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Iowa History Daily: March 16 - "Fabulous Few" Hawks Beat Hoyas

Iowa History Daily: On March 16, 1980, The “Fabulous Few” Iowa Hawkeyes made a furious comeback to beat Georgetown and advance to the Final Four of the NCAA basketball tournament. Steve Waite hit a 3-pt play with five seconds left to lift the Hawks over the Hoyas 81-80.

The most recent appearance for Iowa in the Final Four, Lute Olson’s Hawkeyes started the season hot with a 10-0 record. Coming off a Big 10 Championship the year prior, expectations in Iowa City rose sky high. The Hawks ended the regular season with an 18–8 record (10-8, 4th in the Big 10), despite playing a good portion of the season without star guard Ronnie Lester, who suffered a knee injury in the seventh game of the season.

Kenny Arnold, who played the majority of the season with a broken right thumb, stepped up and led the team in total points and assists. Bobby Hanson also broke a bone in his hand, and freshman Mark Gannon also suffered a knee injury. To add to the incredible string of bad luck, assistant coach Tony McAndrews was severely injured in a plane crash.

Despite the set-backs, Iowa arrived in the NCAA tournament thanks to the efforts of a group jokingly called the “Fabulous Few” which included Steve Waite, Steve Krafcisin, Vince Brookins, and Kevin Boyle. A five-seed, Lester’s return helped fuel a memorable run for the Hawkeyes with wins over VCU, NC State, and Syracuse. In the East Regional Final against the Georgetown Hoyas, Iowa trailed by as many in 14 points in the second half. Lester limped along to eight points and nine assists, taking just seven shots, with his playmaking and distribution helping Iowa to shoot 31 of 51 (60.8%) for the game, along with making 19 of 20 free throws. Iowa won on a dramatic last second basket and free–throw by Steve Waite (15 points) to advance to the Final Four. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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