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1972 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team

Games of the XXth Olympiad -- 1972

  • Date:
    Jun 10, 2010

Munich, West Germany • August 27- September 9, 1972


In the most controversial game in international basketball history, the U.S. lost its first ever Olympic contest, ended a 63-game Olympic winning streak and a string of seven consecutive Olympic gold medals.


1972 USA RESULTS (8-1) 
USA 66   Czechoslovakia 35
USA 81   Australia 55
USA 67   Cuba 48
USA 61   Brazil 54
USA 96   Egypt 31
USA 72   Spain 56
USA 99   Japan 33
USA 68   Italy 38
USSR 51   USA 50

1972 OLYMPIC GAMES FINAL STANDINGS

1. Soviet Union (9-0)   9. Australia (5-4)
2. USA (8-1) 10. Poland (3-6)
3. Cuba (7-2) 11. Spain (4-5)
4. Italy (5-4) 12. F.R. of Germany (3-6)
5. Yugoslavia (7-2) 13. Philippines (3-6)
6. Puerto Rico (6-3) 14. Japan (2-7)
7. Brazil (5-4) 15. Senegal (0-8)
8. Czechoslovakia (4-5)

16. Egypt (0-8)

Coach Henry Iba's U.S. squad breezed through its opening games. Thomas Henderson and Dwight Jones scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, in a 66-35 opening win over Czechoslovakia, and Ed Ratcliff tallied 18 points in a U.S. 81-55 romp over Australia. Cuba fell 67-48 as Dwight Jones led the Americans with 18 points, and the U.S. struggled with Brazil before finally settling for a 61-54 win. Egypt was swamped 96-31, as Mike Bantom scored 17, Spain fell 72-56, and the U.S. drilled Japan 99-33 as seven U.S. players scored in double digits. James Forbes' 14 points and another 10 from Henderson powered the USA past Italy 68-38 in the semifinals setting the stage for the now infamous USA-USSR Olympic final.

Featuring a pair of 8-0 teams, the USA-USSR final was as expected, a hotly contested ball game. The USSR took a 7-0 lead and by half was in possession of a 26-21 lead. With 12:18 to play and the Soviets holding a 38-34 lead, the USA's 6'8' Dwight Jones, the USA's top scorer and rebounder, and Soviet reserve Dvorni Edeshko were ejected from the game after a loose ball scuffle. On the ensuing jump ball, 6'9' Jim Brewer suffered a concussion after being knocked to the floor. The U.S. continued to lag behind in the second half, but narrowed the gap to one point, 49-48 on Jim Forbes' jumper with 40 seconds remaining. The Soviet's worked the clock down to 10 seconds but Tom McMillen blocked Aleksander Belov's shot and Doug Collins intercepted his pass as he attempted to pass it back out to center court. Collins drove to the basket and was undercut as he attempted a layup with three seconds left. Awarded two free throws, a groggy Collins sank both free throws to put the USA ahead 50-49 with three-seconds left despi te the horn going off in the middle of his second attempt.

From there, confusion reigned. Immediately following Collins' free throws, the Soviets inbounded the ball and failed to score. But one official had whistled play to stop with one second remaining after hearing the earlier horn and seeing a disturbance near the scorers table. The Soviets argued that they had requested a timeout before Collins' foul shots. The referees ordered the clock reset to three seconds and the game's final seconds replayed. However, the clock was in the process of being reset when the referees put the ball in play. A length of the court Soviet pass missed its mark, the horn sounded and the U.S. again began celebrating.

However, R. William Jones, Secretary General of FIBA, stepped in and ordered the clock again reset to 0:03 and the game replayed from that point. This time, the Soviet's Aleksander Belov and the USA's Kevin Joyce and Jim Forbes went up for the pass, Belov caught the long pass from Ivan Edeshko at the foul line sending the two Americans sprawling, Belov then drove to the basket for the layup and the winning points. Post-game, the U.S. filed a protest and FIBA officials met to discuss the protest. The U.S. protest was denied and the Soviets were awarded the gold medals. The U.S. team voted unanimously to refuse their silver medals.


1972 U.S. MEN'S OLYMPIC TEAM ROSTER

NAME POS HGT WGT AGE AFFILIATION (SCHOOL) HOMETOWN
Mike Bantom F 6-8 205 20 St. Joseph's Philadelphia, PA
Jim Brewer F/C 6-9 220 20 Minnesota Maywood, IL
Tommy Burleson C 7-4 225 20 North Carolina State Newland , NC
Doug Collins G 6-6 180 21 Illinois State Benton, IL
Kenny Davis G 6-1 180 23 Marathon Oil (Georgetown College) Monticello, KY
James Forbes F 6-7 200 20 Texas-El Paso El Paso, TX
Thomas Henderson G 6-2 190 20 San Jacinto J.C. Bronx, NY
Bobby Jones C/F 6-8 205 20 North Carolina Charlotte, NC
Dwight Jones C 6-8 205 20 Houston Houston, TX
Kevin Joyce G 6-3 190 21 South Carolina North Merrick, NY
Tom McMillen F 6-11 210 20 Maryland Mansfield, PA
Ed Ratleff F/G 6-6 190 22 Long Beach State Columbus, OH
HEAD COACH: Henry Iba, Oklahoma State University
ASSISTANT COACH: John Bach, Penn State University
ASSISTANT COACH: Don Haskins, University of Texas-El Paso
MANAGER: W.K. Summers, Brownstown, Indiana
ASSISTANT MANAGER: Herbert Mols, Buffalo, New York
ATHLETIC TRAINER: Whitey Gwynne, West Virginia University

1972 U.S. MEN'S OLYMPIC TEAM CUMULATIVE STATISTICS

NAME G FGM-A PCT FTM-A PCT REB PF PTS
Henderson 9 39- 74 .524 5- 6 .833 18/ 2.0 20 83/ 9.2
Jones 9 34- 68 .500 15- 22 .682 51/ 5.7 26 83/ 9.2
Bantom 9 29- 72 .403 11- 22 .500 44/ 4.9 33 69/ 7.7
Brewer 9 26- 62 .419 16- 24 .667 64/ 7.1 20 68/ 7.6
Collins 9 25- 59 .524 16- 22 .727 21/ 2.3 19 66/ 7.3
McMillen 9 24- 72 .333 13- 16 .813 39/ 4.3 16 61/ 6.8
Ratleff 9 27- 68 .397 4- 6 .667 29/ 3.2 26 58/ 6.4
Joyce 9 21- 56 .375 6- 6 1.000 11/ 1.2 28 48/ 5.3
Forbes 9 23- 45 .511 0- 4 .000 28/ 3.1 18 46/ 5.1
Jones 9 14- 23 .609 9- 10 .900 25/ 2.8 14 37/ 4.1
Burleson 8 10- 27 .370 7- 12 .583 15/ 1.9 13 27/ 3.4
Davis 8 6- 18 .333 2- 2 1.000 4/ 0.5 6 14/ 1.8
USA
9 278-644 .432 104-152 .684 349/38.8 239 660/ 77.3
OPP.
9 157-520 .302 87-152 .572 211/23.4 237 401/ 44.6

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