Louisville's Doctors of Dunk began the season by performing like so many quacks. After failing to get a slam while losing their opener at Providence, they went another 24:45 without a dunk against Vanderbilt. Then the Doctors took off. After receiving a long feed from Ricky Gallon, Rick Wilson came through with the Cardinals' first slam of the season, a rather standard two-hand affair. Darrell Griffith then added a behind-the-head smash that delighted the sellout crowd of 16,433 attending Louisville's first home game. Wilson finished with 26 points, Griffith with 24 and Gallon with 11 as the Cardinals won 96-66.
Also having difficulty getting going was Cincinnati. After the Bearcats zipped to a 26-10 lead over North Carolina A & T, Coach Gale Catlett began substituting freely, and soon the Bearcats were scrambling to preserve their 62nd straight home-court victory. It took a pair of one-and-one foul shots by Eddie Lee with six seconds remaining to pull out a 58-57 victory. Pat Cummings, who had 16 points in that game, had 20 more as Cincinnati made it 63 in a row with a 77-62 pounding of Biscayne. Center Bob Miller, who had scored just 19 points in the Bearcats' first two games, matched that total against the Bobcats.
Mississippi State gambled by using a zone defense against Arkansas and came up a loser. In the opening five minutes, the Razor-backs raced to a 16-6 lead, so the Bulldogs switched to a man-to-man. That did not work either, as Arkansas, which shot .646, won 94-61 with Ron Brewer sinking 12 of 15 shots and scoring 24 points.
December 12, 1977
"I guess that's why you play two halves," said South Dakota Coach Jack Doyle after losing 69-52 at Kansas State. The Coyotes, who had scored 128 points while winning their opener against Westmar, got only 34 in the first half against the Wildcats, but their .607 shooting was good enough to give them a four-point halftime lead. Then came the second half, during which the Coyotes shot only .290 against State's zone. Curtis Redding pumped in 19 points for the Wildcats, and freshman Rolando Blackman came off the bench to sink five of six shots and grab eight rebounds. During a 76-58 win over SMU, Redding had 26 points and 13 rebounds. Blackman was on target with five of eight shots—he was 17 for 24 after his first three games—and finished with 14 points.
Kansas displayed surprising fire power while destroying Central Missouri 121-65, Fordham 99-67 and SMU 107-71. The first-game output was the highest ever for the Jay-hawks, who began playing basketball in 1898. Against SMU, they stole the ball 16 times, with John Douglas making six of the swipes.
The Show-Me Classic in Columbia, Mo. got off to a confusing start. Early in a first-round game between Texas-El Paso and Northwestern, the officials forgot how many foul shots should be awarded for a technical on the bench. Calvin (I Have but One Shot To Take for My Team) Hale of the Miners was permitted only one free throw, which he made. Then, after a Wildcat basket, the officials realized Hale should have been given two shots. Thus, 43 seconds after making his first foul shot, Hale sank his second, and the Miners eventually won 58-54. Missouri, an 87-66 winner over Butler, continued its domination of the five-year-old tournament by "winning its fifth title with a 74-63 victory over UTEP. Tiger Guard Larry Drew, who scored 35 points in the two games, was named the MVP. Somehow, though, he did not make the all-tournament squad.
1. ARKANSAS (4-0)
2. CINCINNATI (3-0)
3. LOUISVILLE (1-1)
Before Purdue played at Indiana State, 1,500 T shirts with the prophetic inscription ISU BEAT PURDUE were on sale for $3 each. Shouted one hawker, "Get 'em now. They're going to be worth a lot more when this game is over." When the game was over, the Sycamores had a resounding 91-63 victory. Excelling for State were Larry Bird (26 points, 17 rebounds, eight assists), Jim Smith (12 points, 11 assists), freshman Leroy Staley (22 points) and Harry Morgan (18 points). On defense, the Sycamores forced 22 turnovers and held Joe Barry Carroll to 14 points.
Richard Johnson, the seven-foot, 245-pound sophomore who had contained Carroll, amassed 17 points, 16 rebounds and six blocked shots as Indiana State walloped Baptist (S.C.) 102-55. Bird tossed in 31 points and Morgan 29 during an 84-68 conquest of St. Louis.
T shirts were also the vogue at LSU, where Coach Dale Brown gave one to each of his players that said I'M PROUD OF MY DEFENSE. There was one catch to the giveaway: Brown insisted they could not wear their shirts until they earned them. After LSU shocked Washington State 83-58, while out-rebounding the Cougars 43-37 and forcing 26 turnovers, Brown said, "Tonight every Tiger can wear that shirt."
Then along came Division II New Orleans, coached by Butch van Breda Kolff, the old Princeton coach who is back in college after nine seasons with the pros. His Privateers made 16 of 19 second-half shots at LSU and came away with a 73-69 win. Wayne Cooper, a 6'10" senior, scored 22 points for New Orleans. Said Brown, "I should get the dimwit award for scheduling them."
Following its loss to Indiana State, Purdue regrouped and walloped Alabama 82-65. Carroll had 26 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked seven shots.
Dave Batton scored 20 points as Notre Dame beat Baylor 98-57 and Don Williams scored 20 in an 89-75 victory over Valparaiso. Notre Dame freshman Kelly Tripucka tossed in a total of 37 points.
Improbably, the score at the end of 18 minutes was St. Thomas (Minn.) 28, Marquette 25. But from then on, the Warriors whipped the upstarts and thundered to an 80-45 win as the reserves scored 42 points. Against Western Michigan, the bench produced 17 of the Warriors' last 19 points in a 59-47 win.
Two days before his opening game, Detroit Coach Dick Vitale resigned because of ill health and turned the job over to assistant Dave Gaines. After Terry Duerod hit on 12 of 14 shots and scored 25 points during Gaines' debut, a 76-64 win over Toledo, the Titans presented the game ball to Vitale. Then, with John Long zeroing in for 21 points and both Terry Tyler and Duerod for 20, the Titans ran away from Adrian 112-69.
Freshman Earvin Johnson admitted he was "just so tight" during Michigan State's 68-61 win over Central Michigan. Johnson had more turnovers (eight) than points (seven), but another newcomer, Forward Jay Vincent, came off the bench to score 25 points.
Michigan wiped out Eastern Michigan 117-69 as Joel Thompson had 22 points and freshman Mike Magee and Tom Staton 20 apiece. Western Michigan was upset at home 56-52 by Grand Valley State.
Syracuse was stunned 76-67 at Dayton as 6'7" Erv Giddings scored 24 points. Two other New York teams barely avoided upsets. After trailing early at Vanderbilt, St. John's began getting the ball inside to George Johnson (19 points) and freshman Wayne McKoy (14 points, 11 rebounds). Guard Mike Rhodes had 21 points for the Commodores, who lost 59-54. Iona took the Citrus Invitational, skimming past North Alabama 69-67 on Kevin Hamilton's 22-foot jumper in the last second and then beating Florida Southern 61-54 in the title game.
1. KENTUCKY (1-0)
2. NOTRE DAME (3-0)
3. MARQUETTE (2-0)
San Francisco, which last season had a 29-game winning streak, had its latest string snapped at two. After defeating Tennessee 84-75 in the first round of the Fiesta Classic, the Dons were beaten 89-79 by Arizona State in the finale. The Sun Devils, who entered the tournament 0-2, started off by outscoring Iowa State 87-69. They then jolted the Dons, as tournament MVP Guard Blake Taylor directed the running game and State's front line limited San Francisco's potent forecourt of James Hardy, Doug Jemison and Winford Boynes to 23 points. Guard Chubby Cox poured in 26 points for the Dons, but the Sun Devils got 22 from Roy Joshua and a total of 25 points and 19 rebounds from Tony Zeno and Bill Kucharsky. Tennessee took third place by beating Iowa State 81-76, despite having to play without Captain-Guard Johnny Dar-den. Darden was hospitalized after nearly drowning. His life was saved when teammate James Meriweather pulled him from the bottom of a swimming pool and other players administered artificial respiration.
UCLA had two solid victories, 104-70 over Colorado and 88-79 over Santa Clara. The Bruins established Pauley Pavilion records by taking 52 foul shots and converting 42 of them against Colorado. David Greenwood, who scored 37 points and grabbed 21 rebounds during the two games, was at his best against the Broncos, sinking 11 of 16 shots, scoring 23 points and pulling down 15 missed shots.
With Jeff Judkins playing at guard for the first time as a collegian, Utah rumbled past Loyola of Los Angeles 85-77 and Southern Cal 93-67. Judkins, after three years as a forward, quarterbacked the offense and at times moved inside as he made 17 of 26 shots, grabbed 22 rebounds and dished out eight assists in the two wins. Lending a hand was freshman Forward Danny Vranes, who came up with 23 points and 17 rebounds.
Arkansas won twice at Hawaii, 79-60 and 78-53, as Sidney Moncrief had 51 points, Ron Brewer 30 and Marvin Delph 35.
Washington State smothered Northern Arizona 85-61. Washington defeated Arizona State 68-62 and Seattle Pacific 78-70. Colorado was upset 75-56 by Air Force, and Division II powerhouse Puget Sound stunned Seattle U. 68-64.
1. UCLA (4-0)
2. UTAH (2-0)
3. SAN FRANCISCO (2-1)
"It's cold and nasty up here, and the people have a funny accent," said 6'11" Ricky Gallon of Louisville before playing at Providence. Cold, too, were the Cardinals, who did not make any fast-break baskets and sank only 22 of 70 shots, while losing 57-51. Larry Williams missed all nine of his attempts, Darrell Griffith scored only 10 points, and Gallon had nine.
Spurring on the Friars were 6'9", 240-pound Bob (Big Beef) Misevicius and Guard Dwight Williams. Misevicius, who missed almost a month of preseason drills while trimming off 30 pounds and boning up on his studies, pumped in eight straight points during a 16-5 Providence spurt and finished with 16. Williams added 19 points as Coach Dave Gavitt pulled off an upset of a highly rated opponent for the ninth straight season.
Three days later, at Madison Square Garden, Williams and Misevicius again led Providence, as it won 60-58 over Seton Hall. Williams tied a school record by making six steals and again had 19 points. Misevicius scored only six, but tipped in the winning basket at the buzzer. Greg Tynes kept the Pirates in contention with 27 points.
Until the last 12 minutes of the title game at the Big Four tournament. All-America Guard Phil Ford looked like an Edsel. Although he had 23 points during a 79-66 first-round win over Duke, Ford missed 10 of 17 shots. After another slow start in the title game against North Carolina State, MVP Ford canned six field goals and 10 consecutive free throws as the Tar Heels overcame a 60-52 deficit and prevailed 87-82.
Wake Forest, which had swept the past three Big Four tournaments, came in last. A jumper at the buzzer by freshman Kenny Matthews enabled N.C. State to surprise the Deacons 79-77 in the opening round. Charles (Hawkeye) Whitney had 26 points for the winners, and Rod Griffin scored 32 for the losers. In the battle for third place, Duke fell 15 points behind before rallying for a 97-84 win over Wake Forest, despite Griffin's 31 points. Helping the Blue Devils to come out on top were 20 points and 11 rebounds by Mike Gminski, 19 points by freshman Eugene Banks and a team shooting percentage of .800 in the second half.
For the first time in a dozen years, Syracuse won an in-season tournament, taking the first Carrier Classic on its home court. The Orangemen, who tuned up for the event by drubbing Connecticut 101-61, knocked off LeMoyne 90-62 in the opening round. Michigan State advanced to the finals by polishing off Rhode Island 92-64 as Guard Bob Chapman made all 11 of his field-goal attempts and wound up with 30 points. Earvin Johnson, a 6'8" freshman for the Spartans, was also dazzling as he played both guard and high post, often brought the ball downcourt, put in eight of 13 shots, scored 17 points, had 11 assists, made three steals and grabbed four rebounds. Johnson, the tournament's MVP, had 12 points, six rebounds and five assists against Syracuse in the final. That was not enough, as the Orange broke a 63-63 deadlock and won 75-67.
Maryland captured the first Tip Off tournament at the Capital Centre in Landover, Md. with the help of 6'4", 200-pound sophomore Guard Billy Bryant, who has had to beg Coach Lefty Driesell to let him play. Bryant led the Terps with 14 points as they beat American U. 78-65 in a first-round game. In the final, Georgetown, which had disposed of Navy 71-56 the night before, trailed Maryland only 76-72 with 5:12 to play. That was when Bryant really proved he belonged in the lineup. In quick succession, he broke through to score on a pair of drives, delivered a perfect assist to Albert King and came out of a scramble with a loose ball as Maryland pulled ahead 86-79. Maryland went on to win 91-87, and Bryant, who had 26 points, was chosen the MVP. King, who took seven shots and had nine points in the opener, scored 22 in the championship game.
Another Terp guard, freshman Greg Manning, hit 10 of 12 shots as Maryland broke a 76-all tie and defeated Penn State 89-80. Also peppering the basket was Navy's Jack Stumborg, who made all seven of his second-half shots as the Middies shocked Princeton 60-57. Princeton then had its 18-game home win streak ended by St. John's 43-40. George Johnson gave the Redmen a 41-40 lead with 1:02 left when he sank a 20-footer.
Ronnie Perry of Holy Cross scored 25 points during an 86-67 win over St. Anselm's and had 27 more as the Crusaders downed Dartmouth 93-79. Vermont, which stunned Ohio State 77-76, beat Dartmouth 67-52. It was against the Big Green that the Catamounts erased Duke's two-day-old NCAA record for field-goal accuracy. Vermont's .750 shooting topped the Blue Devils' record of .745.
1. HOLY CROSS (2-0)
2. NORTH CAROLINA (4-0)
3. SYRACUSE (4-1)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LARRY BIRD: During three Indiana State wins, including a 91-63 upset of Purdue, the 6'9" junior forward poured in 82 points, pulled down 41 rebounds, had 19 assists, stole the ball six times and blocked three shots.