For attaining supremacy in Utah basketball, Weber State earned a coveted, albeit obscure, award: the Old Oquirrh Bucket. The Bucket draws its name from a Utah mountain range, and the Wildcats gained possession of it by beating Utah State 89-76. Coupled with earlier victories over Utah, BYU and State, that clinched the trophy for Weber State. Stan Mayhew of the Wildcats was at his best against the Aggies, setting team records with 45 points and 20 rebounds. Weber State later solidified its Big Sky lead by downing Northern Arizona 92-86 in overtime.
Arizona tied Utah for first place in the Western AC, outgunning the Utes 102-98 and BYU 113-85. Herm (the Germ) Harris of the Wildcats bugged opponents by scoring 35 points in each contest. Utah came back to stop Arizona State 77-66.
Nevada-Las Vegas set an NCAA mark by scoring 100 or more points a game for the 12th straight time in a 113-69 zapping of California-Santa Barbara. (The former record was set by Houston in 1968.) That streak was ended when Pepperdine came to town. The lead changed hands 24 times before Las Vegas pulled away to win 85-80. That result prolonged another streak; it was the 54th consecutive home victory for the Rebels, one more than Cincinnati has.
January 31, 1977
Oregon State held off Oregon 53-52. Unbeaten San Francisco (page 26) was idle.
1. SAN FRANCISCO (19-0)
2. NEV.-LAS VEGAS (16-1)
3. ARIZ. (14-2)
"We thought we had experienced just about everything, but now we have experienced Ernie, Bernie and Mike." moaned Alabama Coach C. M. Newton after a 102-93 loss at Tennessee. Mike Jackson earned the right to turn the Vols' Ernie and Bernie Show into a three-man act, tossing in 24 points. With Ernie Grunfeld adding 22 and Bernard King 26, Tennessee waltzed to the top of the Southeastern Conference with a 7-0 record and knocked the Tide from the unbeaten ranks. Alabama's Reginald King led all scorers with 33 points. Tennessee tuned up for the Tide by bopping Mississippi 86-72.
Kentucky won twice: 73-71 at Florida and 87-72 against LSU. It took 12 minutes to play the final seven seconds of the first game. With the score 71-71, Jay Shidler stole a Gator pass, was fouled and sank two free throws. Four seconds left. Then came a succession of madcap events, including three delays while the incorrect clock was wound down to the proper setting. The rest of the fiasco went like this. A Gator inbounds pass is deflected. The next pass is stolen. Kentucky is called for traveling. Florida inbounds again, only to have its lofty pass hit the rim. Two seconds left. Wildcats' ball. Inbounds pass to Rick Robey, who is fouled. Time-out. Robey misses his free throw. Bob Smyth of Florida rebounds and hurls a shot that falls short as the buzzer sounds.
Bizarre, too, was the scene when Grand Valley State played at Oakland University in a Great Lakes Conference game. Early on, it was found that the official scorekeeper had recorded the wrong uniform numbers for Grand Valley. The penalty: five technical fouls. Oakland made just two of those shots and lost 82-66 to the Lakers, who are 16-1.
"We're playing what is like a pro schedule now," said Michigan Coach Johnny Orr, whose team was in the midst of a seven-games-in-14-days grind. The Wolverines won 99-75 at Iowa and then took two home games. In a showdown against Purdue for the Big Ten lead, Michigan's Rickey Green had 22 points before twisting his back on a layup. His sub, Dave Baxter, excelled during the last eight minutes, pumping in 14 points as Michigan won 82-76. With Green missing the next game against Illinois, the Wolverines got 29 points from Phil Hubbard, who had 37 in the previous two contests. All of this left Michigan 6-0 and a game up on Purdue, which beat Michigan State 76-70.
1. MICHIGAN (13-1)
2. TENNESSEE (14-2)
3. ALABAMA (14-1)
It was a vital game' so Cincinnati Coach Gale Catlett showed up at Louisville dressed for the occasion: a white sports jacket splattered with multicolored patterns of jockey silks. At the outset, though, it was the Cardinals who looked as if they were off to the races, abandoning their usual deliberate pace for a fast break that gave them a 21-8 lead. The crowd of 16,616 fans exulted over a succession of nifty Louisville maneuvers in the second half: a two-handed, behind-the-head dunk by freshman Darrell Griffith, a court-length pass from Wesley Cox to Rick Wilson for an easy basket and a flying one-handed ram-jam by Cox. With 9:57 remaining, and the Cardinals in front 59-52, Cincinnati Center Bob Miller drew his fifth foul—in all, three Bearcat starters fouled out—ensuring Louisville's 83-77 win and the Metro Conference lead. Wilson finished with 22 points, and Griffith, who sank seven of eight floor shots, with 15 as Louisville handed Cincinnati its first loss of the season.
Louisville then gave St. Louis the blues 74-55. Cincinnati, which had started the week with a 54-52 win at St. Louis, ended it with a 78-75 loss at Tulane. Jeff Cummings of the Green Wave snared a big offensive rebound in the waning moments and passed off to Arthur Bibbs, who then scored the game's final two points by sinking a pair of foul shots.
Memphis State was also shocked, 89-82, at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets forced the Tigers into risky shots, broke State's press for numerous layups and got 58 points from their dazzling young Tico and the Man combination. Tico Brown, a JC transfer, popped in 31 and freshman Lenny Horton added 27.
"I guess if you're AJ McGuire you're allowed to do things like that," complained Drake Coach Bob Ortegel after a 62-60 loss to Marquette. Butch Lee's basket with four seconds to go gave the Warriors their winning points. What irked Ortegel was that during a time-out with three seconds left, McGuire went on the floor and positioned his players to try to stymie Drake's last play. Ortegel felt a technical foul should have been called against the Marquette coach. McGuire apparently irritated his players, too, some of them showing disgust after he grabbed them by the arm, poked them in the chest and shouted at them during time-outs. A few of the Warriors turned their backs on McGuire, who then pulled them into the huddle or onto the bench. "I've lost my cohesiveness on the bench," McGuire lamented. Still, he kept winning, beating Notre Dame 78-69 and Xavier of Ohio 85-43.
After being walloped 86-58, Texas Coach Abe Lemons labeled Arkansas "probably the best Southwest Conference team in years." Ron Brewer's 23 points ignited the Razorbacks, who lead the conference with a 6-0 record. Earlier, Arkansas breezed past TCU 62-45. Houston stayed in the race by defeating Texas 95-81 and Texas A&M 78-71. Otis Birdsong poured in 71 points for the Cougars, 43 of them against the Longhorns.
"I wanted so badly to come back home and look super," said Coach Dick Vitale, a native of New Jersey, disappointed that his Detroit team had to struggle for two wins in the East, 70-68 at St. Peter's and 85-81 at St. Francis. St. Peter's gained a 68-68 tie on Bob Fazio's sleight-of-knee basket with nine seconds to go. While driving toward the basket, he had the ball slapped away by a Titan. It ricocheted off Fazio's knee, up to the backboard and through the net. That was a hard act to follow, but Dennis Boyd of Detroit gave it his best shot, a running, beat-the-buzzer 20-footer that went off the glass and through the rim for the clinching points. Back in Detroit, the Titans (15-1) bumped off Canisius 110-72.
Missouri also put on a remarkable shooting performance. During the second half of a 90-83 win at Colorado, the Tigers hit 17 of 23 field-goal tries (73.9%), and sank 30 of 33 free throws (90.9%) in the game. Most accurate of all was Clay Johnson, who was 14 of 17 from the floor and 11 of 11 from the foul line for 39 points. Overshadowed was Emmett Lewis of the Buffaloes, who got 36 points. Missouri then throttled Nebraska 76-63 to tie Kansas State for first place in the Big Eight with a 4-1 record. The Wildcats toppled Oklahoma State 72-67 and jolted Kansas 80-65.
1. LOUISVILLE (12-2)
2. ARKANSAS (14-1)
3. CINCINNATI (12-2)
The way North Carolina State Guard Kenny Carr figured it, a stitch in time saved the Wolfpack. Actually, it took 12 stitches to close a gash in Carr's lower lip, a wound he suffered during a slugfest the week before against Virginia. Carr was ejected from that contest, but insisted the game "was the turnaround for this team. It gave the young players confidence." Those youngsters—three freshmen and two sophomores—played the second half against the Cavaliers without Carr and went on to win 80-66. The added confidence helped against North Carolina last week as the Wolfpack rallied from nine points back during the last 12 minutes to pull off a 75-73 upset at Raleigh. Freshmen Clyde (the Glide) Austin and Charles (Hawkeye) Whitney and sophomore Tony Warren teamed up for 43 points and 20 rebounds. In the closing moments, though, it was Carr, a junior, who executed the decisive plays. With 18 seconds left, he took an alley-oop pass from Austin and turned it into a field goal and a 74-71 State lead. Carr then blocked a shot by Phil Ford—who led all scorers with 32 points—was fouled and converted one of two free throws. That was the last of Carr's 23 points and State finished off the Tar Heels' 11-game victory streak.
State brought its Atlantic Coast record to 3-1 by holding off Duke 79-78. North Carolina improved its mark to 5-1 as Maryland botched three late chances to grab the lead and lost 71-68. The Terps also lost to Clem-son 93-71, their worst setback in six years, as Wayne (Tree) Rollins of the Tigers scored 22 points and had 23 rebounds. Maryland's only bright spot was the shooting of Lawrence Boston, who set an ACC mark by sinking 17 consecutive floor shots in the two defeats.
At the start of the week, Duke won on the road for the first time in 28 tries spanning almost five years, downing Virginia 82-74 in overtime. Tate Armstrong of the Blue Devils, the ACC's top scorer with a 22.7-point average, broke a bone in his right wrist during the first three minutes, yet went on to score 33 points. Without Armstrong, Duke lost to Wake Forest 85-73. The Deacons also took a non-conference game from UNC-Charlotte 74-72. Rod Griffin grabbed 12 rebounds and had 29 points as he made 12 of 13 shots from the floor and all five of his shots from the free-throw line.
Providence downed Rhode Island 82-71 and sank 17 of its first 23 shots in an 83-68 romp over Boston U. Syracuse wiped out Pitt 96-74.
Parishioners attending 8 p.m. Mass at St. Ignatius Church at the foot of the Boston College campus had trouble finding parking spaces. Eagle fans, hoping for an upset of Holy Cross, had filled the parking lot. They left disappointed. Ron Perry Jr. and Mike Vicens each had 28 points as the Crusaders won 90-84. Georgetown, which had surprised Holy Cross earlier 69-65, was, in turn, dumped by Seton Hall 94-82. Randy Duffin tossed in 29 points for the Pirates and Glenn Mosley 24. Mosley, the nation's No. 1 rebounder, retrieved 16 missed shots.
"They have the great, great ability to put you under ether," said St. John's Coach Lou Carnesecca about Princeton, which has the stingiest defense in the country. Against the Redmen, though, it was the Tigers who seemed anesthetized, scoring just 18 points in the first half and losing 75-50.
Columbia lost 91-74 to Lafayette, but held on for a 76-74 Ivy League victory over Cornell, which had trailed by 24 points with 11 minutes to go. Penn took a pair of Philadelphia Big Five skirmishes, 63-55 over St. Joseph's and 83-72 over Temple.
VMI stayed atop the Southern Conference, getting 62 points in three games from Ron Carter as the Keydets built their school-record winning streak to 13 games. VMI's (14-1) victims were The Citadel 68-62, Richmond 88-79 and East Carolina 67-58.
1. NORTH CAROLINA (13-2)
2. PROV. (14-2)
3. WAKE FOREST (14-2)