Two weeks ago, after North Carolina had opened a season with two losses for the first time since 1919, Coach Dean Smith said, "It's early, thank heaven." Last week Smith might well have said, "Thank heaven for Michael Jordan." After North Carolina had blown an eight-point lead in the final 4:33 at home against Tulane, Jordan grabbed a loose ball and made a 20-foot shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. With 1:48 to go in the third OT, Jordan got the last three of his 21 points on a layup and a foul shot to secure a 70-68 victory for the Tar Heels. Four days later, against LSU at New Jersey's Meadowlands, the Heels rallied from a 21-9 halftime deficit to win 47-43. Following those first 20 minutes, the Tar Heels heard something few, if any, defending national champs have heard so early in a season: lots of boos. North Carolina's Buzz Peterson scored all of his 18 points in the second half by making nine of 11 field-goal attempts, and Jordan sealed the outcome with three free throws in the final 37 seconds. "We've never had a more embarrassing half in my 21 years here," Smith said of the opening half. "We deserved the boos."
North Carolina State and Virginia both won with ease. The Wolfpack, using its new wide-open offense, routed Western Carolina 103-66 and North Carolina A&T 100-70. In the first game, Dereck Whittenburg hit six of seven three-point shots to finish with a career-high 28 points. In a 51-34 defeat of James Madison, Virginia forced the Dukes into their worst shooting performance (26.8% from the field) and held them to their lowest point total ever. The game was the first for James Madison in its new arena in Harrisonburg, Va., which also is Cavalier Ralph Sampson's hometown. However, Sampson had only nine points and six rebounds before kith and kin. Next time out, Virginia beat winless VMI 86-41. Last season the Keydets had the worst record—1-25—of the 273 teams in Division I.
Georgetown's Pat Ewing played 26 minutes in a 91-57 defeat of Morgan State. That was enough time for Ewing to get 19 points and 11 rebounds and to block five shots.
A pair of 31-point performances by Guard Greg Jones led West Virginia past Youngstown State 105-79 and Marshall 95-82. After the Thundering Herd had pulled to within 76-72, Jones scored 12 of the Mountaineers' next 14 points as they pulled away.
St. John's won 72-45 at Columbia and, with Jeff Allen sinking two foul shots in the final second, beat Providence 61-60. The Friars led the Redmen by 11 points early in the second half but missed four one-and-ones in the last three minutes.
Led by Guard Erich Santifer and Forward Leo Rautins, Syracuse won four times. Santifer sank all his shots—10 from the field and two from the foul line—in a 110-69 rout of Cornell. After a 73-65 victory at St. Bonaventure, the Orangemen won their own Carrier Classic by defeating Alcorn State 110-77 and Princeton 67-54. Rautins, the tournament MVP, tossed in a total of 32 points in the two contests.
Nevada-Las Vegas had only a 24-20 lead over Duquesne at halftime—but then Larry Anderson got hot, scoring 17 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, as the Rebels won 67-54.
Purdue got lots of penetration from guards Steve Reid and Ricky Hall in a 69-63 upset at Louisville. Reid (24 points) and Hall (12) repeatedly drove around or through the Cardinals, who focused their defense on 6'10" Russell Cross (15). The loss was only the 17th at home for Louisville since Denny Crum became coach in 1971. Reid, a 5'10" sophomore transfer from Kansas State, had a total of 37 points in two other Boilermaker victories, 79-69 at Boston University and 50-39 at home against Fresno State.
Oklahoma also was a loser at home. Despite nine layups and 38 points by David Little, Tulsa defeated the Sooners 79-76. Ricky Ross of the Golden Hurricane wound up with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Missouri held Augustana to six first-half baskets, got 20 points and 11 rebounds from Steve Stipanovich and coasted to an 85-55 victory.
Ball State Coach Al Brown normally would have been ecstatic about his team's first-half performance at Memphis State: 54.1% shooting and 47 points. Trouble was, the Tigers had shot 68.6% and led by 11. Memphis State, which ended up making 35 of 49 (71.4%) shots, won 104-81. Tiger freshman Andre Turner, a 5'9" point guard, turned on the crowd with his out-of-this-world quickness. "We call him 'A.T.,' " said Coach Dana Kirk. "He may rival E.T. for popularity with our fans before the season is over." Turner had 10 points and six assists against Ball State. Keith Lee then scored 19 points as Memphis State beat St. Louis 75-56.
Drake led for more than half the game before falling 68-63 to visiting Iowa. Houston defeated Mississippi State 74-65. Michael Young and Clyde Drexler of the Cougars each scored 20 points against the Bulldogs, while Mississippi State's Jeff Malone finished with 30. Arkansas defeated Texas-San Antonio 78-59 and Centenary 79-51 as Darrell Walker had 33 points.
Kentucky Coach Joe B. Hall seems to have a new philosophy, one built on the belief that the past wasn't a blast, so let's make the present more pleasant. This was evident after the Wildcats blew most of a 15-point lead before finishing off Villanova 93-79. In other seasons Hall would have chastised his players for their letdown. The new Hall, though, eschewed such a scolding and instead told his team to enjoy the evening.
"It's been more relaxed all year," senior Derrick Hord said. "He's given us a couple days off from practice, and that's something that hasn't happened since I've been here. It feels good." Hord's 26 points against Villanova made Hall feel good. So did Dirk Minniefield's school-record 14 assists. In this battle of Wildcats, the visitors, down by 13 at the half, were behind by four with 1:28 to go.
Three days earlier, Kentucky played at Notre Dame for the first time since 1950. Thousands of Irish backers wore Kentucky Fried Chicken hats and chanted, "We want Kentucky fried." Hall insisted he didn't notice the crowd, saying, "Once I get into a game, my mother could call me for dinner and I wouldn't hear her." One thing Hall probably did notice was the swishing of the cords by the Wildcats, who shot 75% while handing Notre Dame a 58-45 loss.
The Irish then fell 65-64 to UCLA, whose Ralph Jackson put a deft fake on Joe Buchanan, drove the lane and made the decisive layup four seconds from the end. The Irish, who trailed by eight early in the second half, had gone in front 64-63 with 27 seconds remaining as John Paxson got the last of his 25 points on two foul shots.
UCLA had begun its Mideast sortie by outlasting DePaul 73-70 in overtime. Darren Daye led the way for the Bruins with 23 points and 10 rebounds, and scored 14 of his points as UCLA built a 30-18 lead. Because only six Bruins got a significant amount of playing time, they wore out as the game wore on, committing 24 turnovers and falling behind 63-60 with 3:33 to go. Rod Foster's foul shot for UCLA with seven seconds left sent the game into OT Daye put the Bruins ahead with a free throw 18 seconds into the extra period and locked things up with another eight seconds from the end.
Another West Coast team came through with a big win. Southern Cal's women got 22 points and 11 rebounds from Paula McGee en route to a 64-58 defeat of Louisiana Tech, the defending women's national champion.
Patrick Ewing of Georgetown didn't like the jostling he got against Western Kentucky early in the finale of Wendy's Classic. The riled-up Ewing rose up to score 16 quick points and give the Hoyas an apparently safe 32-17 halftime margin. But Georgetown's freshmen guards kept turning the ball over, Tony Wilson of the Hilltoppers kept scoring, and the Hoyas had to come from behind three times in OT for a 70-66 win. Ewing burned Western when he rebounded a teammate's missed foul shot and jammed it through for the game's final points. Ewing finished with a career-high 30 points and 10 rebounds, and Wilson had 25 points. In the opening round, Georgetown beat St. Francis (Pa.) 75-40.
Indiana won 74-56 at Miami of Ohio as Randy Wittman pumped in 31 points, but the Hoosiers struggled at home against Texas-El Paso before prevailing 65-54. Uwe Blab, a 7'2" sophomore, set some devastating picks to help Indiana teammate Ted Kitchel score 23 against UTEP. Playing only in the second half, Blab had six points and five rebounds. With Greg Stokes scoring 38 points and getting 21 rebounds, Iowa took its Hawkeye Classic by fighting off Navy 76-65 and then trampling Hawaii 99-67.
"Defense, defense, defense. That's all Coach [Wimp] Sanderson stresses at practice," said Alabama's Alfonso (Buck) Johnson, after Middle Tennessee State and Texas Tech committed 53 turnovers in losses—103-58 and 74-53, respectively—to the Tide. Bobby Lee Hurt had 38 points and 20 rebounds in the wins. Auburn's Odell Mosteller scored 60 points as the Tigers beat Mercer 85-76, Florida State 78-68 and Tennessee Tech 74-65.
"They're so short, you know," Clyde Drexler of Houston said about Biscayne's players after the Cougars had won 78-59. "I mean, they could really dribble. But you couldn't steal the ball from them because they were two feet from the floor."
Illinois State came from 14 points back in the second half to beat Western Illinois 55-53 on Brad Duncan's jumper with 12 seconds left. The Redbirds didn't have an easy time with Northern Illinois, either, winning 54-45.
"We got exactly what we deserved," said Oregon State Coach Ralph Miller after visiting Fresno State had beaten his Beavers 43-42. The Bulldogs pulled out the game when Bernard Thompson, who finished with 22 points, sank a 15-foot jumper and a foul shot with 51 seconds left. Oregon State, which didn't score during the final 6:19, had the ball the rest of the way but failed to get off a shot. Earlier, Charlie Sit-ton got 27 points and 13 rebounds as the Beavers defeated Portland 55-44. Oregon State continued to struggle without Guard Danny Evans, who has been out all season with viral meningitis.
Fresno State's victory came in another impressive week for PCAA teams, which are 24-6 against outsiders. Other notable inter-conference wins: Utah State 75, BYU 69; Cal-Irvine 85, Pepperdine 82; and Nevada-Las Vegas 85, Nevada-Reno 84. Another PCAA member, Cal State-Fullerton, was a two-time winner. The Titans beat Chapman 92-75 behind 21 rebounds by Tony Neal, 23 points by Gary Davis and 23 points and nine assists by Guard Leon Wood, who faced man-to-man full-court pressure the entire game. J.C. transfer DeWayne Shepard, a 6'7" forward who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in September, made his debut in Fullerton's 77-58 victory at Loyola Marymount. Shepard had 11 points and pulled down seven rebounds in 17 minutes.
On the way home from winning the Great Alaska Shootout, Louisville beat Santa Clara 84-56. The Cardinals played so aggressively on defense—they blocked eight shots—that they were applauded by Bronco rooters.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK ERICH SANTIFER: Syracuse's 6'4" senior guard led the Orange to four wins as he scored 87 points—sinking 34 of 49 field-goal tries and 19 of 22 foul shots—and had 13 assists and 18 rebounds.