On January 19, 1974, Notre Dame’s #2 Fighting Irish put an end to collegiate basketball’s longest win streak, 88, with a 71-70 victory over the #1 UCLA Bruins in front of 11,623 in South Bend.
Both teams were undefeated for the season going into the match. UCLA had an 11 point lead, 70-59, with three and a half minutes on the clock.
Notre Dame was able to throw the Bruins off by changing their defensive tactics, allowing them to earn a 12-0 point streak. Dwight Clay, who scored seven points, two in the second half, put the last two points on the board, winning the game for the Fighting Irish. Gary Brokaw scored 25 points and John Shumate accumulated 24 to help the cause of the Irish.
UCLA’s roster, coached by the legendary John Wooden and was comprised of players like All-American center Bill Walton. Walton was playing with a back brace and only managed to put 24 points on the board and get nine rebounds.
The Fighting Irish were led by head coach Digger Phelps who, to help get the team in the right mind set for the game, had them rehearse cutting the net down. He called a timeout with three and a half minutes left on the clock and motivated the team by saying, “If you don’t think we can win, get out of here. Go shower right now.”
(BlueGoldIllustrated on Youtube)
UCLA’s last loss was also to the Irish in South Bend three years earlier, January 23, 1971 and won three national titles during their 88 game win streak. They were able to return to their #1 ranking a week later with a 94-75 victory in a rematch in Westwood, CA.
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