Greg Williams knew how to graduate, to go out in style, to make sure people didn't forget him.
In his final Seattle University basketball game, the 6-foot-8 center became the only player in school history not named Baylor or O'Brien to crack the 50-point barrier. On March 2, 1973, Williams, largely working his way around the key undeterred, dropped 52 on UNLV in a 100-86 victory at the Coliseum.
His scoring output was the third highest in SU history, trailing only Elgin Baylor's 60 and 53, and exceeding Johnny O'Brien's 51 and Baylor's pair of 51s. Baylor also got loose for 54 in an exhibition game against the Buchan Bakers.
"It wasn't the game plan," Williams said later. "The ball just came to me and I had good shots. They were falling for me."
With Seattle U returning to full Division I championship eligibility for the first time in 33 years -- when the Redhawks host Washington in a women's soccer match at Championship Field on Aug. 17 -- this is the 17th in a series of 33 stories replaying memorable SU events previously held at the NCAA's top level (1952-80).
Before the game, Williams and teammate Lenzy Stuart were saluted as graduating seniors. They were given commemorative plaques by SU. They acknowledged the ovation supplied by the modest crowd of 2,900. Then Williams, nearly matching his jersey No. 54, went to work.
The Chieftains trailed early, falling behind by as many as 30-22. Williams' seven unanswered points put SU in front 31-30. The home team was on top 48-46 at half.
Williams played with a lot of offensive-minded players, among them Frank Oleynick and Rod Derline. However, this was his night and his teammates acknowledged as much.
Oleynick and Stuart each had eight assists, most of them directed at Williams. Oleynick took it one better when he was fouled with 30 seconds remaining, catching an elbow in the stomach. Bent over, he motioned for Williams to shoot for him, which the officials permitted while UNLV, down 16, protested to no avail.
"If I had known he was going for the record, I wouldn't have complained," said Runnin' Rebels coach John Bayer, who made it his last game, too, by resigning.
With nine seconds remaining, Williams scored the game's final basket, giving the Chieftains an even 100. His outburst left him with 1,476 points, 12th in school history, an average of 18.9 points per game.
Accepting postgame congratulations, the SU big man also was in a reflective mood while mulling the end of his career and a 13-13 senior season.
"Just the fact I was able to play four years and not sustain any injuries has made every minute worth it," he said.
Bayer, exiting as the UNLV coach following a 13-15 season, brought levity to Williams' crowning moment.
"I was very pleased with the reception given by the fans to the seniors," he said. "But I'm glad they didn't give a plaque to Williams before every game."
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