This day in sports: Bill Walton powers UCLA to the NCAA title in 1972

Bill Walton's 24 points led UCLA to an 81-76 victory over Florida State in the 1972 NCAA title game.
Bill Walton lifted UCLA to an 81-76 victory over Florida State in the 1972 NCAA title game at the Sports Arena. The Bruins finished 30-0 and pushed their winning streak to 45.
(Associated Press)

As COVID-19 puts a damper on the start of baseball season, it is remembered that play has been stopped or affected before by other off-the-field issues, especially labor squabbles.

A strike halted the game in 1981 from June 12 until July 31, and the season was split into halves. The Dodgers ended up winning the National League pennant against the Montreal Expos and went on to defeat the New York Yankees in the World Series.

A strike in 1994 lasted from August until the following March. The playoffs, including the World Series, were lost. And after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the season paused for a week.

In other sports, games involving local teams that were scheduled for today but got canceled include the Clippers’ visit to Brooklyn to play the Nets. The teams also were slated to play March 13 at Staples Center before that game was called off.

The Ducks were to continue a four-game trip with a visit to Calgary. The Ducks were 0-3 against the Flames this season, including two losses in February.


Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1934 — Horton Smith wins the first Masters, beating Craig Wood by a stroke. Smith had a share of the lead in all four rounds at Augusta National. On the final day, he came to the last three holes tied with Smith and took the lead on the 71st with a birdie.

1958 — Sugar Ray Robinson regains the middleweight title for a record fifth time with a 15-round decision over Carmen Basilio at Chicago Stadium. Robinson entered the fight as a rare underdog, after losing a close decision to Basilio, known as “the Onion Farmer,” the previous year at Yankee Stadium.

1961 — Cincinnati ends Ohio State’s 32-game winning streak with a 70-65 victory in the NCAA basketball title game. Rob Wiesenhahn leads the Bearcats with 17 points. Jerry Lucas has 27 for the Buckeyes. In the third-place game, St. Joseph’s beats Utah 127-120 in four overtimes.

1972 — Bill Walton scores 24 points and grabs 20 rebounds to lead UCLA to an 81-76 victory over Florida State and the NCAA title at the Sports Arena. The Bruins finish with a 30-0 record and increase their winning streak to 45. Jamaal Wilkes follows Walton with 23 points, and guard Henry Bibby has 18. Ron King tallies 27 for the Seminoles.

1990 — Pat Bradley becomes the first LPGA player to reach $3 million in career earnings with a one-stroke victory in the $500,000 Turquoise Classic. Bradley, with career earnings of $3,059,768, makes a two-foot par putt on the final hole to beat Ayako Okamoto.

1995 — Mike Tyson is released on parole from a Plainfield, Ind., prison after serving three years of a six-year sentence for the rape of 18-year-old Desiree Washington. It is announced that he will return to the ring in August against Peter McNeeley.


On March 23, 1994, Wayne Gretzky scored career goal No. 802, passing his idol Gordie Howe as the greatest goal scorer in NHL history.

2006 — American figure skater Kimmie Meissner, 16, scores a big upset to win the gold medal at the world championships in Calgary, Canada. She makes seven triple jumps to finish ahead of Fumie Suguri of Japan. U.S. champion Sasha Cohen of Corona del Mar falls while attempting a triple salchow and places a disappointing third.

2007 — Cullen Jones becomes a rare African American swimmer to capture a world championship when he teams with Michael Phelps, Neil Walker and Jason Lezak on a U.S. team that wins the 400-meter freestyle relay at the world championships in Melbourne, Australia.

2008 — Tennessee gives coach Pat Summitt her 100th NCAA tournament win, a 78-52 rout of Purdue at West Lafayette, Ind. The victory propels the Lady Vols into the NCAA regional semifinals.


2012 — In the NBA’s first four-overtime game since 1997, Joe Johnson scores 37 points and Josh Smith adds 22 to lead the Atlanta Hawks past the Utah Jazz 139-133. The four overtimes tie for the third-longest game in NBA history.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press