Relive highest-scoring men's March Madness performances

ByAlex Kennedy ESPN logo
Tuesday, March 19, 2024

With March Madnessfiring up, it's the perfect time to revisit the highest-scoring individual performances in NCAA tournament history.

Interestingly, nine of the top-10 scoring performances of all time took place before the NCAA added the 3-point line in 1987 -- making these point totals even more impressive.

Let's revisit the top 10 scoring outbursts in March Madness history.

Austin Carr, 61 points, 1970 NCAA tournament

During the first round of the 1970 NCAA tournament, Carr scored a record 61 points in Notre Dame's 112-82 win over Ohio. He shot 25-of-44 from the field (56.8%) and 11-of-14 from the free throw line (78.6%). That season, Carr averaged 38.1 points (second-most in the nation behind only Pete Maravich). He also contributed 6 rebounds and 3 assists in the win. Carr will make several more appearances on this list.

Bill Bradley, 58 points, 1965 NCAA tournament

Bradley couldn't be stopped during the third-place game of the 1965 NCAA tournament, finishing with 58 points, 17 rebounds and 4 assists. He shot a ridiculous 22-of-29 (75.9%) from the field and 14-of-15 (93.3%) from the free throw line. Bradley led Princeton to a 118-82 blowout win over Wichita State.

Oscar Robertson, 56 points, 1958 NCAA tournament

Robertson put up 56 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds in a 97-62 win over Arkansas during the third-place game in the Midwest Region. Just as he did in the NBA, Robertson filled the stat sheet in college, averaging 33.8 points, 15.2 rebounds and 7.1 assists across his three seasons. For three consecutive years, he was named the consensus Player of the Year and led the nation in scoring. The Bearcats were 79-9 during his time on campus, making two Final Four appearances.

Austin Carr, 52 points, 1970 NCAA tournament

During the regional semifinal of the 1970 tournament, Carr did everything in his power to carry Notre Dame past Kentucky. He had 52 points on 22-of-35 (62.9%) shooting from the field and 8-of-8 from the free throw line, while also grabbing 8 rebounds. But it wasn't enough to defeat Kentucky, which was led by Dan Issel (44 points and 11 rebounds). The Wildcats beat the Fighting Irish 109-99.

Austin Carr, 52 points, 1971 NCAA tournament

Yes, Carr owns three of the top-five scoring performances in NCAA history. One year after his 61-point performance, Carr proved that his 1970 tournament run was no fluke. During the first round of the 1971 NCAA tournament, Carr recorded 52 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds and 5 steals in a 102-94 win over TCU. Carr shot the ball well, making 20-of-34 (58.8%) attempts from the field and 12-of-15 (80%) from the charity stripe.

David Robinson, 50 points, 1987 NCAA tournament

In the first round of the 1987 NCAA tournament, Robinson put Navy on his back to the tune of 50 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks and just 1 turnover. He attempted 37 field goals and shot 59.5% from the floor. It was a memorable showing and a sign of what was to come for the future Hall of Famer, but it wasn't enough to beat the Wolverines, who won the game 97-82. While the 1987 NCAA tournament was the first to feature the 3-point line, Robinson didn't attempt a single 3-pointer during his 50-point performance.

Elvin Hayes, 49 points, 1968 NCAA tournament

Hayes turned heads during the first round of the 1968 NCAA tournament, scoring 49 points and grabbing 27 rebounds in a 94-76 win over Loyola. He shot 20-of-28 (71.4%) from the field. That season, Hayes averaged 36.8 points and 18.9 rebounds, earning consensus Player of the Year honors. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1968 NBA draft, and he'd become a Hall of Famer, NBA champion and 12-time All-Star. He's the only player to crack the top-15 on both the NBA's all-time scoring list and NCAA's all-time scoring list.

Hal Lear, 48 points, 1956 NCAA tournament

During the third-place game in the 1956 NCAA tournament, Lear went off for 48 points to help Temple secure a 90-81 win over SMU. Lear shot 17-of-30 (56.7%) from the field and 14-of-17 (82.4%) from the free throw line, while also contributing 7 rebounds. Lear was helped by Guy Rodgers (14 points, 20 assists and 3 rebounds) and Jay Norman (17 points and 22 rebounds).

Austin Carr, 47 points, 1970 NCAA tournament

Carr was hot from 1970 to 1971. During the Midwest Region's third-place game between Notre Dame and Houston, Carr posted 47 points and 12 rebounds. However, Houston defeated Notre Dame 119-106, shooting 56% from the field to Notre Dame's 38.2%. Poo Welch (38 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds), Steve Newsome (29 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists) and Dwight Davis (18 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists) led the way for the Cougars.

Dave Corzine, 46 points, 1978 NCAA tournament

Corzine totaled 46 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks to lift DePaul past Louisville 90-89. This was a double-overtime thriller that took place in the Regional Semifinal of the 1978 NCAA tournament. Corzine shot 18-of-28 (64.3%) from the field and 10-of-10 from the free throw line.

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