Post 23 of 1973-74: Reliving the NC State Wolfpack's Title Run (2024)

Post 23 of 1973-74: Reliving the NC State Wolfpack's Title Run (1)

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: As the 50th anniversary season of NC State’s men’s basketball team winning the 1974 NCAA Championship progresses, my book1973-74: Reliving the NC State Wolfpack’s Title Runis being published in its entirety throughout the 2023-24 season on this website. You are invited to read the book in this space, or, if you want to jump ahead to read how NC State played each game, or if you need a gift for a NC State Wolfpack basketball fan, please purchase a paperback or hardcover edition.

Click these links Paperback or Hardcover for the best source to buy a copy of 1973-74: Reliving the NC State Wolfpack’s Title Run.

The book, which I published in 2015, contains 94 chapters of actual game stories in the Technician, the NC State University student newspaper, some written by me and others penned by other staff writers. The game accounts are preceded by a Dedication; Foreword; a short story; and, Introduction. At the end of the book, there’s an Afterword; a Postscript: Interview with David Thompson; an Overtime: The Stuff of Memories; Acknowledgements; player and team stats; and, season results. This book is a different kind of narrative, putting you into the season as it happened. Enjoy!

Post 23—Wolfpack overcomes Bruins; Warriors win to face State; Tickets and big wig fat cats; Students vs. Police

Reprinted from the Technician, March 25, 1974

By Jim Pomeranz, Sports Editor

GREENSBORO—They never said die.

The tension, the excitement, the enthusiasm, the competitiveness were all present. Two basketball teams full of talent, ranked number one and number two in the nation, having met once before in the history of the schools were scheduled to battle for the second time.

ST. LOUIS (Dec.15)—Top ranked UCLA, led by a come-off-the-bench performance by All-American Bill Walton in the last 10 minutes of action, defeated second ranked North Carolina State, 84–66.

The season continued with State winning every game they played, and UCLA dominating every game they played until Notre Dame, Oregon, and Oregon State. The Bruins had three losses headed into NCAA playoffs and three overtimes in the West Regional before they won. The Bruins struggled but still won.

After the loss to the Irish, quotes such as “This assures them (UCLA) of the national title” and “They’ll never be defeated again this season” were heard across the nation.

They never said die.

State marched along, sweeping the ACC regular season without a loss, and then winning a great battle with Maryland in the finals of the ACC tournament.

The big game was set all over again.

Here, in the Greensboro Coliseum on Saturday, March 23, on national television, the number one and number two teams were to meet for the second time in the same season.

But the roles were reversed. State, top ranked, and UCLA, in the second slot, were headed into a showdown game, and all the world would be waiting to hear the results.

But hold it a minute. In St. Louis, the top team was favored. And in this game, UCLA was again picked to win, by 5½ points to be exact.

Kansas and Marquette were on the court playing around, with the Warriors on top. But were the fans interested? Well, considering that most of the 15,829 people in attendance were Wolfpack fans, no!

“I wish this game would get over with so the real action could start,” stated red-coated observers.

The Warriors finished off the Jayhawks and then returned to see who they would play in the championship contest.

Big Bill Walton and tall Tom Burleson met in center circle for the opening tap. The action started, and the game was finally here.

The red-headed All-American hit the first two points of the game. The Bruin fans went wild, all 800.

The Wolfpack dominated the first half and built a 5-point lead. But UCLA came back, and on a 30-foot shot by Dave Myers with one second on the clock in the first period, the score was tied 35–35.

Start a new game.

UCLA burst out to an 11-point lead early in the second half.

They never said die.

The Wolfpack fought back, and they had the victory. The score was once again tied, 65–65, with 48 seconds remaining in the game, and State went for one shot. But it was short, and overtime was declared.

Only 2 points were scored by each team in the next 5 minutes. The crowd went wild as “there will be a second 5-minute overtime” was announced over the PA system.

The Bruins came out sparking, and before any State fan could bat an eye, 7 points were added to UCLA’s score. Things got quiet around the coliseum

But, they never said die.

“Time out, State.”

“He (State head coach Norm Sloan) told us to press them all over the floor and make turnovers,” explained Tim Stoddard. “That’s all we could do.”

The Pack reappeared onto the court to a thunderous roar of approval and immediately outscored the Bruins 13–3 in the remaining 3½ minutes.

The top team in the nation, the State Wolfpack, never said die, and they won, 80–77.

Warriors win: Marquette challenges Pack in finale

Reprinted from the Technician, March 25, 1974

By Jim Pomeranz, Sports Editor

GREENSBORO—After defeating mighty UCLA, 80–77, State’s Wolfpack faces Marquette tonight for the 1974 NCAA championship. The Warriors defeated the Kansas Jayhawks, 64–51, in semi-final action to gain the final berth.

Junior center Maurice Lucas led Marquette with 18 points. Marcus Washington added 16 for the Warriors.

“I’m sort of proud of myself for picking Marquette in that Mideast regional,” stated State head coach Norm Sloan after the Pack defeated UCLA 80–77. “I’ve been very impressed with them this year.

“They have some fine players,” he continued, “and they are in a very enviable position.”

Besides Lucas and Washington, Marquette starts 6–9 freshman Maurice Ellis, sophom*ore Earl Tatum, and 6' pointman Lloyd Walton.

“Our only problem will be getting down to earth,” warned Sloan. “But we have overcome too many things not to come back down for that game.”

Marquette’s win over Kansas started out slow and close with Kansas leading at the half, 24–23. Neither team could manage over 40% field goal shooting in the first period.

But in the second half, the Warriors came out fired up and jumped to a lead that was never relinquished.

The championship game between the Pack and the Warriors will get underway at 9:10 p.m. and can be seen on the NBC television network. UCLA and Kansas will battle at 7:00 p.m. for third place.

Reprinted from the Technician, March 25, 1974

By Jim Pomeranz, Sports Editor

GREENSBORO—The official attendance for the semi-final games in the NCAA tournament was announced as 15,829. That is the largest crowd to see a basketball game in the Greensboro Coliseum, and considering that only 4,000 tickets were divided among the four competing schools, that’s pretty good attendance.

The tickets that were sent to the four schools were divided in various ways.

Tickets at State were divided into three categories. Students received 100, the Wolfpack Club was awarded 700 tickets, and 200 tickets went to players’ parents, the administration, and other similar and related groups.

At Marquette, the story was different. Students there were lucky enough to get 300 of the 1,000 available precious slips of paper, and the 700 remaining ducats went to alumni and administration.

The situation at Kansas was similar to the Marquette distribution,

And at UCLA, the students could have as many as they wanted. A sports writer from the Daily Bruin sitting next to me at the game explained that their athletic department told students that if the students wanted tickets, they would be able to get all they needed. Of course, knowing that not too many students can afford the trip from Los Angeles to Greensboro, a statement like that is expected. But the fact is that the students from UCLA had the opportunity to buy many more than the students at State.

A week ago at the Eastern Regional at Reynolds Coliseum, Bruin assistant coach Frank Arnold was having a problem scouting the Furman-Pitt game because the Furman cheerleaders were sitting on the floor in front of him and would continuously jump up and yell. Of course, he could rarely see the floor.

In a talk about the fan situation with State assistant athletic director Frank Weedon, Arnold expressed his belief that the game was “for the kids,” but he would like a seat with a clearer view for scouting purposes. He later explained he meant that all college sports were for the students at the schools first and for other people second.

Weedon did not come right out and acknowledge that statement, but his nodding head confirmed what Arnold had said.

Now, we understand the argument the athletic department gives about money contributions through the Wolfpack Club being needed to pay for the success of programs such as basketball and football, but athletics at colleges and universities started for the students, so why change now?

Students contribute about $215,000 each year in mandatory fees to the athletic department and no telling how much through the Student Supply Store.

The Wolfpack Club gives about $600,000 each year, most of which goes to scholarships.

Students deserve more tickets to such events as the NCAA finals, the Big Four tournament, and the ACC tournament. But we do not get them. And it is because of the 6,000 Wolfpack Club members, those big wig fat cats that have worked their butts off in a business so they don’t have to suffer any more.

But what do they do when they come to a game? Most of the time, the men in the red coats view the game while stuck on their posteriors, and they yell at the refs.

The students are the ones that yell for the team. They are the ones that give the players that boost when needed. It happened at the State victory over UCLA here Saturday. When the team got down, it was the students that started the yelling. Later, the Wolfpack Club joined in.

There are 14,000 students at State, and next year, enrollment is expected to increase to 15,000. But will the number of seats for these extra events increase for the students?

If the students don’t make a fuss over the ticket situation, the most vocal and most supporting Wolfpack group will never get any more tickets than they do now.

Tickets allotted the school for any extra athletic events should be allotted to the students and the Wolfpack Club members using a formula that includes both the amount of money each group contributes and the number of members in each group.

A ‘students vs. police’ thing?

The win over UCLA kicked off a wild celebration in Raleigh, one that started about late Saturday afternoon and lasted late into the night until 1 a.m. Sunday when police in riot gear arrived, creating an ugly scene that somewhat dampened the celebration.

Howard Barnett, news editor for the Technician, pieced together a Monday, March 25, front page story based on eyewitness accounts and interviews with police, members of the university administration, and individuals. Here is part of his report:

Riot geared Raleigh police moved onto Hillsborough Street late Saturday night to clear celebrating crowds in the aftermath of State’s victory over UCLA earlier during the day.

Victory demonstrations started at about 5:30 p.m., were interrupted briefly by rain, and concluded with tear gas, night sticks, beer bottles, and bruises early Sunday morning.

At about 9:00, the Raleigh police arrived at Hillsborough Street and Oberlin Road, where a large crowd had gathered. They ordered the people to disperse, after which they attempted to clear the vicinity with tear gas. The police, wearing helmets and wielding night sticks, cleared Hillsborough Street from Oberlin Road to Pullen Road.

Chancellor Caldwell came out to the area from his home, which fronts the besieged block, to urge the students to move the rally to the brickyard but received little support.

“I then tried to get the students to disperse,” Caldwell said, “but nobody would. After a while, I decided I wasn’t serving any purpose, so I went inside for a while, just listening to what was being said.”

Several students were arrested, including one for streaking, and others for “disorderly conduct and use of obscene language.” After this initial confrontation, the police left the area.

The demonstration continued unchecked until about 11:45 when two other police cars arrived, apparently to investigate a small accident near the crowd. They were greeted with yells and beat a hasty retreat, followed by several beer bottles, one of which broke out a tail light. The crowd followed behind the two cars, which headed down Hillsborough Street towards the capitol.

The crowd remained until about 1:00 a.m., when more police arrived with riot equipment and began to clear the street. After using tear gas, they arrested a number of students in an attempt to finally clear the street of people.

The story continued through the eyes of students in the middle of the celebration, some who said they were falsely accused, some who were trying to get home, walking through the area, and some who blamed the ugly part of it on the police for simply showing up. The police reported officers being injured and police cars being damaged.

Robert McPhail, who witnessed the first part of the confrontation, said, “I thought things were going fine until the police came in. The students were about to break up before the police got there. Personally, my whole attitude changed when I saw them beating that guy. I was furious. It became a students versus police thing then.”

After the police came for the second time, things became more destructive. A road sign was stolen. As people charged down Hillsborough Street after the two police cars, a rocking chair was stolen from a porch and broken up. About 30 students converged on a moving van that came into the area and rocked it for several minutes. As it moved on, something standing on top of it swung the traffic signals back and forth, turning one around sideways.

“The police instigated it by going there in the first place,” said McPhail. “They had no business there.”

“Of course, you get only partial views of this thing from people who were there,” said Caldwell. “The person standing at one end of the block couldn’t see what happened at the other end.”

The Technician editorial writers also addressed the incident:

…How much the win meant to the student body at State and to the Raleigh public in general was made manifest in the extensive and prolonged celebrations touched off by the game. … The impetuousness of college youth mixed with the euphoria of the team’s giddying accomplishment to produce a tide of mass emotion unseen in this city since the aftermath of Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968. … The outcome of Saturday’s game was cause for great celebration. … There came a point on Saturday night, however, when the throng on Hillsborough Street ceased to be a group of students enjoying one of the high points of their collegiate careers and became instead an ugly mob, which resisted legitimate efforts on the part of law enforcement officials to disperse. ... The presence of city police in full riot gear surely did little to quell the restlessness of the crowd … Whatever might have happened, we are still left with the reality of what did occur. Driven by some unknown urge to remain in the street all night and keep the party going, a few hundred youths, perhaps not all of them State students, managed to blight what was an otherwise unforgettable day for followers of the Red and White. … The number one basketball team in the nation deserves better.

The number one basketball team in the nation, away from the trials and tribulations happening in Raleigh, was holed up in Greensboro and had one more game to play to claim the national title. It was Monday night, March 25, in the Greensboro Coliseum against Marquette.

NEXT: Post 24—Marquette falls and Wolfpack reigns; Loyal fans help Wolfpack; UCLA’s Greg Lee says State in only Thompson, Towe, and Burleson

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Post 23 of 1973-74: Reliving the NC State Wolfpack's Title Run (2024)


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