Feb. 26, 2011
LOS ANGELES -
Five In A Row ...
In the quest to win its fifth consecutive NCAA Championship and seventh national title in eight seasons, John Wooden's UCLA Bruins' men's basketball team (29-1 overall, 14-0 Pac-8) returned four starters from the previous championship year - 6-8 senior co-captain All-America forward Sidney Wicks, 6-7 senior co-captain forward Curtis Rowe, 6-9 senior center Steve Patterson and 6-1 junior guard Henry Bibby. Joining the starting lineup was 6-4 senior guard Kenny Booker, who replaced 6-2 ½ guard John Vallely, who was the Bruins' senior co-captain in 1969-70. The "sixth man" was 6-3 senior guard Terry Schofield.
The Bruins began the season ranked No. 1 and opened with an unbeaten 14-0 record. But on Jan. 23, 1971, UCLA lost at No. 9 Notre Dame, 89-82.
Two weeks later, No. 3 UCLA, with a 15-1 record, would travel across town to face No. 2 and unbeaten USC (16-0), led by guard Paul Westphal. On Feb. 6 before 15,307 at the Sports Arena, the Bruins rallied from a 59-50 deficit and Wicks' two free throws in the final seconds sealed UCLA's 64-60 win. For the Bruins, Wicks led all scorers with 24 points/14 rebounds and Booker hit seven of 10 shots for 14 points and had two key steals late in the game.
Just a month later, with the Pacific-8 title on the line, the teams would meet again, this time in Pauley Pavilion. On March 13 before 12,875 in Pauley, No. 1 UCLA defeated No. 3 USC 73-62, paced by five players in double figures, led by Wicks' 15 points and 14 rebounds. For the Trojans, it was only their second defeat as their season came to an end with a 24-2 overall mark and 12-2 Pac-8 record.
The Bruins, with a 25-1 overall mark and perfect 14-0 conference record, once again advanced to the NCAA Tournament as the nation's No. 1 team. It was UCLA's first unbeaten Pac-8 record (14-0, the Pac-8 was in its third season and UCLA also won the conference titles in 1969 (13-1) and 1970 (12-2).
On March 18, at the Far West Regional in Salt Lake City, UCLA, with six players scoring in double figures, defeated Brigham Young 91-73. The Bruin victory set up the Regional final contest on March 20 against Jerry Tarkanian's Long Beach State 49ers. The year before, UCLA had dispatched Long Beach State 88-65 in the first game of the West Region.
But on March 20, with 25 seconds left in the game, the Bruins had overcome an 11-point deficit on scoring from Bibby, Patterson and Rowe to tie the game at 53. Two one-and-one free throw conversions by Wicks in the closing seconds sealed the come-from-behind 57-55 win for UCLA over the 49ers. Led by Wicks' 18 points/15 rebounds, Rowe's 12 points/12 rebounds and Bibby's 11 points, the Bruins advanced to their fifth consecutive Final Four and seventh in the last eight years.
On March 25, before 31,428 at the Houston Astrodome, the Bruins, despite 24-turnovers, defeated Kansas 68-60 in an NCAA Final Four semi-final matchup. Although he led all scorers with 21 points, Wicks also injured a foot during pre-game warm-ups. UCLA would face Villanova in the 1971 NCAA Championship game, as the Wildcats defeated Western Kentucky 92-89 (2OT) in the other semi-final matchup.
With Wicks not a full speed for the NCAA Championship matchup with Villanova before 31,765 in the Astrodome, Patterson and Bibby led the Bruins to a 68-62 victory over the Wildcats for the 1971 national title. Patterson contributed a career-high 29 points, including 20 at halftime, and Bibby had 17 points. It was UCLA's fifth consecutive NCAA Championship and seventh national crown in eight years.
With the victory over Villanova, UCLA's impressive winning streaks continued. In NCAA competition, UCLA had 28 consecutive NCAA victories dating back to 1964 (the Bruins did not play in the NCAA Tournament in 1966). Following its only loss of the season to Notre Dame, the Bruins finished the season with 15 straight wins. It was the beginning of UCLA's NCAA record-breaking men's basketball winning streak of 88 games, that would come to an end with another loss at Notre Dame, 71-70, on Jan. 19, 1974. The Bruins also had a 15-game Pac-8 winning streak, dating back to the end of the 1969-70 season.
For the year, UCLA had four players score in double figures - Wicks (21.3ppg/12.8rpg), Rowe (17.5ppg/9.9rpg), Patterson (12.9ppg/9.8rpg) and Bibby (11.8ppg/3.5rpg), followed by Schofield (6.2ppg/2.4rpg) and Booker (5.5ppg/2.6rpg). The Bruins won seven games by five or less points, averaged 83.5 points a game and held the opposition to just 68.5 points, en route to their 29-1 overall record and unbeaten 14-0 Pac-8 title.
Individually, the Bruins garnered all the nation's top honors. Wicks, along with earning All-America and All-Conference honors for the second straight season, was named the National Player of the Year by The Sporting News and the U. S. Basketball Writers Association. For his classroom work, he also garnered Academic All-America honors. Wicks, whose Bruin jersey #35 is retired (1996), was recently inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Rowe, for the second time in his Bruin career, was named first-team All-Pac-8.
Seven members of the Bruin 1970-71 NCAA Championship men's basketball team are inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame - Coach Wooden (charter class of 1984); assistant coach Denny Crum (1990); assistant coach Gary Cunningham (2001); trainer Elvin C. "Ducky" Drake (charter class of 1984); Sidney Wicks (1985); Curtis Rowe (1993) and Henry Bibby (2004).
1970-71 UCLA Bruins NCAA Championship Men's Basketball Team
No., Player, Ht., Class, PPG, RPG, Hometown (High School)
24, Rick Betchley, G-F, 6-5, Jr., 1.8, 0.6, Menlo Park, CA (Woodside)
45, Henry Bibby, G*, 6-1, Jr., 11.8, 3.5, Franklinton, NC (Person Albion)
23, Kenny Booker, G-F*, 6-4, Sr., 5.5, 2.6, Long Beach, CA (Poly)
34, Jon Chapman, C, 6-6½, Jr., 0.4, 1.2, San Diego, CA (Pt. Loma)
22, Tommy Curtis, G**, 6-0½, So., Tallahassee, FL (Leon)
52, John Ecker, F, 6-6½, Sr., 2.8, 1.4, Los Angeles, CA (University)
54, Larry Farmer, F, 6-5½, So., 3.5, 3.7, Denver, CO (Manual)
25, Andy Hill, G, 6-1, Jr., 1.6, 0.2, Los Angeles, CA (University)
53, Larry Hollyfield, F-G, 6-5, So., 1.7, 0.7, Compton, CA (Compton)
32, Steve Patterson, C*(1), 6-9, Sr., 12.9, 9.8, Santa Maria, CA (Santa Maria)
30, Curtis Rowe, F*, 6-7, Sr., 17.5, 9.9, Los Angeles, CA (Fremont)
43, Terry Schofield, G, 6-3, Sr., 6.2, 2.4, Los Angeles, CA (St. Monica)
40, Marvin Vitatoe, G**, 6-3, So., Oakland,CA (St. Joseph's)
42, Bob Webb, G**, 6-3, So., Trevose, PA (Bansalem)
35, Sidney Wicks, F*, 6-8, Sr., 21.3, 12.8, Los Angeles, CA (Hamilton)
Head Coach - John Wooden (2)
Assistant Coaches - Denny Crum, Gary Cunningham
Trainer - Elvin C. "Ducky" Drake (3)
Head Student Manager - George Morgan
(1) - Deceased (July 28, 2004)
(2) - Deceased (June 4 , 2010)
(3) - Deceased (Dec. 23, 1988)