Some of the best rebounding performances in March Madness have stood the test of time. Here’s a look at the players who have the most rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game.

Records are made to be broken. In the case of rebounds in college basketball, though, the record in NCAA Tournament games hasn’t been topped in almost 70 years.

A rebound, of course, is a celebrated statistic that is awarded to a player who retrieves the basketball after a missed field-goal or free-throw attempt.

Let’s take a look at the rankings and go way back to when the record for single-game rebounds was set for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Most Rebounds in an NCAA Tournament Game

1. 34 – Fred Cohen, Temple vs. UConn, Regional Semifinals (March 16, 1956)

To understand the record, you must first understand the shooting performance (or lack of it) in this game. The Owls and Huskies combined to miss 114 shots – shooting 30.5% from the field collectively – so there were plenty of opportunities to grab missed shots. And the 6-foot-6 Cohen took advantage, although he missed 16 shots of his own while totaling the NCAA Tournament-record 34 rebounds.

Temple also set the then-tourney record for team rebounds with 76. The Owls advanced to the Final Four before losing to Iowa 83-76.

2. 31 – Nate Thurmond, Bowling Green vs. Mississippi St, Regional Third Place (March 16, 1963)

The man who would become “Nate the Great” showed signs of his potential in Bowling Green’s regional third-place matchup against Mississippi State. The Falcons lost 65-60, but Thurmond’s performance still remains the second-best for rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game.

The 6-11 Thurmond went on to star for the San Francisco/Golden State Warriors as part of a 14-year NBA career.

3. 30 – Jerry Lucas, Ohio St vs. Kentucky, Regional Finals (March 18, 1961)

Having won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Lucas was already a well-respected basketball player when he followed Cohen as the second to record 30 rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game, leading Ohio State’s regional finals win over Kentucky.

The Buckeyes ultimately lost to Cincinnati in the national championship game, but the 6-8 Lucas went on to become a seven-time NBA All-Star, winning a championship with the New York Knicks in 1973.

4. 29 – Toby Kimball, UConn vs. Saint Joseph’s, First Round (March 8, 1965)

The 6-8 Kimball’s three-year career rebounding average at UConn was nearly 18 per game, and he had one of those shining moments in the NCAA Tournament during UConn’s first-round loss to Saint Joseph’s.

It occurred in his final appearance for the Huskies as he entered the NBA Draft in 1965, beginning a pro career that saw him play for the Boston Celtics, San Diego Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, Kansas City–Omaha Kings, Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Jazz.

5. 28 – Elvin Hayes, Houston vs. Pacific, Regional Third Place (March 12, 1966)

An inch taller than Kimball, the 6-9 Hayes’ big rebounding performance helped the Cougars defeat Pacific in the third-place game for the West Region. The following year, Houston and Hayes went all the way to the Final Four before losing to the eventual champion UCLA Bruins and Lew Alcindor, who later become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Hayes carved out an outstanding career as a 12-time NBA All-Star, winning a championship with the Washington Bullets in 1978. He is fourth in NBA history with 16,279 career rebounds.

Tied for Sixth

  • T-6. 27 – Bill Russell, San Francisco vs. Iowa, National Championship (March 19, 1956)
  • T-6. 27 – John Green, Michigan State vs. Notre Dame, Regional Semifinals (March 15, 1957)
  • T-6. 27 – Paul Silas, Creighton vs. Oklahoma City, First Round (March 9, 1964)
  • T-6. 27 – Elvin Hayes, Houston vs. Loyola Chicago, First Round (March 9, 1968)

Tied for 10th

  • T-10. 26 – Howard Jolliff, Ohio State vs. Georgia Tech, Regional Semifinals (March 11, 1960)
  • T-10. 26 – Tom Gola, La Salle vs. North Carolina State, Regional Semifinals (March 12, 1954)
  • T-10. 26 – Phil Hubbard, Michigan vs. Detroit Mercy, Regional Semifinals (March 17, 1977)

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