Games of the XXIst Olympiad -- 1976
Montreal, Canada • July 18-27, 1976
Seeking to avenge the controversial loss to the Soviets in the 1972 Olympic gold medal game, the USA, coached by University of North Carolina legend Dean Smith, never had the chance to gain revenge, but nevertheless, recorded a perfect 7-0 slate and returned the Olympic basketball gold back home.
1976 USA RESULTS (7-0)
1976 OLYMPIC GAMES FINAL STANDINGS
Opening against Italy, behind Adrian Dantley's 20 points and 19 more from Mitch Kupchak, the U.S. rolled to a 106-86 victory. The USA's quest for the gold was nearly thwarted by a Puerto Rican team led by Marquette University's Butch Lee. Lee, a New Yorker who was born in Puerto Rico, made the Puerto Rican Olympic team only after failing to be invited to the USA Olympic Trials. Trying his best to make the U.S. pay for its oversight, Lee scored 35 points on 15-for-18 shooting from the field to help lead a gutsy Puerto Rican team in its near upset of the U.S. squad. Tied 51-51 at half, the game remained a tight affair until the end. With the U.S. ahead 93-92 and eight seconds remaining, Puerto Rico's dream of the monumental upset ended when Lee was called for a charge. Phil Ford hit a pair of free throws and the U.S. held on for a 95-94 victory. Ford finished with 20 points and Kupchak added 19.
Facing Yugoslavia, a team that had earlier whipped Puerto Rico 84-63, the USA rallied in the second half to claim a 112-93 win. The U.S. trailed 55-51 at half after falling into foul trouble, but Smith's troops came out and scored the first eight points of the second half and never again trailed after taking a 64-63 lead with 15 minutes to play. Dantley led the American comeback with 27 points and Scott May added 24. After earning a 2-0 forfeit victory over Egypt who withdrew for political reasons, the Americans knocked off Czechoslovakia 81-76 as 11 of the 12 U.S. cagers scored.
With host Canada standing between the U.S. and a chance at the gold medal, the Americans, playing in front of 19,000 partisan fans, sprinted off to a 22-8 lead behind the play of May and Quinn Buckner and never looked back in the 95-77 victory. May finished with 22 points, while Tom LaGarde scored 16, Dantley and Buckner each tallied 12. With Yugoslavia's 89-84 semifinal upset of the Soviet Union, the much anticipated USA-USSR game was not realized.
Facing the Yugoslavian men for the second time, Dantley scored 18 of his game high 30 points in the first 20 minutes to help the U.S. open up a 50-38 halftime advantage. Yugoslavia came no closer than 10 points in the second half as the USA reclaimed the Olympic gold with a 95-74 decision. May and Kupchak each accounted for 14 points in the win.
Dantley of Notre Dame was the USA's leading scorer averaging 19.3 ppg. Indiana's May led the USA's rebounding, averaging 6.2 rpg. and UNC's Ford dished-out a team high 54 assists. The USA also shot a blazing 83.1 percent (108-130 FTs) from the foul line to set a U.S. Olympic free-throw percentage record.
1976 U.S. MEN'S OLYMPIC TEAM ROSTER
|Mike (Tate) Armstrong||G||6-3||170||20||Duke||Houston, TX|
|Quinn Buckner||G||6-3||203||21||Indiana||Phoenix, IL|
|Kenny Carr||F||6-7||225||20||North Carolina State||Washington , DC|
|Adrian Dantley||G||6-5||209||21||Notre Dame||Washington, DC|
|Walter Davis||F||6-5||190||21||North Carolina||Charlotte, NC|
|Phil Ford||G||6-2||170||20||North Carolina||Rocky Mountain, NC|
|Ernie Grunfeld||F||6-6||225||21||Tennessee||Forest Hills, NY|
|Phil Hubbard||F||6-7||194||19||Michigan||Canton, OH|
|Mitch Kupchak||C||6-10||229||22||North Carolina||Brentwood, NY|
|Tom LaGarde||C||6-10||214||21||North Carolina||Detroit, MI|
|Scott May||F||6-7||218||22||Indiana||Sandusky, OH|
|Steven Sheppard||G||6-6||209||22||Maryland||New York, NY|
|HEAD COACH: Dean Smith, University of North Carolina|
|ASSISTANT COACH: Bill Guthridge, University of North Carolina|
|ASSISTANT COACH: John Thompson, Georgetown University|
|MANAGER: Joseph Vancisin, National Association of Basketball Coaches|
|ATHLETIC TRAINER: Troy Young, Arizona State University|
1976 U.S. MEN'S OLYMPIC TEAM CUMULATIVE STATISTICS
|Dantley||6||43- 80||.538||30- 36||.833||34/ 5.7||12||116/ 19.3||10|
|May||6||42- 80||.525||16- 18||.889||37/ 6.2||17||100/ 16.7||12|
|Kupchak||6||30- 49||.612||15- 20||.750||34/ 5.7||16||75/ 12.5||6|
|Ford||6||29- 54||.537||10- 12||.833||13/ 2.2||17||68/ 11.3||54|
|Buckner||6||22- 44||.500||0- 0||.---||18/ 3.0||19||44/ 7.3||18|
|Carr||6||20- 36||.556||1- 2||.500||19/ 3.2||13||41/ 6.8||6|
|LaGarde||6||13- 18||.722||14- 16||.875||11/ 1.8||18||40/ 6.7||1|
|Hubbard||6||12- 23||.522||4- 4||1.000||23/ 3.8||18||28/ 4.7||3|
|Davis||6||10- 21||.476||6- 6||1.000||10/ 1.7||14||26/ 4.3||12|
|Grunfeld||6||9- 18||.500||3- 4||.750||4/ 0.7||9||21/ 3.5||15|
|Armstrong||6||5- 7||.714||6- 8||.750||2/ 0.3||0||16/ 2.7||2|
|Sheppard||6||3- 7||.429||3- 4||.750||6/ 1.0||2||9/ 1.5||1|
||6||215-426||.505||70- 88||.795||138/23.0||166||500/ 83.3||109|
NOTE: The USA played seven games, however, statistical totals reflect six game totals because the USA was declared a 2-0 winner over Egypt by a forfeit.