Louisville Cardinals LSU Postseason Games - 1980
Golden Basketball Magazine
Tiger Den Basketball Archives
LSU Post-Season Games
LSU Post Season Games - 1980
The 1979-80 Tigers started the season ranked #7 in the AP poll.
  • 6'7" junior forward Rudy Macklin returned after missing most of the '78-79 season with a broken foot. Macklin would lead the Tigers in scoring (17.6ppg and rebounds (9.7rpg).
  • Also back on the squad was junior F DeWayne Scales, who had been suspended the previous season because of dealings with an agent. He was second in both scoring (16.3) and rebounds (7.9).
  • Smooth as silk junior PG Ethan Martin quarterbacked the offense, leading the team in assists by far - 5.4 per game average with the next highest being C Greg Cook with 2.7.
  • 6'5" freshman Howard Carter manned the other guard spot, and F/G Willie Sims would have earned the SEC Sixth Man of the Year Award if that prize were given.

After winning their first eight games to rise to #4 in the rankings, the Tigers started SEC play 1-3.

  • They lost at Vanderbilt 77-66. Then, after beating Mississippi State at home 80-58, they dropped consecutive one-point games to Alabama 57-56 at home and at Georgia 73-72.
  • LSU would then tear off twelve victories in a row before losing to Kentucky in the final conference game 76-74 in overtime. The defeat gave the Wildcats the regular season title.
  • The Tigers ended the regular season ranked #5.

LSU exacted revenge on UK in the tournament finals.

  • They belted Florida 95-82 in their tournament opener, then topped Alabama 73-66.
  • They reversed the result against the Wildcats from a week earlier, edging UK by two 80-78.
  • The Tigers finished the regular season ranked #3 in the AP poll.
The NCAA tournament consisted of 48 teams.
  • LSU was slotted as the #1 seed in the Midwest region.
  • The Tigers got a bye in the first round, whose purpose was to whittle the entries down to 32
The second round opponent at Denton TX was Alcorn State, the #8 seed which had beaten South Alabama 70-62 in the first round.
  • As their fans mimicked the Saints cheer by chanting "Who dat talkin' 'bout beating dem Braves?," the SWAC champions gave the SEC Tournament kings a tough fight, trailing only 51-49 at halftime.
  • LSU resorted to its defense at the outset of the second half to increase the lead to 63-54.
  • The margin reached a dozen points several times, but the Braves sliced it to 75-70 on one occasion.
  • The Tigers prevailed 98-88 to end Alcorn's longest-in-the-nation streak of 27 straight victories.
  • Macklin turned in a brilliant effort with 31 points and 19 rebounds while going against the nation's No. 1 rebounder in Larry Smith. Smith managed only five rebounds and 13 points - a testament to Rudy's defense.
  • Willie Sims scored 30 points, many of which came on postups and on fast breaks. G Howard Carter added 14 and Martin scored 11.
  • Brown said, "We had to play very good to beat a very fine team. Coach Davey Whitney was amazed why they aren't ranked in the Top 20. After watching them, I'm amazed they're not ranked there too. I think they can play with anyone in the country. We would not have won had we not played our very best in the second half."
  • Dale couldn't contain his exuberance. "I'll be very honest with you. I think we have as good or better a chance than anybody in the tournament to win it. ... This team is playing well with a lot of poise."

Five days later, LSU played another band of Tigers - Missouri - at The Summit in Houston.

  • Coach Norm Stewart, who led Mizzou (25-5, the same as LSU) to the Big Eight Conference title, feared that his forwards, 6'5" Ricky Frazier and 6'6" Mark Dressler, would have "a difficult chore" covering 6'9" Scales and 6'7" Macklin.
  • Brown said that the black and goal Tigers "shoot the highest field-goal percentage in the history of college basketball. That alone is frightening. If we don't really play solid defense, we'll be back in Baton Rouge watching the rest of this thing on TV. ... They reverse and back-door so well when they are overplayed. We also must keep them off the boards. They're not as mobile but big hard-nosed kids."

Brown categorized the first 20 minutes against Missouri as "absolutely our worst first half of the season."

  • The Bengals hit only 17 of 44 shots for a paltry 38.6%. Mizzou shot only a notch below its season average: 16 of 29 for 55.2%. LSU was fortunate to trail by only 40-39.
  • Dale said, "We were upset at the end of the first half because we tried to do things too quickly. We played out of control. We were fortunate that our defense carried us through the first half."
  • Scales and Macklin had poor halves, hitting only three of 11 and one of six from the field respectively.

The SEC Tigers played better the second half.

  • LSU posted DeWayne Scales down low. He hit four of six tries in the second half to finish with 17 points. Macklin also found the range, connecting on five of seven to go with four of five free throws for 16 points.
  • Carter finished with 10 points while Cook led the LSU rebounders with 10. Overall, though, Missouri won the rebound battle 35-27.
  • Macklin after the game: "Our team was very tight the first half, and the second half we came out under control. There are no superstars on this team. We all try to play in the concept of the team, the concept of Coach Brown."

The victory cleared the way for #1 LSU to meet #2 Louisville (30-3). champions of the Metro Conference, for the Midwest Regional Championship and a spot in the Final Four.

  • The Cardinals' star of stars was 6'4" G Darrell Griffith, otherwise known as "Dr. Dunkenstein." He was known to defy the laws of gravity with his sensational slams.
  • Griffith was the only senior on a team that started three sophomores and a freshman.

Some sportswriters covering the regional considered the Midwest final as the national championship game.

  • A Dallas writer said, "After I saw LSU beat Alcorn, I said they had to be the best team in the country. I've never seen a college team play the way they did - their passing, their bulk, and their quickness. They look more like an NBA team. I was also impressed with the way they changed their tempo. They changed their style completely (with a delay game) against Missouri. Whoever wins between Louisville and LSU will win it all."
  • Gery Eskonzi of the New York Times agreed. "It's very possible that the winner between LSU and Louisville will win it all."
  • Billy Reed of Louisville said, "I think LSU versus Louisville will be the best game of the tournament."

All those writers were correct. The LSU-Louisville winner would go on to win the championship.

  • Determined to force the pace, the Cardinals charged to a 21-13 lead. However, LSU was helped when Griffith was whistled for his third foul with 9:23 to play.
  • Louisville put full-court pressure on the Tigers every chance it got. The press itself didn't force turnovers, but it took LSU out of its offense.
  • Jordy Hultberg, who would tie Griffith with a game-high 17 points, came off the bench to make four of five 18-20' jump shots as the Tigers reeled off 16 straight points, with all but two of those coming after Griffith had left the court.
  • But the 29-21 LSU lead evaporated as quickly as it formed. Louisville scored the last 10 points of the half to go into the break ahead 31-29.

The Cardinals shifted into high gear in the second half.

  • The game stayed close for the first few minutes with Louisville leading 41-37 with 15:08 to play. However, Cook went to the bench with four fouls after only 3:36 of the second half.
  • Then Griffith took over, scoring 13 points with two assists in the next five minutes.
  • The Cards outscored LSU 12-2 to take a commanding 61-45 lead with 10:08 to play.
  • Meanwhile LSU was in process of losing four players to fouls. They never pulled closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
  • Shooting 72% from the field in the second half thanks to close-in shots, the Cardinals won going away, 86-66.

Coach Brown gave a dispassionate assessment of the contest.

  • "Their zone press just kept us off balance all game, and they had pretty good control of the game. Louisville deserved to win the game. On this day, they played better than we did."
  • "They're the best basketball team we've played all year, and they beat us on the boards pretty soundly."
  • "They got a lot of second shots off the boards, and that's usually where we get a lot of our points."

A big factor in the Louisville romp was their front line of Derek Smith, Wiley Brown, and Rodney McCray outplaying LSU's more heralded trio of Macklin, Scales, and Cook.

  • Macklin, a Louisville native who was a close friend of several Cardinals, had just nine points and eight rebounds. Louisville scored 12 with six rebounds before fouling out.
  • Cardinal coach Denny Crum said, "Macklin and Scales are great players. But they didn't outplay Smith and Brown today. We kept them from getting where they wanted to get."
  • "Coach told us if we get them down, they'll start going one-on-one. And that's what they did," said Wiley Brown, who made eight of 10 shots for 16 points.

Louisville defeated Iowa 80-72 and UCLA 59-54 to win the 1980 NCAA championship.

Rudy Macklin

DeWayne Scales

Ethan Martin vs Kyle Macy

Greg Cook

Larry Smith

Howard Carter

Darrell Griffith

Jordy Hultberg

Wiley Brown

Rodney McCray

Return to Basketball Magazine

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – I
Tiger Firsts: Basketball Team | LSU National Champs | Joe Adcock | Pistol vs UCLA | Eddie Palubinskas | Dazzling Debut: Chris Jackson | Tiger Firsts: Final Four | Dale Brown Takes Over

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – II
BR Sports Academy | Four Little Points | Harry Rabenhorst | Shaq's 30-point SEC Game | Maravich's Freshman Circus | First AP Poll Ranking | The Dark Knight Strikes | Ricky Blanton | Tigers Are Back!

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – III
"Most Bizarre Set of Circumstances I Ever Saw" | Joe Dean | The Cow Palace | Still Playing at 41 | Pioneer | "It's the socks, Pete!" | Largest Deficit Overcome | Maravich Is for Real

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – IV
"Little Giant" | Shaquille O'Neal | Pete Breaks His Own Mark | What a Difference a Day Makes | When Lexington Went Wild over Beating the Tigers | Superdome Sizzlers

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – V
Pistol Pete Invades the Big Apple
Memorable Games: Kentucky 1978
Profile: Bobby Lowder
1938 SEC Tournament

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – VI
First Visit to the Big Apple
Don't Look Ahead
Profile: Bob Pettit I, II, III, IV
Pete's Farewell

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – VII
Season in Time: 2005-06

Golden Rankings Home