By Justin Renck:
The day was March 12, 2005. The place was the FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN. The 6th ranked Louisville Cardinals were facing the Memphis Tigers in the Conference USA Championship. The Cards were playing for a good NCAA Tournament seed (which they didn’t get), and Memphis was playing to just get into the tournament.
19 year old Memphis freshman Darius Washington Jr. was having a great game, and letting everyone know about it! After every big shot he was making down the stretch, you could see him pounding his chest talking trash to UofL players. He had 23 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. But he was 3-6 from the free throw line, and that is where this game will be remembered!
With the Cards up 75-73, Washington Jr. drove down the court and shot a 3 and was fouled by Francisco Garcia with no time left on the clock. If he makes all 3, the game is over. Well he made the first one, and looked at the bench as if to say “It’s over!” He then missed the 2nd one, and you could hear a big disappointment from the crowd, and I think that got to Darius. It was in his head now. He missed the 3rd one, lost the game, dropped to the floor, and basically out of existence.
Darius played 1 more year at Memphis and then declared for the NBA Draft. He did not get drafted or make a team as a free agent. He ended up playing overseas. He ended up having a brief stint with the San Antonio Spurs in 2007. He played 18 games and averaged 2.9 points in 8 minutes per game. Since then, he has been back overseas.
Larry O’Bannon played 34 minutes and had 13 points on 5-8 shooting. I asked Larry his thoughts on that game. Here is what he said: “Yea I remember that game vividly. It was a fun atmosphere playing in Memphis for the Conf. USA tourney championship. It was an intense game that went back and forth until the final minute. I remember most Darius Washington talking trash after making the first free throw and then missing the next two and I celebrated as he fell to the floor frustrated over his misses.”
That game, and the game in 1986 when Milt Wagner sank 2 free throws to win the game have to be 2 of most memorable games in Cards history!
Click here for the game summary from ESPN.com.
|E. Myles, F||37||3-7||3-4||3||7||8||3||9|
|J. Palacios, F||39||5-7||2-3||4||11||3||2||14|
|F. Garcia, F||33||5-12||4-4||1||3||5||4||19|
|T. Dean, G||31||5-11||0-0||1||4||0||1||14|
|L. O’Bannon, G-F||34||5-8||0-3||0||1||0||3||13|
|L. Wade, F||3||0-2||0-0||0||0||0||1||0|
|B. Jenkins, G||21||2-2||0-0||0||1||0||2||5|
|B. Gianiny, G||1||0-0||1-2||0||0||0||0||1|
|P. Johnson, F||1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0|
|TEAM REBS: 1
TURNOVERS: 17 (E Myles 6, L O’Bannon 1, T Dean 3, F Garcia 1, B Jenkins 2, L Wade 1, J Palacios 3)
BLOCKED SHOTS: 1 (E Myles 1)
STEALS: 8 (E Myles 2, L O’Bannon 1, T Dean 1, B Jenkins 1, J Palacios 3)
3-PT FGS: 15-23, .652 (L O’Bannon 3-3, T Dean 4-7, F Garcia 5-8, B Jenkins 1-1, L Wade 0-2, J Palacios 2-2)
|D. Erwin, F||37||5-12||0-0||2||7||2||3||10|
|A. Barclay, F||23||1-2||0-0||2||2||2||5||2|
|J. Hunt, G||26||3-10||4-5||2||3||5||3||10|
|A. Rice, G||36||7-14||2-2||2||4||3||0||20|
|D. Washington Jr., G||38||9-15||3-6||2||4||6||1||23|
|W. Williams, F||7||2-3||0-0||0||1||0||2||4|
|R. Carney, F||21||2-5||0-0||1||3||0||0||5|
|J. Dorsey, F||12||0-0||0-0||2||4||1||1||0|
|TEAM REBS: 4
TURNOVERS: 14 (A Barclay 2, D Erwin 3, A Rice 1, J Hunt 3, R Carney 1, W Williams 1, D Washington Jr 2, J Dorsey 1)
BLOCKED SHOTS: 2 (A Barclay 1, D Erwin 1)
STEALS: 5 (D Erwin 1, R Carney 2, D Washington Jr 2)
3-PT FGS: 7-20, .35 (A Rice 4-7, J Hunt 0-5, R Carney 1-3, D Washington Jr 2-5)