Fort Richardson, eight miles outside Anchorage, was the improbable locale of the most notable of the seven first-rate tournaments of the season's first week. The Sea Wolf Classic, sponsored by the University of Alaska-Anchorage, attracted some of the nation's best teams because, though the games figure in teams' records, like all games played outside the Lower 48, they do not count against the NCAA maximum of 27 regular-season contests.
In the opening round of the first major-college tournament held in Alaska, Lamar beat the host Sea Wolves 88-66, Louisville thrashed Penn State 89-58, North Carolina State defeated Texas A&M 81-65, and Pepperdine shocked Indiana 59-58. Pepperdine won when junior-college transfer Ricardo Brown held the ball for 20 seconds before flicking in the last of his 17 points on a 20-foot jumper seven seconds before the end. In a losers' bracket game, the Hoosiers were again upset, falling to Texas A&M 54-49.
Advancing to the finals were North Carolina State and Louisville. The Wolfpack, with Clyde Austin getting 27 points, trimmed Pepperdine 91-62. Darrell Griffith, who had 20 points against Penn State, added 15 as Louisville swamped Lamar 90-68.
December 4, 1978
In the finals N.C. State beat the Cardinals 72-66. Austin, who finished with a three-game total of 57 points, was named the tournament MVP, but State coach Norm Sloan thought the key to his team's victory was depth. "We used eight, nine, 10 players regularly," he said. "Each game we had a guy come off the bench and play well."
After a 79-59 tune-up victory over Boise State, UCLA was given a workout by De-Paul. The Blue Demons broke to an 11-point lead, but by halftime the Bruins were in front 41-39 as David Greenwood slammed in two dunks just before the intermission. UCLA went on to win 108-85, Greenwood finishing with 28 points. Roy Hamilton had 18 and Kiki Vandeweghe came off the bench to add 16. DePaul's 6'7", 225-pound freshman forward, Mark Aguirre, was impressive even in defeat, popping in 29 points.
Coach Tex Winter's debut at Long Beach State was a rousing one. Although his Forty-Niners shot only 40% and did not get a field goal during the final six minutes, they came through with the week's biggest shocker as they dumped sixth-ranked Texas 76-71. The Forty-Niners' only points in those last six minutes came on seven foul shots by Rickey Williams, who had 26 points. Vital, too, were Michael Wiley's 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Sixty assists, 56% shooting and three freshmen propelled Brigham Young to a pair of triumphs, 93-69 over Hawaii and 111-82 over Portland State. One returnee who excelled for the Cougars was Guard Danny Ainge, who had 34 points. But plenty of help was provided by a trio of freshmen, Fred Roberts, Devin Durrant and Steve Trumbo, who combined for 70 points.
Nevada-Las Vegas and Arizona State were victors by one and two points, respectively. The Rebels held off Stetson 84-83, and the Sun Devils edged Arizona 84-82. San Francisco breezed past California-Santa Barbara 91-68. Making it easy for the Dons was Bill Cartwright, who grabbed 14 rebounds and poured in 36 points.
1. UCLA (2-0)
2. USC (0-0)
3. SAN FRANCISCO (1-0)
"We're going to walk across the water," said Wagner Coach P.J. Carlesimo of his team's impending trip back home to Staten Island from St. John's in the New York City borough of Queens, where the Seahawks had just jolted Alabama 86-74 in the first round of the Joe Lapchick Memorial Tournament. None of the Tide players was about to dispute the Seahawks' ability to walk anywhere, including on air, having been out-rebounded 36-33 by a team that won only seven games last season. Wagner, which has an enrollment of only 2,500, shot 57%. St. John's took the other opening-round game, edging American University 72-70 when Reggie Carter sank a driving layup with 12 seconds remaining. The Redmen then won the tournament for the fourth year in a row, bringing Wagner back to earth 108-91 as Rudy Wright scored 22 points and Ron Plair 20. Alabama pulled itself together in the consolation game, smothering American 110-87.
Georgia Tech, another highly regarded Southern team, was jarred 78-73 at Seton Hall despite 35 points and 11 rebounds by Sammy Drummer. For the Pirates the big gun was Nick Galis, who had 26 points.
After a 115-66 loss at Syracuse, Whittier Coach Dave Jacobs decided it was best to rationalize. "We got $3,500 out of this game and got a chance to see our faults against a big-time team. If we can keep the pain of getting whipped like this in perspective, it'll help us back in our conference," Jacobs said.
Jeff Ruland's 23 points and 16 rebounds led Iona past St. Lawrence 107-77, Dale Solomon's 23 points helped Virginia Tech wipe out Buffalo State 119-66 and Sly Williams' 22 points and four steals paced Rhode Island's 77-59 win over Mansfield (Pa.) State.
Sophomore Jeff Lamp, whose jumping was restricted last season because of sore ankles, was in fine fettle as Virginia won its own Tip-off Tournament for the third straight time. Lamp had 19 points as the Cavaliers knocked off James Madison 71-58 in the first round and got two breakaway dunks and 29 more points as they whipped Virginia Commonwealth 81-60 in the championship contest.
1. DUKE (1-0)
2. N. CAROLINA STATE (3-0)
3. IONA (1-0)
As is their tradition, Western Kentucky fans waved red towels during the Hilltoppers' season opener against Duke. No wonder the Blue Devils charged like enraged bulls through the Western defense, getting 26 of their 34 field goals on layups. Leading the 78-53 runaway were Jim Spanarkel, who had 25 points, and Mike Gminski, who added 24.
In Purdue's 81-72 defeat of Southwestern Louisiana, Joe Barry Carroll scored 27 points, got 11 rebounds and blocked six shots. Andrew Toney of the Ragin' Cajuns had a game-high 29 points. Minnesota worked the ball inside to James Jackson for 21 points and to Kevin McHale for 19 while defeating Idaho 72-57. But another team that was predicted to be a Big Ten contender, Ohio State, lost 87-86 at Butler as the Bulldogs' Tom Orner hit a 15-foot jumper with one second left.
Louisiana State ran up one of its biggest scores defeating St. Francis (Pa.) 112-81, Durand Macklin scoring 25 points.
1. NOTRE DAME (0-0)
2. MICHIGAN STATE (0-0)
3. LSU (1-0)
Nebraska was understandably slow getting started against Arkansas Tech, the Huskers having endured a seven-hour flight home after the previous night's 64-55 win at Birmingham. And they were playing without Center Carl McPipe, who received a three-inch gash in his right hand when he was accidentally bitten by a UAB player. Nonetheless, Nebraska pulled away to beat Tech 70-59 as Andre Smith scored 26 points. Kansas opened its season with an 82-53 victory over Northern Iowa. Iowa State overpowered Northeast Illinois 129-69.
Larry Bird got 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists as Indiana State romped past Lawrence (Wis.) 99-56.
Oklahoma City's three-guard offense of Calvin Montgomery, Ernie Hill and Allen Leavell combined for 64 points during an 81-75 upset of Oklahoma.
1. LOUISVILLE (2-1)
2. KANSAS (1-0)
3. NEBRASKA (2-0)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ENRIQUE APONTE: Wagner's 6'6" junior forward connected on 11 of 16 field-goal attempts and scored 26 points as the Seahawks shocked Alabama 86-74. He had 16 more points in a 108-91 loss to St. John's.