With an impish grin that belied a killer heart, Indiana's Isiah Thomas gave his school its fourth NCAA title with a second half against North Carolina that defied reason. Thomas scored 19 of his 23 points after the break, and more important, made four steals. The first two steals came in the first 90 seconds after halftime and dramatically shifted the momentum of a close game.
"Those two steals were the turning point of the game," North Carolina coach Dean Smith said. It proved to be the key in the Hoosiers' 63-50 victory over North Carolina in Philadelphia.
Albeit a huge win for Isiah and the Hoosiers, it wasn't the biggest story in the nation on this day. Earlier, President Ronald Reagan had been shot. An announcement before tip-off told the crowd of 18,276 that Reagan had come through surgery successfully.
"We were happy the President wasn't dead," Thomas said. "A lot of people get shot."
1981 NCAA Championship – North Carolina vs Indiana