Coaches whose teams have lost to Louisiana State this season have often complained about their lackluster offense. LSU Coach Dale Brown, on the other hand, prefers to think the Tigers' tenacious defense has been the difference. Consider the comments after LSU took a two-game lead in the Southeastern Conference with an 81-67 home-court victory over Kentucky. "We're obviously in a terrible slump," Wildcat Coach Joe Hall complained. "I think our switching defenses was the key," Brown insisted. One fact was clear to both: Tiger sixth man Willie Sims had been a big factor. Sims, who entered the lineup after eight minutes of play, quickly tossed in 10 points to propel the Tigers from two points down to a 38-25 halftime lead. When it was all over, he had 22 points. Hoping to avoid letdowns against Auburn and Tennessee, Brown told his Tigers to "pretend we're the underdog all the time." With Howard Carter successful on 23 of 31 field-goal attempts and scoring 54 points, LSU beat Auburn 74-64 and the Vols 80-63. Ethan Martin, the SEC's Light-fingered Louie, had five steals against Tennessee while helping the Tigers hold an opponent below 70 points for the 11th consecutive game.
Kentucky handed Florida its worst regular-season loss ever, 102-48, and defeated Vanderbilt 78-64. The Gators regrouped to stun Alabama 97-91 as Vernon Delancy, one of four freshman starters, slammed in five dunks on his way to 38 points.
"It's a screwy league," said Michigan State Coach Jud Heathcote of the Big Ten. The Spartans added to the confusion with a 74-68 victory at Purdue as Kevin Smith scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half. At the week's end the Boilermakers were tied for first with Indiana, Iowa and Ohio State.
Indiana and Iowa also lost home games. The Hoosiers fell to the Hawkeyes 56-53, a 29-24 lead slipping away when they were out-scored 10-1 at the start of the second half. However, Iowa didn't go in front to stay until Kenny Arnold, operating out of the four corners offense, hit a short jumper from the lane to snap a 46-46 deadlock with 3:19 remaining. Shortly before Indiana won 93-56 at Northwestern, the Hawkeyes were jarred 60-48 at home by Minnesota. The Gophers' 7'2" Randy Breuer sank eight of nine field-goal tries and helped limit 6'10" Steve Krafcisin and 6'11" Steve Waite to one basket apiece. Earlier, Minnesota had lost 76-63 at home—where else?—to Ohio State. Before playing at home against Michigan, Coach Eldon Miller told his Buckeyes, "Everybody says you are an up and down team. Now it's time for you to go up and stay up." That they did, rallying from four points back with 9:21 left, playing with uncommon intensity and winning 69-63. Herb Williams finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and three of Ohio State's nine blocks.
The loss dropped the Wolverines a game off the league lead, even though they did win at home, 80-76 over Illinois in double overtime after blowing a 12-point margin. A novel five-point play helped the Illini get back into that game. It began when, after a Michigan foul, Illinois was given the ball out of bounds because the official scorer didn't realize the visitors were in a bonus free-throw situation. Before the error was caught, Mark Smith of the Illini sank a basket and was fouled. To rectify matters, the refs let Perry Range take the one-and-one he should have been granted earlier. Range made both shots and Smith added his free throw to conclude the five-pointer. Johnny Johnson led Michigan with 31 points.
Freshman Tom Sluby of Notre Dame sank three foul shots in the last 21 seconds to beat Fordham 67-61. In another tight game, the Irish avenged an earlier loss to San Francisco, 80-75. John Paxson put Notre Dame in front to stay with a 21-foot shot with six seconds left and finished with 22 points.
South Alabama's victory string ended at 14 in an 86-70 loss to Virginia Commonwealth as the Rams' Edmund Sherod scored 26 points and Danny Kottak 23. The Jaguars then barely held off McNeese State on the road, stalling for most of the last eight minutes of a 64-60 triumph. USA's Herb Andrew and Scott Williams sank nine straight foul shots down the stretch.
The time: 22 seconds left. The place: Seattle. The score: Washington 85, undefeated Oregon State 81. Those were the circumstances as the Beavers' Rob Holbrook took a pass from Les Conner and tossed in a 12-foot jumper. After the Huskies brought the ball inbounds, Oregon State's Ray Blume forced a jump ball. The Beavers gained possession after the tip, Conner missed a shot, Steve Johnson rebounded it and scored with two seconds left to force an overtime. Although Washington had the lead most of the way, including a 44-34 advantage at halftime, Oregon State prevailed 97-91. Johnson began the extra period with a three-point play and added another basket, giving him 38 for the game—30 for the second half.
Seven-foot Alton Lister was sidelined because of strained knee ligaments, but Arizona State nonetheless outrebounded Arizona 52-35 and breezed to an 83-65 triumph. Leading the way for the Sun Devils was Byron Scott, who had 21 points.
To get more height in his lineup, UCLA Coach Larry Brown gave
7'2½" Mark Eaton more playing time than usual as the Bruins beat Stanford 85-58 and California 75-61. When Eaton teamed up with speedsters like forwards Tony Anderson and Darren Daye and guards Rod Foster and Michael Holton, UCLA decisively took command.
San Jose State was the PCAA's only unbeaten team after it won two road games—49-43 at Cal State-Fullerton and 57-56 in overtime at UC Santa Barbara. UC Irvine, which leads the nation with a 91.3 scoring average, won 88-72 at Pacific and then lost 64-51 at Fresno State.
Wyoming blew a big chance to take charge of the WAC when it lost road games at Utah 55-53 and Brigham Young 84-70. Wyoming Guard Charles Bradley, the most promising pro prospect in the WAC, scored 41 points in the losses. But it was BYU's Danny Ainge who became the WAC's all-time leading scorer. By scoring 31 points against the Cowboys and 22 in a 66-46 romp over Colorado State, Ainge increased his career total to 2,159 points. Utah also whomped Colorado State, 86-56.
Montana State's 68-59 defeat of Idaho left both teams tied for the No. 1 position in the Big Sky. In earlier contests, Montana State beat Boise State 96-70 and Idaho won 47-44 in overtime at Montana.
"I don't know what they have to do to make people believe," said Kansas State Coach Jack Hartman after a 90-83 loss to much-overlooked Oklahoma State. The Cowboys convinced Hartman by scoring more points against his team than any visitor has in his 11 seasons with the Wildcats. It was also the first victory in a decade at Manhattan, Kans, for quick, aggressive, shoot-'em-up Oklahoma State, which was fourth nationally in scoring with an 85.2 average. Guard Matt Clark paced the Cowboys with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Oklahoma State, picked to finish last in the Big Eight, then returned home to knock off Iowa State, thereby remaining tied with Kansas for first place. The Jayhawks were also led by an outstanding guard in its 63-55 defeat of Missouri, Darnell Valentine getting 15 points, six steals and four assists. Kansas subsequently beat Colorado 66-59 for its 10th consecutive victory.
"You just die a thousand deaths," said Wichita State Coach Gene Smithson, who was a casket case during a vital 77-72 Missouri Valley Conference win at Creighton. Tony Martin kept the Shockers—and Smithson—alive by pumping in seven of his 22 points in the last 1:37. Two nights later, Smithson's son Randy sank two free throws with nine seconds left to finish off Drake 89-88. Until then, Cliff Levingston had kept Wichita State in contention with 28 points and 18 rebounds. For naught were 43 points by Lewis Lloyd of the Bulldogs. Lloyd had two other big games, scoring 28 points as Drake edged Creighton 71-70 and 33 in a 91-90 loss at Indiana State. Drake, 10-6, has lost five times by two points or less. Bradley retained its half-game lead over Wichita State by defeating Tulsa 70-63 and Southern Illinois 58-47.
Baylor beat Texas Tech 69-61 and lost 75-70 at Texas, but held on to first in the Southwest Conference. LaSalle Thompson, a 6'10" center, had 15 rebounds, scored 26 points and helped give the Longhorns a 20-point lead at 55-35.
After beating Louisville 60-55 in overtime, Memphis State Coach Dana Kirk praised his wife Ann for some effective scouting. "She watched them on TV the other day and told me they 'bunch up,' " he explained. "She told me not to let them do that around the basket and to keep them off the boards. It worked, didn't it?" Sure did. The Cardinals missed all 10 of their field-goal attempts in the extra period and shot only 39.3% overall against the Tigers' assorted zones.
Unlike most highly regarded teams, DePaul plays a lollipop schedule—only one present Top 20 opponent so far. The Blue Demons' response has been massive ennui and lackluster performances. Last week, when it was time for his team to leave its hotel to play LaSalle in Philadelphia's Palestra, Coach Ray Meyer had a hard time prying his players away from watching the Notre Dame-Maryland game on TV. It wasn't until the second half of their own game, which began with DePaul ahead 29-28, that the Demons got going. Mark Aguirre, the team's mood-setter, put on one of his virtuoso efforts by scoring 23 of his 35 points in the final 20 minutes as DePaul won 69-62.
Even though Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell performed some of his nonpareil sideline routines, including flashing hex signs at Notre Dame foul shooters, the Irish were 73-70 winners. The Terps, who led 41-38 at halftime, lost largely because they were outrebounded 21-9 in the second half and because of the defensive work of Orlando Woolridge. Albert King of the Terps, who had 14 points in the first half against assorted Notre Dame defenders, got only four in the final 20 minutes with Woolridge guarding him.
Then, too, there was the towel, the one superstitious Kelly Tripucka of the Irish wipes his hands with before taking foul shots. Tripucka's failure to adhere to his ritual was, he felt, the reason he missed his first free throw of the afternoon. "After that I used the towel," said Tripucka, who converted 11 of his next 12 tries. Tripucka capped off a 25-point performance by making both ends of three one-and-one situations in the last 1:53.
Wake Forest's 14-game winning streak, which had been built around sizzling 53.9% field-goal accuracy, ended in a 74-60 defeat by visiting North Carolina. The Tar Heels' array of zone defenses held the Deacons to 38.5% shooting. North Carolina got 25 points and 17 rebounds from Al Wood and effectively used its newest lead-protecting tactic—a weaving delay game. Both teams riddled the nets the next time out, Wood scoring 24 points in 27 minutes as the Tar Heels beat Georgia Tech 100-60 and Wake Forest clobbering North Carolina-Asheville 99-68.
It looked like a white-knuckler all the way when Virginia and Clemson were deadlocked at 51-all midway through the second half. But the Tigers suddenly went cold, missing nine of their last 10 shots, and lost to the visiting Cavaliers 74-59. Jeff Lamp scored 25 points for Virginia, and Ralph Sampson had 17 points and 13 rebounds. Back home, Virginia handed George Washington an 86-56 setback and, on Sunday, defeated Ohio State 89-73 as Sampson scored a career-high 40 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.
Syracuse overcame a 39-29 halftime deficit to defeat St. John's 79-71 before the largest on-campus crowd ever to see a basketball game. The throng of 23,913 in the Orange-men's Carrier Dome surpassed by 124 the crowd that saw Indiana play at Kentucky in 1979. In other Big East action, Connecticut lost at Villanova 63-59 and beat Georgetown 75-73 in overtime.
West Virginia and St. Joseph's continued to win. After beating Penn State 55-52, and Eastern Eight rival St. Bonaventure 85-69, the Mountaineers' record was 13-3 overall and 6-0 in the league. The Hawks beat Delaware 67-56 and North Carolina at Charlotte 72-65 to run their record to 13-2.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ANNETTE KENNEDY: The 5'5" SUNY-Purchase guard broke the women's single-game college scoring record, getting 70 points in a 116-21 rout of Pratt. The old record of 60 was set by Pearl Moore of Francis Marion in 1978.