After a January loss to Wake Forest, Clemson Coach Bill Foster tried but failed to relax his players for the next game with a series of one-liners. "So I bought a wild-looking sweater and wore it on game day to give them something to kid about," Foster said. "We won. So I've bought a sweater for every game since." Foster's sweater psychology, plus 32 points from his bench, earned the Tigers a 70-66 win in a rematch at Wake Forest that tightened up the Atlantic Coast race. At Maryland, though, Foster could not pull the wools over the Terps' eyes and he lost 84-78. Wake Forest took a 1½-game lead over Clemson and North Carolina, getting 30 points from Skip Brown and coming from 17 points back in the last 17½ minutes to trim North Carolina State 84-77. The Tar Heels dumped Maryland 97-70.
Penn celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Palestra by nipping Columbia 86-85 as Keven McDonald had 26 points, then stopped Cornell 59-41 as Tony Price had 23 rebounds. Princeton toppled the Big Red 62-49 and, with Bob Roma picking up 22 points and 16 rebounds, bopped the Lions 85-64 to tie the Quakers for the Ivy lead.
Providence topped DePaul 84-73 and overcame 25 turnovers to defeat LIU 99-85. That gave the Friars 20 wins for the 16th time in 19 years, a feat unmatched in the nation.
February 21, 1977
A 37-point spree by Essie Hollis carried St. Bonaventure to a 91-84 upset of Syracuse. Em (the Gem) Sammons had 19 points as Philadelphia Textile shocked Villanova 61-57. VMI avoided being dumped, holding off Marshall 97-90 and Richmond 92-87.
1. WAKE FOREST (19-3)
2. PROV. (20-3)
3. N. CAROLINA (17-4)
"We really messed up the race, didn't we?" said Nebraska's Bob Siegel, who helped snarl the Big Eight picture with 18 points in a 60-58 upset of Missouri. On hand to see the Huskers win with aggressive man-to-man defense and ball-control offense was the largest crowd ever to see a basketball game in Nebraska, 14,273. The Huskers' win left them tied with Oklahoma and one game behind Missouri and Kansas State. Kim Anderson's 38 points carried the Tigers past Kansas 87-79. The Wildcats earned a share of first place with two wins, first stopping Nebraska 67-62 and then committing only four turnovers and getting 34 points from freshman Curtis Redding to beat Kansas 86-83. Oklahoma toppled Oklahoma State 63-51, but lost at Colorado 79-65.
Although Tulane sank 16 of 20 second-half shots and led 62-48 with 9:31 left, Arkansas rallied for a 76-73 victory. Marvin Delph and Ron Brewer made the Razorbacks winners by bombing the Green Wave zone for 41 points. Arkansas then drubbed Baylor 77-57 and Rice 78-51.
A tenacious full-court press enabled Cincinnati to win three times. First came a 63-62 verdict over Marquette, in which the press forced 15 turnovers. The Bearcats next beat Eastern Kentucky 78-60 and Georgia Tech 84-73, provoking 46 errors.
Prolific scoring by Anthony Roberts of Oral Roberts and John C. Johnson of Creighton kept their teams winning. Roberts had 79 points as the Titans (18-5) downed Murray State 80-66 and North Texas State 113-90. Johnson's 77 points led the Bluejays (20-3) past Oklahoma City 90-71, North Texas State 101-83 and Nebraska-Omaha 81-69.
1. LOUISVILLE (18-3)
2. ARKANSAS (22-1)
3. CINCINNATI (18-3)
Washington Coach Marv Harshman's 501st win was one of his sweetest ever, a 78-73 shocker over UCLA. Making it possible were Guards Mike Neill and Chester Dorsey, who outscored their Bruin counterparts, Jim Spillane and Roy Hamilton, 36-13. The Huskies also beat USC 72-50 and Pac 8 leader UCLA squirmed past Washington State 65-62.
Halftime—California 39, Oregon 37. Regulation—65-65. First OT—72-72. Second OT—83-83. Third OT—89-89. Fourth OT—93-93. Final—California 107-102. That's right, five overtimes. Gene Ransom, a 5' 9" Golden Bear guard, played 63½ minutes and scored 36 points before fouling out. More than that, Ransom knotted the score with 1:14 left in regulation time by sinking two free throws, turned a rebound into a basket with two seconds to go in the second overtime and scored the final points in the fourth extra period on a pair of foul shots with 1:18 remaining. His performance offset a 41-point effort by Oregon's Greg Ballard. In all, there were 78 fouls, 27 ties and NCAA records for number of players fouling out (10), and for free throws made and tried (37 and 55) by California.
Utah escaped from Colorado State with a 69-68 win when Earl Williams sank a last-second, no-time-to-look shot. At Wyoming, though, the Utes lost 94-88. Arizona tied Utah for the Western AC lead, trimming Tex-as-EI Paso 67-60 and New Mexico 88-84.
San Francisco swamped Nevada-Reno 92-76 and St. Mary's 99-82. Before ambushing Louisville (page 22), Nevada-Las Vegas beat Dayton 106-84.
Portland State's Freeman Williams, who leads the country with a 39.3 scoring average, set an NCAA one-game high for the season with 71 points in a 142-85 thrashing of Southern Oregon. (Only two NCAA players have scored more: Frank Selvy of Furman netted 100 in 1954 and Billy Mlkvy of Temple 73 in 1951.) Next time out, Williams tapered off, picking up just 59 points in a 119-71 win over Simon Fraser.
Montana State tied an NCAA record during a 31-11 loss to Idaho State, trailing 8-0 at halftime after having missed all three of its field-goal attempts.
1. SAN FRANCISCO (25-0)
2. UCLA (18-3)
3. ARIZONA (18-3)
"You're 12 points behind when you walk in," said Tennessee Coach Ray Mears of Florida's infamous Alligator Alley, where his team suffered its first Southeastern Conference loss 80-76. Al Bonner did in the Vols by scoring nine of his 19 points in the last 7½ minutes. Tennessee (11-1 in the SEC) then zapped LSU 91-64. Kentucky (10-1) flattened outsider Florida State 97-57 and beat Auburn 89-82. Alabama (10-2) trimmed Mississippi 72-68 and stopped Mississippi State 73-69.
Michigan combated Minnesota's zone press with a passing game, good corner shots and 16 layups. Steve Grote sank a 25-foot corner shot to snap an 80-all tie and propel the Wolverines to an 86-80 verdict that kept them atop the Big Ten. The Gophers came back to clobber Ohio State 91-65 and to hold off Iowa 61-58. Third-place Purdue was dumped by Wisconsin 76-74 and, after what Coach Fred Schaus called "one of my better halftime sermons," rallied past Northwestern 102-84.
"My yelling was normally violent," said another halftime orator, Marquette's Al McGuire, who chastised his team for blowing a 12-point lead over Loyola of Chicago. His Warriors went on to win 81-71 and then ran away from Manhattan 86-60.
Northern Illinois and Miami of Ohio moved closer to their March 5 Mid-American showdown. The Huskies (8-2 in the MAC) were picked to finish last, but with Matt Hicks gunning in 57 points they stopped Western Michigan 68-60 and Ohio U. 77-70. The Redskins beat Eastern Michigan 86-58, Kent State 64-56 and Ball State 87-70.
South Carolina beat The Citadel 85-66, Coach Frank McGuire's 500th victory.
1. KENTUCKY (18-2)
2. TENNESSEE (17-4)
3. MICHIGAN (18-2)