Looking back: This week in sports history March 25 – 31

March 25, 1934: On March 25, 1934, Horton Smith became the very first Master, winning the first Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta, shooting 284. The Missourian won a first place prize of $1,500 in his best ever tournament performance at the time.

March 25, 1961: It was one of the wildest games in NCAA tournament history. St. Joseph’s met Utah in the now nonexistent consolation game for third place. The two teams needed four overtimes to decide who will take third place in that year’s tournament, with St. Joseph’s eventually winning 127-120. But the craziness wasn’t only around the overtimes and score, at the start of the first overtime, St. Joseph’s guard Billy Hoy scored in his own basket, and later three of the team’s players were caught in a gambling ring and the school had to forfeit the game.

March 25, 1972: On March 25, 1972, then-basketball powerhouse UCLA beat Florida State 81-76 to win its sixth consecutive national championship. Bill Walton led UCLA with 24 points and 20 rebounds. On the losing side, Ron King scored 27 points for the Seminoles.

March 25, 1982: The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, scored two goals within 30 seconds of one another and assisted on two more goals on March 25, 1982, making him the first player in NHL history to tally 200 points in a single season. At that point, Gretzky had scored 90 goals and assisted on another 113, for a total of 203 points. He was only 21 years old at the time, and in his third NHL season. He scored a combined 212 points that season.  

March 26, 1972: On March 26, 1972, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Seattle Supersonics 98-69 in their final game of the season. The win was their 69th victory, the most ever by any team in NBA history, finishing the season with a record of 69-13. The record lasted until the 1995-96 season, when Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen & Co won 72 games.

March 27, 1939: Before “March Madness” was awarded its famous nickname, before buzzer beaters and championship streaks, the University of Oregon and Ohio State met in the first ever NCAA Championship game on March 27, 1939. Oregon beat Ohio State 46-33 to become the first ever national champion. At the time, only eight teams participated in the tournament.

March 28, 1982: On March 28, 1982, nearly 43 years after the first men’s national championship game, the first NCAA women’s champion was crowned. The tournament, unlike the men’s first tournament, featured 32 teams from the inaugural year. Louisiana Tech met Cheney in the championship game, winning 76-62 to take home the first title. They would win another in 1988, and were runners up four times throughout history.

March 28, 1990: During his sixth season in the league, Chicago’s Michael Jordan put on a performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers, scoring 69 points, the most he scored in a game. He added another 18 rebounds in the 117-113 win over the Cavs. Jordan tallied five 60+ point games, but this was his greatest.

Looking back: This week in sports history March 25 – 31

March 29, 1989: For the first time ever, a Soviet hockey player was permitted to play in North American and signed to play with an NHL team on March 29, 1989. Sergei Priakin, a 25-year-old at the time who played on the USSR national team for four years but was never considered one of their stars, signed with the Calgary Flames and started playing with the team almost immediately.

March 29, 1994: After five seasons and back-to-back Super Bowl wins with the Cowboys, head coach Jimmy Johnson was let go on March 29, 1994, in the midst of a feud with owner Jerry Jones. The feud between the two lasted for over two decades, and only recently was the tension broken, and two looked ready to make amends.

March 31, 2017: This may be the greatest upset in college basketball history. The University of Connecticut Lady Huskies women’s basketball team entered the 2017 tournament the heavy favorite, and arrived at the game against Mississippi State in the Final Four riding a 111-game winning streak. The Bulldogs stunned the reigning national champions, winning 66-64 on a last-second buzzer-beater in overtime to secure the second spot in the championship game.

Looking back: This week in sports history March 25 – 31

Notable birthdays

March 25, 1965 Current Alabama Crimson Tide head basketball coach and former NBA coach and player Avery Johnson was born in New Orleans, LA

March 25, 1971 Former WNBA star and Olympic medalist Sheryl Swoopes was born in Brownfield, TX

March 25, 1976 Ukrainian boxer and two-time World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko was born in Semipalatinsk, Soviet Union (Kazakhstan)

March 25, 1982 Professional race car driver Danica Patrick was born in Beloit, WI

March 26, 1962  Legendary NBA guard John Stockton was born in Spokane, WA

March 26, 1989 Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller was born in Dallas, TX

March 28, 1944 Retired NBA forward Rick Barry was born in Elizabeth, NJ

March 28, 1980 Former NBA player and current head coach of the LA Lakers Luke Walton was born in San Diego, CA

March 29, 1867 Legendary baseball pitcher Cy Young was born in Gilmore, OH

March 29, 1945 Former NY Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier was born in Atlanta, GA

March 29, 1962 MLB executive of the Oakland A’s, Billy Beane was born in Orlando, FL

March 30, 1940 Former NBA center and Olympic medalist Jerry Lucas was born in Middletown, OH

March 30, 1988 San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman was born in Compton, CA

March 31, 1928 NHL legend Gordie Howe was born in Floral, Saskatchewan, Canada

March 31, 1971 Retired Russian NHL player Pavel Bure was born in Moscow, Russia


We bid farewell to…

March 25, 1999 MLB manager, who spent 36 years with the Baltimore Orioles, Cal Ripken, Sr., died of lung cancer, he was 63 years old

March 28, 1953 American athlete and Olympic gold medalist Jim Thorpe died of a heart attack, he was 65 years old

March 31, 1980 American track and field legend and four-time gold medalist Jesse Owens died of lung cancer, he was 66 years old