Two bounces, a clever one and a lucky one, helped Notre Dame to topple Virginia 57-56 and thereby end the nation's longest winning streak at 28 games. It all came down to the final 10 frenzied seconds, with the Cavaliers up by one and unable to inbound the ball within the allotted five seconds from under the basket. The violation gave the Irish the ball. John Paxson deftly bounced it in to Orlando Woolridge, who dribbled around Virginia's 7'4" center, Ralph Sampson, and missed a reverse layup. In the ensuing scramble, Kelly Tripucka of Notre Dame came up with the rebound but had the ball batted away. It bounced right to Woolridge, who arched a fall-away jumper that cut the cords as time ran out.
"Sometimes I'm a decoy," said DePaul's Mark Aguirre after a 78-71 defeat of Marquette at home. "I have to be when they overdefend. When that happens, I pass off a lot. This time maybe I overpassed. Coach had to tell me to shoot more." So Aguirre, who had only eight points at the half, shot more. He swished jumpers from the corners, muscled in baskets from underneath and floated in delicate layups to finish with 24 points.
Some novel first-half strategy by Coach Lute Olson may have helped Iowa win 67-62 at Purdue. "The Boilermakers have a great crowd, and the fans do everything to help their ball club," said Olson. "The reason we went into a spread offense early was to test their fans' lungs as well as their enthusiasm. We wanted to see how long they could keep up the noise. When Kenny Arnold got a bucket, that kind of quieted 'em down." It wasn't quite that easy. The Hawkeyes also had to play solid defense. They made six steals and limited 6'10" Russell Cross to 10 points and three rebounds, only about 50% of his usual productivity in those categories. That, plus 16 points apiece by Arnold and Vince Brookins, enabled Iowa to retain the one-game Big Ten lead it had gained with a 78-65 defeat of Indiana. The Hawkeyes opened up a 59-51 lead over the Hoosiers midway through the second half by turning two steals into baskets 23 seconds apart and by getting two long-range field goals from Brookins.
"I made a mistake Friday because we worked for 45 minutes instead of 10 and that left us tired," said Indiana Coach Bobby Knight following Saturday's 74-63 victory over Minnesota. After streaking in front 39-24, the Hoosiers wearied, had their second-half advantage sliced to two points and needed a spurt to get some breathing room.
Illinois joined Indiana in second place by knocking off Michigan 67-64 and Michigan State 82-62. Trailing the Wolverines 62-58 with 1:23 remaining, the Illini rallied behind the shooting of James Griffin, who came through with a three-point play, and Perry Range and Craig Tucker, who each canned a pair of free throws.
Airballs. Rimmers. Backboard rattlers. Louisiana State fired up all manner of poor shots against Auburn but, despite missing 69.1% of them, prevailed 58-47. Aside from Durand Macklin, who hit six of nine field-goal attempts, the Tigers sank only four of 22 first-half tries. LSU then sewed up the SEC title by beating Tennessee 66-65 in Knoxville. The Vols overcame a 42-31 halftime deficit to lead 54-52 but then were done in by four straight Tiger baskets, Howard Carter scored 21 points on Sunday as LSU beat Texas A&M 67-57 for its 25th win in a row, now the longest streak in the country.
Kentucky, which four weeks earlier had whipped Florida by 54 points in Lexington, Ky., fought off the Gators 69-56 in Gainesville. Whenever Florida got close—the last time was 59-54 with four minutes left—the Wildcats surged, often with the aid of reserves, who chipped in 28 points. Sam Bowie wore down Vanderbilt with 19 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocked shots as Kentucky came out on top 80-48.
Clarke Bynum, a freshman guard, tossed in 16 points to lift Clemson to an 81-71 upset victory over visiting Wake Forest. Three days later and still on the road, the Deacons lost 94-80 to Maryland. "It's tough when the other team makes you work hard on offense and then scores an easy one," said Wake Guard Frank Johnson. And that's precisely what the Terps did, using an aggressive defense to trigger an electrifying fast break for their most significant victory of the season. Instead of following his usual policy of having his players bunk down at a hotel the night before a home game, Coach Lefty Driesell let them sleep in their dorm. "It was just to do something different," Driesell said. The most wide-awake Terp was senior Albert King, who sank 13 of 16 shots from the field, scored 28 points and had seven rebounds and five assists to go along with his three blocks and three steals.
Another senior, Al Wood of North Carolina, missed his first five field-goal attempts against Clemson before finding the range for 23 points as the Tar Heels won 75-61.
Although beset by talk of a 1978-79 point-shaving scandal, Boston College's young squad has borne up well. The Eagles ran their record to 20-4 and took a firm grip on the Big East lead by beating Georgetown 53-49 and St. John's 59-58.
That was no Jacuzzi that UCLA Coach Larry Brown was in; it was just plain hot water, because of one decision he'd made and another he might have made. While rumors ran hot and heavy that Brown has decided to leave UCLA at the end of the season to coach the NBA Nets, there was no doubt that he'd cut freshman Kenny Fields, the starting center for most of the season, although no one was saying why. Without Fields, the Bruins struggled past California 72-66 and then lost at Stanford 74-72. Stanford, which had been outscored in the second half of 21 of 23 games this year, broke away from a 38-38 halftime deadlock to take a 65-56 lead and then held on.
Arizona State, as it often has, squandered most of a big lead before winning. This time Arizona, down by 16 with 6:42 remaining, closed to within three with 2:53 to play. Alton Lister, who had 21 points and 15 rebounds, clinched the Sun Devils' 71-66 victory by sinking two free throws with eight seconds on the clock.
"I've never seen a team that is so unselfish," said Washington State Coach George Raveling about Oregon State after the Beavers had routed the Cougars 81-53. Oregon State had assists on 13 of 15 first-half baskets and got 21 points from Steve Johnson.
While Utah remained atop the WAC, Brigham Young stayed two games back, beating New Mexico 78-72 and Texas-El Paso 84-75. Fred Roberts scored 28 against UTEP.
"We had been Partying and not concentrating. We made up our minds to stop that stuff." So said Wichita State Forward Cliff Levingston following an 83-70 defeat of Creighton ended a two-game Missouri Valley Conference skid. The Shockers had lost 74-72 to visiting Tulsa in double overtime, after blowing a five-point lead in the final 25 seconds of regulation time, and 82-80 to New Mexico State on the road. Back home, Wichita State beat Creighton thanks to fine performances by Levingston (nine-for-11 shooting, 24 points, 12 rebounds), Antoine Carr (10-for-14, 26, 12) and Tony Martin (10 assists).
Louisville, which began the season by losing seven of nine games, extended its victory string to 10 by drubbing Memphis State 95-65 and Iona 91-57. During the streak the Cardinals have won by an average of 18.4 points.
Missouri also seems to have righted itself. The Tigers beat Oklahoma State 82-65 and Nebraska 55-45 as Curtis Berry, whose lackluster play was a prime reason the Tigers bumbled along for much of the season, sank 17 of 20 field-goal tries and scored 44 points in the two games. Kansas State bounced back from a 58-50 loss at Kansas to smother Oklahoma 108-71. All of which left Missouri and Kansas State tied for the Big Eight lead with Nebraska, an 81-61 winner over Iowa State.
Scott Hastings of Arkansas was another player who was back in stride. The Hogs, who sagged in January when Hastings was hit with the flu, beat Texas A&M 65-61 and Rice 75-59. Healthy again, Hastings had a total of 44 points in the wins.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LEWIS LLOYD: Drake's 6'6" senior forward scored 102 points, sank 39 of 61 field-goal attempts and pulled down 36 rebounds as the Bulldogs beat Tulsa 107-87 and New Mexico State 80-69 and lost to Creighton 73-69.
SI TOP 20
1. OREGON STATE (22-0)
2. VIRGINIA (24-1)
4. LOUISIANA ST. (26-1)
5. ARIZONA ST.(20-3)
6. KENTUCKY (20-4)
7. UTAH (23-2)
8. N. CAR. (21-6)
9. NOTRE DAME (20-4)
10. WAKE FOREST (20-4)
11. TENNESSEE (19-5)
12. IOWA (19-4)
13. UCLA (17-5)
14. BYU (20-5)
15. ILLINOIS (18-5)
16. MARYLAND (17-7)
17. INDIANA (17-9)
18. WICHITA STATE (20-4)
19. ARKANSAS (20-6)
20. LOUISVILLE (16-8)