Remembering Villanova’s 1985 Championship: Cats Settle Score With Maryland to Advance to Elite 8

Birmingham, Alabama, March 22, 1985

Dwight Wilbur drives on Maryland's Jeff Adkins

Villanova’s Sweet-16 opponent was no stranger. Fifty-four days earlier, the Cats had made the 90 minute bus ride to College Park to face the Terps on national television in front of 14,500 in sold-out Cole Field House. That game featured a classic battle between 6-9 Len Bias and 6-9 Ed Pinckney. Bias finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds leading the Terps to a 77-74 victory. Pinckney finished with 29 points and 16 rebounds.

"The Sweet 16 rematch would be just as close, but without nearly as much offense, especially from Len Bias. This time, the Cats came out on top, 46-43. Len Bias was held to 8 points on 4-of-13 shooting, thanks in large part to the defensive effort of Ed Pinckney. "Pinckney just guarded me well," said Bias, whose total was his lowest of the season and ended his string of 53 straight double-digit scoring games. "He got in my way in the lane. He didn’t do that much in the first game." (1)

"Len was getting frustrated," Villanova’s Harold Pressley said. "He was firing bad shots. And Eddie made him think. Eddie got to him early, and that was important." (1)

"No less important was Pinckney’s offensive contribution. After the teams slogged through a first half that ended with the Terrapins clinging to a 20-19 lead, the Wildcats finally came to life early in the second period by ripping off an 11-0 run that was fueled by Pinckney’s seven points. The Terps, meanwhile, misfired on their first eight shots of the half but still managed to claw within 43-40 with two minutes left." (1)

"Villanova coach Rollie Massimino was a master of delay tactics and his ‘Cats milked a minute off the clock before being sent to the foul line and ultimately icing the victory." (1)

"We had three days to prepare for [the January] game," Villanova’s Gary McLain said of the first meeting. "We had all week to prepare for this one. You figure we should win if we have that much time." (1)

"For the Wildcats’ three senior stars – Pinckney, McLain and Dwayne McClain – it would be their third regional final in four years and their last shot at the elusive Final Four. "We’ll go as far as we take ourselves," a confident Pinckney said. "The only team that can beat us is ourselves." (1)

Twenty years later, Pinckney would write in Tales from the Villanova Hardwood, "Against Maryland we played completely different than we did in the regular season loss. We dictated the tempo of the game. That was so important to our success in the tournament. We took charge and made everyone play our game. And Coach Mass had us so disciplined; we wouldn’t come down off that. Against Maryland, I think our coaches got us the win. They had us changing defenses constantly. We’d go from man to zone and then back to man again – then we’d go from full press to three-quarter press and back to zone. Maryland never knew what they were facing and they never got themselves on track. They were confused the whole game. And we were having fun. It loosened us up. Coach was big on that. He felt that tournament time was a time to enjoy and remember. It was time to capitalize on everything you already learned."

In other Sweet 16 games, #1 seed Georgetown beat #4 seed Loyola 65-63 behind 21 points from Patrick Ewing. #2 seed Georgia Tech defeated #3 seed Illinois 61-53, with Mark Price scoring 20 and John Sally scoring 14 for the Yellow Jackets. #1 seed St. Johns defeated #12 seed Kentucky 86-70 behind 30 points from Chris Mullen and 22 points from Walter Berry. Kenny Walker had 23 for the Wildcats in the loss. #3 seed North Carolina State defeated #7 Alabama 61-55. Spud Webb and Lorenzo Charles had 14 each for NC State. #2 seed North Carolina defeated #11 seed Auburn behind 22 points from Kenny Smith. #1 seed Oklahoma defeated #5 seed Louisiana Tech in overtime 86-84. Wayman Tisdale led Oklahoma with 23 while Karl Malone led Louisiana Tech with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Finally, Memphis State knocked-off Boston College 59-57 behind 23 points from William Bedford.

Editor's Note: One year later, Maryland's Len Bias was selected by the Boston Celtics as the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. He died two days later from a cocaine overdose. He is considered by some sportswriters to be one of the greatest players never to play at the professional level.

VILLANOVA WILDCATS

MIN

FGM-A

FTM-A

OFF

REB

AST

PF

PTS

Ed Pinckney

36

5-7

6-7

-

13

1

4

16

Mark Plansky

13

2-3

0-0

-

4

2

0

4

Harold Pressley

35

3-12

1-4

-

10

1

2

7

Dwight Wilbur

25

1-5

2-2

-

4

3

0

4

Dwayne McClain

40

5-9

2-2

-

4

2

3

12

MIN

FGM-A

FTM-A

OFF

REB

AST

PF

PTS

Chuck Everson

4

0-0

0-0

-

0

0

0

0

Harold Jensen

11

0-5

0-1

-

0

1

1

0

Gary McLain

36

1-5

1-2

-

2

1

0

3

TOTALS

FGM-A

FTM-A

OFF

REB

AST

PF

PTS

17-46

12-18

-

37

11

10

46

MARYLAND TERRAPINS

MIN

FGM-A

FTM-A

OFF

REB

AST

PF

PTS

Jeff Adkins

29

2-7

0-0

-

4

4

2

4

Jeff Baxter

10

2-2

0-0

-

0

0

2

4

Len Bias

40

4-13

0-0

-

5

1

4

8

Adrian Branch

39

9-19

3-5

-

5

2

3

21

Derrick Lewis

24

0-2

0-0

-

5

0

4

0

MIN

FGM-A

FTM-A

OFF

REB

AST

PF

PTS

Thomas Jones

12

0-2

0-0

-

2

1

3

0

Keith Gatlin

30

2-7

0-0

-

4

2

1

4

Terry Long

16

0-1

2-2

-

4

0

1

2

TOTALS

FGM-A

FTM-A

OFF

REB

AST

PF

PTS

19-53

5-7

-

29

10

20

43

(1) Source: John Schaefer’s The Villanova Miracle and 63 Other Dreams

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join VU Hoops

You must be a member of VU Hoops to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at VU Hoops. You should read them.

Join VU Hoops

You must be a member of VU Hoops to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at VU Hoops. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker