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This Day in College Basketball History: March 14, 1981 - K-State's Rolando Blackman's Buzzer Beater Shocks #1 Oregon State

Rolando Blackman - who went on to have an NBA All-Star caliber career - put himself, and Kansas State, on the map with this major March Madness moment.

PIC: Kansas City Star



Before Rolando Blackman went on to have an accolade-ridden NBA career,


Another thrilling moment of March Madness magic took place on March 14, 1981. Rolando Blackman, representing Kansas State, sank a dramatic buzzer-beater to upset the #1-ranked Oregon State Beavers in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Blackman's clutch shot not only secured a historic victory for Kansas State but also stands as one of the most memorable moments in tournament history.


Entering the matchup as heavy underdogs against the powerhouse Oregon State Beavers, Kansas State faced a formidable challenge. Coached by the legendary Ralph Miller, the Beavers boasted a talented roster led by future NBA star A.C. Green and were considered strong contenders for a deep tournament run. Many went so far as to say that Oregon State was the top team in the country - they went undefeated for majority of the year until losing their last regular season game. They finished as the #2 overall seed.


From the opening tip-off, both teams battled early, trading baskets in the high-stakes showdown. The game remained tightly contested throughout, with neither side able to gain a significant advantage as the tension mounted with the passing time.


As the final seconds of regulation ticked away, the score was deadlocked, setting the stage for a dramatic finish. With the game hanging in the balance, Kansas State looked to Rolando Blackman, their star guard, to deliver a moment of heroism.


In a scene straight out of a storybook, Blackman received the ball in the closing seconds and maneuvered his way through the Oregon State defense. With time running out, Blackman launched a contested jump shot from the edge of the key, releasing the ball just as the buzzer sounded.


As the ball sailed through the air, the crowd held its breath, collectively willing it towards the basket. And then, in a moment of sheer exhilaration, the ball found its mark, swishing through the net as the buzzer sounded, sending shockwaves through the arena.



Hear it from Blackman himself: “I had the good release. I wasn’t even aware that anyone was on me. It was just me and the rim."


Blackman's buzzer-beating heroics sealed a dramatic 50-48 victory for Kansas State, stunning the college basketball world and propelling the Wildcats into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The image of Blackman triumphantly raising his arms in celebration as his teammates mobbed him on the court has since become an indelible part of college basketball lore.


Blackman, of course, went on to have a solid NBA career after 1981. He was drafted 9th overall by the Dallas Mavericks, where he was named to the NBA All-Star team four times over the 11 seasons he played there. His #22 was retired in Dallas, and #25 retired by Kansas State. For his efforts in the college game, he was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.


The victory over Oregon State stands as one of the defining moments of Rolando Blackman's illustrious career - both at the pro and college level - and remains a cherished memory for Kansas State faithful.


Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated recalled the moment 12 years ago in an article - he dubbed the moment “When the NCAA tournament became madness.” It's hard to disagree.

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