University of Dayton basketball legend Roosevelt Chapman in the 1980s.
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

UD NCAA legends: Roosevelt Chapman’s 41-point thrashing of powerful Oklahoma on a 1984 Elite Eight run

The University of Dayton basketball team is making its fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance this season. 

We’re looking back on some of the best UD individual performances in tournament history. Today, it’s Roosevelt Chapman and his 41-point outburst about big, bad Oklahoma. 

The Dayton Flyers in the NCAA tournament: 5 things to know

Roosevelt Chapman opened some eyes after the Dayton Flyers opened the 1984 NCAA tournament with a victory against LSU. He was asked about facing Oklahoma and stud big man Wayman Tisdale. 

“Saturday,” Chapman said, “we’ll find out who the real All-American is.” 

And they did. 

Dayton’s Roosevelt Chapman goes to the hoop as LSU defenders Leonard Mitchel, left, and Nikita Willson try to defend during NCAA game on March 16, 1984, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Staff file photo
Photo: Skip Peterson

The Flyers’ all-time leading scorer guided UD on an Elite Eight run in 1984 that included a 41-point, 8-rebound performance against second-seeded Oklahoma in the 89-85 second-round win. Victories against LSU, Oklahoma and Washington led UD to a regional final loss against eventual national champion Georgetown.

» INTERACTIVE: Explore the Dayton Flyers’ NCAA tournament history

» PHOTOS: Relive UD’s amazing 1984 run to the Elite Eight

But before that run ended, Chapman put on a show that set a career best in points in one of the best Flyers careers. His output inspired reports such as this one from Dayton Daily News reporter Gary Nuhn: 

Rosey went around Oklahoma’s big men. Rosey went through Oklahoma’s big men. Rosey went over Oklahoma’s big men. Rosey went under Oklahoma’s big men. 

It was a show of all shows. It was Hollywood a week in advance. The Rose was 13-of-22 from the floor. The Rose was 15-of-19 from the line. There were eight rebounds. Get the women and children off the street. Put the dog in the shed. A demon is on the loose: The Monster That Ate Oklahoma. 

University of Dayton women's basketball player Donna Burks lands a kiss on Roosevelt Chapman during a celebration of the team's NCAA run. Both of these basketball stars have since been inducted into the University of Dayton Athletics Hall of Fame.

“He’s a great player,” said Tisdale, who finished with 36 points and 11 rebounds. “I always knew he was great. I’ve heard of Roosevelt before. He just wouldn’t miss anything. He was so quick, he just went right around our big men.”

» Dayton basketball history: What you should know about the Flyers

The 10th-seeded Flyers became a tournament darling that season on their Elite Eight run, and no win was bigger than that second-round victory. They had started the season 1-4 and were 19-10 entering the Oklahoma matchup. 

Chapman, completing his career with a flourish, made sure the records didn’t matter. 

“We couldn’t stop him,” said Oklahoma guard Jan Pannell. 

“He’s even better than he knows,” said UD teammate Sedric Toney.

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Chapman finished his UD career with 2,233 points, an 18-9-point-per-game scoring average over four seasons. Even though he was 6-foot-4, he also ranks eighth overall in rebounds (956, 8.1 per game), third in blocks and seventh in steals. 

Two years ago, when Dayton was matched against Oklahoma in the NCAA tournament, Chapman used his Twitter account to recognize the history of the matchup.

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