After losing to UCLA twice last week, 76-67 in Seattle and 93-62 at Pauley Pavilion, Washington Coach Marv Harshman figured out how to beat the Bruins: "Take North Carolina's enthusiasm and mix it with the talent at Houston and Minnesota, and you might have a chance."
USC's two encounters with Washington State turned out to be embarrassing for first-year Cougar Coach George Raveling. "John Wooden at UCLA, Bob Boyd at USC and Marv Harshman at Washington better watch out," he said early in the week, "because we're on our way back." Not yet, George. The Trojans rolled 80-63 and 79-55. "Well, actually," said Raveling later, "what I really said was...."
Brigham Young was jolted when the NCAA tournament selection committee ruled the Cougars ineligible for postseason play even if they go on and win the Western Athletic Conference championship. The Cougars previously knew only that their star center from Yugoslavia, Kresimir Cosic, would not be able to play. Thus beset, the league-leading Cougars had to struggle to get past dormant Texas at El Paso 48-43. Later in the week they took on their chief challenger for league honors, New Mexico, and lost 76-66. The Lobos were also coming off an unexpectedly close win, surviving 73-70 against freshman-heavy Utah.
Seattle Center Greg Williams dropped in two free throws with 19 seconds remaining against a backdrop of 2,400 screaming voices in Santa Clara's home area to produce a 79-77 victory for the Chieftains. "I didn't hear a thing," he said later. "There was nothing there but me, the ball and the rim."
The Santa Clara loss may have clinched the West Coast Athletic Conference crown for San Francisco, which wrecked St. Mary's 93-72. Long Beach State avenged its only loss of the season, crushing San Jose State 117-75.
1. UCLA (21-0)
2. LONG BEACH STATE (21-1)
St. John's left Syracuse's Manley Field House gasping, wheezing and thoroughly beaten after a record crowd of 8,944 had stirred both the Orange and the dust from the clay floor over which the court is laid. The 80-70 outcome ended the visitors' 14-game winning streak and extended the Syracuse home record to 30 straight. The Orange moved to 18-4 on Saturday by defeating Canisius 76-72.
Providence also won twice, making short order of Cleveland State in a 113-79 mismatch and bombing Holy Cross 94-75. The Friars' lead shrank to one point in the second half as the Crusaders battled back from a 19-point deficit, largely because the opposition's Ernie DiGregorio and Marvin Barnes were both resting on the bench. Reinserted eventually, Barnes had 21 points and 21 rebounds and Ernie D. 28 points.
Niagara did the defensive job of the year on South Carolina's Kevin Joyce, holding him to two field goals, but his 11 free throws helped the Gamecocks get out with an 84-74 victory. Seven-foot Danny Traylor was superb, scoring 23 points, pulling down 13 rebounds and blocking six shots. "Just like a goalie," said Niagara Coach Frank Layden.
Fordham ended Notre Dame's five-game winning streak and stopped its own six-game slide with a 70-69 upset. Darryl Brown's short jumper with 12 seconds left produced "the greatest victory of my career" for Ram Coach Hal Wissel. Irish Coach Digger Phelps claimed to be untroubled by the second loss to his former team. "Just another game," he said.
1. PROVIDENCE (18-2)
2. ST. JOHN'S (18-3)
Kansas Coach Ted Owens' enthusiasm for the Big Eight's 30-second clock no doubt suffered in the closing moments of the Jayhawks' game with Kansas State. Kansas could neither sit on the 62-49 lead it had mounted with 5:30 to go nor add to it. Finally, with 22 seconds left, State's Lon Kruger sank two free throws that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time and sealed a 67-66 victory, an important hurdle on the route to the Big Eight title.
Colorado remained in the running, however, with a 77-68 overtime victory over Missouri, which had earlier defeated Oklahoma 64-62.
Minnesota enhanced its Big Ten chances with an 82-75 win over Indiana. The Hoosiers had earlier dealt Illinois an 87-66 thrashing that seemed to take care of any Illini aspirations. Purdue's only game of the week was an 88-84 victory over Michigan State.
Marquette whipped Northern Illinois 93-80 despite 35 points by Jim Bradley. Allie McGuire and Marcus Washington combined to beat the Huskies' zone with an outside barrage that broke the game open in the first half.
John Williamson returned from his NCAA-imposed exile, but his 25 points weren't enough as New Mexico State lost to St. Louis 69-54.
Cincinnati won its fifth game in the last six starts 79-78 over Ohio University. Seventh-ranked Houston won as expected 87-70 over Corpus Christi, but then was upset by Creighton 78-77.
Richard Fuqua won the shootout and Oral Roberts the war when Illinois State and Doug Collins came calling on the Titans. The hosts took the game 111-96, and Fuqua had his best individual effort of the year in outscoring Collins 49-41, although he took 49 shots to Collins' 26.
1. MINNESOTA (16-2)
2. MARQUETTE (20-2)
Davidson continued its regular season mastery of the Southern Conference by clinching its sixth straight championship and ninth of the last 10 years. The league's NCAA representative will emerge from an internecine tournament, however, so Furman isn't dead yet despite its 89-84 loss to Davidson last week. Nor for that matter is lowly Appalachian State, which the Wildcats bombed 108-81.
Atlantic Coast Conference leader North Carolina State remained unbeaten with wins over East Carolina (105-70) and Wake Forest (81-59). North Carolina took over second place with a 95-85 victory against Maryland. Said the Terrapins' Lefty Driesell, uncharacteristically: "There is too much emphasis on winning in this conference." North Carolina next faced Florida State in a rematch of last year's NCAA Eastern final and won at Madison Square Garden 91-79.
The Seminoles previously had upset Jacksonville 83-74 with two starters on the bench for the last seven minutes, hitting 64% of their shots from the floor. Jacksonville recovered against Illinois State 95-86. Southwestern Louisiana blasted Texas at Arlington on the road 111-96 and came home to whip Louisiana Tech 94-93.
Tennessee maintained its Southeastern Conference lead with a narrow 51-49 victory over Mississippi and an 85-71 defeat of Georgia. The Bulldogs also fell 78-67 to Alabama, which then turned around and clipped Auburn 87-75.
1. N.C. STATE (21-0)
2. N. CAROLINA (20-4)