COLLEGE BASKETBALL—DELTA STATE won its third straight AIAW championship, defeating Louisiana State 68-55 in Minneapolis (page 59).
PRO BASKETBALL—New Orleans responded to the dismissal of General Manager Barry Mendelson by winning five straight, including a 100-94 overtime defeat of Kansas City and a 119-118 double-overtime victory at Indiana. Mendelson had been severely criticized for the early-season firing of popular Coach Butch Van Breda Kolff, under whom the now 32-42 Jazz had a winning (14-12) record, and the high price he paid—two first-round draft choices—for aging Guard Gail Goodrich, who has been injured most of the season. League-leading scorer Pete Maravich averaged 34.2 points a game during the Jazz' mini win streak. In their defeat by New Orleans the Kings lost high-scoring Guard Brian Taylor when he injured his lower back. Taylor had a total of 62 points in Kansas City's wins over Golden State and the New York Nets. Without him, the Kings dropped three and fell one-half game behind the hottest team in the league, the Chicago Bulls (page 71), in the battle for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Seattle lost two games and fell two games behind the Kings. Former ABA President John Y. Brown became the sole owner of the Buffalo Braves, buying out Paul Snyder. The purchase was announced shortly before the Braves lost to Los Angeles 92-89. Brown said he was considering moving Buffalo to Miami (where the ABA Floridians failed), or to Louisville, where he used to operate the ABA Colonels.
BILLIARDS—WILLIAM (JAY) HUNGERFORD of Arizona State beat Marshall University's Jack Austin 100-28 for the NCAA title, in Columbia, S.C. JULIE BENTZ, a University of Wisconsin junior, defeated Nancy Wanger of Queens (N.Y.) College 50-32 for the women's crown.
BOWLING—JOHN PETRAGLIA of Staten Island, who hadn't won a tournament since 1974, beat Bill Spigner 279-232 in the $100,000 U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C.
April 4, 1977
FENCING—Tied with New York University at the end of regular competition, NOTRE DAME won a fence-off for its first NCAA championship, in South Bend.
GOLF—Australia's GRAHAM MARSH shot a final-round 69 to wipe out Tom Watson's four-stroke lead and win the Sea Pines Heritage Golf Classic on Hilton Head Island, S.C, beating Watson by one stroke with a 273, 11-under-par. It was Marsh's first victory on the American tour and earned him $45,000.
Sandra Palmer, 36, shot a seven-under-par 281, four strokes better than Hollis Stacy, to win the inaugural Kathryn Crosby Tournament and $22,500 in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
COLLEGE HOCKEY—WISCONSIN won the NCAA title by beating Michigan 6-5 in overtime at Detroit on Left Wing Steve Alley's second goal of the game (page 65).
PRO HOCKEY—NHL: At 5:57 of the third period, Montreal's Guy Lafleur scored his 53rd goal of the season to give the Canadiens a 5-1 lead over St. Louis. Although Lafleur's tally was unimportant to the outcome of the game—the Habs went on to win 6-1—16,829 Forum fans gave the 25-year-old right wing a three-minute standing ovation because he had just broken Bruin Bronco Horvath's 1959 record by scoring at least one point in 23 straight games. Lafleur made it 25 in a row with a goal and three assists as the Canadiens beat Detroit 4-0 and 6-0. At the bottom of the Norris Division, the dismal Red Wings were working on a different kind of streak: they were outscored 19-1 in four losses, suffered their ninth, 10th and 11th shutouts of the season and ran their winless skein to 15. Buffalo and Boston continued to jockey for the top spot in the Adams. The Bruins blanked Detroit 6-0, picked up five third-period goals to stop Toronto 7-5 and whipped Pittsburgh 3-0 to stay within one point of the Sabres, who beat Atlanta and Cleveland but were tied at Colorado and lost at Los Angeles. In the other undecided divisional battle, the New York Islanders inched within two points of Philadelphia in the Patrick with three wins and a 1-1 tie at Toronto. Philadelphia's Reggie Leach scored with just 18 seconds remaining to salvage a 4-4 tie at Vancouver, then had two goals in the Flyers' win at Boston and two more in a 9-3 rout of the Canucks back in Philadelphia.
WHA: In a battle of division leaders, Quebec beat Houston 6-2 as Real Cloutier scored his 61st and 62nd goals. The Nordiques and Aeros have split their six games this year, each winning three at home. Cincinnati clung to a two-point lead over Indianapolis in the fight for second in the East. The Stingers upheld their reputation as the worst overtime team in the league by losing to Edmonton 4-3—and now are 0-7-3 in O.T. After beating Calgary 4-2 for its 21st straight win at home, Houston lost on home ice for the first time since December to Winnipeg 5-3. Having played 14 games without a victory, San Diego did an about-face and took four in a row. Similarly, Calgary, which had dropped 10 straight, pulled out a 5-4 win over Phoenix on Sunday night to draw within two points of fourth-place Edmonton and a possible playoff berth.
HORSE RACING—Looking more and more like an odds-on Kentucky Derby favorite. SEATTLE SLEW ($2.40) coasted to a four-length victory over Giboulee in the $139,400 Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah. With Jean Cruguet in the saddle, Karen Taylor's undefeated colt ran the 1‚⅛ mile's in 1:47[2/5] (page 36).
Habitony ($6.80), with Bill Shoemaker lip, won the $199,000 Santa Anita Derby by three lengths over For The Moment. The 3-year-old colt covered the 11‚⅛ miles in 1:48[1/5].
SWIMMING—Twelve American records were set in the 16 events at the 54th annual NCAA championships in Cleveland. USC took its fourth straight team title with 385 points, Alabama finishing a distant second with 204. Trojan JOHN NABER took the 100- and 200-yard backstroke and set an NCAA record of 10 individual titles in four years (page 26).
TENNIS—CHRIS EVERT defeated England's Sue Barker 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 to win her fourth Virginia Slims championship and $50,000 in New York's Madison Square Garden (page 24).
WRESTLING—The SOVIET UNION won its fifth straight World Cup in Toledo, Ohio, beating the U.S., Japan and Canada. The only individual American winners in the final match with the U.S.S.R. were Jim Jackson (330 pounds) and Stan Dziedzic (163 pounds).
MILEPOSTS—MARRIED: BERT JONES, 25, Baltimore Colts quarterback and the NFL's Most Valuable Player for 1976, to Danielle Dupuis, 23; in Opelousas, La.
DIED: JOE STYDAHAR, 65, a member of the college and pro football Halls of Fame; of a heart attack; in Beckley, W. Va. An All-America tackle at West Virginia, Stydahar went on to become an All-Pro in nine seasons (1936-42, 1945-46) with the Chicago Bears. Later he coached the Los Angeles Rams (1950-51)—the Rams beating the Cleveland Browns 24-17 for the 1951 NFL crown—and the Chicago Cardinals (1953-54).