January 19, 1974: On this day, one of the greatest winning streaks in sports history came to an end. The UCLA men's basketball team's NCAA record 88-game streak would fall in South Bend, Indiana, to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 71-70.
UCLA came into the game ranked No. 1 in the country, while Notre Dame was undefeated and ranked No. 2. The Bruins were led by All-American center Bill Walton and legendary coach John Wooden. UCLA had not lost in almost 3 years on the hardwood, but the last loss had been on January 23, 1971, to these Irish in South Bend.
Walton, who had hurt his back the previous week, played valiantly, scoring 24 points and grabbing 9 rebounds in 40 minutes. But he missed a 12-foot shot with just seconds left. UCLA blew an 11-point lead with three and a half minutes remaining after Notre Dame went on a 12-0 run. Center John Shumate (24 points), guard Gary Brokaw (25 points) and Dwight Clay, who scored the winning two points on a jump shot from the right corner, led the way for the Fighting Irish.
A stunned crowd of 11,343 stormed the court at the final buzzer. It was a great time to be at Notre Dame, as just three weeks earlier, Notre Dame’s football team beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl to gain the No. 1 spot.
Walton and the Bruins would get revenge just a week later, beating Notre Dame, 94-75, in Westwood, CA, to regain the No. 1 ranking.
No one since has gotten close to the 88-game record. Only UNLV's streak of 45 in a row in 1989-91 is slightly more than halfway to the record. UCLA won three national titles during the 88-game run. UCLA broke the previous NCAA record streak of 60 games, held by the University of San Francisco from 1955-57 with Bill Russell. UCLA holds 3 of the top 10 longest streaks in college basketball history
See what are the greatest winning streaks in all sports.
Here's to Notre Dame and the day it ended UCLA's 88-game streak.