In case of a tiebreaker, you have to put a final score on your bracket. What’d you write for yours? If you’re like most, you predicted team scores in the sixties, seventies, maybe eighties? But definitely not in the 100’s… unless you really are that stupid. While most teams stay below 100 points, some have gone over. Like, way over. So what was the highest scoring game in tournament history?
The average score of NCAA Men’s final games for the past 30 years hovers around 77-68. If you add those two numbers together you’d still be four short of 149 — the amount of points Loyola Marymount scored in the second round of the 1990 tournament.
Heading into the game, LMU was an 11 seed up against No. 3 (and defending champs) Michigan. The Fab Five weren’t on campus, yet and the underdog Lions had recently lost one of their own teammates, Hank Gathers, who collapsed on the court in a conference semifinal and died later that day.
Before the tournament, Gathers’ teammate Bo Kimble, a righty, vowed to pay tribute to his friend by shooting his first free throw with his left hand. Kimble made one in round one and hit another in round two. That day, he went 14 for 17 from the line and scored 37 points. His teammate, Jeff Fryer, scored 41, and three other Lions went for double figures.
LMU wound up beating Michigan 149-115. The game total, for those of you who can’t do mental math, was 264. No matchup has come close to hitting that record since.
For what it’s worth, though, Loyola Marymount and Wyoming combined for the second highest-scoring game in men’s March Madness history at 234. 7-seed LMU won that first round 1988 matchup, 119 to 115.