Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7, 1970: Drive my Carr

DAYTON, Ohio - Austin Carr had the ball at the top of the key. A pump-fake got the defender in the air, and then Carr stepped in and shot a leaner from 20 feet away. The ball hit the back of the rim and bounced high, higher than the height of the backboard, before falling straight through the hoop. Carr put up his arms and smiled as he jogged back up court. That's just the way things had been going for him that day.

Carr was often unstoppable during his collegiate career at Notre Dame, averaging more than 34 points a game overall and a stunning 50 points per game in NCAA tournament games. But he was never better than he was on March 7, 1970, when he scored an NCAA tournament record 61 points in Notre Dame's first-round victory over Ohio University.

Carr started the game off on fire and never cooled down. Many of his early baskets came on short jumpers from the side, often with him seemingly wide open. Once Ohio woke up and started sending people to guard him more closely, he still kept making shots. At halftime, Carr had 35 points and Notre Dame had a 52-37 lead.

It was more of the same in the second half. Ohio was able to guard Carr a little closer, but that just allowed him a better showcase for his offensive prowess. From layups to jumpers, using the right hand or the left, on the fast break or in offensive sets, Carr scored every way imaginable - except from the three-point line, as there was no such line in college basketball in those days.

Late in the game, a pair of free-throws gave Carr 59 points, letting him break the NCAA tournament record set by Princeton's Bill Bradley in 1965. Carr had one more basket in him - the jumper from the top of the key - to end the game with 61 points. Notre Dame's 112-82 victory gave them a matchup against Kentucky in the second round. Carr was brilliant again in that game, scoring 52, but it wasn't enough this time as the Irish fell 109-99.

When Carr graduated from Notre Dame, he was the fifth-leading scorer in NCAA basketball history and only the second, after Pete Maravich to score 1,000 points in a single season. After he was drafted by Cleveland in the NBA draft, injuries prevented Carr from playing to his full potential in the NBA, but his 61-point outburst is still the NCAA tournament's single-game record.

No comments:

Post a Comment