PRO BASKETBALL—The rap against rookie Ralph Sampson has been that he stays outside too much. But last week the 7'4" Sampson showed he can do the inside job, and against no less an opponent than Boston. His 27 points and 19 rebounds paced Houston to a 107-94 win. As if to show he wasn't becoming exclusively a Mr. Inside, Sampson tossed in a 50-foot three-point goal with :02 left in the second quarter. Boston rebounded the next night to beat Dallas 114-109 in overtime and take the Atlantic Division lead from Philadelphia, which lost two straight on the road. Center Dan Issel's 28 points led Denver past Philly 101-89, and Seattle forward Tom Chambers and guard Gus Williams scored five points each in OT to lead the Sonics past the Sixers 97-93. Julius Erving of the 76ers scored his 25,000th pro point, a free throw, at Seattle. Utah raced to a 3½-game lead in the Midwest Division by winning its eighth straight, a 113-105 decision over Seattle in which Jazz guard Darrell Griffith scored 20 points in the third quarter. But the Nuggets were again upstarts, stunning Utah 135-130. This time Issel scored 31. Portland fell percentage points behind Los Angeles in the Pacific Division by losing three straight, including a 140-100 wipeout at Detroit in which the Trail Blazers shot 38% from the field and committed 27 turnovers. San Diego snapped its 29-game road losing streak by beating Houston 110-95, behind 28 points each from forward Terry Cummings and guard Norm Nixon and then proved the win was no fluke by triumphing 99-96 at Kansas City. Cummings again had 28. Milwaukee retained the Central Division lead with sub-100-point victories over New Jersey (89-85) and Portland (93-88), but Detroit closed to within two games of the Bucks by winning three straight, including a 103-96 triumph over Chicago that stopped the Bulls' winning streak at seven (page 44).
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—In bowl games, Oklahoma State defeated Baylor 24-10 in the Bluebonnet; Florida clipped Iowa 14-6 in the Gator; Florida State walloped North Carolina 28-3 in the Peach; Notre Dame edged Boston College 19-18 in the Liberty; Penn State beat Washington 13-10 in the Aloha; Alabama shocked SMU 28-7 in the Sun; Brigham Young knocked off Missouri 21-17 in the Holiday; and West Virginia defeated Kentucky 20-16 in the Hall of Fame.
PRO FOOTBALL—In the AFC playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks upset the Miami Dolphins 27-20 and the Los Angeles Raiders whipped the Pittsburgh Steelers 38-10. In the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Detroit Lions 24-23 and the Washington Redskins crushed the Los Angeles Rams 51-7 (page 20).
HOCKEY—Minnesota, which outshot Toronto 18-1 in taking a 2-0 first-period lead, beat the Maple Leafs 8-6 to lengthen their Norris Division lead to seven points over Chicago. The Rangers won twice, whipping Chicago 7-4 in a brawl-marred game and then crushing Philadelphia 6-3. Black Hawk defenseman Jack O'Callahan cross-checked New York defense-man Dave Maloney in the face, and the ensuing melee resulted in the awarding of 78 penalty minutes. O'Callahan received a match misconduct penalty and an automatic suspension. Maloney, despite 10 stitches in the chin, was not seriously hurt. The Rangers then halted the Flyers' unbeaten streak at six, as the line of Anders Hedberg, Mark Pavelich and Rob McClanahan had three goals and four assists. That victory moved the Rangers into second place in the Patrick Division behind the Islanders, whose worst loss of the week was that of defenseman Ken Morrow. He underwent arthroscopic surgery and will be out indefinitely. Edmonton, tops in the Smythe Division, beat Adams Division-leading Boston 2-0 behind the 36 saves of goalie Grant Fuhr, who got the first shutout of his career. With an assist on the Oilers' second goal, Wayne Gretzky had at least a point for the 39th consecutive game. The win was Edmonton's first over the Bruins in nearly three years. Center Marcel Dionne had two hat tricks in leading Los Angeles past Vancouver, 5-4 in overtime, and Hartford, 9-3.
INDOOR SOCCER—MISL: Kansas City used tight defense and balanced scoring to win twice on the road and take control of the West. The Comets beat the Stars 3-2 in Tacoma and then allowed the Lazers only eight second-half shots in a 7-6 comeback win in Los Angeles. In the East, Cleveland ran its winning streak to 11 with a 6-5 victory over New York and a 6-3 win over Baltimore. The Force scored four goals in the last 4:43 to beat the Blast before 18,621 fans at Richfield Coliseum. But the Arrows then avenged their loss, beating Cleveland 4-2.
NASL: The league lead seesawed between the Cosmos and Golden Bay. The Earthquakes fell half a game back when the Cosmos beat Chicago 4-3 with forward Stan Terlecki scoring all four goals. San Diego, led by three goals from midfielder Julie Veee, whipped the Cosmos 10-8 and put Golden Bay into first by percentage points. But then Tampa beat the Quakes 9-7, and the Cosmos led again.
TENNIS—AUSTRALIA defeated Sweden 3-2 to win the Davis Cup in Melbourne.
MILEPOSTS—FIRED: As coach of the San Antonio Spurs, MORRIS McHONE, 40, who was 11-20 in his first year. General Manager BOB BASS, 54, will coach the Spurs for the rest of the season.
HIRED: As football coach at the Air Force Academy. FISHER DeBERRY, 45, who had been the team's offensive coordinator. He replaces KEN HATFIELD, 40, who left after five years and a 27-31-1 record to become coach at his alma mater, Arkansas. Hatfield's predecessor there, LOU HOLTZ, 47, was hired as coach of Minnesota.
As coach of the USFL New Jersey Generals, WALT MICHAELS, 54, who was 41-49-1 with the NFL New York Jets from 1977 to '82.
As coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, SAM WYCHE, 38, who guided Indiana University to a 3-8 record in 1983. He replaced FORREST GREGG, 50, who had resigned with a four-year mark of 34-27, including a 7-9 record in 1983, to become coach of the Green Bay Packers. Gregg succeeds BART STARR, 50, who was fired after nine years. The Pack was 52-76-3 under Starr and 8-8 in '83.
As football coach at Memphis State, REY DEMPSEY, 47, who guided Southern Illinois to the 1983 Division I-AA crown.
RESIGNED: As interim coach of the Houston Oilers, CHUCK STUDLEY, 54, who was 2-8 with the team after taking over on Oct. 11. Studley was then hired as defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins.
SENTENCED: By a federal judge in Kansas City to the maximum sentence of one year in prison, all but 90 days of which was suspended, and a $5,000 fine, 1971 American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner VIDA BLUE, 34, on a misdemeanor charge for possession of cocaine.
TRADED: By the Kansas City Royals, first baseman WILLIE AIKENS, 29, to the Toronto Blue Jays for outfielder-designated hitter JORGE ORTA, 33. Aikens is under a one-year suspension by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn for having been convicted of attempting to buy cocaine. That suspension will be reviewed on May 15. Aikens will be allowed to work out with Toronto upon his release from federal prison, which he was scheduled to enter on Jan. 3 to begin serving a three-month sentence.
DIED: JIMMY DEMARET, 73, as well known for his flashy wardrobe and sunny personality as for his three Masters victories, in 1940, '47 and '50, and 31 PGA Tour wins; of a heart attack; at Houston's Champions Golf Club, which he and Jack Burke Jr. founded in 1957. Demaret was one of the first Tour players to banter with the gallery during a round, and he also introduced pastel clothing to the tour. "If you're going to be in the limelight," he once said, "you might as well dress for it."