On the same day that Arkansas moved into the top spot in the Associated Press poll, the Razorbacks walloped Baylor 82-56. "We wanted to play like the No. 1 team in the nation and not slop around," said Arkansas' Sidney Moncrief. Five days later the Hogs got slopped by Houston 84-75, preventing Arkansas from taking undisputed possession of first place in the Southwest Conference.
The game at Houston was Arkansas' third of the week. Previously the Razorbacks had defeated Southern Methodist (86-75) as well as Baylor, and they appeared to have locked up the bye into the finals of the SWC tournament, which goes with the conference championship, after Texas dropped its second league game. Should both Texas and Arkansas win their final regular season games this week, Texas will receive the bye by virtue of its two wins over Houston.
Arkansas entered the game against the Cougars with the best shooting percentage (.556) in the nation, but hit only 46% of its shots against Houston's full-court press.
February 27, 1978
Texas won two out of three of its games, but lost to the same Baylor team Arkansas had embarrassed earlier. Jim Krivacs scored 34 points for the Longhorns in a listless 90-66 win over Texas A&M. In that game Texas was outrebounded 64-42, much to the dismay of Longhorn Coach Abe Lemons. "We're just not a rebounding team," he said. "We've got some guys who can jump, but nothing seems to happen. It's hard to jump with your hands over your head. It makes you dizzy."
The Longhorns must have felt a little dizzy after lowly Baylor got through with them. The Bears' Jim Vaszauskas, a transfer student who did not become eligible until January, hit two free throws with eight seconds remaining to seal the victory. "I wish it had been anybody up there but him," said Lemons. "He's too inexperienced to choke."
Oklahoma, which had lost twice to Nebraska by trying to run against the Huskers, used a more controlled offense and came up with a 74-68 win that eliminated Nebraska from the Big Eight race. Nine of the Sooners' 14 first-half baskets were layups. Oklahoma's victory helped Kansas, which beat Iowa State 80-70 and Nebraska 75-70 to clinch its 37th Big Eight championship. The Jayhawks built a 25-point cushion against Iowa State, but the Cyclones trimmed it to eight points before Kansas freshman Darnell Valentine scored six quick points to nail down the win. Valentine also scored 13 of the Jayhawks' last 17 points against Nebraska.
In the Metro 7, Florida State earned the top seed in the league's postseason tournaments and at least a tie for the conference title with an 81-70 defeat of Louisville. The Seminoles got 24 points from Eugene Harris—and some help from Georgia Tech, which beat Louisville 69-59, then lost to Memphis State 61-59 to guarantee Florida State the tie for the title. Memphis Guard Darrell Hollimon made an 18-foot jump shot with one second to play against the Yellow Jackets.
Creighton, one of two new members of the Missouri Valley Conference, moved into first place in the league standings with victories over West Texas State (72-51) and Indiana State (89-57). The Bluejays got a break when the Sycamores' Larry Bird, the nation's second-leading scorer, came down with the flu. Bird scored a career low of 11 points against Creighton, 19 below his average.
1. ARKANSAS (25-2)
2. KANSAS (22-3)
3. FLORIDA ST. (19-4)
It had been 12 years since Washington State had last beaten UCLA, and never in the 23-season rivalry had the Cougars won a game in Los Angeles. So George Raveling, the Washington State coach, was feeling pretty good about his team's 59-58 lead over the Bruins with 10 seconds to play in Pauley Pavilion. Then suddenly the House fell in.
The House was Stuart House, the Cougars' gifted young forward, who stepped into the free-throw lane before teammate Terry Clark's foul shot had cleared the rim. Referee Tom Harrington called the lane violation, and UCLA got the ball quickly down-court, where Center David Greenwood dunked the winning basket in the Bruins' 60-59 triumph. "A thing like this couldn't happen anywhere in America but at UCLA," moaned Raveling. UCLA clobbered Washington 104-64 the next day.
"I just want to get it over with and get the hell out of here," said Texas-El Paso Coach Don Haskins before his team took the floor against high-flying New Mexico. Haskins hung around long enough to nearly beat the Lobos. New Mexico escaped with a 59-51 victory, despite shooting a season-low 36%, being held 42 points below its season average and getting a career-low eight points from the team's leading scorer, Marvin Johnson. The victory extended the Lobo winning streak to 14 games, longest in the nation. New Mexico also nailed Hawaii, 87-69, the Rainbows' 17th straight loss.
San Francisco suddenly found itself without one of its best players when Forward James Hardy broke a thumb, but the Dons thumped Loyola Marymount 99-71 and Pepperdine 89-56. USF shot 61% from the field against Loyola, with seven-foot Center Bill Cartwright making 13 of 14 shots.
Nevada-Reno's star Center Edgar Jones hit 16 of 21 shots for 36 points against Portland, but the Pilots shut down the Wolf Pack guards to pull off a 77-71 upset. That gave San Francisco a 1½-game lead over Reno in the West Coast Athletic Conference.
San Diego State threw the Pacific Coast Athletic Association race into a three-way tie by defeating the country's top defensive team, Fresno State, 45-41. San Diego, Pacific and Fresno State were all 9-3 in the conference with two games to play.
1. NEW MEXICO (21-2)
2. UCLA (20-2)
3. SAN FRANCISCO (20-5)
His team was leading 61-60 when South Carolina freshman Kevin Dunleavy stepped to the free-throw line against Notre Dame, and the only thing the 19-year-old could be certain of was that he had nothing to worry about, win or lose. "Coach [Frank] McGuire doesn't put pressure on you," said Dunleavy, a 36% foul shooter. "If I made the shots, he would have patted me on the back and told me 'great game.' If I had missed, he would have done the same thing." Dunleavy hit both ends of the one-and-one, and the Gamecocks went on to a 65-60 victory over the Irish.
Earlier in the week Notre Dame had clobbered Fordham 95-76 on "Tripucka Night" at Madison Square Garden. Kelly Tripucka plays for Notre Dame, and against the Rams, on the night of his 19th birthday, he scored 15 points. Fordham is coached by Tracy Tripucka, who is the older brother of Kelly and T. K. Tripucka, a forward for the Rams.
For Georgetown, whose game with Manhattan was the prelim on Tripucka Night, it was an evening that went from fiasco to fabulous. The Hoyas trailed the Jaspers by 22 points in the second half, when Guards Derrick Jackson and John Duren came to life. Each pumped in nine points as Georgetown outscored Manhattan 22-5 and pulled out an 81-80 victory. "We rose from the dead," said Hoya Coach John Thompson. Georgetown also killed St. Peter's 55-38.
Temple moved its players into a hotel for three days before its game with hot St. John's because of an outbreak of flu on campus, but the strange accommodations didn't affect the Owls, who jolted the Redmen 75-65. St. John's was playing without 6'7" Center George Johnson, who was nursing a sprained ankle. Temple Forward Marty Stahurski scored 25 points; earlier he had scored 20 in an 85-66 drubbing of Rider.
Johnson was slightly hobbled, but back in the lineup when St. John's took on Syracuse. Although playing at home, the Redmen shot only 32.8%, fell behind 17-4 at the outset and were thrashed by the Orangemen 77-65.
North Carolina won twice, to maintain its one-game lead in the ACC, but so did Duke, which is now in second. The Tar Heels lost starting Center Rich Yonakor for the season because of a knee injury, backup Center Geff Crompton was declared ineligible for the remainder of the regular season by the NCAA, and Forward Mike O'Koren was out with a twisted ankle. Nonetheless Carolina clobbered Kent State 92-59 and Virginia 71-54. Duke raised its record at home to 10-0 with a 76-64 defeat of North Carolina State.
North Carolina-Charlotte Coach Lee Rose wanted to send his team into a four-corner spread after the 49ers had built a 12-point lead over Florida State midway through the second half. But Forward Lew Massey asked his coach to call off the delay game. "We were wanting to bury 'em," Massey said. Guard Chad Kinch shoveled in 32 points for the 49ers, and Massey got 30.
Providence beat Jacksonville 52-50 and Niagara 72-70 in overtime for its 17th 20-victory season in 20 years, a record unequaled in Division I competition.
1. NORTH CAROLINA (22-5)
2. DUKE (19-5)
3. SYRACUSE (18-4)
Troubled by Cincinnati's triangle-and-two defense and leading by only four points with 9:43 to play, normally high-flying Marquette settled into a stall. Minutes ticked away—nine, eight, seven—before, with 6:16 on the clock, Forward Ulice Payne drilled in a jump shot. Then steals by Jim Boylan and Bernard Toone triggered a couple of fast breaks, and the Warriors, No. 1 ranked in the UPI poll, were on their way to a 57-45 victory. "Our strength is that we can run or slow it down," Boylan said. "We have the ability to adjust to each situation."
Four days earlier Marquette's All-America Guard Butch Lee pumped in 29 points and the Warriors sank 61% of their shots in a 75-64 drubbing of Wisconsin. Said Badger Guard Jim Smith, "Shooting like that is just not fair, it's not fair at all."
Kentucky knocked off a trio of Southeastern Conference opponents, and along the way Jack Givens got out of Coach Joe Hall's doghouse. After a loss two weeks ago to LSU, Hall criticized Givens for not wanting the ball late in the game. When the Wildcats trailed Mississippi State 56-52 with 3:13 left last week, Givens was plenty hungry to shoot. He arched a jumper from the key and moments later jackknifed through the middle for the three-point play that put the Wildcats on top for good in a 58-56 victory. Kentucky also beat Mississippi 64-52 and whacked Tennessee with an easy 90-77 win.
Miami (Ohio) maintained its Mid-America Conference one-game lead by defeating Ohio 70-66. At the bottom of the Mid-America, Western Michigan suffered a 10-minute dry spell in the second half and was outscored 23-0 as Bowling Green won 66-44.
Minnesota avenged an earlier loss to Purdue, 79-72, to tie Michigan State for first in the Big Ten. Against Purdue, Center Mychal Thompson scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Later he scored 20 and Kevin McHale 21 as Minnesota beat Louisville 72-71.
Purdue coasted to a 99-80 win over Michigan State after building a 32-10 lead by sinking 11 of its first 18 shots and 10 of 10 free throws. The Spartans rebounded by defeating Ohio State 79-74 for their 19th win.
Detroit beat Western Michigan, CCNY and Canisius by the eye-popping scores of 113-91, 132-91 and 121-89.
1. MARQUETTE (21-2)
2. KENTUCKY (20-2)
3. DePAUL (22-2)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
MARTY STAHURSKI: In wins over St. John's and Rider, the 6'4" Temple forward twice hit nine of 11 shots, good for 25 points against the Redmen and 20 against the Broncs. Stahurski averages 15.6 for the 20-3 Owls.