When undefeated DePaul zipped to a 28-12 lead over four-time loser Old Dominion, the Blue Demons looked like a sure bet to earn their 48th straight home victory. Despite poor play, DePaul led by seven with 1:50 left. Then the Blue Demons went from sloppy to slapstick, missing several foolhardy jumpers from 15 and 20 feet out, and committing two costly mistakes. First, Clyde Bradshaw bounced the ball off his knee and out of bounds, after which Grant Robinson scored a basket that cut the Monarch deficit to 62-61 with only 11 seconds to go. On the ensuing inbounds play, Billy Mann stole a pass from Terry Cummings and put in a layup with eight seconds remaining to give Old Dominion a stunning 63-62 triumph. As they have been on several occasions this season, the Demons were out-rebounded by a smaller team, this time 54-31. Icy 38.9% shooting also hurt DePaul, whose Mark Aguirre missed 12 of 16 floor shots. The Monarchs shot even worse—33.7%—but came through in the clutch and got 21 points from Ronnie McAdoo.
"I'm thoroughly embarrassed," Marquette Coach Hank Raymonds said after an 84-72 loss to Southern Mississippi. Three days later his pride was restored by a 54-52 upset of Notre Dame. "It's always been my dream to beat Notre Dame on a last-second shot," Warrior freshman Glenn Rivers said after doing precisely that with a 35-footer off the backboard. But the Warriors wouldn't have won had it not been for Dean Marquardt, who had been playing so poorly that Raymonds had benched him recently and had gone with three guards and no big man. Against the Irish, though, height was needed, so Marquardt started. The Marquette center, who was averaging 2.2 points a game, scored 15 and blocked three shots.
How hot was Purdue? Well, the Boilermakers shot 75.5% (37 of 49) while upsetting Michigan 81-79, easily breaking the Big Ten accuracy mark. That was only part of the story. Purdue Guard Brian Walker sank a shot when his 20-foot alley-oop pass, intended for Keith Edmonson, turned into an alley-oops basket that went right through the net. Russell Cross fired in 21 points for the Boilermakers, while Edmonson and Drake Morris added 20 each. Edmonson had 26 points in another victory, 73-65 over Ohio State.
Indiana's Ted Kitchel was also cooking, scoring 40 points during a 78-61 rout of Illinois. Kitchel, who was averaging 9.4 points a game, put in 11 of 13 field-goal tries and set a Big Ten mark by hitting all 18 of his free throws. The Hoosiers, who are tied with Purdue for the Big Ten lead, also defeated Michigan State 55-43.
"We were so worried about Ohio State's front line that we overlooked the guards—and that beat us," Iowa Coach Lute Olson said after a 78-76 defeat. Two Buckeye guards, Todd Penn and Larry Huggins, sparked their team to victory. Penn came off the bench to clamp down on the Hawkeyes' Kenny Arnold, who had scored his team's first seven points but added just seven more after being "Penned in." Huggins held Vince Brookins to only four points, 12 below his average. Both Iowa and Michigan quickly bounced back, the Hawkeyes beating Michigan State 65-57 and the Wolverines downing Minnesota 68-67 in double overtime on an off-balance shot by Marty Bodnar.
Kentucky and Louisiana State won at home and on the road and wound up sharing the SEC lead. The Wildcats overcame 17 turnovers and Tennessee's slowdown play to squeeze out a 48-47 victory on Fred Cowan's 18-footer with six seconds to go. Auburn wore orange jerseys for the first time ever when Kentucky came to town. According to legend, a similar tactic had helped the Tiger football squad knock Georgia out of the 1978 Sugar Bowl. This time orange didn't work, the Wildcats winning 79-66.
Vanderbilt also tried the unusual. The Commodores, who arrived at LSU with an 89.9-point scoring average, the SEC's best, used a zone to slow down the action. No problem, said the Tigers, and romped 77-61 with the aid of Willie Simms, who scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half. It was the LSU defense, however, that made the big difference, forcing 29 turnovers, 10 on steals, giving the Tigers 124 thefts in their first 12 games. LSU then won 81-69 at Mississippi State.
Last season South Alabama's John May scored only 10 points in three games against Virginia Commonwealth. Last week May netted 25 against VC and led the Jaguars to a 76-62 triumph. "South," as Jaguar fans call their team, took two more conference games—92-61 over North Carolina-Charlotte and 74-54 over Georgia State—with Rory White racking up 48 points.
"I honestly think we can win," said Southern Cal Coach Stan Morrison before playing at UCLA, where the Trojans hadn't come out on top in 11 years. Among the requirements for victory, according to Morrison, were to "rebound effectively, cut off their fast break and not get fatigued." Although such wishes are seldom fulfilled this side of Fantasy Island, the Trojans, down by nine at the half, won the second-half board battle 16-13, throttled the Bruins' fast break and, using only seven players, kept up the pressure. Jacque Hill put USC in front 66-64 when he stole the ball and sank a basket with 36 seconds to go. Then Rod Foster of UCLA tied the score on a jumper 11 seconds from the end. Finally, with one second left, Mo Williams wrapped up a 20-point night with a 20-foot jumper to give the Trojans the long-sought triumph, 68-66. USC had begun the week with a 63-61 overtime loss to Washington, while UCLA had started off by drubbing Washington State 87-61.
Three victories put Oregon State alone at the top of the Pac-10. The Beavers' Steve Johnson was benched early in a game at Arizona for committing what Coach Ralph Miller called a "dumb" foul. Back in the game, Johnson poured in 32 points and latched on to 12 rebounds as Oregon State won 61-49. At home against Stanford, Johnson sank 12 of 14 floor shots for the second game in a row as the Beavers won 76-62. Johnson and Mark Radford each had 26 points in that one. California held Johnson to just three points, but Radford had 22, seven assists and four steals as Oregon State prevailed 80-53.
Arizona State was another three-time victor. Alton Lister popped in 23 points as the Sun Devils burned Oregon 104-64 and 26 in a 90-62 win at Washington. Sandwiched between those easy wins was a hard-fought 62-59 overtime victory at Washington State, where Arizona State took advantage of three turnovers in the second extra period to put the game away. Against the Huskies, Lister had his string of successful foul shots ended at 18. Such marksmanship is new for the Sun Devil center, who entered the season with a 55.9% career figure from the foul line. With the help of Coach Ned Wulk, Lister has learned to relax, concentrate and "get more leg" into his free throws. "I need to bend my legs to get them relaxed," he explained. "So I dribble the ball five times and then bend. Then I dribble five more times and shoot." It's paid off; Lister is shooting fouls at a 73% rate this season.
Utah's front line really piled up the points while beating Hawaii 100-87 and San Diego State 97-74: Tom Chambers scored 46, Danny Vranes 40 and Karl Bankowski 34. Brigham Young defeated the same teams, Hawaii 91-74 and San Diego State 84-73, as Danny Ainge hit for 64 points and Greg Kite added 35 more and took down 30 rebounds.
Arkansas continued to stand tall, but Texas A&M's Wall continued to fall. The Razorbacks, who swept past Texas Christian 85-51 in an SWC contest, have won their last three games by a total of 108 points. A&M, however, lost at Baylor 53-44 and at Texas Tech 72-70 to extend its losing streak to five games.
Meanwhile, the fortunes of Louisville and Missouri were rising. The Cardinals took a pair of Metro road games, defeating Tulane 73-53 and Cincinnati 83-68. Steve Stipanovich, who was supposed to give Mizzou a shot in the arm but on Dec. 27 accidentally shot himself in the upper arm with a pistol, proved he had made a rapid recovery. By coming off the bench to grab 12 rebounds and score nine points, Stipanovich helped the Tigers sink Navy 88-67.
Bradley and Tulsa were two-time MVC winners. While the Braves won on the road—88-86 at West Texas State in overtime and 83-58 at New Mexico State—the Golden Hurricane prevailed at home against Southern Illinois 85-67 and Wichita State 91-84.
Evansville beat Loyola of Chicago 73-70 in its Midwestern City opener, its 11th victory in 13 tries. For the Purple Aces it was their best start in 13 seasons.
In women's play, a 24-point performance by Lynette Woodard of Kansas during an 80-59 defeat of Stephen F. Austin made her the alltime top Division I scorer, with 3,206 points. The victory also marked the 111th game in a row in which Woodard scored in double figures for the Jayhawks.
DePaul will remember Maine. But Maine will also remember the Blue Demons, particularly Mark Aguirre, who put on one of the finest displays ever seen in New England. Aguirre carried his team to an 85-77 triumph by sinking 19 of 26 field-goal tries and scoring a career-high 47 points. With Maine leading 30-27, Aguirre poured in 11 consecutive points to put DePaul ahead for keeps. Aguirre excelled despite two injuries—a sprained ankle he suffered the day before and a frightening headfirst crash onto the press table during the game.
Aside from wood-burning stoves, the hottest items in New England were the Connecticut Rams, now 10-0. En route to beating Syracuse for the first time since 1974, the Rams asked the question: How would they fare without their main man, Corny Thompson? The answer: just fine. With Thompson benched with four fouls, Connecticut upped its lead from eight points to 14. The Rams' 6'11" Chuck Aleksinas outdid like-sized Dan Schayes of the Orange, outrebounding him 10-6 and outscoring him 20-11 as he sank 15-footers and spinning layups. Following that 78-59 Big East victory, Connecticut beat Holy Cross 66-57 and Seton Hall 57-47.
Stop Ralph Sampson. That was the objective of two coaches, North Carolina State's Jim Valvano and North Carolina's Dean Smith. Valvano's plan was to force Sampson to shoot jumpers, shots the coach hoped would be missed by the Virginia center and rebounded by Valvano's own players. But Sampson hit three straight jump shots, scored 24 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and blocked four shots as the Cavaliers beat N.C. State 63-55. North Carolina led Virginia by seven with 8:30 left when Smith resorted to his four-corners offense. But a Cavalier rally was ignited by Lee Raker, who scored 16 second-half points, and by Othell Wilson, who canned four jumpers in a row. Sampson then tossed in six consecutive points to finish off the Tar Heels 63-57. All of which left Virginia in first place in the ACC with a 3-0 record.
Earlier, North Carolina had come from 12 points back to jolt visiting Maryland 74-66 as Al Wood pumped in 21 points. Ernest Graham of the Terps, who called the loss "a humiliation," helped Maryland defeat Duke 94-79 the next time out. Graham had 23 points and eight assists and held Gene Banks of the Blue Devils to just 11 points. Buck Williams also kept the Terps charged up, snaring 15 rebounds, scoring 24 points and rattling the rims with five in-your-face dunks.
After Wake Forest had beaten Appalachian State 63-42 and Clemson had stopped Georgia Tech 65-54, the two victors met. The Deacons, playing at home, led by 11 with 11 minutes to go, but Larry Nance, who scored 18 of his 31 points after the intermission, rallied the Tigers to a 67-66 lead with only 2:09 remaining. From there on, Guy Morgan took over, scoring Wake's final nine points—two on a go-ahead basket from the top of the key with 10 seconds left—for a 73-71 victory.
Notre Dame, which defeated Villanova by a point last year when Tracy Jackson heaved in a 40-foot desperation shot that just beat the buzzer, trimmed the Wildcats with ease this time around. The Irish stormed to a 40-27 halftime advantage and won 94-65.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
KEITH EDMONSON: The 6'5" junior, who switched from guard to forward this season, sank 19 of 26 floor shots, grabbed 10 rebounds and had 46 points as Purdue dealt Michigan its first defeat and also beat Ohio State.