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On This Date in Sports March 7, 1970: Austin Carr's Drives to Record

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Autin Carr of Notre Dame sets an NCAA Tournament record, scoring 61 points as the Irish beat Ohio University 112-82 in a first-round game at Dayton. The previous record was set by Bill Bradley of Princeton in 1965. Carr would play seven NCAA Tournament games over a three-year stretch, averaging 41.7 points per game, which is also a record, as his average 52.7 ppg in 1970 and 41.7 ppg in 1971 are the top two in tournament history.


Austin Carr was born in Washington, DC, on March 10, 1948. A star in the catholic league in District of Columbia, Carr was recruited to play at Notre Dame. In his first season of eligibility, Carr led Notre Dame to the NCAA tournament. However, it was a struggle for the sophomore guard, as he made just one of six shots, as the Irish lost to Miami, Ohio 63-60. 


As Junior in 1970, Austin Carr came on as a major college star, joining Pete Maravich as the only player to top 1,000 points in a season. This time around, Austin Carr was better prepared for the tournament spotlight as the Irish faced Ohio University in Dayton in the opening round. Carr started hot as he scored 11 of the first 16 points for the Irish. It was clear that if Notre Dame was going to win the game, they were going to ride A. Carr. By the time halftime arrived, the Irish had a 54-41 lead, with Austin Carr scoring 37 points. He would add another 24 points in the second half, as Notre Dame won the game 112-82 to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in 12 years. The numbers all over the stat sheet were impressive for Austin Carr, as he made 25 of 44 shots from the field and 11 of 14 from the free-throw line. The 61 points topped the old record of 58 points scored by Bill Bradley of Princeton in 1965. A review of the game film shows that Carr could have had near 80 points had the three-point shot, and the shot clock existed at the time. 


Notre Dame’s dream of reaching the Final Four ended as they were beaten five days later by Kentucky 109-99 in the Mideast Regional Semifinal at Columbus. Once again, Austin Carr was unstoppable, scoring 52 points in a losing effort. Kentucky was led by Dan Issel, who had 44 points in the game, to counterbalance the efforts of the Notre Dame star. At the time, the NCAA played a consolation game in every region; the Irish would lose that game to Iowa 121-106, with Carr scoring 45 points. Despite playing in just three games, Austin Carr was the leading scorer of the 1970 NCAA Tournament with 158 points, earning the Most Outstanding Player Award. 


Austin Carr was at it again one year later, scoring 52 points as Notre Dame defeated TCU 102-94 in Houston. However, in the sweet 16, Carr and the Irish ran out of gas, as they lost to Drake 79-72 in overtime at Wichita. In that game, Austin Carr was held to 26 points. Carr bounced back and had 47 in the regional consolation, but it was not enough as the Irish lost to Houston 119-106.


Even though the Irish never made it past the Sweet 16, Austin Carr is ranked among the all-time leading scorers in the NCAA Tournament. His 52.7 ppg in 1970 and 41.7 ppg in 1971 are the top two in tournament history while holding three of the top-five scoring games in the history of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.