NMSU VS. LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
HANK GATHER & BO KIMBLE 1990 NCAA Basketball Tournament – Long Beach, California
This is a quick story about Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble who played basketball for Loyola Marymount from 1987-1990.
At the time Hank Gathers was only the second player in history to lead the NCAA in both scoring and rebounding.
As the West Coast Conference (WCC) Tournament neared, Gathers did not show up for repeated appointments to test if the reduced medication was still suppressing the arrhythmias. On Sunday, March 4, 1990, in Los Angeles, he collapsed with 13:34 left in the first half of the WCC tournament semifinal game. He had just scored one his trademark tomahawk dunks on an alley-oop pass pass from point guard Terrell Lowery that put the Lions up 25–13. He collapsed a yard or two away from Pilots point guard Erik Spoelstra. He attempted to get up, telling the trainers, “I don’t want to lay down!” then shortly after stopped breathing. He was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital at the age of 23.
Minutes after Gathers was taken to the hospital the WCC commissioner suspended the game indefinitely. ESPN broadcast graphic footage of Gathers’ collapse on SportsCenter. The WCC then canceled the tournament and awarded Loyola the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament due to its WCC regular season title. Obviously the nation was in shock.
Well, destiny came knocking and New Mexico State University drew Loyola Marymount in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament.
Of all teams in the world we could possibly play NMSU drew “AMERICA’S TEAM” LMU.
In the locker room prior to taking the floor our head coach apologetically reiterated, “Boys… this will be a tough one tonight…there’s not a person in America (other than your friends and family out there), that want you guys to win this game tonight. Believe me – not a one.”
We lost 111-92 and Hanks best friend guard Bo Kimble scored an astounding 44 points, 18 rebounds, and 7 assists.
To commemorate Hanks death Bo shot his first free-throw of each game with his left hand. LMU beat us easily and America remained elated as ‘America’s Team’ moved on in the tournament. LMU went on to beat Michigan (145-115), then Alabama in the Sweet 16 (62-60) before losing to the eventual NCAA National Champions UNLV in the Elite 8 (131-101).
FOX Sports – 25 years After Hank Gathers