Thompson Soars With 41 in Super Sunday Showdown
Jan. 13, 1974
BY TIM PEELER
RALEIGH, N.C. Super Sunday, Super David.
NC State junior All-American David Thompson showed a national television audience and a frothing crowd of 12,400 partisan spectators at Reynolds Coliseum why he is college basketball’s most exciting player, leading the fourth-ranked Wolfpack to an 80-74 victory over the third-ranked Maryland with a career-high 41 points and eight rebounds.
It was the second year in a row that Thompson over-shadowed the Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins, who beat Minnesota later Sunday afternoon for its second consecutive NFL championship. Last year, Thompson scored 37 points and hit the game-winning shot in Cole Field House to beat the Terps.
It was the second Atlantic Coast Conference victory in as many days for the Wolfpack (9-1 overall, 2-0 ACC), after opening conference play Saturday with a blowout of Clemson in Reynolds Coliseum.
Sunday’s loss ended Maryland’s nine-game winning streak that was started just after the Terps (9-2, 2-1) lost their season-opener to seven-time national champion UCLA in Pauley’s Pavilion. And it helped Thompson atone for one of his poorest performances in a spectacular career, his subpar 7-for-20 shooting against UCLA in the Wolfpack’s last nationally televised game in mid-December at St. Louis Arena.
“I think David was sort of waiting for this game,” said Wolfpack coach Norm Sloan. “I think he was awfully disappointed in his play in St. Louis (against UCLA). I know we were disappointed as a team and we wanted to show what kind of team we have.”
Thompson outscored the three players who attempted to defend him Tom Roy, Owen Brown and Jap Trimble by a total of 41-2. Roy, who began the game on Thompson, fouled out in just 15 minutes of action and did not score. Brown and Trimble both finished the game with four fouls, all of them committed against Thompson, as the Terps struggled throughout the game with foul trouble.
“He had the hot hand,” Roy said. “There was nothing you could do to stop him. I swear, the way some of those shots went in, he must have been using a homing pigeon.”
Terrapin coach Lefty Driesell tried two different defensive tacks against Thompson. He had Roy and Brown play a step away from Thompson, daring the 6-4 All-America to take the outside shot. That backfired when Thompson hit jumper after jumper from 20 feet or more in the first half.
“We wanted to force him to shoot from the outside like he did, but he just made em,” Driesell said.
Then Driesell had speedy Trimble stay as close as possible to Thompson. But the Wolfpack star merely moved under the basket and out-jumped Trimble time after time to score on alley oop passes.
When the buzzer sounded, Thompson had made 14 of his 20 field goal attempts and 13 of his 17 free throws to score 41 points. And he could have had more had the game officials not waved off one of his baskets for offensive goal tending late in the first half.
The Wolfpack’s performance its fourth straight win over the Terrapins caused continued frustration for Maryland sophomore guard John Lucas, who matched teammate Tom McMillen’s 24 points for team high in scoring.
“This is the fourth straight time we’ve lost to them like this,” said Lucas, the Durham native and two-sport standout. “It’s just getting to be frustrating. It’s also the fourth straight time (Thompson) has done this thing to us. How do you stop him? I don’t know. But they are not a one-man team by any means, they are a very good team.”
Even so, the Terps forced the Wolfpack into its worst shooting percentage of the season 42 percent. And senior center Tommy Burleson was badly out-played by Maryland senior Len Elmore. Burleson made just three of his 19 shots from the field. He finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, thanks primarily to his 7-for-9 shooting from the free-throw line.
“I don’t know what was wrong,” said the 7-foot-4 Burleson. “It was really frustrating at times. And when Elmore blocked one of my shots, well, that really bothered me. That hasn’t happened to me often. It makes you feel like the whole day is going wrong.
“Elmore is one of the few players who can give me a tough time. It’ll be different next time. The shots weren’t going today. They will then.”
Junior point guard Monte Towe was the Pack’s only other double-digit scorer with 12 points.
The Pack jumped out to a seven-point lead early in the game, forcing Driesell’s team to play catch-up the rest of the way. The Terps took one-point leads on three different occasions, but could never build on them.
With the Pack leading 55-52, State’s trio of Thompson, Towe and Moe Rivers reeled off 10 unanswered points and the Pack stretched its lead to as many as 15 points. With just under five minutes to play and his team leading by six, Sloan went to his tease offense to run time off the clock, but a missed shot and a traveling violation one of 22 Wolfpack turnovers in the game allowed the Terps to stay in the game.
Lucas scored a layup to make the score 76-74 with two minutes to play, but Burleson sank a pair of free throws and Thompson punctuated his greatest college game with a soaring layup that pleased the sell-out crowd.
The two teams were whistled for a combined 51 fouls, with the Wolfpack commiting 26 infractions. Sloan was asked after the game if the contest might have been over-officiated.
“There were a lot of things called out there today you don’t usually see called,” Sloan said after the game. “But the officials were on national television and they had a tough job to do. I think they did it well.”
Driesell wasn’t quite so kind to the men in black-and-white stripes.
“My complaint is the charging calls against us,” Driesell said. “I’m not saying the calls were wrong but it’s only called that way in this part of the country.”
The Wolfpack out-performed the Terps at the free-throw line, making 22 of its 28 shots from the line, while Maryland made 24 of 36.
“Free-throw shooting hurt us and we lost our discipline on offense,” Driesell said after the game. “We did a good job of coming back, but we gave them too many second shots. One little spurt hurt us, but I am not discouraged and we will be back.”
You may contact Tim Peeler at email@example.com.