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Chamberlain scores 100 points in game

Wilt the Stilt wasn't thinking about hitting triple digits, just making his free throws.

By BRUCE LOWITT

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 11, 1999


Give it to Wilt! Give it to Wilt! The cheer rang through the arena -- and Wilt Chamberlain's teammates on the Philadelphia Warriors happily obliged, feeding the ball to their 7-foot-1 center until he had 100 points.

He did it on March2, 1962, and he did it in relative secrecy, in front of only 4,124 spectators at the Hershey Sports Arena. And he said after the game, a 169-147 victory over the New York Knicks, triple figures was not on his mind. More important to him was his free-throw shooting.

Chamberlain was notoriously inaccurate from the free-throw line (his career free-throw average is 51 percent), but on this night he was -- for him -- deadly. He made 28 of 32 free throws, 88 percent. In the process, he passed Frank Selvy's record of 24 free throws made.

"I wasn't even thinking about hitting 100 (points)," Chamberlain said. "But after putting in nine straight free throws, I was thinking about a foul-shooting record."

His 36 field goals in the game and 22 in a half, his field-goal attempts of 63 in a game and 37 in a half, his 59 points in a half and 31 points in a quarter (since surpassed), set NBA records. And no one has come even close to his 100 points -- except Chamberlain himself.

Wilt the Stilt, as he was commonly known, surpassed his record of 78.

"It was my greatest game," he understated.

The Warriors realized almost from the opening tip that Chamberlain had a hot hand, so they gave it to him every chance they could and encouraged him to be the one-man show he became that night.

"It would have been impossible to score this many if they hadn't kept feeding me," he said.

The Knicks, too, had no trouble figuring out that Chamberlain was going to shoot every chance he could. Stopping him was a different matter. They tried to stall, using as many of the 24 seconds as they could before shooting. They tried collapsing on him, even when he didn't have the ball. Knowing his reputation as a poor free-throw shooter, they fouled him.

Nothing worked.

New York, getting a combined 103 points from Richie Guerin (39), Cleveland Buckner (33) and Willie Naulls (31), trailed 42-26 after one quarter but made a game of it by climbing back within 11 at the half. But the Knicks couldn't keep up with Chamberlain's assault.

Their 147 points broke the Minneapolis Lakers' record of 139 by a losing team.


-- Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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