In honor of perhaps the most undervalued play in hoops, we’re diving into the record books to recognize those with the most blocks in an NCAA Tournament game.

Sometimes a blocked shot can the change the momentum of a game. It can be the defense’s equivalent of a dramatic slam dunk that brings a crowd to its feet.

It becomes particularly impactful during NCAA men’s basketball’s March Madness, when every point matters and a seemingly easy bucket that’s erased with a big block can be the difference between advancing and going home.

In 2016, Stony Brook had a frustrating time against Kentucky in the first round, as the Wildcats swatted an NCAA Tournament-record 15 shots. And no one has dominated defensive over an entire tourney more than Kansas center Jeff Withey (more on him later), who blocked a record 31 shots over his six games in 2012.

But who has blocked the most shots in a single game?

In honor of perhaps the most undervalued play in hoops, we’re diving into the NCAA Division I record books to recognize those performances. Here are the rankings:

1. 11, Shaquille O’Neal, LSU vs. BYU (March 19, 1992)

Shaq at LSU was a sight to behold. In three seasons with the Tigers, O’Neal blocked 412 shots, which now stands at 19th all time. Against BYU, O’Neal blocked 11 shots as the Cougars shot just 36.2% from inside the arc. LSU beat 10th-seeded BYU 94-83 before falling to Indiana 89-79 in the second round. O’Neal blocked five shots against the Hoosiers.

most blocks

T-2. 10, Shawn Bradley, BYU vs. Virginia (March 14, 1991)

Long before the Monstars stole his talent, Bradley was a shot-blocking menace at BYU. He averaged 5.2 blocks in his lone season in college and dominated on defense in his first tournament game. He struggled shooting the ball that day (3 of 10) but didn’t take those struggles to the other side of the court, as he had 10 of BYU’s 13 blocks to lead the team to a 61-48 win.

He wasn’t as successful the next round, however, as he had only two blocks while the Cougars’ tournament run ended with a 76-61 loss to Bison Dele’s Arizona Wildcats. NBA evaluators saw enough to make Bradley the second overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft after he served as a missionary for two years following his lone year of collegiate basketball.

T-2. 10, Cole Aldrich, Kansas vs. Dayton (March 22, 2009)

Aldrich was a solid shot-blocker at Kansas while also being an important offensive player as well. He averaged 3.5 blocks during his junior year, which would be his last in college. He had just six blocks combined in his other two tournament games (an 84-74 win against North Dakota State in the first round and a 67-62 loss to Michigan state in the regional semifinal).

But against Dayton, Aldrich was dominant. He had 13 points and 20 rebounds to go along with his 10 blocks to record the first triple-double in a tournament game since Marquette’s Dwyane Wade in 2003. Aldrich used this strong tournament game as a springboard to the NBA Draft. He went 11th overall to the New Orleans Hornets.

  • Gary Grant, Michigan vs. North Carolina (March, 14, 1987).
  • Shaquille O’Neal, LSU vs. BYU (March 19, 1992)
  • David Cain, St. John’s vs. Texas Tech (March 18, 1993)
  • Andre Miller, Utah vs. Arizona (March 21, 1998)
  • Dwyane Wade, Marquette vs. Kentucky (March 29, 2003)
  • Cole Aldrich, Kansas vs. Dayton (March 22, 2009)
  • Draymond Green, Michigan St. vs. UCLA (March 17, 2011)
  • Draymond Green, Michigan St. vs. LIU (March 16, 2012)
  • Ja Morant, Murray St. vs. Marquette (March 21, 2019)
  • Marcus Domask, Illinois vs. Morehead St. (March 21, 2024)

T-2. 10, Jeff Withey, Kansas vs. North Carolina State (March 23, 2012)

In a real “apprentice becomes the master moment,” Aldrich’s heir apparent at Kansas also had a 10-block tournament game. Withey became the all-time leader in blocks at Kansas and his biggest shot-blocking game in the NCAA Tournament came during his junior year. The Jayhawks beat the Wolfpack 60-57 in the regional semifinal and Withey’s defense was a big reason why.

Kansas made it all the way to the Final Four and then national championship game against Kentucky, where Withey helped hold Anthony Davis to a 1-of-10 shooting performance. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, the Wildcats’ other players stepped up offensively, and Kentucky came away with a 67-59 win.

T-5. 9, David Robinson, Navy vs. Cleveland State (March 21, 1986)

It is no surprise to see “The Admiral” on this list. He was an elite shot blocker from the time he stepped on the court for Navy. Robinson averaged 5.9 blocks his junior year and opened the 1986 NCAA Tournament with a combined 60 points, 23 rebounds and 12 blocks in Navy’s first two wins. His offensive numbers weren’t as impressive in the regional semifinal (22 points), but the Midshipmen needed every one of his nine blocks and 14 rebounds to pull out a 71-70 victory over Cleveland State.

Navy was overwhelmed by Duke in the regional final, and Robinson only had two blocks to go along with 23 points and 10 rebounds. He returned to college for his senior year and had a 50-point performance in the first round. He was drafted first overall in the 1987 NBA Draft and was a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame when all was said and done.

T-5. 9, D’or Fischer, Northwestern State vs. Winthrop, (March 13, 2001)

The battle between 16 seeds is generally just an amuse bouche for the tournament action that follows, but Fischer managed to make a name for himself in one of these games. Fischer didn’t start for the Demons but came off the bench and finished one block shy of a triple-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocks.

There was no miracle to follow for Northwestern State, as the team was blown out 96-54 by Illinois in the first round. But Fischer had already put his name near the top of the single-game block list, and it remains there today.

T-5. 9, Walker Kessler, Auburn vs. Jacksonville St. (March 18, 2022)

Kessler was the SEC defensive player of the year in 2022 for a reason. After transferring from North Carolina to Auburn, he blocked 4.6 shots per game during his sophomore season. He took that to another level with nine blocks in a first-round matchup with Jacksonville State, which Auburn won easily 80-61.

Unfortunately for Kessler, his performance in the next round wasn’t up to the same standard, as he missed all six of his field-goal attempts and scored just two points to go along with two blocks and two rebounds in a 79-61 loss to Miami (FL). It was the last college game Kessler would ever play, as he decided to enter the 2022 NBA Draft and was selected 22nd overall.

Check out our MLB and NBA coverage, and our college basketball picks. Follow us on X and Instagram for more!