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NCAA Tourney Hero Lorenzo Charles Dies In Bus Crash

Lorenzo Charles

Lorenzo Charles, whose last-second dunk in the 1983 championship game propelled North Carolina State to unlikely victory, died Monday in a bus crash in West Raleigh, North Carolina. He was 47.

Charles was driving a charter bus when he lost control and slammed into a group of trees. He was the only person on the bus at the time.

Charles scored the winning basket in the 1983 national championship over the University of Houston after he put the ball in when Dereck Whitterburg heaved a last-second prayer  from 30 feet out that fell short. The Wolfpack’s 54-52 win over Houston remains one of  the most storybook games in history and Charles’ shot is one of the most enduring images in NCAA Tournament lore.

After Charles scored the bucket, coach Jim Valvano ran all over the court looking to hug someone, creating another iconic image.

Valvano’s widow, Pam, was sad to learn Charles had passed away, saying, “You’d never known he’d made the big shot. He was so humble. That was just Lorenzo, though. He was the same nice young guy whether we’d won or lost. He was quiet, but he loved people and loved being around those guys on that team.”

[The News & Observer]

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