OTD: The Big E Explodes In Elite 8

On this day in 1968, the #1-ranked and undefeated Houston Cougars routed TCU, 103-68, in the Midwest Region Final in Wichita. Elvin Hayes scored 39 points and pulled down 25 rebounds in the game that sent the Coogs to their second-straight Final Four.

Ken Spain had 16 and 16 while Theodis Lee had 16 points and 7 boards. The trio of Hayes, Spain, and Lee combined to outscore the Horned Frogs (71-68) and tie them in rebounds (48).

TCU game – March 16, 1968

A day earlier, UH had beaten #9 Louisville by 16 in a game where The Big E only went for 35 points and 24 boards. Elvin’s future Bullets teammate Wes Unseld finished with 23 points and 22 rebounds.

Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes

In a stretch beginning immediately after the Game of the Century until the TCU game, UH scored 100 or more points in 12 of 14 games. The Coogs went over 90 points in all 14.

The TCU game was the culmination of an incredible run by Hayes which solidified him as one of the greatest college basketball players ever. After getting a big shot of confidence in the Game of the Century, Hayes went for 30 points and 20 rebounds in 10 of the next 14 games.

Elvin’s 30 & 20 Games After GOTC

2/15Miami (Fla)3424
3/2Virginia Tech5127
3/4West Texas St3921

*school record
**NCAA Tournament

Between February 10th and the 24th, Hayes set the school record for points and rebounds in a game. And 52 years later, neither has been broken.

In eight-consecutive games from UT-Arlington TCU, Hayes scored 35 or more and averaged 44.75 ppg. Rebounding records are missing for one road game but in the other seven games, the Big E averaged 24.6 rebounds. In those 7 games with complete stats, Hayes went for *at least* 35 & 20 in every single game.

Elvin Hayes led the Whose House cheer before the Tulsa game / photo by Mario Puente

In the 67-68 season, Hayes went for 30 and 20 a school-record 13 times. He scored 30+ points in 28 of 33 games and had 20+ rebounds 13 times. His 1,214 points in 1968 were an NCAA record (now #2 all-time behind Pete Maravich’s 1970 season) and his career rebound total of 1,602 is only behind Bill Russell (1606) among players that competed three years or less.

Hayes was the obvious choice for National Player of the Year in 1968 and was an All-American in each of his three seasons.

Elvin Hayes shooting in the Game of the Century

The win over the Horned Frogs was UH’s 31st-straight win of the season and 42nd of the last 43 games (only loss: to #1 UCLA in the 1967 Final Four).

Theodis Lee and Guy V. Lewis