Surprise No. 1: Forward Cliff Windham of Alabama, who had started every game this season, was on the bench when Tennessee came to Tuscaloosa. He was there because Tide Coach Wimp Sanderson opted for a three-guard starting lineup. Surprise No. 2: Windham, who was averaging 7.4 points and 3.7 rebounds, came off the bench and in just 15 minutes had 15 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal. Windham was at his best in overtime, scoring seven points as 'Bama defeated the Vols 77-72. The loss was the first for Tennessee in the SEC and reduced its lead over second-place Alabama to one game. Both teams had won squeakers earlier in the week. The Crimson Tide bumped off Auburn 67-65 and Tennessee got by Georgia 66-64. Dale Ellis of the Vols scored his team's last eight points, the final two on a game-deciding dunk with 22 seconds left.
A zone defense enabled Mississippi State to upset visiting Kentucky 56-51 and break its 17-game. two-season SEC losing streak. Three blocked shots and two late steals by 6'9" Center Kalpatrick Wells helped the Bulldogs come out on top. So did 16 points by Jeff Malone and 15 by Butch Pierre. The Wildcats, though, made themselves right at home in Lexington against Louisiana State and Georgia. With 6'11" Center Mel Turpin getting 20 points and nine rebounds, Kentucky beat LSU 76-65. The Wildcats then defeated Georgia 82-73 as Derrick Hord scored 21 points, Dirk Minniefield 20 and Jim Master 19.
"We scrapped our low-post offense because we wanted to involve everyone," Minnesota Coach Jim Dutcher said after a 69-62 victory at Indiana. "We knew they would sag back on [7'3"] Randy [Breuer], and that's when we wanted to back-door them." Back door, front door, the Gophers came from every direction. Breuer scored all 15 of his points in the first half, after which Minnesota turned to deadly outside shooting and also drilled in 14 of 15 free throws. Darryl Mitchell had 18 points for the Gophers in that game, and Trent Tucker scored 18 as they pulled away from Northwestern in the second half to win 61-53.
Iowa clung to a one-game lead over Minnesota in the Big Ten, although Center Michael Payne was unable to play because of a sprained right foot. Following a 57-56 win at Michigan State, the Hawkeyes defeated Ohio State 76-66 at home. With a second injury victim, Forward Kevin Boyle, hampered by a badly sprained left wrist and scoring only five points, Iowa needed a boost from its healthy starters. And they delivered. Guard Kenny Arnold scored 14 points. Steve Carfino, the other backcourt regular, made five key steals. And Forward Mark Gannon, whom Coach Lute Olson didn't let accompany the Hawkeyes on a tour of South America last summer because he had missed a practice, returned to full favor with 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and nary a turnover. He also held high-scoring Clark Kellogg to five points after the intermission and 17 overall.
With Idaho and Maine coming to town, Coach Digger Phelps declared it Potato Week at Notre Dame. For a while against the Vandals the Irish seemed to be suffering a famine of sorts, as Idaho hit 14 of its first 15 shots and led 36-26 at the half. But the Vandals, who hadn't arrived in South Bend until 4 a.m. that day because of travel difficulties, went into a slowdown and became as cold as yesterday's French fries. Idaho scored only 10 points in the second half and two in overtime en route to a 50-48 loss. Freshman Guard Ron Rowan, who sank three foul shots in OT, led Notre Dame with 17 points. After that the Irish mashed Maine 79-55 but lost to Marquette 70-62.
Perhaps the happiest players anywhere were those from VMI. By beating Appalachian State 67-62 in overtime in a Southern Conference contest, the Keydets ended their losing streak at 23.
We have one of the smallest teams in the conference." said Baylor Coach Jim Haller, "and Texas came in here ranked as the No. 4 rebounding team in the nation, but we outrebounded them by 20 [48-28]. Can you believe that?" It was hard to believe. And so was the fact that the Bears knocked Texas from the unbeaten ranks by a score of 69-59. Those who did the most to hook the Horns were Terry Teagle, who had 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Ozell Hall, who got 20 and 15. What may well cost Texas more dearly than the defeat is the loss of 6'9" Forward Mike Wacker, who had been averaging 16.3 points and 9.9 rebounds. With 8:20 left in the first half he tore up his left knee so badly—fractured and dislocated kneecap and torn ligaments—that he might not be ready for the start of next season. Back home, the Long-horns lost again when Claude Riley sank a 12-foot jumper with five seconds to play in overtime to give Texas A&M a 71-69 win. The Aggies, who had been converting only 65% of their free throws, hit 81% (17 of 21) of them at Austin.
A&M did in the Horns, but a horn may have done in the Aggies when Arkansas came to College Station. Rudy Woods, whose free throw had just given A&M a 63-62 lead with seven seconds remaining, had his arm cocked to try another free throw when—honk!—the timekeeper inadvertently touched off the scoreboard horn. The startled Woods shot awkwardly and missed. Carey Kelly of the Razorbacks grabbed the rebound and shoveled it to Darrell Walker, who dribbled up-court and sank a 20-foot jumper at the buzzer for a 64-63 Arkansas victory. Behind 49-34 before beginning a resurgence, Arkansas had pulled even at 62-all when Walker, who finished with a team-high 23 points, converted a steal into a layup. A 60-54 triumph over Rice three nights later left the Razorbacks a half game in front of A&M and Texas in the Southwest Conference. Arkansas fans would have been in Hog heaven if a last-gasp shot had gone in on Sunday against Wake Forest. But that final try missed and the Deacons hung on for a 49-48 triumph despite 24 points by Walker. Jim Johnstone was the keyman on the Deacons' stingy defense, allowing Scott Hastings of the Razorbacks to score only six points.
After knocking off independent Marquette 77-70, Memphis State took command in the Metro Conference by beating Virginia Tech 83-78. The youthful Tigers got 24 points and nine rebounds from 6'10" freshman Center Keith Lee.
Evansville was another team on the move. The Purple Aces, who lead the Midwestern City Conference, ran their record to 15-3 with two decisive victories, 86-69 over Detroit and 80-47 over Butler.
Tulsa connected on 13 of 18 second-half shots, held West Texas State to one field goal during the final 11:32 and came from nine points back to win 68-61. A 59-45 lead was almost not enough for the Golden Hurricane against New Mexico State, which pulled to within two points before losing 76-72. The two wins left Tulsa tied for the Missouri Valley Conference lead with Bradley, which beat Illinois State 72-58 and then lost 47-42 at Wichita State.
When Virginia's Ralph Sampson was introduced by the P.A. announcer at Duke, many fans feigned disinterest by reading newspapers. That little ploy didn't bother the big man, who put on another RSVP-Ralph Sampson Versatile Performance. Sampson gave those spectators something to really read about by scoring 17 of his 23 points in the second half, taking down 11 rebounds and blocking two shots as the Cavaliers won 77-65. Earlier in the week Tim Mullen, a freshman forward who had scored a total of only four points in his previous two games, got 21 to carry Virginia to another road victory, 69-66 at Wake Forest. Jim Johnstone kept the Deacons in contention all the way by scoring 19 points and limiting Sampson to 10.
Solid second-half efforts kept North Carolina half a game ahead of Virginia in the ACC race. Clemson employed a torrid fast break to lead 54-45 with 9:56 to go at Chapel Hill before succumbing 77-72. Jimmy Black (21 points and 10 assists) and Matt Doherty (21 points) rallied the Tar Heels. Visiting North Carolina State, down by only 29-27 at the intermission, was harassed into 13 second-half turnovers and lost to North Carolina 58-44. James Worthy tossed in 23 points for the Tar Heels.
Sampson wasn't the only newsmaker in Virginia. With Guard Helen Malone getting 17 points and 6'8" Center Anne Donovan scoring 16 and adding 12 blocked shots, Old Dominion's women overcame a 10-point deficit to upset Louisiana Tech 61-58. The Lady Techsters had won a women's major-college record 54 consecutive games.
The coaches of Pittsburgh and West Virginia agreed on one thing: The performance by each of their teams stank. "It probably set basketball back 10 years," Roy Chipman of the Panthers said of a 48-45 loss to West Virginia in which his team was guilty of 20 turnovers and shot a tepid 24.6%. "The first half was the worst half I've ever had a team play." said the Mountaineers' Gale Catlett, who is in his 10th season of coaching. Despite 22 turnovers and 38.6% shooting. West Virginia established a school record with its 15th consecutive victory. No. 14 was no lark, either. The visiting Mountaineers trailed Massachusetts 29-23 at halftime before winning 72-60. Guard Greg Jones, who finished with 22 points, led the West Virginia comeback. On Sunday the Mountaineers, playing on their home floor, extended their streak to 16 by defeating South Alabama 65-59. Holy Cross stunned Connecticut 76-69 as Guard Kevin Greaney scored 17 points and Forward Darren Maloney came off the bench to get 16.
"This was a win we needed, a win under pressure," DePaul Coach Ray Meyer said after his Blue Demons had defeated Syracuse 92-87. The Orangemen got 29 points from Tony Bruin and led 67-66 with eight minutes to go, but then Skip Dillard scored a layup off a loose ball to put DePaul ahead for keeps. Dillard wound up with 28 points, and teammate Terry Cummings, who played the whole second half with four fouls, had 22 points and seven rebounds.
Georgetown, which had dropped three games in a row, chalked up two impressive wins against Big East opponents. The Hoyas romped over Villanova 72-56 behind a total of 35 points by Eric Floyd and Eric Smith. In a Sunday matchup. Georgetown breezed past St. John's for the second time in four weeks, coming out on top 63-46. As for Villanova, the Wildcats split a pair of Philadelphia Big Five games, clobbering LaSalle 117-82 and then being routed by St. Joseph's 84-64.
Although UCLA's rebounding advantage over visiting Oregon State was a slim 29 to 24, it was a vital factor in the Bruins' 74-68 victory. UCLA rarely allowed the Beavers a second shot and often turned missed Oregon State field-goal attempts into fast breaks. Mike Sanders had 29 points for the Bruins, and Kenny Fields added 25. UCLA then beat Oregon 84-61, and Oregon State bounced back from its loss to the Bruins with a 72-55 victory at Southern Cal, which shot a mere 34.6% from the floor. Washington regained a share of the Pac-10 lead with Oregon State by defeating Oregon 76-70 and Washington State 75-60. Those wins improved Washington's overall record to 15-3 and gave the Huskies one more victory than they had all last season.
To show that they were still loyal to their team despite its two straight losses, 9,200 fans showed up to cheer Idaho to a 91-59 home-court rout of Boise State. That was the largest crowd ever to watch a game at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, where the Vandals shot a Big Sky Conference record 71.9% by sinking 41 of their 57 shots.
Fresno State, which began the week yielding 44 points a game, fewest in the country, brought that figure down to 43.6 by beating San Jose State 63-45 at home and 47-36 on the road.
Unheralded University of San Diego stayed all but even with San Francisco until the Dons forced the Toreros into miscues on four straight trips downcourt. That started an 18-2 spurt by the Dons that broke open a 38-34 game. USF won 72-53. Wallace Bryant, who scored 24 points, and Quintin Dailey, who had 20, were even more productive as San Francisco beat St. Mary's 86-84 in double overtime. The Gaels abandoned their usual tactics—a hurry-up offense and a man-to-man defense—and kept the visiting Dons off stride throughout the game. However, the 1-3-1 zone used by St. Mary's couldn't prevent Dailey from pouring in 40 points and Bryant from scoring 29, including a decisive short jumper with six seconds remaining.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DALE ELLIS: Tennessee's 6'7", 205-pound junior forward sank 13 of 15 field goals and had 28 points as the Vols won 66-64 at Georgia. He then scored 38 in a 77-72 overtime victory over Alabama.