And now we have the Lavon and Lucius Show. Lavon Mercer and Lucius Foster, Georgia's 6'10" Twin Towers of Power, helped the Bulldogs gain two stunning overtime victories and take the Holiday Classic in Louisville. Georgia came to the tournament with the worst record (3-3) in the field and its wins came against lowly Troy State, St. Leo and Louisiana Tech. First-round opponent Ohio State could be excused for not being terrified. But once the game began, the youthful Buckeyes were terrorized by Guard Walter Daniels, who scored 23 points, and by Lavon and Lucius, who had 49 points, 29 rebounds and eight blocks between them. That was enough for an 84-80 Georgia win.
Then the Bulldogs took on heavily favored Louisville, which had won its opener against La Salle 113-85 as Darrell Griffith had 29 points and slammed in a 360-degree dunk. Georgia beat the Cardinals 73-70 with the same tactics it used against Ohio State. Daniels befuddled Louisville with his ball handling and scored 25 points, and Lavon and Lucius combined for 21 points and 20 rebounds. The Twin Towers also saw to it that Louisville's inside men hit only 14 of 45 shots.
Winford's coming home was the slogan for the oldest—42 years—of all holiday tournaments, the All-College in Oklahoma City. Billboards, newspaper ads and TV and radio spots blared the welcome for San Francisco's Winford Boynes, thrice Oklahoma prep player of the year while at local Capitol Hill High. At the outset it did not seem like it would be much of a homecoming for Boynes, who started in the backcourt for the first time this season and had only 12 points as the Dons won their opening game against Austin Peay 75-67. When reporters sought out Boynes afterward, he would only say, "No comment." And when friends tried to visit him in the dressing room, Boynes sought solitude. He found plenty of it in an office adjoining the locker room. Explained Boynes, "The door locked behind me. I was in there about 45 minutes before a janitor let me out."
January 9, 1978
Free at last and back at his familiar forward spot against Miami of Ohio the next night, Boynes hit on 14 of 21 shots and scored 30 points in a 91-88 triumph. Arizona State beat Oral Roberts 82-66 and Boston College 105-96 to join USF in the finals.
The Sun Devils, who earlier in the month had upended the Dons 89-79, led 37-36, when Boynes went on a binge, getting 16 points in 4:50 to give San Francisco a 55-51 halftime edge. After Arizona State pushed ahead 79-74 with 8:16 to go. Boynes put on another dazzling display by pumping in 13 straight points in three minutes as the Dons won 102-90. Boynes finished with 40. Bill Cartwright added 20 points in each of the three games. Lamont Reid of Oral Roberts led all scorers with 86 points. Boston College took third place by defeating Miami of Ohio 81-76.
Indiana State won its eighth consecutive game by bouncing Ball State 82-50 behind Larry Bird's 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Pat Cummings and Bob Miller split 40 points for Cincinnati, but it took a beat-the-buzzer 25-foot shot by Steve Collier for the Bearcats to defeat Florida State 77-75.
Arkansas won twice, 67-62 at LSU and 95-70 at Memphis State.
1. ARKANSAS (10-0)
2. INDIANA STATE (8-0)
3. CINCINNATI (7-1)
Several stars capable of winning holiday festival MVP said one headline on a Madison Square Garden pretournament release. Another read: UNDEFEATED HOLY CROSS THE FAVORITE. Georgetown's John Duren, who was not listed among the many MVP possibilities, won that honor by leading the unheralded Hoyas to the festival title. Duren, a sophomore guard, sank 17 of 23 shots and had 44 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as Georgetown drubbed Holy Cross 79-65 and Alabama 83-73. He got plenty of support from Guard Derrick Jackson, who scored 42 points; 6'11" Tom Scates, who grabbed 10 rebounds and clogged up the middle; and sophomore Forward Craig Shelton, who played with foam padding on a right wrist broken in November and had 22 points and 12 rebounds. Holy Cross, which could not cope with Georgetown's speed, barely held off Princeton 61-59 for third place. Ronnie Perry of the Crusaders, who had a 26-point average, missed 16 of 27 floor shots and had only 34 points in the tournament. Princeton, which also lost to Alabama 68-65, has dropped six games by a total of 14 points.
At the Kiwanis Classic in Norfolk, Va., Michigan State's Earvin Johnson strengthened his claim to being called the season's best freshman. After the Spartans beat SMU 95-69, Johnson put on a virtuoso performance against New Hampshire to become MVP in his second straight tournament. He sank 10 of 12 field-goal tries and had 20 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds in the Spartans' 102-65 win.
At Duke there were rumors that another freshman whiz. Forward Eugene Banks, was so upset by his shoddy play that he would quit the team. After missing seven of 10 shots and committing five turnovers during a 74-65 win over Duquesne, Banks said, "I'm still having fun, but it's not worth it when you're hurting the team. When I got here, I was praying maybe 20 minutes or half an hour before each game. Now time moves so fast there's no chance to get off by myself. You've got to have that strong force within you. You can't live without God." After talking with Coach Bill Foster late into the night. Banks came back the next evening against St. Joseph's with 23 points and 13 rebounds in a 74-61 victory. "This morning I got away and talked to God," Banks said. "I couldn't leave now."
Duquesne and St. Joe's also lost to North Carolina State. Charles (Hawkeye) Whitney's 26 points helped the Wolfpack defeat the Dukes 105-80, and Clyde (the Glide) Austin had 17 points, five assists and four steals during a 70-61 win over the Hawks.
Forward Lawrence Boston's 19-for-26 shooting and 41 points helped Maryland win its own Invitational and earned him the MVP award. The Terps beat Western Kentucky 91-78 and, with Boston batting away a final Georgia Tech shot, defeated the Yellow Jackets 65-63. George Johnson's 26 points carried St. John's to an 80-63 consolation win over Western Kentucky.
Unbeaten Massachusetts breezed through the UConn Classic, sweeping past Manhattan 88-74 and Niagara 84-73.
Detroit was an 89-84 winner at Marshall, where John Long scored 29 points. Terry Tyler added 19, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked three shots to bring his season total to 58.
1. SYRACUSE (10-1)
2. N. CAROLINA (10-1)
3. MARYLAND (9-1)
"I'm fool enough to think if I'm playing the Boston Celtics I can win," said Colorado State Coach Jim Williams. The Rams showed that Williams may be no fool as they pulled off three startling victories with their patient offense, harassing defense and late rallies to take the Far West Classic in Portland, Ore. In the first game Colorado State trailed Oregon 29-20 at halftime, but came on to win 61-50 as Alan Cunningham converted all 12 of his free throws and scored 16 points. The Rams then hounded Washington State into 20 turnovers, fought back from a 24-14 deficit and won 47-46.
That set up a title showdown against Oregon State, which had trimmed Rice 75-58 and handed Villanova its first loss, 58-57, on a rebound basket by Steve Smith with one second remaining in overtime. Once again Colorado State fell behind, trailing 36-27 with 12:21 left, and once again the Rams came out on top, this time 49-44 in overtime.
North Carolina did not have to come from behind during the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu; the Tar Heels were ahead almost every minute of their wins over Brigham Young (94-81), Texas Tech (88-76) and Stanford (92-61). Phil Ford of North Carolina scored 69 points. The only surprise came when Stanford dealt Providence its first loss, 76—61. Paul Oristaglio of the Friars, benched during the loss for breaking curfew the night before, sank a jumper in the closing moments to beat Texas Tech 53-52 for third place.
For the sixth year in a row, host Nevada-Las Vegas took its Holiday Classic, routing Gonzaga 91-68 and then frittering away most of a 25-point lead before defeating Cal-Santa Barbara 94-85. MVP Reggie Theus tossed in a total of 45 points for the Rebels. Gonzaga Forward Paul Cathey set two tournament rebounding records, pulling down 28 missed shots against UNLV and 18 during a 64-48 loss to Seattle.
New Mexico, which led the nation with a 111.1 scoring average, was urged on by a two-night total of 36,673 fans at its Lobo Invitational. Those rooters got what they wanted on opening night—a 104-81 romp over Vermont. They also saw Syracuse pick apart Mississippi State 76-66. But Lobo backers were dismayed as the Orange got 20 points from Marty Byrnes for the second game in a row and outran New Mexico in the finale 96-91.
Kim Goetz hit on 20 of 28 field-goal tries and had 53 points as San Diego State won its Cabrillo Classic. After scoring 23 points during a 104-74 defeat of Fordham, Goetz got 30 as the Aztecs beat Purdue 91-84.
Instead of being sidelined for several weeks as had been expected, UCLA Guard Raymond Townsend was back in action seven days after suffering a broken jaw. Wearing plastic braces, a mouthpiece and protective wiring, Townsend played just 22 minutes against Arizona. Obviously below par, he scored only eight points. But Roy Hamilton had 20 points and 12 assists as the Bruins were impressive 85-63 winners.
Utah Center Buster Matheney, who "was waiting to redeem myself for having scored but 12 points in a 10-point loss at Weber State, did exactly that. Facing the Wildcats in Salt Lake City, Matheney sank 15 of 24 shots and had 34 points as the Utes won 98-88. Jeff Judkins added 21 points, and freshman Guard Scott Martin had 15 assists. In an 80-73 win over Idaho State, Matheney connected on 13 of 21 field-goal attempts, scored 29 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.
1. UCLA (9-1)
2. NEVADA-LV (13-0)
3. SAN FRANCISCO (9-3)
Yes, Virginia, there is a basket, and it is possible to fit a basketball through it. For the first nine minutes of the Sugar Bowl tournament, it seemed the Cavaliers did not know that elementary fact as they trailed Temple 11-0 in a battle of unbeatens. Virginia finally shook off the effects of a 22-day layoff and overcame the Owls 66-55. Southern California took its opening-round encounter from Auburn 85-74. In the championship game the young Trojans, down 51-44 at halftime, spurted in front 70-69 with seven minutes left. But the Cavaliers, with sophomore Forward Mike Owens scoring 10 of his 25 points in the last five minutes, won 85-82.
Indiana Coach Bob Knight, who refuses to meet the press after a game, distributed mimeographed handouts to newsmen following a 73-60 win over Florida for the Gator Bowl title. His communique read: "One of the absolute keys was our getting ahead 8-0.... I was disappointed in our reaction to Florida's challenge." Indiana beat Jacksonville 69-59 in the first round.
Another dissatisfied winner was Marquette's Hank Raymonds, whose Warriors won the Milwaukee Classic. After a 90-73 first-round wipe-out of Eastern Kentucky, Raymonds said, "That's no way to play basketball, helter-skelter, all over the place." Jerome Whitehead of the Warriors matched his 21-point opening-game output in the finale against Texas as Marquette triumphed 65-56. "Both teams were just going through the motions," Raymonds complained.
Dick Vitale does not believe retired coaches should be seen and not heard. Since ill health forced him to step down as Detroit coach two days before the season's start, Vitale has remained on the scene in the dual role of athletic director and unofficial head cheerleader. With the Titans trailing Harvard 40-26 at halftime of the opener in the Motor City tournament, Vitale even went to the locker room to give his former team a pep talk. Thus inspired, the Titans stormed back with a 51-point second half to beat the Crimson 77-69. Then it was Detroit Coach Dave Gaines' turn to speak up. Before the title game against Eastern Michigan, Gaines told Center Terry Tyler he was not being aggressive enough. Tyler responded with 20 points, 23 rebounds and 12 blocked shots to earn the MVP award as Detroit won 109-71.
A tournament was held at Evansville in memory of the school's basketball squad, which was annihilated in an air crash three weeks ago. Southern Illinois filled in as the host and came out on top by beating New Orleans 65-64 in a double-overtime final.
The Tangerine Bowl was won by William & Mary, which edged Stetson 61-60 and then rolled past Rollins 79-66.
Minnesota triumphed in the Pillsbury Classic, knocking off Air Force 66-50 and Florida State 88-74.
1. KENTUCKY (8-0)
2. NOTRE DAME (7-2)
3. MARQUETTE (7-1)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WINFORD BOYNES: San Francisco's junior swingman was MVP at the All-College tournament, scoring 82 points in three games, including 40 during a 102-90 victory over Arizona State in the championship game.