Right off, one could tell it would be a high-class affair; before Baylor played at Texas, the floor was swept by two janitors wearing tuxedos. The previous 10 games between the teams had been settled by five points or less, but this time the Longhorns cleaned up 102-83 as Tyrone Branyan fired in 41 points. Texas Coach Abe Lemons said of Branyan, the master of the jumpless jumper, "He's like a while buffalo—the rarest of them all." Texas also trimmed Texas A&M 65-57 behind John Moore's 23 points and squirmed past Texas Tech 63-56 in overtime as Ron Baxter came off the bench to contribute 17 points and 10 rebounds. Arkansas stayed one game behind the Longhorns in the Southwest Conference dogfight by defeating Baylor 71-62, Southern Methodist 71-55 and Houston 78-58. In their win at Baylor, the Razorbacks shot 83.3% in the second half and set an SWC record with 74.4% accuracy for the game.
"He passed up a lot of shots, but I think he does it to keep everybody happy. He's absolutely the total team player." That was the opinion of player-coach Dave Cowens of the Boston Celtics after he watched Larry Bird's 27-point, 19-rebound, five-assist performance in Indiana State's 100-75 win over West Texas State that locked up the Missouri Valley Conference title for the Sycamores. Unbeaten ISU, first in the latest AP poll, then held off Southern Illinois 69-68 as Bird had 20 points, Carl Nicks 19 and Steve Reed canned two free throws in the last 14 seconds.
Louisville, however, was unable to stave off an upset. The Cardinals led 44-35 with 17:51 left at Memphis State, but Tiger Coach Wayne Yates, whose resignation is effective at the end of the season, moved James Bradley to center, inserted Forward Jeff Battle and Guard Kevin Fromm and ordered a four-corner offense. Memphis State made those moves pay off, scoring the game's final eight points and winning 60-53. Two days earlier, the Cardinals had clinched first place in the Metro 7 by bumping off St. Louis 78-62.
February 26, 1979
"The way things have been going for us, even our student manager, Gary Chuch, sprained his ankle this week," said Colorado Coach Bill Blair after a 67-62 loss to Oklahoma. It has been anything but a blissful season for the Buffalos, who faced the Sooners with only six healthy players from an original squad of 14. The defeat of Colorado, coupled with a 79-58 drubbing of Nebraska, in which John McCullough sank his last 13 field-goal tries and scored 28 points, kept the Sooners atop the Big Eight. One game back was Kansas State. That's right, Kansas State, not preseason-favorite Kansas, which lost to the Wildcats 58-56 when Ed Nealy converted two free throws with one second left. Kansas State also came from nine points back to beat Oklahoma State 59-50 as Rolando Blackman had 24 points.
Southwestern Louisiana moved to within half a game of Lamar in the Southland Conference. The Ragin' Cajuns got 32 points from Andrew Toney as they knocked off Louisiana Tech 70-59. Toney had 27 more in an 88-84 defeat of Lamar.
Northeast Louisiana's 16th straight victory, an 88-72 win against Illinois State, was built around Calvin Natt's 24 points and 11 rebounds.
1. INDIANA STATE (24-0)
2. TEXAS (20-5)
3. ARKANSAS (20-4)
Just when it seemed UCLA would win again at Pauley Pavilion, Arizona State stormed back. Down 79-74 with less than two minutes left, the Sun Devils reeled off nine consecutive points in 1:34 to take an 83-79 lead. Then, just when it seemed the Bruins would suffer a rare home loss, (hey put on a dazzling spurt. Roy Hamilton's two foul shots cut UCLA's deficit to 83-81 with nine seconds remaining. State's inbounds pass was picked off by Kiki Vandeweghe, who was fouled and tied the score at 83 with a pair of free throws. Seven seconds to go. Downcourt came the Sun Devils. A 25-foot shot went off the rim and was rebounded by the Bruins' Brad Holland, who was fouled in the process. There was no time left on the clock as Holland made both foul shots to give UCLA an 85-83 verdict. Or did it? Because there was a fraction of a second left on the electric timer, the officials and the Bruins, all of whom had left the floor, were brought back out. A long inbounds pass by State went for naught, and the buzzer sounded to make UCLA's win official. The Bruins, first in last week's UPI poll, then smothered Arizona 110-86 as David Greenwood scored 31 points.
Even though its star center, Cliff Robinson, was out with an ailing foot, Southern Cal knocked off Arizona 70-67 and Arizona State 75-59 to remain two games behind UCLA in the Pac 10. Oregon State bumped Washington State from third place, 66-52, as Steve Johnson had 23 points. And then the Beavers floored Washington 75-69.
"I think we'll be walking into a couple of wars," said Coach Gary Colson as he readied Pepperdine for a trip to Portland and Seattle. The Waves started off by gunning down the Pilots 78-69, with Ollie Matson on target for 18 points. That was the seventh defeat in the last 11 games for Portland, which began the season 13-0. With San Francisco having lost 87-83 at Nevada-Reno, Pepper-dine thus moved a game ahead of the Dons in the West Coast AC. At Seattle, however, the Waves ran out of ammunition and lost 91-79. Leading the Chieftains to victory were Clint Richardson with 16 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists; Keith Harrell with 20 points; and Carl Ervin with 19. San Francisco's Bill Cartwright, who had scored 28 points in the loss at Reno, got 31 as the Dons walloped St. Mary's 104-69 to move back into a tie for first with Pepperdine. The two leaders clash this Friday at USF.
Utah entered its showdown for the Western AC lead at Brigham Young without two regulars; Danny Vranes was suffering from a concussion and Earl Williams from a broken foot. Thus, the Cougars had little trouble whipping the Utes 76-50.
Weber State clinched at least a tie for the Big Sky championship, polishing off Idaho 56-45 and Gonzaga 73-66. Northern Arizona got 52 points and 23 rebounds from Mark Stevens while cruising past Gonzaga 84-65 and Idaho 82-69. Riddling the nets once again was Idaho State's Lawrence Butler, the nation's top scorer. For the seventh time in his last eight games, Butler had 30 or more points, getting exactly that as the Bengals mowed down Montana State 89-83. Butler then had 26 points in a 78-77 overtime decision over Montana.
By toppling UC-Irvine 73-53 and Cal State-Fullerton 62-52, Pacific took charge of the Pacific Coast AA race.
1. UCLA (20-3)
2. USC (15-8)
3. SAN FRANCISCO (19-6)
A shot in the head might well have given Marquette a shot in the arm. Bernard Toone of the Warriors became angered when LeRoy Stampley of Loyola of Chicago clung to his arm after being called for a foul, so he smacked Stampley in the face with the ball. Toone was hit with a technical, but the aroused Warriors quickly pumped in 10 points in 1:54 and won 75-63. Marquette also disposed of Stetson 86-78.
"Larry, Curly and Mo could have done a better job of making up the SEC schedule," complained LSU Coach Dale Brown after his team's second three-games-in-six-days road trip of the season. Nevertheless, Brown had the last laugh as the Tigers completed a sweep of their latest junket by rallying from 12 points down in the last 17 minutes to beat Auburn 78-68. Substitute Jordy Hultberg, who sank eight straight field goals and scored 20 points against Auburn, came off the bench to pop in 15 points as LSU beat Mississippi 67-62 at home. DeWayne Scales added 24 points for the Tigers to help offset a 31-point spree by John Stroud, Ole Miss' conference scoring leader.
Vanderbilt's Mike Rhodes outscored Alabama's Reggie King 32-29 in the Commodores' 65-57 triumph. Georgia then jarred Vanderbilt 63-60 as Walter Daniels scored 26 points while holding Rhodes to seven. And Alabama, after blowing a 16-point second-half edge, throttled Auburn 80-73 behind King's 26 points and 18 rebounds. All of which left LSU in first place, two games in front of Vanderbilt and 2½ ahead of the Crimson Tide.
Michigan State played with verve, but could not gain ground in the Big Ten. The Spartans broke a 30-30 tie at Indiana by scoring the first eight points of the second half, then went on to win 59-47. Next came an 80-57 drubbing of Michigan. In registering their most convincing victory over the Wolverines since 1942, the Spartans, who built a 38-16 halftime lead, got 21 points from Earvin Johnson and 20 from Gregory Kelser, who became State's alltime scoring leader.
Still clinging to first place—and a one-game bulge over Michigan State—were Iowa and Ohio State. The Hawkeyes beat Purdue 75-72 to drop the Boilermakers out of a first-place tie. Iowa then downed Illinois 67-53 as Ronnie Lester scored 19 points and, as Coach Lute Olson put it, "communicated very well on his outlet passes." Ohio State prevailed 74-68 at Minnesota in a battle of huge centers: 6'11" Herb Williams of the Buckeyes had 26 points and 12 rebounds, while 6'10" Kevin Mc-Hale of the Gophers had 28 and 13. But Minnesota had no one to match State Guard Kelvin Ransey's 20 points. Ransey scored 25 more as the Buckeyes dumped Northwestern 88-73. Purdue stayed a game off the pace by beating Minnesota 80-56.
Detroit raised its record to 20-4, downing St. Bonaventure 106-101 in overtime and stomping Colgate 86-66. Earl Cureton kept Detroit motoring with 32 points and 23 rebounds against the Bonnies as the Titans overcame a 16-point deficit in the last 12 minutes of regulation play. Terry Duerod had 26 points in that game and added 37 against the Red Raiders.
Toledo, which has the seventh-best defense among Division I teams, limited visiting Ball State to seven points on its last 15 possessions to pull out an 82-69 victory. Val Bracey's 22 points carried Central Michigan past Western Michigan 94-86 and into a tie with Toledo for first place in the Mid-American Conference.
1. NOTRE DAME (19-3)
2. LSU (21-3)
3. MICHIGAN STATE (18-5)
When Maryland upset No. 1 ranked Notre Dame three weeks ago, it was Greg Manning who passed off for the game-tying basket in the waning moments. Last week, with eight seconds to go and Maryland tied with visiting Duke at 68, it was Manning who once again had the ball. This time, though, he did not pass off. Instead, Manning put a neat fake on Jim Spanarkel and arched an eight-foot jumper for the basket that gave the Terps a 70-68 victory over the AP's fifth-ranked Blue Devils. Manning's 23 points and a tight 1-2-2 zone that forced the Blue Devils to shoot mainly from the outside or baseline were largely responsible for Maryland's upset win. Before that, Duke had struggled past North Carolina State 66-48, breaking a 38-all deadlock by outscoring the Wolfpack 21-4. On Sunday, the Blue Devils looked like the impressive team they had been expected to be, sweeping past Louisville 88-72 as Gene Banks tossed in 23 points and Mike Gminski 22.
After thumping William and Mary 85-60, North Carolina won 66-57 at Virginia, as Al Wood fired over the Cavaliers' zone for most of his 22 points. Vital, too, were two blocked shots by Mike O'Koren, both of which were turned into baskets as Carolina took a 52-46 lead. That victory moved the Tar Heels into a tie for the Atlantic Coast Conference lead with Duke and set the stage for this Saturday's showdown.
During the first half of both its road games, Notre Dame played with little inspiration or perspiration. At Madison Square Garden, the Irish led Manhattan 30-23 at halftime before wiping out the Jaspers 86-63. During the first 20 minutes at West Virginia, the Irish looked about as inspired as the green and white marsh-mallows thrown at them by the crowd of 15,118—the largest in the state's history for a basketball game—and trailed 28-25 at intermission. Once again, though, Notre Dame wore down the opposition, this time winning 70-54.
By sinking 10 of its first 13 floor shots, St. John's spurted to an eight-point advantage at Syracuse. But the Orangemen rallied to take their 15th straight game and 43rd in a row at home, 79-72. A second-half zone helped slow down the Redmen, who were undone by Louis Orr's 20 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.
Wagner continued to pump life into its once-sagging basketball program by beating Manhattan 66-55, Boston University 73-72 and New Haven 83-68. Those triumphs extended the Staten Island school's victory streak to 14 games and its overall record to 19-5.
Both Boston College and Georgetown notched their 19th and 20th wins. The Eagles did so by trimming Dartmouth 66-56 and Merrimack 105-73, the Hoyas by stopping Stonehill 69-59 and Boston College 84-81. Although BC scored the game's first nine and last six points. Georgetown was in command most of the way. What amounted to a six-point play enabled Georgetown to move from a 30-29 lead to a 36-29 bulge—and break the game open. Four of those points came on free throws by Ed Spriggs, who had been fouled, and John Duren, who took two extra shots when BC Coach Tom Davis was tagged with a technical for objecting to the call. The other points came on a field goal following the inbounds play.
Retiring Providence Coach Dave Gavitt was given a going-away present of sorts. In his final home game, the Friars stunned Rhode Island, which had thrashed them by 44 points earlier in the season, by an 84-77 score. Rudy Williams had 28 points for Providence, two on a heave-ho 92-foot field goal that closed out the first half.
There was plenty of action in Philadelphia, where Temple's 20th victory was a 103-67 drubbing of American University and where Penn stretched its Ivy League record to 9-0 by defeating Dartmouth 59-54 and Harvard 86-73. That left the Quakers with 123 wins in their last 135 Ivy contests. In an intracity Big Five battle, though, Penn was an 89-80 loser to Villanova, which got 39 points from Tom Sienkiewicz.
1. NORTH CAROLINA (20-4)
2. SYRACUSE (21-2)
3. DUKE (19-5)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
JOE BARRY CARROLL: Purdue's 7'1" junior hit on 28 of 46 field-goal tries and pulled down 25 rebounds. He had 36 points in a 75-72 loss at Iowa and scored 29 more in the Boilermakers' 80-56 victory over Minnesota.