As the year — and the decade — comes to an end this week, we here at Beadlemaniacs will be taking a look back at the decade that was. We’ll be doing it through various lists, no doubt, because that’s what all the cool kids are doing nowadays. Today, we bring you our first installment: college basketball’s best individual performances of the Aughts. Enjoy.
10. Jason Williams vs Maryland (January 27, 2001). Jason Williams — the Duke one — rallied the Blue Devils from down 10 in the final minute of a game against the Terrapins. The “Miracle Minute,” as it’s known, saw Williams score eight points in the final 54 seconds as Duke rallied from a 90-80 deficit in the final minute of regulation to force overtime. Williams finished the game with a game-high 25 points, and Duke won in OT, 98-96.
9. Kevin Durant vs Texas Tech (January 31, 2007). The Durantula, as a freshman, had plenty of monster games. But on this day, he made the Red Raiders pay, as he put up 37 points and 23 rebounds. Just another day for the freshman phenom.
8. Cole Aldrich vs Dayton (March 22, 2009). The Kansas big-man became the eighth player in NCAA tournament history to record a triple-double. In his team’s second-round victory over the Flyers, Aldrich scored 13 points to go with 20 boards and 10 blocks. He joins Dwyane Wade as the only other player to record one in the NCAA tournament this decade.
7. Sami Wylie (Lincoln University) vs. Ohio State Marion. This would be higher on the list, except that it was a D-III game. Still, it garners recognition. Wylie put up 44 shots in his team’s 201-78 thrashing of Ohio State Marion. But the 44 shots aren’t the most noteworthy part of his performance — that would be the fact that Wylie drained 21 three-pointers. 21 THREE-POINTERS… in a single game. Let that soak in and resonate for a moment. Alright? Let’s continue on with our countdown.
6. Lester Hudson vs Central Baptist College (November 15, 2007). Another one that would be higher on the list, except that Hudson, from Tennessee-Martin, put up this stat-line against a D-II opponent. On this November day, Hudson became the first D-I player to record a quadruple-double: 25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals.
5. Jodie Meeks vs Tennessee (January 13, 2009). Jodie Meeks made the Vols defense looks like Swiss cheese this past January, when he set a school-record with 54 points. Not only did he set a school-record for points in a game, but also made 10 threes, as well as set the decade record for points in regulation.
4. Blake Griffin vs Texas Tech (February 14, 2009). Some refer to it as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre; I just refer to it as “poor Texas Tech,” as it’s the second time on this list that they were on the defending end of an individual performance. Anyhow, on this night, Griffin went off for 40 points and 23 boards, marking the first time in conference history that a player had put up 40 and 20 in a game.
3. Carmelo Anthony vs Kansas (April 7, 2003). What ‘Melo did in the 2003 title game was impressive, for anyone, but he put up 22 points and 10 boards as a freshman for Syracuse in helping Jim Boeheim win his first national title as a coach. What makes this performance equally impressive, was that in Syracuse’s Final Four game, Anthony put up 33 and 14 rebounds. Again, this was as a freshman, on the biggest stage in college hoops.
2. Eddie House vs Cal (January 8, 2000). House went off on the Golden Bears, tying a Pac-10 record with 61 points. He was 18-30 from the field, 7-10 from behind the arc, and 17-18 from the stripe en route to a 11-108 2OT victory. The 61 points was the highest individual effort of the decade.
1. Dwyane Wade vs Kentucky (March 29, 2003). In the Elite Eight of the 2003 NCAA tournament, third-seeded Marquette faced off against the one-seed, Kentucky, in the MetroDome. That game, Wade led Marquette to an 83-69 victory. He posted the seventh triple-double in NCAA tournament history with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Oh yeah, the win also snapped Kentucky’s 26-game win-streak.
The Aughts were filled with plenty of great individual performances, many of which, we’re sure, were omitted from this list. Feel free to discuss your thoughts on our picks, as well as any individual performances that you feel should have been included in this installment of our Best of the Decade series.