July 20, 2024
The lowest scoring men’s DI college basketball games

The lowest scoring game in DI men’s college basketball history happened Dec. 15, 1973, when Tennessee beat Temple, 11-6.

Temple held the ball for long stretches to run out the clock. Tennessee didn’t come out of its zone. More on that game in a bit.

First, here the fewest points scored by both teams in a game since 1938:

POINTS TEAMS DATE
17 Tennessee 11, Temple 6 Dec. 15, 1973
22 NC State 12, Duke 10 Mar. 8, 1968
25 Oklahoma State 14, Oklahoma 11 Feb. 19, 1944
27 Penn State 15, Pittsburgh 12 Jan. 15, 1944
32 Oklahoma State 17, Arkansas 15 Jan. 28, 1944
33 Penn State 24, Pittsburgh 9 Mar. 1, 1952
33 Charleston 18, Charleston Southern 15 Feb. 6, 1980
34 Oregon State 18, Stanford 16 Jan. 28, 1980
35 Kentucky 24, Cincinnati 11 Dec. 20, 1983
36 Purdue 23, Illinois 13 Feb. 7, 1938
37 Tennessee 23, Alabama 14 Jan. 11, 1945
37 Tennessee Tech 21, Vanderbilt 16 1938
38 Marshall 22, Miami (OH) 16 Feb. 19, 1938

RANKED TEAMS: The 100 lowest scoring college basketball games by ranked teams in the shot clock era

These are the fewest points scored by both teams in a game since the 1985-1986 season (when the shot clock was implemented):

POINTS TEAMS DATE
62 Monmouth 41, Princeton 21 Dec. 14, 2005
65 Manhattan 34, Fairfield 31 Mar. 1, 2013
67 SMU 36, Texas-Arlington 31 Dec. 16, 1989
67 Green Bay 46, Northern Michigan 21 Nov. 22, 1996
67 Eastern Michigan 42, Northern Illinois 25 Jan. 26, 2013
68 George Mason 35, UNC Wilmington 33 Mar. 4, 2001
69 George Washington 49, Saint Louis 20 Jan. 10, 2008
69 Penn State 36, Wisconsin 33 Mar. 11, 2011
69 Fresno State 39, UC Riverside 30 Nov. 14, 2012
71 Penn State 38, Illinois 33 Feb. 18, 2009
71 Virginia 45, Rutgers 26 Nov. 29, 2014
71 Virginia Tech 47, NC State 24 Feb. 2, 2019

The 11-6 game between Tennessee and Temple came down to more than bad shooting — the teams just flat out didn’t play.

The lack of a shot clock allowed the ball to be held for multiple stretches of more than 10 minutes with nothing but unavailing passes between two players and the odd soda cup thrown from the rowdiest of the 11,700 fans in attendance. Temple was content to hold the ball while Tennessee stayed in a zone.

Here’s how the game was covered at the time. 

From the Knoxville News:

Newspapers.com
"Brrr! Temple freeze thawed by Vols, 11-6" Dec. 16 1973 Knoxville News-Sentinel headline

From the UPI:

Tennessee, Temple lowest-scoring game press coverage

And the Johnson City Press:

Coverage in the Johnson City press of Tennessee vs. Temple

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