Call 'em the Ohio State Blackeyes. Fast-collapsing Ohio State acquired its first shiner of last week when Michigan State routed the Buckeyes 74-54. In that game the Spartans resembled their national championship team of last season rather than the back-in-the-pack squad they've been lately. Ohio State was so harassed by Michigan State's matchup zone that it missed 10 of its first 13 shots and never controlled the tempo of the game. Furthermore, Buckeye Guard Kelvin Ransey, who had scored in double figures in 80 consecutive outings, was held to six points. The Spartans were sparked by Jay Vincent, who tallied 21 points and had 14 rebounds.
Ohio State got its second black eye when it lost to Wisconsin for the second time this season, 70-67. It was a "six-point play" by Claude Gregory of the Badgers that cost the Buckeyes most dearly. With only 7:20 to go and Ohio State holding a seemingly safe 59-48 advantage, Wisconsin reeled off 12 straight points, Gregory accounting for the final half dozen. His spurt began when he sank four free throws, two after being fouled following a rebound and two more after Ohio State Coach Eldon Miller, who protested that one of his men had been fouled, was hit with a technical. On the Badgers' ensuing inbounds play, Gregory latched on to a missed shot and concluded his six-points-in-13-seconds effort by flicking the rebound through the hoop. A subsequent Gregory basket, a Larry Petty foul shot and two more free throws by Gregory locked up the victory.
Led by Arnette Hallman, Purdue moved a game ahead of Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio State in the Big Ten race. The Boilermakers avenged last season's costly loss to Iowa, which had left them in a three-way tie for the conference title and dropped them out of consideration for the NCAA tournament. Despite the absence of playmaker Ronnie Lester, who reinjured his right knee, the Hawk-eyes trailed only 47-42 when Purdue's big man, Joe Barry Carroll, went to the bench with his fourth foul. But while Carroll sat for five minutes, Hallman scored seven points and got three rebounds to push the Boilermakers safely in front. Hallman wound up with 15 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots as Purdue won 70-56. Purdue then settled a score with Indiana, which had beaten the Boilermakers in last year's NIT. Although Carroll fouled out and scored just seven points, ending his string of 59 games with 10 or more, Hallman again took command, pumping in 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds as the Boilermakers won 56-51.
Although Minnesota had earlier earned a share of first place when Kevin McHale had 22 points and 12 rebounds during a 74-64 conquest of Northwestern, the Gophers fell back after Iowa handed them their first home loss of the season, 73-63.
DePaul and Notre Dame, the nation's two top independents, breezed. A 102-71 drubbing of North Texas State was the 37th at-home victory in a row for the Blue Demons, who were led by Mark Aguirre's 29 points, eight assists and five blocked shots. Thirty-one points by Rich DiBenedetto were not enough for Davidson, which lost to the Irish 105-71. Orlando Woolridge, who sank nine of 11 field-goal attempts, had 20 points for Notre Dame and was backed up by John Paxson's 19 and Tracy Jackson's 18.
The whistles never stopped blowing during Tennessee's 83-75 loss at Kentucky. Seventy-one personal fouls were called: 36 against the Wildcats, who lost one player for fighting and five on fouls, and 35 against the Vols, who also lost a putative pugilist and had one player foul out. In between whistles, Reggie Johnson collected 28 points and 14 rebounds for Tennessee, while Kentucky's Kyle Macy fired in 22 points and had 10 assists. Three days earlier, the Wildcats overcame a 12-point deficit at Auburn and won 64-62 when Dirk Minniefield hit a 20-foot shot with one second left.
Louisiana State began the week by cutting the Wildcats' Southeastern lead to half a game with a 65-60 win at Kentucky. DeWayne Scales had 21 points and 14 rebounds in that victory, the first of three for the Tigers. LSU blew a 16-point lead over Vanderbilt, but pulled out an 83-81 decision, thanks to a pair of late baskets by Howard Carter and a 30-point night by Durand Macklin. Carter, a freshman forward-guard, then scored 22 points to carry the Tigers to a 75-63 triumph at Mississippi State.
One of the week's most productive performers was Frank Edwards of Cleveland State. Edwards took over at point guard for an injured teammate and had 85 points, 19 assists and nine steals as the Vikings won three times.
1. DePAUL (19-0)
2. PURDUE (14-5)
3. LOUISIANA STATE (16-4)
"I've been coaching 25 years and never had a team play better than that," Lefty Driesell said after Maryland had dispatched Duke with surprising ease, 101-82. Crisp passing, .630 shooting from the floor, .950 accuracy from the foul line and a 39-27 rebounding edge contributed to the romp that secured the Terps' place atop the ACC. Greg Manning, a 6'1" guard who had a career-high 26 points, drew his loudest cheers when he lofted an underhand shot over the Blue Devils' 6'11" Mike Gminski and into the hoop. To prepare for a game earlier in the week, Driesell had his players don jerseys that said BEAT VIRGINIA. It seemed to have done the job, because the Terps squeaked by the Cavaliers 63-61 as Ernest Graham hit a 19-footer with four seconds remaining.
Virginia's Ralph Sampson, hampered by the flu and a sprained ankle, still scored 12 points and got 14 rebounds in 24 minutes against Maryland. Sampson played only 15 minutes against Wake Forest, which also beat Virginia by two, 79-77, when Alvis Rogers canned a corner shot at the buzzer. But the Deacons were no match for Duke, blowing a 31-16 lead and losing 82-61. Wake's big advantage evaporated when the Blue Devils went into a full-court trap press and outscored the Deacons 22-4 during the next 7:30. Thirty-eight of Duke's 44 second-half points were pumped in by Gminski, who finished with 32, and Gene Banks, who ended up with 28.
All five St. John's starters scored in double figures as the Redmen won 87-63 at Niagara. Balanced scoring again helped St. John's at Rhode Island, where the Redmen made 14 steals and Bernard Rencher spoiled the Rams' last-shot hopes by batting the ball away to preserve a 64-63 victory. At home on Sunday, St. John's had its 17-game winning streak ended 76-71 by Louisville. Darrell Griffith had 23 points for the Cardinals, who led by 17 midway through the second half and then withstood a furious comeback by the Redmen.
By knocking off Columbia 62-57, Penn remained the only undefeated team in Ivy League competition. Eighteen-for-21 foul shooting kept the Quakers on top.
Eighteen points by freshman Dan Wright enabled Massachusetts to defeat Harvard 67-44 in the consolation round of the Colonial Classic and to end a 29-game losing streak. First place went to Boston College, which beat Holy Cross 93-83.
"Our theme was: 'The strength of the wolf is in the pack,' " La Salle Coach Lefty Ervin explained after the Explorers shocked Notre Dame 62-60. Wolfpack-type unity on defense was as vital to La Salle's triumph as the 29-point and I I-rebound output of Michael Brooks. The decisive points were scored by Greg Webster, a junior walk-on with a golf scholarship. Webster belied his poor foul-shooting percentage (.444) by twice converting both ends of one-and-one opportunities in the last 50 seconds. It all added up to what Ervin called his "biggest win since sixth grade."
Syracuse won twice, beating Temple 93-77 and Providence 89-69 (page 16).
1. SYRACUSE (19-1)
2. ST. JOHN'S (19-2)
3. MARYLAND (16-3)
"I'm just beginning to grasp the game," said Texas A&M's Rudy Woods. "I'll play great, then sloppy, then great, then sloppy. It's all mental, but once I get set you'll see the real me." The real Woods, a 6'11", 215-pound sequoia, helped rout Houston 92-79 by hitting 13 of 17 floor shots, scoring 31 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and blocking four shots. Aggie David Britton added 28 points. True to his form, Woods slipped to a 14-point game against Baylor, but the Aggies nevertheless beat the Bears 59-50.
Arkansas remained one game behind A&M in the Southwestern Conference by twice using beat-the-clock shots to come out on top. Mike Young's 16-foot basket with two seconds left in overtime finished off Texas Tech 71-69. It was hard to outdo a dramatic field goal like that, but that's exactly what U. S. Reed of the Razorbacks did. Texas, which had led 34-26, lost 60-59 when Reed wedged his way between two Longhorns for an 18-foot basket at the buzzer.
"I don't know if they were thinking about their girl friends or their national ranking or what," Louisville Coach Denny Crum said. Whatever their trouble, the Cardinals got their minds on the game long enough to rally from a 37-30 halftime disadvantage and go on to defeat Tulane 64-60.
Creighton had high hopes of toppling unbeaten DePaul after scoring the final eight points of the first half to trail only 32-30. But after being scolded by Coach Ray Meyer during the intermission, the Blue Demons ruined the Bluejays' dreams. Skip Dillard scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, Clyde Bradshaw had 13 of his 15 during that same stretch, Mark Aguirre finished with 20 points, and DePaul triumphed 84-73. Creighton then moved to within a game of Missouri Valley leader Bradley by winning twice, while the Braves won two of three games.
Before playing at Missouri, Kansas State's Rolando Blackman said, "Ever since late last season I've felt I'm the best player in the Big Eight." Big words. And Blackman promptly backed them up with big deeds. The Wildcats' improved zone defense and 24-16 rebounding margin both took their toll on the Tigers. But K-State needed Blackman, a 21-point scorer, to apply the finishing touches. When Missouri made a late stretch run, it was Blackman who scored all 11 of his team's points, six on back-door layups, to beat the Tigers 66-64. Blackman was successful on nine of 11 field-goal tries at Oklahoma, but missed all three of his free throws, including a critical one in the waning moments. The Sooners capitalized on that failure when they rebounded Blackman's shot, and fed Terry Stotts, who canned a 25-footer with 28 seconds remaining to trim the Wildcat lead to 55-54. Then, after Oklahoma's full-court press forced a turnover, Aaron Curry tossed in the last of his 16 points with a basket three seconds from the end to make the Sooners 56-55 winners. That left Oklahoma tied with Missouri and Nebraska, one game back of Kansas State in the Big Eight. The Huskers stayed in contention by knocking off the Sooners 59-58.
"It's difficult to run in this conference because nobody wants to run with you," Missouri Coach Norm Stewart lamented. "If you're going to play 28 minutes of defense and 12 minutes of offense, you'd better shoot well when you get the ball." The Tigers shot well against Nebraska—.625—and got 20 points from Curtis Berry and another 17 points and eight rebounds from Steve Stipanovich to defeat the Huskers 73-60.
1. LOUISVILLE (17-2)
2. TEXAS A&M (17-5)
3. KANSAS STATE (16-4)
"Whew! Now I can get back to my nice comfortable waterbed in Corvallis," said Oregon State Guard Ray Blume after he had scored 19 points and his team had survived two near-miss shots by Southern Cal to salvage a 73-72 victory that ended a four-game, eight-day road odyssey. Not surprisingly, all the Beavers were eager to return home, after two wins by a total of three points sandwiched around a 93-67 loss at UCLA. Playing stall-ball all the way, Stanford lost by only two points—18-16—to Oregon State in a game during which no points were scored in the last 10:01. Then it was on to UCLA, where the Bruins avenged an earlier loss to the Beavers. UCLA's Mike Sanders scored 19 points and freshmen Cliff Pruitt and Rod Foster combined for 31 more.
Arizona State tied Oregon State for first place in the Pac-10, setting up a showdown this week in Corvallis. The Sun Devils' starting front line, which averages 6'10", helped Arizona State get 17 more rebounds than California and 11 more than Stanford. The Golden Bears sought to protect a 14-8 lead by using a four-corner offense with 13:49 left in the first half. However, Sun Devil Kurt Nimphius blocked Cal's first shot from the spread, and his team began a run that led to a 69-58 triumph. Although the entire front line fouled out against Stanford, Arizona State won 93-80. Nimphius got 18 points and 11 rebounds before he left. The Sun Devils also benefited from 22 points and 10 assists from Fat Lever.
Most WAC teams have used slowdown tactics against speedy Brigham Young. It therefore came as a surprise when Texas-El Paso Coach Don Haskins, a noted advocate of deliberate play, told his Miners to run with the Cougars. UTEP ran well, but Danny Ainge got 25 points and Alan Taylor 20 for an 89-80 BYU win. New Mexico, too, put up a battle—until its top three scorers fouled out, allowing the Cougars, with Fred Roberts scoring 25 points, to pull away to an 89-68 victory. Kenny Page of the Lobos, who had 36 points at BYU, had another big game in vain, scoring 32 as New Mexico lost 77-68 to Utah.
Idaho and Boise State, which both took Weber State into overtime before losing early January Big Sky contests, again gave the Wildcats fits. Anticipating another delay game by Idaho, Weber Coach Neil McCarthy said, "It's important that we start off well." His Wildcats didn't heed that advice, missing their first seven shots. After a first half in which the two teams combined for only 24 points, the Vandals, up by six, came out of their freeze with six minutes left and won 51-45 to put an end to the Wildcats' 18-game winning streak. Boise State Guard Dave Williams scored 29 points, but after the Broncos missed the last shot in regulation time, Weber State took command and came out on top 79-73 in overtime.
1. OREGON STATE (20-2)
2. ARIZONA STATE (16-4)
3. BYU (17-4)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
CLAUDE GREGORY: Wisconsin's 6'8" junior forward had 26 points and 12 rebounds during a 73-69 overtime loss to Michigan, and then his 23 points and nine rebounds helped upset Ohio State 70-67.