3/19/80: MCHALE, SAMPSON BATTLE IN NIT FINAL

Minnesota and Virginia clashed in the 1980 NIT Championship Game in a battle of two of the best big-men of all-time, Minnesota’s Kevin McHale and Virginia’s Ralph Sampson. The 7-foot-4 freshman, Sampson, got the best of the senior, McHale, as Virginia pulled out a 58-55 win.

Sampson scored 15 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, and hit two clutch free throws with 1:31 remaining to give Virginia the lead before securing a key rebound on the following possession to seal a Cavaliers victory. Following the game, Sampson was named NIT MVP and became the first freshman ever to win the honor.