This Day In Sports: Shaq’s college hoops Boise sayonara

March 21, 1992, 30 years ago today: LSU sophomore center Shaquille O’Neal plays his final collegiate game in an 89-79 second round loss to Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA Tournament at the BSU Pavilion. (That was three years before Knight’s famous post-game tirade.) Two days earlier, the 7-1 O’Neal set an NCAA Tournament record in what is now ExtraMile Arena that stands to this day, blocking 11 shots in LSU’s 94-83 win over BYU. Not surprisingly, O’Neal led college basketball that season in blocks (he blocked five shots against the Hoosiers). The 1992 bracket is still considered to be the best of the nine NCAA Tournament fields in Boise.

That spring in the NBA Draft, O’Neal would be selected first overall by the Orlando Magic. His premium years were spent with the L.A. Lakers from 1996-2004. He also played for the Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. O’Neal was a four-time NBA champion and 15-time NBA All-Star who did almost everything well. Almost. Because his career free throw percentage was only 53 percent, opponents employed the “Hack-A-Shaq” defense when O’Neal got the ball under the hoop, fouling him before he could score a bucket. They put him on the line hoping he’d miss, and he usually obliged. Shaq, now an analyst on “Inside The NBA” on TNT, just turned 50 a couple weeks ago

Alonzo Mourning’s college career also ended in Boise that day when Georgetown fell 78-68 to Florida State. Mourning was taken second overall in the NBA Draft behind O’Neal and spent most of his 15-year career with the Miami Heat. He is best-known for retiring from the New Jersey Nets in November, 2003, due to kidney disease and undergoing a kidney transplant the following month. But he returned to the Heat in 2005 and—playing alongside O’Neal—helped Miami to a championship in 2006.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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