Coach Dick Versace's "sixth sense" and some superb foul shooting gave Bradley an 82-79 triumph over Tulsa—and the MVC title. Versace, playing a hunch that Voise Winters would snap out of the shooting slump that had kept him out of the starting lineup since Feb. 1, started the freshman forward. Winters, who led the nation's high-schoolers last season with a 40.3-point scoring average for Gage Park in Chicago, got hot, perking up the Braves with 18 points. Bradley finished off the second-place Golden Hurricane by converting nine of 11 free throws in overtime. It was the last game ever at one of the game's legendary snake pits—Robertson Memorial Field House, the Braves' home court since it was built in 1949 by putting together two World War II airplane hangars. Tulsa won its other two games, 85-67 over Southern Illinois as Bruce Vanley and Greg Stewart combined for 40 points and 18 rebounds, and 91-70 over Oral Roberts as Guard Paul Pressey had 19 points, seven assists and a school-record eight steals.
Kansas State, too, had a versatile performer—Forward Ed Nealy, who got 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals and sank a pair of foul shots with five seconds left as the Wildcats won 59-58 at Missouri.
Memphis State was pestered into 21 turnovers by Louisville's zone press and wound up losing 65-61 despite Keith Lee's 20 points and 10 rebounds. But the Tigers then beat Tulane 64-62 and St. Louis 94-72 to clinch first place in the Metro race. Lee had 17 points in each game and, against the Billikens, added 15 rebounds and five blocks.
"Their defense was their offense," Texas Tech Coach Gerald Myers said after a 67-61 loss at Arkansas. "Their pressure on our guards took us out of our offense and gave them so many points on breakaways." That win. plus a 54-53 nail-biter at SMU, gave the Razorbacks their fifth SWC title in six years. Runner-up Houston won 75-69 at Rice and outlasted Texas A&M 96-93.
Maryland took Virginia to overtime for the second time this season when Herman Veal's bounce-around-the-rim shot from near the key fell through the net at the buzzer to tie the score 44-44. This time, however, the final outcome was happier for the Terrapins. Despite his heroics, Veal wasn't the meat of Maryland's attack. It was Adrian Branch who bolstered the offense the most, scoring 29 points, including a foul-line jumper with one second left in the extra period that beat the Cavaliers 47-46. Ralph Sampson, who was guarded by Veal and Mark Fothergill, had only eight points and five rebounds as Virginia's victory streak was ended at 15 games. Earlier, Sampson had carried the Cavs past Wake Forest 84-66 with 22 points and 20 rebounds. The Deacons, with the aid of Jim Johnstone's three-point play with 45 seconds to go, then won 50-46 at North Carolina State.
With James Worthy scoring 20 points in each game. North Carolina knocked off Georgia Tech 77-54 and Duke 84-66. That enabled the Tar Heels to finish the regular season tied with Virginia for the ACC title.
In a week filled with upsets—12 of SI's Top 20 lost—West Virginia had its 23-game winning streak broken at Rutgers 74-64 as Kevin Black tossed in 18 points for the Scarlet Knights. The Mountaineers had begun the week by defeating Pitt 82-77 behind Greg Jones's 22 points.
Its January jitters forgotten, Georgetown again won impressively. The Hoyas avenged January losses to Providence and Connecticut by beating both 60-42. Pat Ewing of Georgetown had 22 points against the Friars and nine blocked shots in the two games, giving him a total of 105 for the season. Villanova, however, locked up first place in the Big East by stopping Connecticut 67-63 in overtime and then winning 54-53 at Providence. Cutting it close wasn't new for the Wildcats, who this season have won six times by three points or fewer.
DePaul also won another squeaker, 75-74 at Furman, after trailing by 12 late in the first half. That was the third one-point win—and the fifth by five or fewer—for the Blue Demons in their past eight games.
Three victories kept Penn atop the Ivy League. The Quakers beat Princeton 46-43, Dartmouth 65-56 and Harvard 72-59 to move one game ahead of Columbia, which beat Brown 67-65 and Yale 64-57.
Before Kentucky's game at Louisiana State, a man dressed as the Tigers' mascot emerged from an opening in the ceiling above the court and climbed down a rope to the floor. After that performer—a state policeman trained to make rescues from tall buildings—shucked his tiger suit, LSU climbed all over the Wildcats. In slightly less than six minutes, the Tigers scored 21 straight points to zip in front 41-23 before the half. In the second half the Tigers finally came down from their high; they led by 30 before cooling off to win 94-78 behind Howard Carter's 29 points. Three days earlier, Kentucky had made up for a January loss at Mississippi State by controlling the tempo, forcing the Bulldogs into 11 first-half turnovers and winning 71-54.
It was all part of a week in which the three top teams in the SEC each lost at least once. When the conference chase was over, Tennessee and Kentucky were tied for first, one game ahead of Alabama. The Tide, which beat Auburn 74-72, missed a chance to make it a three-way tie when it lost 80-63 at Vanderbilt. Willie (Hutch) Jones of the Commodores did in 'Bama by ramming home eight dunks and scoring 37 points. Tennessee, alone at the top at the week's start, was jolted at home by Georgia 64-63 and then at Auburn 56-54. Dominique Wilkins' tip-in with eight seconds to go gave the Bulldogs their victory. Then, in a game delayed three and a half hours because officials weren't aware of a change in the starting time. Auburn pulled off its surprise. The finishing touch in that one was supplied by Alvin Mumphord, who sank two free throws one second before the final buzzer.
Minnesota and Iowa were deadlocked for the Big Ten lead (page 20), but the suspense was over in the Sun Belt and Mid-American conferences. Alabama-Birmingham, the regular-season winner in the Sun Belt, took the conference tournament by beating South Florida 66-56 and Virginia Commonwealth 94-83. Last season, Ball State shared the MAC title with four other teams. This year, the Cardinals won it outright, clinching first place by defeating Bowling Green 71-58 as John Williams scored 21 points.
DePaul Coach Ray Meyer spoke of "the perfect blend of the team" following Sunday's 81-69 triumph at Notre Dame. Terry Cummings, the main man in the Blue Demons' 21st straight victory, had 28 points and 14 rebounds.
"We expected to have the advantage because they had just played two overtimes in beating Santa Clara, a very physical team. We thought they'd tire." That was the opinion of San Francisco Coach Peter Barry last Saturday after losing at home 106-100 to Pepperdine, which got much of its pep from guards Boot Bond (26 points) and Dane Suttle (24) and Forward Orlando Phillips (23). Not only did the Waves not wash out, they rallied with 61 points in the second half, from a 63-53 deficit, to clinch the WCAC championship. They also overcame Quintin Dailey's 42 points. (Dailey had pleaded not guilty when arraigned Friday on five felony counts.) At Santa Clara on Friday, jumpers by Bond and Suttle sent the game into overtime. Suttle's late corner shot forced a second extra period. And then four points by Suttle and a bucket by Bill Sadler with three seconds remaining brought the tireless Waves from behind one last time for a 76-74 win.
Oregon State, which never tires of playing tenacious defense, sewed up its third straight Pac-10 title by defeating UCLA 72-58 and Southern Cal 45-36. A 26-point effort by Forward Danny Evans—only the fourth time in 15 conference games that a Beaver had scored more than 20—helped end the Bruins' 12-game winning streak. So did 18 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals by Guard Lester Conner. USC led 26-21 at half-time but then scored just 10 second-half points against an Oregon State defense that at one point held the Trojans scoreless for 11:08, forcing five consecutive turnovers. UCLA came back to swamp Oregon 88-66, getting 35 points from Rod Foster.
Like Oregon State, Fresno State relied on its hounding defense to earn a second straight PCAA championship. The Bulldogs provoked 30 turnovers while winning 51-43 at Pacific and 73-61 at Utah State. Guard Donald Mason did the Aggies in by making 10 of 12 field-goal tries from the 17-to-20-foot range and scoring 22 points.
A Boise State fan made off with the helmet worn by Idaho's mascot, "Joe Vandal," a student decked out like a Viking. Joe got his headgear back after the thief was tackled by State's assistant athletic director, Gene Bleymaier, a starting tight end for UCLA in the mid-70s. On the court, though, the Broncos couldn't bring down the Vandals, who got 20 points and 12 rebounds from Gordie Herbert as they came out ahead 83-77.
Wyoming notched its 20th win by beating Colorado State 63-57. Biola University was even more impressive, running its record to 34-0 by downing UC-San Diego 51-43 and Westmont 54-50 in the NAIA District III playoffs.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WILLIE JONES: The 6'8" senior center led Vanderbilt past Alabama 80-63 with his 15-for-19 shooting, 37 points and 14 rebounds. Earlier, in an 81-67 win over Florida, he came through with 32 points.
SI TOP 20
2. VIRGINIA (27-2)
3. N. CAROLINA (24-2)
4. OREGON STATE (22-3)
5. MISSOURI (23-3)
6. MINNESOTA (20-5)
7. TULSA (21-5)
8. IOWA (20-5)
9. IDAHO (24-2)
10. KENTUCKY (20-6)
11. FRESNO STATE (24-2)
12. GEORGETOWN (23-6)
13. MEMPHIS STATE (20-4)
14. WEST VIRGINIA (24-2)
15. ARKANSAS (21-5)
16. UCLA (19-6)
17. KANSAS STATE (20-6)
18. HOUSTON (22-6)
19. WAKE FOREST (19-7)
20. VILLANOVA (20-6)