It was supposed to be one of those eyeball-to-eyeball, whirly-bird-slam matchups that college basketball seems to produce every 10 or 15 minutes. As one TV announcer predicted, his voice vibrant with awe, "This game will probably be decided above the rim." But the struggle between 6'9" Center James Bailey of Rutgers and 6'11" Roosevelt Bouie of Syracuse was less than Herculean. When the last pivotman had fallen to earth, the game had been decided where these games usually are—at the foul line—and Rutgers had a 77-73 victory.
Bailey, who came into the game averaging 25.7 points, went to the Rutgers bench with his third foul only nine minutes into the game. Bouie, meanwhile, was getting four of his shots shoved down his tonsils and was having a hard time even holding on to the ball because of an injured right hand. Rutgers got 27 of its points at the free-throw line compared to 13 for Syracuse, and Rutgers Guard Tom Brown probably determined the outcome more than either big man by hitting 13 of 13 free throws.
Bailey was more impressive in Rutgers' 73-61 win over Duquesne, scoring 26 points. So was Syracuse in a 91-66 defeat of Temple, which broke the Owls' five-game win streak.
February 6, 1978
St. John's won a pair of thrillers, beating Manhattan 69-68 and Villanova 65-64. The Redmen trailed 67-65 with 26 seconds to play against Manhattan, when the Jaspers' Bill Brown and Gordon Thomas of St. John's began fighting. Both were ejected, and each team drew two technical fouls. George Johnson made both of his free throws for St. John's, but Steve Grant of Manhattan hit only one and the Jaspers led by a point. The Redmen then won the tip and Johnson, who wound up with 28 points, converted a jumper with 11 seconds remaining. Against Villanova, Bernard Rencher, who had a sprained left wrist, came off the bench to score 14 points, missing only one shot, and hit the game-winner from 20 feet with 1:33 left.
Holy Cross won all three of its games, including 78-63 and 76-63 victories over Connecticut and Massachusetts respectively en route to the Colonial Classic championship in the Boston Garden. The turnaround for the Crusaders may have come earlier in the week in an 82-76 defeat of Boston College. Trailing by 16 points at intermission, after a 23% shooting performance in the first half, Holy Cross had one of those loud locker-room sessions. Whatever was said worked. Ron Perry (31 points) took control of the offense and Chris Potter (13 rebounds) controlled the action around the basket.
"I'm tired, I'm upset, I'm disturbed, I'm unhappy," said Princeton Coach Pete Carril. The Tigers had just lost a painful 49-44 decision to Penn that gave the Quakers a solid lead in the Ivy League chase with a 4-0 record. "I don't see anybody beating them," said Carril, whose teams have won the Ivy title the past two years.
Virginia came from eight points behind with 5:15 remaining to beat North Carolina State 81-73 in overtime. The Cavaliers got some unexpected help from N.C. State's Kendal (Tiny) Pinder, who twice inadvertently tipped in missed Virginia free-throw attempts, one in the final 2½ minutes of regulation play, the other with 34 seconds left in the extra period. Pinder didn't have one of his better games; he also missed two foul shots with 29 seconds to go and State leading 64-62.
Virginia also beat Duke 74-73, the Blue Devils blowing two free-throw opportunities down the stretch.
1. NORTH CAROLINA (16-3)
2. SYRACUSE (14-3)
3. VIRGINIA (14-2)
Before Marquette's 78-62 victory over Xavier of Ohio, Warrior Coach Hank Raymonds warned his players against complacency. "You're riding for a fall if you don't start getting serious," Raymonds said. Four nights later his prediction came true in a 68-64 upset loss to Loyola. Ever since Kentucky was defeated by Alabama 78-62, the Marquette players and their coach had been talking at cross purposes. Jim Boylan, the Warriors' playmaking guard, had been telling people that Marquette should move into the No. 1 spot, held most of the season by Kentucky. But in the ancient Amphitheatre on Chicago's South Side, Loyola's Andre Wakefield scored 25 points and made a prophet of Raymonds. "I wanted to show Butch Lee I was out there, too," said Wakefield.
Kentucky, undefeated in 14 games, was simply no match for Alabama. "I could have played the managers and it wouldn't have mattered," said UK Coach Joe Hall. Alabama used its full-court press the entire way and got 13 unanswered points midway through the first half. Reginald King led the Tide with 26 points.
After its Thursday night game at Ohio State was postponed until Saturday because of a blizzard, Michigan State was holed up in its hotel for 72 hours. "The kids called it the jail," said Spartan Coach Jud Heathcote. When MSU had reeled off its 13th straight win in a 70-60 decision over the Buckeyes, Heathcote said, "Now we're going back to that super great hotel and our plush rooms." The Spartans ran their Big Ten record to 7-0 with the victory.
Several games were postponed because of the weather, and the Ohio University Bobcats probably wish their contest with Central Michigan had been one of them. After suffering a 77-71 loss, the Bobcats set out in the team bus for home. Six hours later the bus became bogged down in the snow near Upper Sandusky, Ohio. When the driver opened the door, the wind ripped the springs off the hinges, and it couldn't be closed. Suitcases and duffel bags were stuffed in the doorway to keep out the cold, but soon the wind sucked them away, too. The bus was equipped with a CB radio, but even so, the team wasn't rescued until 3 p.m. the day after it had set out for home. A few days later the Bobcats were still in Upper Sandusky, lodged in the Knights of Columbus Hall.
1. KENTUCKY (14-1)
2. MICH. ST. (15-1)
3. MARQUETTE (15-2)
The University of Nevada-Reno suffered its first loss in the West Coast Athletic Conference but managed to cling to a first-place tie with San Francisco. The Wolf Pack shot only 38% from the field in a 71-65 defeat by Seattle but got 30 points from 6' Guard Mike (Fly) Gray in an 81-69 whipping of Portland. San Francisco continued to shadow Nevada-Reno in the WCAC race with a pair of wins over Santa Clara. The Dons had problems early in the season, but a 5-1 record in conference play has quieted talk of dissension. San Francisco won the first of the home-and-home series at Santa Clara 74-66 with Guard Chubby Cox scoring 25 points while the Broncos ganged up inside on USF's 7' Center Bill Cartwright. The strategy worked for a while, as Santa Clara raced off to a 12-2 lead, but eventually the Dons outmuscled the Broncos. There was less shoving in the return match, which San Francisco won 92-73, as the officials took control early.
Try to figure Marvin Johnson. After scoring 23 points on nine of 14 shots in New Mexico's 113-89 defeat of Utah, Johnson was angry. "I had another bad game," Marvin moaned. Utah Coach Jerry Pimm wasn't altogether thrilled, either. "They gave us a major league butt kicking," Pimm pined. Forwards Phil Abney and Willie Howard each scored 17 points, Howard coming off the bench for his. Howard sometimes gets so excited before night games that he falls asleep, so he was grateful to be playing in the afternoon. "I'm looser for day games," he says. "You don't have to sit around all day and worry." Worrisome Willie scored 23 points in 23 minutes two nights earlier in a 95-82 victory over Brigham Young.
BYU and Utah both lost big to the Lobos, and both just barely escaped with victories over lowly Texas-El Paso. UTEP has lost 15 consecutive games in the Western Athletic Conference. When Utah beat the Miners 57-55 on a 15-footer by flu-stricken Buster Matheney, with four seconds left, UTEP Coach Don Haskins must have wondered what he had to do to win a game. A few days later he thought he had the answer: turn up the music. BYU Coach Frank Arnold had to ask officials to shut the Miners' band up; he never did find a way to shut UTEP down. It wasn't until Guard Scott Runia hit a 19-footer with six seconds left in overtime that the Cougars could be sure of their 78-76 victory. "These games are hard enough without having the band play in your ear," said Arnold.
Guards Raymond Townsend and Roy Hamilton hooked up for 36 points to lead UCLA to its 16th straight victory over cross-town rival USC, 83-71.
1. NEW MEXICO (15-2)
2. UCLA (14-2)
3. SAN FRANCISCO (15-4)
"You might say that we now are for real," said Iowa State Coach Lynn Nance, after the Cyclones beat Missouri 68-59 to retain a share of the Big Eight lead with Kansas. "It won't go down in history as one of the most artistic basketball games ever played. You might say that with all that pushing and shoving out there, it was not a smooth game. You might say that I'd rather be an unartistic winner than an artistic loser."
Well, you might say that. You might also say that Iowa State is now tied at 6-1 with the powerful Jayhawks after the first half of the conference season. The Cyclones accomplished this mostly because Andrew Parker scored 28 points and 6'11" Dean Uthoff had 18 rebounds and 16 points. Iowa State lost seven of its first 10 games, but through it all, the coach's faith never wavered. "I wouldn't have given you a penny that the team would suddenly win eight of nine games," said Nance after the Missouri game. "I just hope the clock doesn't strike twelve, or that somebody doesn't wake me up."
The Cyclones were charged with 24 fouls, committed eight turnovers and hit only 16 of 37 free throws, which is not the kind of thing that strikes fear into an opponent's heart. "Thank goodness Missouri was as bad as we were." observed Nance.
Iowa State's league standing was largely the result of Nebraska's upsetting eighth-ranked Kansas 62-58. Until now the Corn-huskers' basketball program had been a rumor at best, something to do between the football season and the spring football practice. But this year Nebraska is 16-3, and it got that way by not wilting when the Jayhawks worked the score to 60-58 with 32 seconds to go. Bob Moore scored 17 points and hit two critical free throws to lead Nebraska.
Kansas rebounded with an 85-56 victory over Colorado. When a pregame radio interviewer suggested before the Colorado contest that the loss to the Cornhuskers took some pressure off his team, Kansas Coach Ted Owens bristled. "I can think of better ways to take off pressure than losing." he replied curtly. The Buffs hit only three of their first 17 shots, while Kansas made 10 of 14. Things got so desperate for Colorado that Coach Bill Blair put something that looked like a hockey goalie's mask on his promising freshman, Brian Johnson, and sent him into the game despite a broken jaw.
Kansas State got only 21 points from Mike Evans and Curtis Redding, whose combined average is 41 points a game, in a 65-60 loss to Missouri. The Wildcats did beat Oklahoma in overtime, 73-64, despite trailing by two with 22 seconds remaining in regulation play. Redding stole an inbounds pass and drove for a dunk to force the overtime.
Arkansas won three times to keep pace with Texas in the Southwest Conference race, but both teams needed an overtime to win their first game of the week. Texas defeated Texas A&M 79-77, and Arkansas slipped by Baylor 56-55 on Ron Brewer's 20-footer at the buzzer. Two nights later Texas beat Baylor 78-76 and Arkansas defeated SMU 72-65. The Longhorns then inherited SMU and ground out their third win of the week 85-80. The Razorbacks extended their record to 19-1 with a 54-49 victory over Texas Tech.
Florida State hit 32 of 39 free throws, and that was enough for an 88-75 defeat of St. Louis. Elsewhere, Illinois State got 19 points from Billy Lewis in an 80-73 defeat of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, and Indiana State ran its losing streak to four with a 74-70 overtime defeat at Wichita State and a 72-64 loss at home to Creighton.
1. ARKANSAS (19-1)
2. ILLINOIS ST. (18-2)
3. FLORIDA ST. (15-2)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ANDRE WAKEFIELD: The 6'3" captain and guard, who was averaging 17 points a game, scored 25, had four steals and held the dangerous Butch Lee to 10 points in Loyola's 68-64 victory over second-ranked Marquette.