"Last year, when we'd get behind, that would be it. We had too many egos on the team. This year, we're busting our butts." So said Swingman Larry Anderson of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas after PCAA games in which the Rebels came from 14 points back to defeat Utah State 89-77 in overtime and from 13 down for a 68-64 victory over Cal-Irvine. UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian seconded Anderson's opinion by saying, "We would have folded our tents last year." A crowd of 10,506, the largest in Logan, Utah in five years, saw Vegas fall behind 27-13, put on lots of butt-busting pressure defense and square the score at 73-73 at the end of regulation. Eight OT foul shots by Danny Tarkanian helped the Rebels keep their tents up. So did 22 points by Anderson plus 20 rebounds and 19 points by Sidney Green. Against Irvine, Anderson had 24 points and Green 19, and Tarkanian had 14 assists. Utah State bounced back to defeat San Jose State 77-68 and run its record to 11-2.
After defeating Pepperdine 85-74, Cal State-Fullerton won two PCAA games at home. Leon Wood sank five of six three-point shots and scored 36 points as the Titans bumped off Cal-Irvine 86-76 and had 21 assists as they ripped Long Beach State 90-60.
"We noticed on videotapes of UCLA's game with Louisville that the Bruins don't get back real well on defense. UCLA leaves the corners alone. We got some easy baskets." That's what Arizona's first-year coach, Ben Lindsey, said in explaining why he'd shucked his patient offense and had his team try to run with the swift Bruins. Lindsey's Wildcats did get some easy baskets, and they did trim a 17-point second-half deficit to three points with 50 seconds to go. But Darren Daye then helped sew up a 92-87 Pac-10 victory for UCLA by hitting both ends of a one-and-one.
Forward Guy Williams set a Washington State record with 43 points, converting 19 of 27 floor shots and five of seven from the line, during a 100-83 defeat of Idaho State.
It didn't rank up there with David knocking off Goliath, but 6'3", 170-pound Guard Kevin Williams of St. John's did the job against 7-foot, 220-pound Patrick Ewing of Georgetown. Late in the first half of St. John's 76-67 victory, Williams got into two scuffles with Ewing and generally left him feeling as if he'd been flattened by a New York rush-hour subway mob. During the first altercation, Williams was on the short end of the fisticuffs and got a swollen lip. Both players got technical fouls, and Williams picked up another after tangling with Ewing again. Even though Williams eventually fouled out, he was pleased that he had succeeded in frustrating Ewing, who had 14 rebounds, 13 points and four blocks.
Georgetown Coach John Thompson, however, wasn't pleased at all. He said that if the rough stuff continued, he would tell his star sophomore to turn pro at the end of the season. "Patrick won't have a say in the matter," Thompson said. "I'll make the decision, because he won't develop as a player this way." The prospect of Thompson telling Ewing to clear out was hardly upsetting to St. John's Coach Lou Carnesecca, who said "I would second that motion." As for Williams' play, Carnesecca said, "The kid did his job, O.K.?"
Some other Redmen did their jobs, too. St. John's got 24 points from Chris Mullin and 20 from Billy Goodwin, as well as nine from Williams. The win gave the Redmen a 13-0 record, their best start in 42 seasons. During an earlier 79-62 victory at Seton Hall, Goodwin scored 28 points.
Villanova beat Boston College 79-72 in another Big East game as Stewart Granger and John Pinone each scored 24 points. Pinone converted 16 consecutive free throws before missing his final try. Notre Dame twice lost to Wildcats: 61-55 at Villanova and 54-51 at Davidson.
Like Ewing, Virginia's Ralph Sampson was roughed up during an 83-64 ACC romp at Maryland. Sampson picked up 15 rebounds, 14 points and two technicals. Ben Coleman of the Terps was called for a foul on Sampson, who was almost simultaneously being whistled for elbowing Len Bias. Because Sampson heard the second call but not the first, he screamed at the refs and thus drew his first T of the night. Enraged by that call, Sampson stomped off the court, whomped the ball down and drew another technical.
"It wasn't a fun game for me," Coach Denny Crum of Louisville said after a 65-58 Metro Conference victory over Cincinnati. "I like things sharp and crisp." The Bearcats who kept things from being sharp and crisp were the Bruise Brothers—6'8" Dwight (Jelly) Jones, 6'8" Michael Williams and 6'7" Myron Hughes. Crum didn't like the way the Bruisers "pushed, shoved, nudged, bumped, leaned and elbowed." Except for that, Crum thought they were swell guys. Louisville then was at its sharp, crisp best while handing Florida State its worst-ever home loss, 96-69. Louisville also beat perennial Division II power Kentucky Wesleyan 79-58.
Houston and Arkansas began Southwest Conference play with wins. After beating Texas A&M 84-61, the Cougars defeated SMU 105-71 behind Akeem Abdul Olajuwon's 22 rebounds, 14 points and nine blocks. Arkansas won home games on three courts, beating Nebraska 64-58 in Little Rock, Mercer 83-62 in Pine Bluff and league opponent Baylor 65-60 in Fayetteville. Unbeaten Arkansas now enters the meatier part of a schedule that thus far has been as soft as chicken feathers.
Memphis State beat Baltimore 103-57 and St. Louis 78-64 as Keith Lee (page 42) sank 17 of 27 field-goal tries and had 38 points, 25 rebounds, 11 blocks, seven assists and five steals. Baltimore's Super Bees were down only 30-27 before Tiger Coach Dana Kirk hit his troops with a stinger of his own—some expletives that woke them from their stupor.
New Mexico State knocked off Colorado 80-76, lost to Illinois State 72-62 and outlasted Indiana State 103-100 in overtime as Ernest Patterson had 72 points, 18 rebounds, 16 assists and four steals. What more could anyone ask of a guard? Well, how about these numbers by Aggie point man Steve Colter: 57 points, 24 rebounds, 13 assists, eight steals and two blocks.
Illinois State outrebounded New Mexico State 46-30 and got 14 points and 11 rebounds from Reserve Forward Ray Malaine. The Redbirds also won another Missouri Valley Conference road game, beating West Texas State 89-73, with a pair of 8-0 scoring binges during the first and last three minutes. Wichita State was also a winner in two Valley road games, 89-88 at West Texas State and 77-66 at Creighton. In the latter game, the Shockers got 23 points from Antoine Carr and 20 from Xavier McDaniel. After losing their opener, they've won nine straight.
"It was a tremendous defensive game, an old-fashioned slug-it-out game," said Missouri Coach Norm Stewart after beating North Carolina State 49-42. The Wolfpack's fine backcourt of Sidney Lowe and Dereck Whittenburg were held to 13 points between them. The Tigers, down by four with 10:30 left, put on a 10-0 spurt during the next 8:05, with all the points coming from Jon Sundvold, Steve Stipanovich and Ron Jones.
Every dog, it's said, has his day. Melvin Mathis, a 6'8" freshman with Drake's Bulldogs, though, may have had his doubts. After all, his coach, Gary Garner, had said of him, "Melvin picks up three fouls just walking to the scoring table," and "If Melvin improved 500 percent he still couldn't play defense." But in a desperation move after Drake got in foul trouble early against Tulsa, Garner sent Mathis into the game. With Mathis working doggedly—25 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and one assist while committing just two fouls—the Bulldogs shocked the Golden Hurricane 87-73 as the fans chanted "Melvin! Melvin! Melvin!" Garner, wearing a broad postgame smile, spoke glowingly of his newest star, "Marvelous Melvin Mathis."
There were a season's worth of surprises in the SEC and Big Ten. Florida, 5-22 last season and supposedly weak in the backcourt, got 34 points from its guards while handing Alabama its first loss, 89-85. Gator guards Nabe Palmer and Tony Rogers had 18 and 16 points, respectively. By scoring 20 of their combined 40 points in the first half, Forward Ronnie Williams and Center Eugene McDowell had kept Florida within two points of Alabama at halftime. The Gators then lost at home 62-60 to Mississippi State as Jeff Malone scored the last of his 32 points on a 24-foot jumper one second before the buzzer. Although Malone had 28 more points at Auburn, the Bulldogs lost 77-66 as Odell Mosteller of the Tigers got 15 of his 25 points in the second half. Two days later, Auburn dealt Alabama its second straight loss, 91-80, behind Mosteller's 24 points.
The Tigers clearly were on a roll—until they lost 92-75 at Florida as the Gators got 28 points from Williams and 26 from Guard Vernon Delancy. And then there was Kentucky, whose Jim Master scored 23 in a 72-60 win over Mississippi. The Wildcats held off LSU 52-50 and then went to Alabama to try to put a lock on the SEC lead. Instead, they got caught in the Tide's undertow. 'Bama, trailing 63-58 with 4:44 remaining, won 74-67. The guards made the difference: Alabama's top three, Ennis Whatley, Mike Davis and Eric Richardson, had 42 points, including 14 in the final 4:31; Kentucky's top three scored 18.
Could any SEC team stay unbeaten during the first week's play? Nope, though Tennessee had a good chance of doing so. But after getting 24 points, 11 assists, five layups and three steals from Guard Tyrone Beaman during an 87-76 defeat of Georgia, the Vols lost 56-55 in OT at Mississippi. Ole Miss used only six players, got 18 points from Carlos Clark and made 18 of 23 free throws.
Indiana, which had been undefeated, opened its Big Ten season by losing at Ohio State for the fourth time in five years, 70-67. The Hoosiers outrebounded the Buckeyes 35-18, but were done in by 16 turnovers and Ohio State's 22-for-25 foul shooting. Iowa also lost its opener, 61-59 to Michigan State in the first game at the new Carver-Hawkeye Center. The Hawkeyes seemed to have won on Bob Hansen's three-point shot with two seconds left, but it was voided because Iowa's Steve Carafino had stepped on the sideline stripe as he brought the ball upcourt. Hansen then scored 24 points that did count during a 79-72 win over Michigan.
The only two-time winners in the conference were Northwestern, which beat Michigan 69-64 and Michigan State 62-51, and Minnesota, which defeated Illinois 75-49 and Purdue 54-48. Half the Boilermakers' 16 field goals were three-point bombs, but the Gophers pulled through as their zone press forced 18 turnovers.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LEON WOOD: The 6'3" junior guard, a transfer from Arizona, propelled CSU-Fullerton to victories over Pepperdine, Cal-Irvine and Long Beach State as he poured in 67 points and had 45 assists.