The towering redhead grabbed Notre Dame shots and sometimes threw them into the audience. He kept taking high lob passes from Greg Lee above the rim and dropping the ball in. And he slugged and pushed back when the Irish's John Shumate and Pete Crotty turned to their hatchets and the game got out of hand. Walton made 16 points, got 15 rebounds and blocked at least 10 shots. Keith Wilkes, too, played a marvelous game, scoring 20 points and shutting out Gary Novak from the field.
Crotty, whom the UCLA players later called "karate," bled throughout the contest after Farmer opened up his nose with an elbow. Phelps and Shumate were reprimanded by Wooden along the sidelines. ("John asked me if I had read his book," laughed Digger. "I said I had.") And the rest of the Notre Dame team was intimidated by the ridicule of Hollyfield, who laughed as he punished them all afternoon long.
When it was over—when the starters were all together sitting on the bench, slapping palms and watching the scrubs finish up—Walton continued to razz Notre Dame. The Irish student section responded in chorus, "Shut up Walton." Then he walked to the dressing room to ice his knees.
As The Seniors sat there, they thought about two years ago at South Bend. They had been "redeemed," they thought, and everything was evened up and now the pressure was off and they could go home.
Much later Hollyfield said yes, No. 61 did mean a lot to him after all, maybe more than last year's NCAA championship when he did not play much. Farmer agreed it was nice to have accomplished something nobody had done before. And Lee pointed out No. 61 would not last long, that the Bruins would break their own record next week.
Bill Walton, less elusive than before, walked toward the bus and discarded as worthless the "meanings" of any contests, records or streaks. "Will you remember this game for a long time?" he was asked. "More than the others? Longer than the others?"
Walton thought about that for only a moment. He said no and paused. The game he'll remember most, he said, is the game UCLA loses.