and postseason titles. The Aggies, who were given a No. 6 seed in the NCAAs, beat Bradley 55-53 in the first round in Denton, Texas, then knocked off third-seeded North Carolina 78-61 in double overtime (A&M outscored the Tar Heels 25-8 in the second extra session after the two teams went scoreless in the first OT) in the second round to set up a showdown with the Cardinals.

    UofL senior All-American Darrell Griffith came out red-hot, scoring his team’s first 10 points - with a dunk, a pull-up 17-footer from the right wing, a pull-up 18-footer from the right side, an 18-foot jumper from the left side and two free throws - as the Cards bolted out to a 12-2 lead. However the bigger Aggies chipped away at Louisville’s lead, cutting it to two by halftime.

    A&M took its first lead early in the second half. The Aggies led by as many as four, and had a several chances to increase that lead, but couldn’t extend it. The Cards came back to tie it, and had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but Griffith’s off-balance 19-footer bounced off the rim and Rodney McCray’s fallaway follow shot was well short.

    UofL dominated the OT, outscoring the Aggies 13-2 thanks to six points from Griffith for a 66-55 win.

    Late in the extra session, with the outcome decided, Louisville coach Denny Crum instructed senior reserve guard Tony Branch, the hero of the team’s second-round win over Kansas State who had been perfect at the free throw line all season, to miss a foul shot. It was an act of superstition by Crum who had seen Terry Howard, another reserve guard who had been unblemished from the foul line, miss a key free throw late in Louisville’s loss to UCLA in the Final Four five years earlier.

    Griffith tallied a game-high 24 points, although after his hot start he finished just 9 for 24 from the field for Louisville, which won despite 39.7 percent (23 of 58) shooting.

    Sophomore center Wiley Brown added 15 points while fellow soph Derek Smith snared a game-high 10 rebounds and tallied a team-high five assists.

    Dave Britton led A&M with 16 points and seven assists, but he also had 10 turnovers.

    The victory propelled the second-seeded Cards into the Elite Eight, where they would face No. 1 seed Louisiana State.

    Remembering UofL's 1980 National Title Team, Part II

    Remembering UofL's 1980 National Title Team, Part I

    Photo courtesy Louisville Cardinals Basketball Facebook Page

    Share On:

    Upcoming Events

      Event Finder

      Subscribe to this podcast in iTunes or RSS