Sunday, December 31, 2023

Cornbread Maxwell Leads UNCC to 95-68; 47 Yrs After 1 Second Short of NCAA Title Game

Cornbread Maxwell and Charlotte (UNCC) destroyed New Mexico 95-68 in a 30-minute Value Add Basketball Game 47 years after just missing a chance to beat UNC for the National title on this miraculous play. We may have under rated Charlotte, as we noticed during the game that Cornbread's card is one of the best few of the 2,000 player cards in our game.

For us Marquette fans, this Butch Lee to Jerome Whitehead length of court pass and score was a much greater finale then even Grant Hill to Christian Laettner. For Charlotte fans they can only ask if instant reply were in place if the basket would have been disqualified for the ball touching Whitehead's hand a second time off the backboard.

In that game, Maxwell led a defense that held Marquette below 40% shooting as he had an epic battle with another future NBA big man Whitehead in which neither of the player rested a minute. Maxwell hit 5 of 6 shots, 7 of 9 free throws and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Whitehead hit 10 of 16 and 1 of 2 free throws with 16 rebounds. As the video shows, Maxwell actually got his hands on the full court pass to almost force overtime 49-49, but the bigger Whitehead (6-10, 220 to Maxwell's 6-8, 205) got the deflection and put it in for the game winner Marquette went on to beat UNC two days later for the 1977 title.

There was no need for a last second dice roll in this Value Add Basketball Game. We knew Cornbread (Cedric Maxwell) was awesome both at UNCC and then for more than a decade in the NBA - including leading the entire NBA in shooting percentage two of his first three years in the league. The next year (1981) the all-time field goal percentage leader Artis Gilmore arrived to dominate that stat, as Maxwell finished 3rd behind him and Darryl Dawkins with 59% of his shots made and then went onto lead the Celtics at MVP of the NBA Finals for one of his two titles.

On this day, the greatest of the awesome New Mexico teams of the 1960s and 1970s that won their first NCAA title game in this 1974 season was no match. This was the year the home arena of the "Pit" became famous as Lobos attendance surged into the top five in the nation in attendance. The team not only won their first NCAA tournament game but after a loss to San Francisco won the consolation game against Dayton and finished #18 in the coaches poll after surging as high as #8 after a 12-0 start.

The Lobos averaged an incredible 84 points per game that season, while the defense for both teams was a little more suspect as a +1 dunk adjustment. That calculated to a 51-58 dunk range for New Mexico and a 51-55 for Charlotte - but we often adjust both downward a couple of keep the dunk ranges both in the 50s, so we played as New Mexico 51-56 and Charlotte as 51-53.

For a while it appeared Cornbread might outrebound the entire New Mexico team, as he finished with 11 rebounds to give Charlotte one of the most lopsided rebound margins in any of our games - 34-18.

They will face John Calipari's UMass, which was our No. 1 seed but looked far less impressive in barely surviving hot 3-point shooting by Liberty University. While 3-point shooting is not that big a factor in games between teams in the 1970s, though we do estimate some 3 pointers made. In this case, Maxwell's teammate who would also make the NBA, Chad Kinch, did hit three 3-pointers.

Here is the box score. Third first dice were rolled at 4:31 Central on Sunday, and final dice roll on which Lew Massey grabbed the final rebound occurred at 5:01 pm CT for a quick 30-minute blowout.

Pos     New Mexico 1974     Pts  3pt 2pt FT Att Reb Stl Blk Fl  Season Actual         
1-PGWendell Taylor6030022126'1, 9.1 ppg
2-SGGabe Nava3011211016'2, 10.2 ppg
3-SFMark Saiers7120030116'7, 11.1 ppg
4-PFBernard Hardin20262320136'5, 17.1 ppg
5-CBill Hagins12052241146'7, 12.5 ppg
1-PGPat King4012211016'0, 3.4 ppg
2-SGBob Toppert6030010016'4, 4.7 ppg
3-SFBruce Battle6022210016'5, 3.7 ppg
4-PFRich Pokorski2010020016'6, 8.3 ppg
5-CPaul Kruse2010010017'2, 3 ppg
 12 turnovers68325911185416 
PosCharlotte 1977Pts3pt2ptFTAttRebStlBlkFlSeason Actual 
1-PGMelvin Watkins14062233016'3, 9.6 ppg
2-SGChad Kinch13320011026'4, 15.4 ppg, NBA
3-SFKevin King9122260016'7, 11.1 ppg
4-PFLew Massey230111250326'6, 19.7 ppg
5-CCedric Maxwell180746111536'8, 22.3 ppg, NBA
1-PGJeff Gruber4020010016'2, 5.6 ppg
2-SGLee Whitfield2010010026'2, 0.6 ppg
3-SFMike Hester4020010016'7, 3.1 ppg
4-PFKen Angel6030040026'8, 1.1 ppg
5-CPhil Scott2010010116'8, 3.1 ppg
 12 turnovers95437912345916

And here is the scoresheet.

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