PRO BASKETBALL—Fans at the Los Angeles Forum began to wonder if the event they were watching didn't belong at the Coliseum. Just four days following Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's return after missing 20 games because he broke his hand when he slugged Milwaukee rookie Kent Benson in the season opener, he found himself in the midst of an altercation between teammate Kermit Washington and Houston's Kevin Kunnert. Kareem stepped in and held the 7-foot Kunnert to help break up the fight. Washington hit Kunnert, knocking him down. The Rockets' Rudy Tomjanovich, known in the league as a peacemaker, arrived at the scene and caught a solid right to the face from Washington. Rudy T suffered multiple fractures of the nose and jawbone, blurred vision, a concussion and a possible skull fracture. At week's end he was in intensive care at an L.A. hospital, awaiting surgery. The Lakers lost the game; Houston probably lost its leading scorer for the season. Upon viewing videotapes of the incident, Commissioner Larry O'Brien fined Washington the maximum $10,000 and suspended him for at least 60 days, at which time O'Brien will decide if he will be allowed to play further this season. Cellar-dwelling Seattle won two more games for Lenny Wilkens, making him the only unbeaten (5-0) coach in the league, but the Sonics were still 11½ games behind Pacific leader Portland. The Blazers' eight-game winning streak was snapped by Philadelphia, 122-100 (page 24). Denver and Chicago, both 3-0 for the week, maintained their holds on first and second place in the Midwest, but Indiana, which won two, and Kansas City, which lost four, exchanged places, the Kings falling into the basement. Marvin Barnes, Buffalo's newly acquired forward, went AWOL for "personal reasons" and was suspended. The Central Division finally opened up a bit, Washington defeating Cleveland twice to take over first place. And New Jersey won a game for the second straight week.
BOWLING—ARNE STROEM of Norway defeated Phillipe DuBois of France 609-606 to win the World Cup in London. REA RENNOX of Toronto won the women's title over Lauren LaCost of Kankakee, Ill. 570-542.
Jay Robinson upset Mark Roth 238-222 to win the $100,000 Grand Prix in Allen Park, Mich. BETTY MORRIS retained the women's title with a 216-209 victory over Edie Jo Neal.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—LEHIGH UNIVERSITY upset Jacksonville State 33-0 in the Pioneer Bowl at Wichita Falls, Texas for the NCAA Division II title.
December 19, 1977
Abilene Christian upset Southwestern Oklahoma State 24-7 in the Apple Bowl at Seattle for the NAIA Division I championship.
In Tokyo, GRAMBLING avenged last year's 31-30 loss to Temple in the last 33 seconds when Floyd Womack ran eight yards to score with :48 remaining for the Tigers' 35-32 Mirage Bowl victory.
PRO FOOTBALL—Disgraceful, that's what New Orleans Quarterback Archie Manning said it would be to lose to Tampa Bay. And it was. Not only did the Saints lose, but they also lost badly, the Bucs scoring on a pass interception for the first time ever—and three times before the game was over—in a 33-14 victory. Three games were won in the final seconds. Buffalo downed the Jets 14-10 on an 11-yard scoring pass with :40 remaining; Philadelphia beat the Giants 17-14 on a one-yard run by Ron Jaworski with :20 left; and Detroit defeated Baltimore 13-10 when Leonard Thompson blocked a punt with :09 to go, picked up the ball and ran two yards for a touchdown. The Colts also lost 17-6 to Miami on Monday. The Dolphins, Baltimore and New England, which defeated Miami 14-10, are in a three-way tie for the AFC East lead (page 20). Lawrence McCutcheon set club records for career and single-season rushing as the Rams beat Atlanta 23-7. His 152 yards boosted his season total to 1,213, his career total to 5,498. Chicago downed Green Bay 21-10, Oakland defeated Minnesota 35-13 and Houston beat Cleveland 19-15. St. Louis was frozen out of the playoffs with a 26-20 loss to the Redskins. Denver upped its league-leading record to 12-1 by beating San Diego 17-9 and Seattle edged Kansas City 34-31.
GOLF—SEVERIANO BALLESTEROS and ANTONIO GARRIDO gave Spain its second straight World Cup in Manila.
HOCKEY—NHL: And the old order continueth. Boston beat Detroit and Pittsburgh to extend its unbeaten streak to 16. In this span the Bruins allowed only eight third-period goals. Philadelphia and the Islanders kept rolling along in the Patrick. The Flyers beat and tied the New York Rangers, then stopped Chicago; they have now lost only once in their last 14 games. The Islanders won three times, including Billy Smith's shutout of the Black Hawks; they have lost once in 14 games. Montreal smothered St. Louis and Vancouver and has lost just two of its last 14, while Buffalo, which has lost only three of its last 15, thumped Minnesota 4-2. On the losing side, Detroit dropped three more games and now has lost eight straight. Chicago lost two of three, winning two of its last 16 games. Minnesota dropped a pair and had won only one of its last 11. St. Louis won its second game in 10 by beating winless-in-nine Colorado 6-4. Washington ended a 20-game winless streak by upsetting Cleveland 5-2, but the Caps promptly started another streak by losing to Atlanta 5-1.
WHA: Let's listen to Bob Neumeier, the play-by-play broadcaster for the New England Whalers: "It's back to Dave Keon at the point. Keon spinning, shooting. Now it's centered by Mike Antonovich...he hits the post. John McKenzie with the rebound, in front to Gordie Howe...HE SCORRRRRRES." For the remarkable Howe, it was the 1,000th goal of his pro career, and it came on a Whaler power play at 1:36 of the first period in a game at Birmingham. "It was almost an identical play to when I got my first NHL goal against Turk Broda," Howe said.
HORSE RACING—Last Saturday in Aqueduct's sixth race, The Gold Seeker, STEVE CAUTHEN, aboard Little Happiness, became the first jockey in the history of racing to win $6 million (page 38).
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: As winner of the Heisman Trophy honoring the top U.S. college football player, EARL CAMPBELL, senior running back for No. 1-ranked University of Texas. Campbell was the nation's leading ground-gainer, with 1,744 yards on 267 carries.
NAMED: As winners of the 1977 Eclipse Awards honoring racing's top thoroughbreds: Horse of the Year, SEATTLE SLEW; 2-year-old colt, AFFIRMED; 2-year-old filly, LAKEVILLE MISS; 3-year-old colt, SEATTLE SLEW; 3-year-old filly, OUR MIMS; older colt, horse or gelding, FOREGO; older filly or mare, CASCAPEDIA; turf horse, JOHNNY D.; sprinter, WHAT A SUMMER; steeplechaser, CAFE PRINCE. STEVE CAUTHEN was named Jockey and Apprentice Jockey of the Year, the first time a rider has won both honors.
SIGNED: By the Yankees, free-agent Relief Pitcher RAWLY EASTWICK for $1.2 million.
SOLD: By Oakland, Pitcher VIDA BLUE to Cincinnati for $1.5 million and a minor league player, pending approval by the Commissioner. By Atlanta, Pitcher ANDY MESSERSMITH to the Yankees for $100,000.
TRADED: By the Angels, Outfielder BOBBY BONDS, to the White Sox in a six-man deal. By the Cardinals, Relief Pitcher AL HRABOSKY to Kansas City in a three-man trade. By the Braves, First Baseman WILLIE MONTANEZ to Texas, which then sent him to the Mets for Pitcher JON MATLACK and First Baseman JOHN MILNER. Texas then dealt Milner and Pitcher BERT BLYLEVEN to Pittsburgh for First Baseman-Outfielder AL OLIVER and a minor leaguer.
DIED: FRANK T. DIXON III, 55, a top distance runner in the 1940s and one of the first blacks to excel in events longer than half a mile; of cancer; in Rockville Centre, N.Y. In 1942, as an NYU freshman, he won the AAU cross-country championship; he took the AAU indoor-mile title the following year.
DIED: ADOLPH RUPP, 76, the winningest coach in the history of college basketball; of cancer; in Lexington, Ky. Rupp retired in 1972 after 41 seasons as the University of Kentucky coach with 874 wins and four NCAA titles. His teams won or tied for the Southeastern Conference championship 27 times.