April 5, 2003 vs. Texas: 33 points, 14 rebounds
With the stakes at their highest, Melo put on the best performance of his historic collegiate career with a career-high 33-point, 14-board effort that propelled the Orange to the National Championship game. Anthony was literally unstoppable against constant double-teams and unflappable despite the pressure packed situation. With ‘Cuse down 49-48 early in the second half, Melo ripped off 11 straight points to give the Orange an insurmountable lead and a trip to the National Championship game against Kansas.
Texas head coach Rick Barnes did everything he could to stop Melo, but no matter what he did, the freshman phenom made him pay. “I mean every point they score, you can almost attribute to Carmelo when he’s in the game, because he makes you help, he makes you rotate,” Barnes said following the game. “Tonight, every time they needed to make a big play, he made it.”
Melo’s 33 points still holds as an NCAA record for most points by a freshman in a Final Four game.