For the University of Nevada, Las Vegas the journey to the top of the college basketball charts has been a bumpy one. Although the Rebels ran their overall record to 18-0, the only unblemished mark in the country, and 8-0 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association, they continued to do it the hard way. Last week was typical as they rallied from a double figure deficit on the road for the fourth time. Most recently it was at Long Beach State, where the Rebels overcame a 68-57 deficit with 6:27 to play to beat the 49ers 78-74. "I thought we'd lost it," said UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian afterward, "But it happened. This is simply incredible."
Tark could have been describing the play of Sid Green, the Rebels' 6'9" senior center. Green scored 32 points, one off his career high, and had 17 rebounds against the 49ers before fouling out with 2:07 to go. "The way he played, he's going to make a million dollars," said Tarkanian. In the Rebels' 77-73 victory at UC-Santa Barbara, Green got 18 points and 12 rebounds as he helped wipe out a 48-38 Gaucho lead with 15:56 left. Green and Larry Anderson, who led UNLV with 20 points, offset a fine performance by UCSB's York Gross, who scored a game-high 27 points and had 10 rebounds.
The game between Alabama and UCLA last Friday night in Pauley Pavilion was preceded by a moment of silence in memory of Paul (Bear) Bryant, who was buried in Birmingham earlier that day. And the 12,574 fans in Pauley remained subdued for much of the first 29:41 as the Tide rolled to a 55-39 lead behind Bobby Lee Hurt (23 points), Ennis Whatley (20) and freshman Buck Johnson (15). But the Bruins roared back to tie the score 67-67 on a short jumper by Michael Holton with :35 left. Alas, someone should have alerted Rod Foster. With Alabama apparently playing for a final shot. The Rocket, who thought UCLA was down a point, intentionally fouled 'Bama's Mike Davis, who sank both foul shots. Johnson added another free throw eight seconds later to cap the Tide's 70-67 upset. The Bruins rebounded on Sunday to beat Notre Dame 59-53, as Darren Daye scored 16 points.
Greg Stokes, Iowa's 6'11" center, has often been castigated by Hawkeye Coach Lute Olson for not playing with sufficient fire under the boards. Indeed, when Stokes had just three rebounds to go with his 24 points in an 89-83 double-overtime loss to Ohio State, Olson made it plain that it was time his leading scorer stopped being a spectator underneath. So in Iowa's 63-48 thrashing of Big Ten leader Indiana, Stokes was a terror, getting 12 rebounds along with a game-high 23 points.
Did Olson change Stokes's rebounding mechanics? "Well, no," Stokes said afterward. "He told me that he thought he was giving me too much mechanical advice, so during practice he just told me, 'I want you to go for the ball and get it.' " While he was doing that, the Iowa defense held Hoosier forwards Randy Wittman and Ted Kitchel to 10 and 13 points, respectively. Wittman and Kitchel, 1-2 in the Big Ten scoring race when the week began, combined for 54 points in the Hoosiers' 78-73 victory over Northwestern in Chicago. With Indiana's loss to Iowa, Minnesota, which defeated Wisconsin 63-58 in Madison, moved into a first-place tie with the Hoosiers.
Five teams—Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Auburn and Vanderbilt—have a piece of first place in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia seized a share by upsetting Kentucky 70-63 in Athens, snapping a 12-game losing streak against the Wildcats. The Bulldogs out-scored Kentucky 19-2 in a 6½-minute stretch in the second half to break open a close game. Bulldog Guard Vern Fleming scored 13 of his team-high 17 points in the second half. Terry Fair had 14 points, 10 rebounds and six of Georgia's 11 steals.
Auburn dropped an 80-77 decision to Tennessee in Knoxville, but came back to edge LSU in Baton Rouge 64-62. Charles Barkley, who had missed three of his previous four free throws in the game, made two with 14 seconds left to ensure victory for the Tigers. Tennessee's Dale Ellis, who scored 26 points in the Vols' win over Auburn, had 30 more against visiting Vanderbilt, but two free throws by Phil Cox, who led Vandy with 21 points, iced the Commodores' win. "We couldn't have picked a worse man to foul," said Vol Coach Don DeVoe, who obviously reads the stat sheets: Cox has hit 75 of 81 from the line this season for a percentage of .926.
Metro Conference powers Memphis State and Louisville overcame a pair of gritty opponents in a double-header at New York's Madison Square Garden. In the opener, State whipped Iona 94-88 as all 10 starters attained double figures. Memphis' 6'11" Keith Lee, who, according to Tiger Coach Dana Kirk, has acquired "a gunslinger's image," shot the Gaels full of holes with 28 points (11 of 18 from the field) and grabbed 11 rebounds. Teammate Bobby Parks added 21 points, while Iona Guard Steve Burtt had a game-high 31. In the second game Louisville defeated Rutgers 54-49. The Cardinals shot just 38.3% against a sticky 1-3-1 zone, and after Rutgers closed to 51-49 with 7:48 left. Louisville went into a prolonged stall to force the Scarlet Knights into a man-to-man. But the Knights didn't bite, and the freeze was halted with 31 seconds left when Chris Nieberlein intentionally fouled Scooter McCray, who sank two from the line. "This was not a good game," said Louisville Coach Denny Crum afterward.
If Denny didn't like his club's performance against Rutgers, he must have hated the 98-81 pounding Virginia gave the Cardinals in a televised game in Charlottesville. Ralph Sampson broke out of a five-game slump and gave one of his finest performances: 14 of 18 from the floor, 35 points, 12 rebounds, five blocked shots, two assists and a steal. "You notice he doesn't play too many bad games on national TV," said Crum, perhaps alluding to the 26-point. 10-rebound game Sampson had against the Cards last season in Louisville. Earlier this week, Sampson scored 16 points and brought down 16 rebounds in the Cavs' 59-44 win over George Washington.
ACC leader North Carolina won three games and extended its winning streak to 14. After crushing Georgia State 95-55 in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels nipped Wake Forest 80-78 in Greensboro, knocking the Deacons out of a first place tie in the conference, then eased past Georgia Tech 72-65. In that game Michael Jordan scored a career-high 39 points, including 11 of 16 from the floor. Six of Jordan's field goals were three-pointers: on one of those he was fouled, and he converted the free throw for the ACC's first four-point play under the new three-point rules. On Sunday Arkansas edged Wake Forest 68-65 in Greensboro. Alvin Robertson had 23 points and 6'11" Joe Kleine had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Razorbacks.
St. John's took over first place in the Big East with an 80-71 victory over Villanova. Down 49-41 with 12:08 to go, the Redmen made 25 of 27 free throws the rest of the way to overtake the visiting Wildcats. In all, St. John's hit 36 of 39 from the line, including 10 of 10 by Chris Mullin. St. John's then stretched its record to 18-1 with a 65-58 win at Manhattan, while Villanova recovered to beat Syracuse 83-75 at the Palestra.
Georgetown routed Seton Hall 71-48. then pulled out a 69-67 win over Boston College when freshman David Wingate picked up a loose ball and drove nearly the length of the court for the winning layup as time ran out.
Memphis State came back from its triumphant Eastern swing intent on winning this week's rematch with Virginia Tech, the only team to cage the Tigers this year. In the process, State almost overlooked Eastern Kentucky, which gave the Tigers a run before falling 80-65. The Colonels trailed by just four points. 65-61, with seven minutes left. "They hit some shots you wouldn't take in a game of H-O-R-S-E," said Coach Dana Kirk afterward. But the Tigers pulled away, thanks to Keith Lee's 35 points and 14 rebounds and Bobby Parks's 20 points, 12 rebounds and uncivil defense.
Missouri took a one-game lead in the Big Eight race, whipping Kansas 76-63 in Lawrence and Nebraska 79-56 in Columbia. Steve Stipanovich and Jon Sundvold took turns sparking the Tigers past the Jayhawks; Stipo scored 16 of his game-high 25 points in the first half, while Sundvold got 18 of his 22 in the second. Stipanovich got 22 more in Mizzou's rout of Nebraska as the Tigers shot 66% from the floor and scored on 12 of their first 13 possessions.
Oklahoma State's Cowboys were ambushed twice on the road. The Cowboys dropped an 81-80 heartbreaker to rival Oklahoma, despite a furious rally that cut a 14-point lead with 10 minutes to go to 75-72 with 3:04 remaining. Iowa State Coach Johnny Orr had OSU's bitter defeat in mind when he spoke before his own team's game with the Cowboys. "There was never a better time to beat Oklahoma State," he said—and he was right. With Barry Stevens scoring 14 of his 16 points in the second half, the Cyclones walloped the Cowboys 73-64 in Ames.
Oklahoma's 1-2-3 punch of Wayman Tisdale. Chuck Barnett and David Little combined for 70 points in a 97-79 defeat of Colorado. Tisdale scored 21 points and now has 533 for the season, 17 more than the Big Eight's previous freshman record set by Kansas State's Curtis Redding in 1977. Little also had 21, while Barnett led the Sooners with 28.
Illinois State defeated Tulsa 61-55 in a game that was marred by the ejection of two reserves—Lou Stefanovic of ISU and Jeff Rahilly of Tulsa—when a loose-ball wrestling match erupted into ill-tempered pushes and shoves. "The game here with Wichita State got out of control, and I knew this one would, too," Tulsa Coach Nolan Richardson said afterward. Richardson threatened to sue 6'7". 235-pound Redbird Center Rick Lamb, who he says pushed him during the melee, and Lamb threatened a countersuit. The Redbirds didn't rumble with Southern Illinois, coasting to a 69-63 victory, but Wichita State, behind Antoine Carr's 29 points and Xavier McDaniel's 19, romped over the Salukis 100-78.
Southwest Conference leader Houston ripped crosstown rival Rice 76-40, thanks to a 45-14 spurt in the final 15 minutes. Arkansas pounded Texas 84-63 in Fayetteville and nipped Texas Tech 62-59 in Lubbock.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
KEITH LEE: The 6'11" sophomore forward scored 63 points, hitting 25 of 36 from the field and 11 of 15 from the line. He also grabbed 25 rebounds as Memphis State beat Iona and Eastern Kentucky.