North Carolina had one question to answer as the season began: Who would replace the departed Jimmy Braddock as the Tar Heels' point guard? Sophomore Steve Hale appeared to have the inside track on the job, but at the last minute Smith surprised everyone by going with freshman Kenny Smith (no relation to the coach). Smith, who became the fifth freshman ever to start an opening game in Coach Smith's 23 years at Chapel Hill, scored 14 points and dished out five assists to lead the Heels to a hard-fought 64-57 victory over Mizzou.
"He played with a lot of poise," said Smith the coach of Smith the frosh. "I didn't have to be jittery," said Kenny. "Everybody was keying on Michael [Jordan] and Sam [Perkins], so all I had to do was relax and play my game." Jordan scored 13 points but hit just six of 15 shots from the floor, while Perkins had 12 points and 13 rebounds but was only four of 10 from the field. Nonetheless, Jordan and Perkins teamed with Smith to spark a 10-2 Tar Heel burst that gave Carolina a commanding 59-49 lead with 1:38 to go. "He did a lot better than I did when I was a freshman," said Jordan, who was the last Tar Heel freshman to be given a starting assignment.
Another vaunted freshman guard, Syracuse's Dwayne (The Pearl) Washington, made a smashing debut, scoring his first basket just three seconds into the Orange's 88-49 rout of Colgate in the Carrier Dome. Washington scored a team-high 16 points and handed out six assists.
Senior Forward Mark Fothergill scored 17 points in Maryland's 108-65 defeat of Division III Johns Hopkins. Winston-Salem State's Clarence (Bighouse) Gaines became the fifth coach in history to surpass 700 career victories as the Rams won the Gaines Classic, named for Bighouse. No. 700 was a 100-72 win over Barber-Scotia (N.C.) in the opening round, and No. 701 was a 75-67 victory over Livingstone in the title game.
DePaul's 73-58 victory over Northern Illinois in Rockford left Blue Demon Coach Ray Meyer just two wins shy of membership in the 700 club. But what pleased Meyer most was that his team had won on the road. "We only had two road victories [by a total of three points] last year," said Meyer. "Now we have half that." Guard Tony Jackson came off the bench to score a game-high 20 points for the Blue Demons.
"Being called Sikma was the joke of the week with us playing Illinois Wesleyan," said Iowa Center Brad Lohaus, whose height (7 feet) and blond curly perm hairdo match those of Jack Sikma, an All-America (1976-77) at Wesleyan and now an NBA All-Star at Seattle. In the Hawkeyes' 86-60 romp over Wesleyan in Iowa City, Lohaus was deadly serious, scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to herald George Raveling's debut as Iowa's coach. Michigan State breezed to the championship of its own Spartan Cutlass Classic in East Lansing, whipping Central Michigan 73-52 in the opening round and Western Michigan 81-52 in the final.
"They say you play like you practice," said LSU Coach Dale Brown after the Tigers struggled past New Orleans 67-59 and spoiled the dedication of UNO's $38 million, 10,000-seat Lakefront Arena. "Tonight we refuted that statement. We have had 40 great practices, but we went out and played like we hadn't practiced at all." The Tigers trailed 30-21 at intermission, but 18 second-half points by Guard Derrick Taylor, who finished with a game-high 22, rallied LSU.
Call Houston's 91-76 thrashing of visiting Kansas Return of the Jamma, Phi Slamma Jamma, that is. The Cougars, who were embarrassed by North Carolina State in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic two weeks ago, rebounded against Kansas with a vengeance and spoiled the debut of Larry Brown, the Jayhawks' nomadic coach. Houston's zoning, trapping defense limited the Jayhawks to just 37.8% shooting from the floor, forced 22 turnovers and blocked six shots, while the offense, led by Michael Young's 25 points and Akeem Abdul Olajuwon's 19 points (and 15 rebounds), recorded eight dunks—four by Akeem the Dream.
Houston Guard Reid Gettys established a school record with 15 assists and officially joined PSJ with a breakaway dunk—the first of his college career—with 17:16 to go in the game. But the performance of 6'9" freshman Center Greg Anderson, who was brilliant in the second half in place of a foul-plagued Olajuwon, was Coach Guy Lewis' most pleasant surprise. Anderson, who came on with 17:05 to play when Akeem went to the bench with his fourth foul, scored on a turnaround jumper, a follow shot and a slam, and grabbed three rebounds—all in the space of 8:30. He finished with eight points and nine rebounds in 15 minutes. "Anderson came in and played like a champ," said Lewis.
Only junior Forward Xavier (X-Man) McDaniel excelled in Wichita State's 59-58 win over Lamar, which kept the Wheatshockers' 19-game home-court winning streak alive. "On the road we might have lost this game," said McDaniel, who poured in a game-high 23 points and began the defense of his NCAA rebounding title with 14. Still, it took a free throw with 10 seconds left by reserve Guard Gilbert Wilburn to ensure the victory.
Memphis State had little trouble in winning two games in its own Mid-South Classic round robin. The Tigers beat Tennessee State 88-60 in the first, then pummeled North Texas State 101-79. Keith Lee scored 47 points, grabbed 22 rebounds and had six assists in the two games.
North Carolina State won the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, defeating Arkansas 65-60 in the championship game as the Wolfpack's Terry Gannon scored 15 points and Ernie Myers added 12. Joe Kleine, Arkansas' 6'11" center, scored 57 points in three games—including 18 in the final—and grabbed 32 rebounds to earn the tournament's MVP trophy.
The Wolfpack mucked its way into the championship game by holding off inspired Alaska-Anchorage 68-60 in the opening round, then nipping Santa Clara 78-75 despite 25 points and 12 rebounds by 7-foot Bronco Center Nick Vanos. Arkansas needed clutch free-throw shooting to earn a championship berth. The Razorbacks turned back Fordham 62-61 in the first round when Ricky Norton sank a foul shot with five seconds left, then outdueled Oklahoma 84-78 the next night. Kleine scored 23 points and had 14 rebounds for the Hogs, neutralizing a 24-point, 12-rebound performance by the OU's Wayman Tisdale.
Four thousand miles away, the residents of Hilo, Hawaii only thought they'd felt another earthquake. It was merely Georgetown, which spent the weekend rumbling to a pair of wins over Hawaii-Hilo. The Hoyas trounced the Vulcans 71-45 behind Fred Brown's 17 points, then rolled to a 97-35 win on Sunday as freshman Guard Reggie Williams scored 18 points.
After clubbing Idaho State 85-58 in its home opener, UCLA was lucky to escape with a 65-59 victory over determined Long Beach State. The 49ers were not only deadlocked with the Bruins at halftime, they held an astounding 20-8 rebounding advantage. "I went into a tirade when I saw those stats," said Bruin Coach Larry Farmer. But junior Center Stuart Gray brought the Bruins back in the second half. Gray, who scored 13 points, got 10 of his 11 rebounds after intermission.
UTEP opened the season with a 91-61 romp over Texas Southern, but Miner Coach Don Haskins was furious at his team's 28 turnovers. "Just 28?" Haskins asked sarcastically afterward. "I thought we had that many in the first 10 minutes." But the Miners also had three players in double figures, led by Fred Reynolds with 17 points.
Guard Steve Reid sank a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left to give Purdue a 56-55 upset of Fresno State in the finals of the Bulldogs' Sun Met Classic. The Boilermakers got there by whipping Northeastern 83-64, while the Bulldogs crushed North Dakota State 83-54.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
RON HARPER: The sophomore forward scored a game-high 26 points and had 13 rebounds as Miami (Ohio) upset Indiana 63-57 in Bloomington. It was the Hoosiers' first loss to the Redskins in 40 years.