In one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history, undefeated and No. 1-ranked Virginia, with 7-foot-4 center Ralph Sampson playing most of the game, lost to Chaminade University of Honolulu Thursday night.
The 77-72 victory was accomplished by a coeducational school with an enrollment of about 800, a part-time coach, a No. 4 NAIA ranking and 6-7 center Tony Randolph, who attended elementary school in Washington, D.C., and regularly played against Sampson in high school.
Virginia did not play that poorly, but made just 29 of 74 shots. "We had good effort," Coach Terry Holland said. "We just missed a lot of open shots."
In contrast, Chaminade, attempting mainly medium- to long-range jump shots, made 28 of 57. Typical was Tim Dunham's basket that broke a tie at 62 with 5 1/2 minutes to play. Coach Merv Lopes, whose profession is junior high school counseling, signaled for a freeze; instead Dunham, a 6-2 guard, shook off the signal and made a 22-foot jump shot.
Virginia tied the game once more, at 68, but guard Mark Wells, with Chaminade in a spread, saw an opening and drove the base line past Othell Wilson for a layup with 1:37 left.
Trailing, 74-72, Virginia got the ball after a missed free throw with 35 seconds left. But the Cavaliers missed three shots before Wilson was called for a palming violation with 10 seconds left. Dunham was fouled and made two free throws, and Wells added the final point before a disbelieving crowd of 3,383 at Blaisdell Arena.
Chaminade (10-2) now has beaten two Division I opponents in seven days, having defeated the University of Hawaii on its home court Dec. 17. In between, the Silverswords lost to Wayland Baptist. "We were still thinking about the Hawaii game and had started thinking about U-Va., so we kind of overlooked them," said Randolph.
Asked if this was the biggest upset in college basketball history, Holland nodded affirmatively.
"Ever?" Holland was asked.
"It has to rank right up there," he replied.
The outcome was assumed to be a formality.
Said Lopes, whose team's 29-4 record last season included a 75-59 loss here against Virginia: "Chaminade did an amazing thing here tonight. Man can do amazing things. They go to the moon and they can do anything, and that's how I feel about it."
The game was scheduled mainly to justify the Cavaliers' vacationlike stopover here on the way home from Japan, where they played games against Houston and Utah. It would showcase Sampson, the premier player in college basketball.
After all, Virginia had defeated Houston without Sampson.
Instead, it showcased Randolph, who played at Robert E. Lee High School of Staunton, Va., the staunch rival of Sampson's school, Harrisonburg High School, and made Chaminade a nationally recognized basketball name.
The university, founded by the Marist order of the Roman Catholic Church as a liberal arts college in 1955, shares its campus with the bigger St. Louis High School. It began playing intercollegiate athletics seven years ago.
Sampson, who said he was completely recovered from an intestinal virus, scored 12 points and had 17 rebounds in 38 minutes. Randolph had 19 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes, his playing time cut by fouls. He made nine of 12 shots, all jumpers over Sampson, usually from about 19 feet.
On defense, Randolph said he tried to play Sampson "the way Buck Williams did when he was at Maryland."
"I'd say Randolph was the key," Sampson said.
Why wasn't Randolph intimidated by Sampson, a two-time consensus player of the year?
"Through high school I grew up with him; we were friends," Randolph said today. "We played street ball. I played with him and against him. I knew what he was going to do. It gave me confidence."
Sampson was a senior in high school when Randolph was a sophomore. In two games that season, Lee lost by three and five points. Harrisonburg won only one other game by fewer than 10 points during that undefeated championship season.
Paul Hatcher, the coach at Lee, called here today to congratulate Randolph. "He knows what it's like to be on the bottom and take his knocks," Hatcher said later. "It couldn't happen to a better person, to get the recognition he's getting now."
Randolph, one of 10 children, grew up in Northwest Washington, attending Raymond Elementary School at 10th and Spring streets. Both of Randolph's parents died when he was in the sixth grade, and he went to Staunton to live with an aunt, Lucille Harris.
He didn't make the varsity until late in his freshman year. He had problems other than making a jump shot. "After my parents passed away, I took an attitude that the world owed me something," Randolph said. "Later on (in his junior year of high school), I realized it wasn't that way and if I wanted something, I had to work for it."
He went to Panhandle (Okla.) State last year, but transferred to Chaminade this year "because of my brother" Stanford, 23, who lives in Honolulu. He is on scholarship and lives on campus, as do most of the students from the mainland who make up half the student body. Four of his brothers and sisters still live in Washington.
Meanwhile, Virginia started the 14-hour trip home today. Said guard Rick Carlisle: "We have to learn something from this. I just don't know what it is."