Talk about surethings, Nebraska's contest at Missouri was a definite, positive, absolute lock.Hey, the Huskers couldn't even beat the Tigers in Lincoln, having lost to them44-42 three weeks earlier, and now they were going up against a team that hadreally put it all together. Missouri was the only unbeaten one left in big-timehoops. Nebraska was an eight-time loser. Worse yet, the Cornhuskers were comingoff a 75-64 home-court loss to Kansas State. The Tigers were at their peak,having just polished off Colorado 80-54, outrebounding the Buffaloes 44-28 andout-shooting them 60% to 32%. That was the 29th consecutive triumph for Mizzouat Hearnes Center. Another tip-off about how much of a mismatch Saturday'sNebraska-Missouri game was going to be came when the Huskers had 6'6" TerrySmith, their tallest starter, guard the Tigers' Steve Stipanovich, who is6'11".
As anticipated,the score wasn't even close—67-51. But Nebraska was the winner. An earlyindication that the biggest surprise of the season might be in the works camewhen Smith blocked Stipanovich's first two shots. Smith, with help from6'6" Lenard Johnson, limited Stipo to 13 points. Greg Downing, a 6'2"Husker forward, led all scorers with 14 points and held 6'6" Ricky Frazierto six, almost nine below his average. Missouri, pestered by a ruggedman-to-man defense, shot only 34.6%, its worst performance of the entireseason. In addition, Nebraska, which had outrebounded only one team in 19previous outings—Sacramento State—topped Missouri 35-32.
Kansas Statesliced Missouri's conference lead to a game and a half by defeating Colorado65-58, as Ed Nealy pulled down 16 rebounds and Tyrone Adams scored 20 points.In their earlier victory over Nebraska, the Wildcats established a Big Eightrecord for field-goal accuracy (77.1%) by sinking 27 of 35 shots.
A deft shootingtouch is nice; a little luck helps, too. Scott Hastings of Arkansas had bothagainst Texas, tossing in 22 points, one basket coming when a seemingly errantshot bounced off the top of the backboard and then went through the net for a51-50 Razor-back lead. After the Longhorns scored the only other point inregulation time, the game went into an extra period. It was then that Arkansasfinally broke things open with the aid of back-to-back steals by DarrellWalker, who turned his theft into a basket, and by Tony Brown, who was promptlyfouled and sank two free throws. By winning 62-55, the Hogs clung to a one-gameSouthwest Conference lead over Texas A&M.
"They are thetype of team that seems to press harder than they should when it getslate," said Tulsa Coach Nolan Richardson after winning 80-75 at WichitaState. "They get in a hurry." The Shockers led 67-61 with 6:31 to beplayed, but then their spread offense fell apart. Instead of cracking theGolden Hurricane zone for some easy buckets, the spread collapsed in a flurryof costly turnovers. Paul Pressey starred for Tulsa, scoring 15 of his 21points after the intermission and taking charge of a trapping defense that puthis team back in control during the late stages. Wichita State's Antoine Carrscored 35 points.
The best freshmanin the land? It may well be 6'10" Keith Lee of Memphis State, the onlyfirst-year player averaging in double figures in both scoring (18.6) andrebounding (11.4). "He's the finest freshman I've seen," saidLouisville Coach Denny Crum after a 74-65 overtime loss to the Tigers inMemphis in which Lee had 30 points, 13 rebounds, four blocked shots and asteal. "Usually a guy six-ten is a center, but this one plays forward andmoves around all over the place. He has great court sense and knows what to dowith the basketball." Lee, who has surprisingly silky moves for such a bigyoungster and who can hit from the outside as well as in close, made 11 of 14field-goal attempts against the Cardinals. Memphis State, down 41-34 with 16minutes left, strengthened its grip on first place in the Metro race with thevictory.
Their names areOthell (not Othello) and Sampson (not Samson), and together Guard Othell Wilsonand Center Ralph Sampson carried Virginia to a solid 74-58 victory overvisiting North Carolina. Othello and Samson met untimely ends, but at theconclusion of this battle for first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference—and,as it turned out. SI's No. 1 national ranking as well—there was lots to smileabout for Wilson (20 points and five assists) and Sampson (18 points and 12rebounds). Weariness may have been a factor in the Tar Heels' undoing, theirfront line playing with only a few seconds' rest and Guard Jimmy Black being onthe floor all but one minute. Even before Carolina wore down, though, theCavaliers had moved in front 25-13. The closest the Tar Heels could get was57-50, after which they faded. Three days later at Roanoke. Virginia blew outVirginia Tech 80-66 as Sampson dominated with 25 points—including four dunks—21rebounds and seven blocked shots. After Sampson was yanked with 4:29 remaining,the Hokies made the score a little more respectable by outscoring the Cavs16-4.
North Carolinaand North Carolina State tangled with Furman and The Citadel in Friday-Saturdaydoubleheaders at Charlotte. Both South Carolina teams were caught inCharlotte's web: Furman lost to the Tar Heels 96-69 and the Wolfpack 67-55; theBulldogs were beaten 67-46 by Carolina and 54-44 by N.C. State.
The scoutingreport on Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell is that he's lost half a step in hispursuit of referees, that his scalp looks more like Yul Brynner"s eachweek, that he's toned down a couple of decibels and that he's even begun tomellow out. Maybe so, but Driesell was his old self when Wake Forest came totown. With a trifle more than eight minutes to be played and his team ahead47-44, Lefty got off the bench, waved his arms frantically and pleaded with thehome crowd to hoot and howl for the Terps. Maryland rooters responded in fullvoice. And Driesell's players responded by holding the Deacons without a pointfor 6:45 and by scoring nine points in the closing 45 seconds to pull off a61-56 upset. Freshman Forward Adrian Branch scored seven of those last ninepoints, including a slam dunk that put the Terps ahead 55-50. Next time out,Maryland defeated Duke 77-60 and Wake Forest knocked off Georgia Tech53-38.
Cincinnati CoachEd Badger, trying his best to shake off the miseries of an 11-9 record, hasdeveloped what he calls a "bingo offense." While doing his best to keepa straight face, Badger says, "It's top secret. But I can tell you thatit's multifaceted. There are many ways to score: B-7, O-64, 1-19, G-47."About the closest the Bearcats have come to bingo, however, is six straightMetro Conference losses. Added to that, last week there was a 52-50 overtimedefeat at Boston University, where Jay Twyman settled the outcome with hislast-second field goal.
Georgetown movedinto a virtual tie for first place in the Big East by beating Villanova 83-72on the road and then returning home to overwhelm Seton Hall 113-73. Co-leaderConnecticut took a pair of away games. 47-45 at Providence and 67-59 at BostonCollege.
Florida CoachNorm Sloan, whose team was on a school-record 14-game losing streak, said thathe told his wife, "I need some TLC—Tender Loving Care." What he gotfrom her. he said, was another kind of TLC—"Tough luck. Coach." Ah, butthe streak ended, at last, when the Gators beat Auburn 69-66.
That was only oneof many upsets last week. Auburn pulled off a surprise of its own, ambushingKentucky 83-81 when Charles Barkley, Odell Mosteller and Byron Henson scoredfour points apiece in overtime.
It wasMississippi, however, that brought off the biggest Mideast upsets. Ole Miss,which was 10-8, won 55-53 in overtime at Tennessee and stunned Alabama 79-69.The Rebels benefited from 20 Vol turnovers and put away the Crimson Tide byconverting 34 of 37 foul shots and by getting 11 assists from Guard Sean Tuohy.That left Mississippi with victories over three of the top four teams in theSEC and revived memories of its surprise triumph in last year's conferencetournament. Kentucky, a mid-January loser to Ole Miss, beat Tennessee 77-67.Guard Dickey Beal played only 10 minutes but fired up the Wildcats. Beal helpedKentucky take a 12-point halftime lead and then, when the Vols had cut themargin to two, came in again and quickly sank a layup. Later, with the Wildcatsup by just four, Beal grabbed a rebound and went the length of the court foranother basket. He then deflected a Vol pass, took a feed from Charles Hurt andscored on a finger roll. Alabama also won, 66-63, over Mississippi State, whichhad to play without flu-stricken Eddie Phillips, its top scorer. The Tide washelped, too, when Ennis Whatley swished a 68-foot shot 11 seconds beforehalftime. Whatley unleashed that bomb because Alabama fans had started apremature countdown to try to rush a shot by the Bulldogs, who had the ballbefore turning it over, and Whatley thought time had nearly run out.
Mike Mitchell,Notre Dame's lone senior, scored a career-high 19 points as the Irish upendedSan Francisco 75-66 to conclude and clinch a nine-game series between theschools in which the home club won each time.
DePaul (page 32)continued to dodge the bullet. The Blue Demons stopped St. Joseph's (Pa.) 46-44in OT and won 67-66 at Marquette. Commenting on the Hawks' stall. De-Paul CoachRay Meyer said, "The more holding the ball you see like that, the morecoaches are going to go for the [30-second] clock." Such slowdowns are onereason Division I scoring is at a 30-year low average of 135.38 points a game.That's 4.77 points below the midseason total of a year ago.
Iowa held Indianato its lowest score since 1945. drubbing the Hoosiers 62-40. The Hawkeyes thenhad to go into OT to win at Ohio State 69-65. Iowa's 6'11" freshman.Michael Payne, back after missing two games because of an ankle injury, sankhis first six shots against Indiana and nine of 15 against the Buckeyes,getting 25 points against the latter team.
Minnesotacontinued to have troubles at home, splitting two games in Minneapolis andfalling two games behind Iowa in the Big Ten. The Gophers, 4-1 in conferenceroad games, dropped to 3-2 in league home games. After routing Purdue 73-50,Minnesota blew a 10-point lead and lost to Indiana 58-55.
San Francisco,which might have left its heart in South Bend earlier in the week when it lostto Notre Dame, might have left its WCAC hopes in Santa Clara after losing therein overtime 77-75 four days later. Much the same thing happened a year ago, theDons coming back to the West Coast after a defeat at the hands of the Irish andimmediately losing at Toso Pavilion. Last season San Francisco regrouped intime to tie Pepperdine for first place in the WCAC. This time the Dons' taskwill be more difficult, because they trail the Waves by two lengths. Nineplayers fouled out in Santa Clara, five from San Francisco, including QuintinDailey. Dailey is usually deadly from eight feet, but he missed seven shotsfrom that distance and finished with 14 points. Banished, too, was DerrylWilliams of the Broncos, but not before he put in 20 points and pulled down 10rebounds.
Santa Claraprevailed despite the absence of Bill Duffy, its standout guard, who wassidelined with a severely sprained wrist. Three underclassmen helped pull theBroncos through. Freshman Harold Keeling sent the game into overtime by sinkinga shot with nine seconds to go in regulation and then scored the first fieldgoal in overtime. Freshman Scott Lamson made three foul shots in OT, andsophomore Terry Davis made four.
Maybe thePepperdine team should be called the 76ers. That seemed fitting after the Wavestwice scored that many points, beating Portland 76-58 and Gonzaga 76-67.
Ups and downs.Long Beach State Coach Tex Winter has had lots of both during his 28 seasons.His teams have won 436 games and lost 314. After a 97-61 defeat on Monday atNevada-Las Vegas, the worst loss for the Niners in 17 years, Winter knew whatto do: He gave his boys Tuesday off from practice. "We were just mentallytired," he explained. Besides, he and his team had to brace themselves fora visit by Fresno State, which was riding a 12-game winning streak. Long BeachState had lost five in a row and 13 overall, and many of the players said theypreferred playing on the road. Things were so bleak that the team's P.A.announcer had been told not to introduce the coaches before the game, thusgiving local fans one less chance to boo Winter. On Thursday, however. Winter'swinter of discontent took an upturn, Guard Craig Hodges scoring six of histeam's eight overtime points as Long Beach State stunned the Bulldogs45-42.
That same nightUC-Irvine, which had a 17-1 record, lost at home to San Jose State. Kevin Mageeof the Anteaters matched his season's average by pouring in 28 points. But theSpartans hung tough, overcame a 51-46 deficit and won 58-57. In a Sundayshowdown between the PCAA co-leaders, Fresno State moved a full game in frontby winning 55-49 in overtime at UC-Irvine.
Idaho also took avital game by defeating Nevada-Reno 91-79 in a tussle to settle first place inthe Big Sky. The Vandals abandoned their usual matchup zone for some of thegame, going man-to-man as they held the Wolf Pack front line, which had beenaveraging 43.2 points a game, to 19. For Idaho, Phil Hopson had 23 points and15 rebounds, Kelvin Smith had 19 and 10. Brian Kellerman scored 24 points andKen Owens 19.
Oregon State wenton a tear against Stanford. Late in the first half, the seam in the seat ofBeaver Coach Ralph Miller's pants went on a tear, too. Miller's trousers weremended at halftime, but there was nothing the Cardinals could do to stitch uptheir defense against Oregon State, which concentrated on offense for a changeand won 111-81.
Washington took ahalf-game lead over Oregon State in the Pac-10 by beating Arizona State 59-55and Arizona 86-62. Before the Wildcat game, Kenny Lyles of the Huskies talkedto teammate Dan Caldwell. "I told him he should yell at me and wake me upwhenever it looked like I was asleep," said Lyles, who was fighting a 103°fever. The only things Caldwell had to yell about were 19 points of his own anda career-high 27 by Lyles, who somehow summoned enough energy to also grabeight rebounds.
[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
CARLOS CLARK: Mississippi's 6'4" junior forwardhad 17 points and the winning shot at the buzzer to knock off Tennessee 55-53in OT, and his 26 points helped the Rebels beat Alabama 79-69.