UNC Basketball: Top 5 Tar Heels in Final Four history

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(Tie) Lennie Rosenbluth, Pete Brennan and Joe Quigg

1957 National Championship game vs. Kansas

lennie rosenbluth_dunking
lennie rosenbluth_dunking /

Lennie Rosenbluth was one of the first stars of the North Carolina basketball program. In the 1957 national championship game against Kansas, Rosenbluth exploded for 20 points and five rebounds. North Carolina defeated Kansas, 54-53 in triple overtime. Carolina played in three overtime games that season. The first game was a double overtime regular season game versus Maryland in February. The other two games were triple overtime games, which took place in the national semifinals against Michigan State and the national championship game.

The 1957 season was a dream season.

The Tar Heels finished the season with a perfect 32-0 record. However, they had to play the best basketball of their lives to remain undefeated. In the finals, one of UNC’s best players, Rosenbluth fouled out of the game with 1:45 left to play in regulation. Teammate Tommy Kearns sank a late free throw that sent the game to overtime.

In the first overtime, both teams scored two points each. In the second overtime, both teams were scoreless. During the third overtime, Carolina outscored Kansas six to five. Brennan and Quigg scored all six points in the third overtime. They took over the game. Pete Brennan finished the game with 11 points and 11 rebounds. He had just as many rebounds as Chamberlain, who had 23 points and 14 rebounds.

Joe Quigg’s play was significant, also. Quigg finished the game with 10 points and nine rebounds. defense solidified a victory for the Tar Heels.  In the final seconds of the third overtime, Quigg blocked a pass to Chamberlain which prevented him from scoring a desperate shot.

Interesting facts about the 1957 team. They did not receive championship rings until the 1990s, due to the insistence of Dean Smith. Carolina played only eight games in their own gym during the 1956-1957 season.

Another interesting fact is that Wilt Chamberlain was the Most Outstanding Player of the 1957 Final Four, although his team lost in the finals.