Skip to main content
Original Issue

THE WEEK (December 1-7)


"I used my Knute Rockne speech No. 116 on Friday and it bombed out. Tonight I just told them, 'Let's go out and play basketball.' " So said North Carolina State's new coach, Jim Valvano, after the Big Four tournament. Valvano, who rattles off one-liners faster than his Wolfpack can score points, suffered through an 87-57 first-round wipeout by Wake Forest and then took third place by beating Duke 74-60. North Carolina, which warmed up for this affair by stopping Mercer 89-74, made it to the finals by edging Duke 78-76 on two late foul shots. In the title game, Wake Forest won 82-71 after having led by as many as 22 points. With MVP Frank Johnson scoring 24 points against the Tar Heels, the Deacons wrapped up the 11th and last All-North Carolina tournament by finishing first for the fourth time, more than any other team.

Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell's plan against Syracuse in the finals of the Carrier Classic was to "get the lead with man-to-man and then go zone." And that's precisely what the Terps did. The Orangemen, up by as many as eight points in the first half, fell behind 52-50 and then had their inside game bottled up by Maryland's zone. MVP Greg Manning of the Terps had 21 points in what turned out to be an 83-73 victory over Syracuse and 29 in a 96-73 win over Wagner.

Virginia, which for years had to scramble for its victories at William & Mary, this time won there with ease, 88-68. The Cavaliers attributed their runaway to the Indian fans, who fired them up with taunts. Ralph Sampson, the target of most of those barbs, attempted to silence his critics with a behind-the-back pass into their midst. Virginia also beat Randolph-Macon, 83-52, Sampson getting six dunks and 26 points, 19 in the first 10 minutes.

Bill Foster was the winning coach as Clemson won 82-69 at South Carolina. Bill Foster was also the losing coach in that game. Both had cause to believe they would win. The Gamecocks' Foster (William E.) felt his team might pull the game out because Zam Fredrick scored 20 of his 28 points in the second half and helped trim a 16-point deficit to four. Bill Foster of the Tigers (William C), though, wound up smiling because his players cashed in on 16 of 17 free throws in the final four minutes. Three days earlier Clemson's Foster had dislocated his left shoulder using a chain saw. By the time he arrived at that night's game against Samford, his Tigers, playing under the guidance of assistant Dwight Rainey, were well on their way to a 102-59 laugher.

South Alabama played four games, starting at home with a win over Wisconsin-Parkside 90-75 and then being shocked by Middle Tennessee State 80-79. Next it was on to the Worcester County National Classic, where the Jaguars got 27 points from Ed Rains while knocking off Assumption 77-66 and 24 points from Rory White while blowing out host Holy Cross 77-53 in the finale.

Georgetown's Eric (Sleepy) Floyd, who has predicted he will someday have a perfect shooting record in a game, almost did it during a 108-73 drubbing of St. Leo's. Floyd sank all 11 of his field-goal tries and two of three foul shots. Against Wheeling, which succumbed 94-58, Sleepy was again wide awake, putting in seven of 11 from the floor and six of seven free throws.

St. John's built a 23-16 lead over Princeton, but then had its inside game shut off by a collapsing zone. The patient Tigers, winless in their two previous outings, wound up handing the Redmen their first loss, 47-46.

At home and away, Frank Brickowski had a hot hand for Penn State. He scored 22 points as the Nittany Lions beat Southern Methodist 72-50 and hit on nine of 11 floor shots as they won 61-54 at Indiana State.


"He might be the best player in basketball, but nobody's beyond reproach," said DePaul Coach Ray Meyer as he explained why he chewed out Mark Aguirre in the second half of a game with Gonzaga. Meyer, angered by his team's lackadaisical play, landed on Aguirre after he "threw the ball away three times in a row." Aguirre, who scored 26 points as the Blue Demons won that game 74-56, got back in Meyer's good graces even though he scored just 14 in an 88-71 victory over Santa Clara five days later. What pleased Meyer so much was Aguirre's "phenomenal" passing and his willingness not to take a shot "for eight or nine minutes." Said Aguirre, "I just wanted to get my guys into the offense. I don't want to dominate the game."

Notre Dame fattened up on Montana State 87-68, Texas Christian 79-63 and Cal Poly-Pomona 76-50. Kelly Tripucka of the Irish increased his scoring average to 00.0 with 68 points in the three games.

Michigan's rookie coach, Bill Frieder, paced the locker room before facing Arkansas, and his concern deepened when his team fell behind 17-9. Then came a convenient TV time-out, which Frieder exploited by switching his defense from a zone to man-to-man. Zingo—the Wolverines turned things around, led 34-27 at halftime and won 78-65 as Mike McGee got 23 points. During a 64-52 triumph at Kansas, McGee had 28 points.

After Iowa defeated Detroit 98-55, Coach Lute Olson gave his "best-game" award to 6'10" Steve Krafcisin, even though he had been outscored by teammate Vince Brookins 27-2. Olson's rationale was that "Krafcisin had seven assists, stole the ball five times, had no errors and Brookins got a lot of points off of Big K's assists." Ohio State, down 36-24 at the half, stopped Colgate 77-58. Another Big Ten power, Minnesota, downed Florida State 112-91 and Loyola of Chicago 100-83.

Guards Ethan Martin and Willie Sims provided the firepower as Louisiana State beat Tulane, 119-81, for the 19th straight time. Martin equaled the Tiger record for assists with 16, turned all six of his steals into baskets and scored 23 points. Sims came off the bench, flicked in 13 points in less than four minutes and wound up with 19.

Bradley had no such easy time at Illinois State, squandering an 11-point lead and being tied at 68-all. But Redbird freshman Hank Cornley, who scored 14 of his 16 points during State's surge, fouled out with 6:50 left, and the Braves went on to win 72-70.


"I did a heck of a job and I'm going to take credit for it," said Tulsa's new coach, Nolan Richardson, after a 68-60 upset of visiting Louisville. Much of the credit Richardson was unabashedly willing to accept centered on four players he wisely brought with him from Western Texas, last season's junior college champions. Those four—starters Paul Pressey, Greg Stewart and David Brown, plus sixth man Phil Spradling—teamed up for 48 points. The Cardinals hardly looked like reigning Division I titlists as they committed a school-record 35 turnovers and shot 39% from the field. It wasn't a work of art that the Golden Hurricane put together, either, but greyhound speed helped make up for 27 turnovers, 12 blown layups, 10 missed foul shots in 22 tries and a 45-34 case of the shorts in rebounding. Tulsa pulled away from a 50-50 tie, sank five straight free throws to go in front 64-60 and then got a rousing dunk from Brown. "They thought we were a bunch of rooty-toots—weak inside—so we had to show 'em we have heart," Brown said.

Two days later, Oklahoma State's Cowboys also utilized Louisville to prove they weren't a bunch of rooty-toots. The Cardinals led 41-29 after 20 minutes and 66-61 with five minutes to go. With four seconds left and his team down by one point, Eddie Hannon of the Cowboys rebounded a missed Louisville foul shot, drove up the middle, got one stride across midcourt and heaved a one-handed prayerball. The 45-footer banked off the backboard and through the net for Hannon's only field goal of the game and a 72-71 Oklahoma State triumph. That left Louisville a hard-to-believe 0-3. Once again, the Cardinals were ragged, being guilty of 27 turnovers and missing half their 42 free throws. And the Cowboys won despite being outrebounded 52-39 and playing most of the way without their finest athlete—foul-plagued Matt Clark.

Texas A&M trailed Texas Southern 25-24 at the half before a change of tactics produced a 61-50 Aggie victory. After a futile first half spent trying to shoot over the Tigers' zone, A&M chucked its offbeat 1-4 attack and put in a second guard, freshman Reggie Roberts. With Roberts and Tyrone Ladson doing most of the ball handling, the Aggies shot more discreetly.

There's nothing like a summer of touring Yugoslavia to rid a basketball team of its unselfishness. At least that's the opinion around Wichita State, whose Shockers had done so. Displaying new togetherness, the Wichitans drubbed Hardin-Simmons 105-46 and took the McDonald Classic on their home court. After lapsing into some bad old habits and trailing McNeese State by six midway through the first round of the tournament, Wichita State got its act together for a 91-66 victory. In the title matchup, Colorado State incurred the wrath of Shocker rooters by playing a delay game. That scuttled any hope of free burgers at Wendy's, which serves them up whenever Wichita State reaches 100 points. The stalling also gave fans fewer chances to get free T shirts, which are thrown their way after each Shocker stuff. Anyway, the crowd was happy with Cliff Levingston's 24 points and a 53-34 Wichita State triumph.

Big stuff is back say the billboards at Missouri: Fans had difficulty swallowing that hype after the Tigers' shaky 2-1 start, but last week's romp through the Show-Me Classic made the slogan more palatable. A pair of two-handed big stuffs by 6'11" Steve Stipanovich helped Mizzou down West Texas State 88-70, and his 25 points and 10 rebounds did in Lamar 92-70 in the showdown game.


With the halftime score 57-40, UCLA Coach Larry Brown excoriated his players in the locker room. Who was beating the Bruins so badly? No one. UCLA was ahead of St. Mary's by that score. Then why was Brown ranting? Well, he seems to believe that halftime chew-outs are mandatory. Besides, he felt his team was gambling too much on defense and not sticking to fundamentals on offense. Properly chastised, the Bruins outscored the Gaels 30-7 early in the second half and won 113-70.

"I ripped them good at halftime," said Nevada-Las Vegas Coach Jerry Tarkanian of his intermission oratory. "We just didn't pass at all in the first half." Like Brown, Tarkanian got results, his Rebels rallying from a 49-48 deficit against UC-Irvine for a 124-95 victory. "The second half was team ball," said Larry Anderson, who pumped in 25 points for Vegas. In an assault that ate up the Anteaters, Sidney Green had 18 points and 15 rebounds, and Michael Burns scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half.

Oregon State also came from behind to win, 82-76 at Pepperdine, where the Waves sank 19 of their last 21 first-half shots to take a 42-37 lead. Bill Sadler, who hit on 11 of 12 field-goal attempts and had 24 points, put Pepperdine in front 66-65 by sinking three straight baskets. But the Beavers prevailed by shooting 80% in the second half. Steve Johnson, who scored 23 points for Oregon State in that game, had 21 in an earlier 78-47 defeat of Cal State-Northridge.

Arizona State came on in the second half, too, to take the finale of the Fiesta Classic by toppling Iowa 96-88. Eleven points in a row by the Sun Devils early in the second half gave them a decisive nine-point cushion. Lafayette (Fat) Lever had 21 points, 13 assists, five steals and two blocked shots, but the MVP was teammate Byron Scott, who scored 20 points in that game and 19 in an opening-round 92-71 rout of Montana State.



PAUL PRESSEY: Tulsa's junior guard had 11 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and five steals during a 68-60 upset of Louisville, and he hounded Oklahoma into an 84-75 loss with his deft ball hawking and playmaking.