Will Alabama's Tide roll out to sea? Are Kentucky's early season Wildcats merely a bunch of Mildcats? Should Tennessee's Volunteers enlist in the Salvation Army? All three had been stunned the week before, 'Bama twice. Surely they would rise up last week. They didn't. Kentucky and Tennessee were again upset by SEC opponents, and Alabama lost two more games.
Vanderbilt was the first to leave the Tide fit to be tied, winning 81-79 at Tuscaloosa after building a 23-point lead. Phil Cox led the Commodores with 24 points. At Georgia, the Crimson Tide climbed out of a 56-49 hole, knotted the score at 62-62 but fell 67-64. The Bulldogs' Donald Hartry, a freshman guard, played 23 minutes in place of injured starter Gerald Crosby and sank seven of nine shots, the last a 20-footer with 12 seconds left.
Kentucky nearly lost twice, too. But Mississippi State, which led 47-45 with five seconds to go, threw an errant inbounds pass that wound up in the hands of the 'Cats' Charles Hurt, who scored at the buzzer. In overtime, Kentucky popped in 10 foul shots and won 59-53. Then the Wildcats returned to Lexington and lost their first home game ever to Auburn, 75-67. The Tigers, who were 0 for 26 in Kentucky, led in rebounding 37-26, held Center Mel Turpin of Kentucky to three points and three rebounds and got 22 points from Bobby Lockhart and 20 from freshman Richard Person. The Tigers (3-1) thus took sole possession of the SEC lead.
Tennessee also had to struggle to avoid being a two-time loser. The Vols, who squandered a 35-28 halftime advantage at LSU, won 59-58 as Dale Ellis came through with a four-point play with 2:23 remaining—a layup plus two free throws after being intentionally fouled. Like Kentucky, Tennessee was then upset at home, 75-74 by Mississippi State. The Bulldogs' Jeff Malone got nine of his 35 points in OT.
As usual, Indiana had trouble at Purdue, blowing most of a 20-point bulge and failing to get a field goal during the last 6:22. But the Hoosiers, who had lost their last six games at Mackey Arena, held on to win 81-78 behind 23 points apiece from Ted Kitchel and Randy Wittman. Indiana sank 14 of 16 foul shots during the closing 6:22, 10 by Kitchel and Wittman. Those two also led the Hoosiers to another Big Ten victory, 69-55 at Illinois, as Wittman scored 27 points and Kitchel 20.
Michigan put the clamps on Minnesota's 7'3" Randy Breuer in the second half, holding him to one rebound and keeping him scoreless for the final 8½ minutes. That enabled the Wolverines to come from nine points back for a 63-58 home-court win. Next time out, at Michigan State, Breuer had 26 points as the Gophers (3-1) took over first place in the conference with a 69-67 victory. The decisive points, however, came from Guard Barry Wohler, a 21.4% field-goal shooter who came up with a loose ball and popped in a shot from the top of the key three seconds before time ran out.
Seven points in a row by Greg Stokes early in the second half helped Iowa cool off Northwestern, which was 11-1. After that 66-57 triumph, the Hawkeyes went home and beat Iowa State 73-56 in a non-conference game in which Stokes had 21 points.
UCLA started the week on the road by laboring to an 87-86 victory over Arizona State and ended it at home by belaboring Oregon 97-69 and Oregon State 99-77. It was Rod Foster's 23-foot jumper with 15 seconds left, the last of his 30 points, that gave the Bruins the first of their three Pac-10 wins last week. In all, Foster had 62 points and Kenny Fields 59.
UNLV remained on a roll, defeating Pacific 86-63 and Fresno State 56-48 to take charge in the PCAA. Those 56 points were the most this season against the Bulldogs, who have led the nation in scoring defense three of the past five years and are again first. Leading the way for the Rebels were Sidney Green, who had 39 points and 21 rebounds in the wins, and Danny Tarkanian, who dealt out 21 assists.
Utah State continued its remarkable turnabout. The Aggies, 4-23 last season, improved their record to 13-2 by winning two PCAA games, 84-73 over Cal-Santa Barbara and 91-75 over Pacific.
Looking every bit the unbeaten No. 1 team, Memphis State was leading Virginia Tech 15-8 less than six minutes into the game. Tiger star Keith Lee already had four rebounds, three blocks and three points. But then Lee drew his third foul—and a seat on the bench for the rest of the half. The Hokies, with reserve Reggie Steppe scoring 21 points, took a 33-28 halftime lead and went on to win this Metro Conference game 69-56. Five days later the Tigers bounced back to win 80-63 at Cincinnati, and Virginia Tech held off Florida State 70-69.
DePaul, hoping to regain some prestige, led 34-33 at the intermission in Louisville. But the Cardinals scored the first eight points of the second half, bottled up the Blue Demons with a zone and prevailed 63-58. With Xavier McDaniel getting 22 rebounds and 19 points and Antoine Carr scoring 24 points, Wichita State beat Tulsa 92-74. The Shockers won two other games at home, 72-48 over Colorado State and 69-59 over Drake.
Late spurts helped Illinois State win two Missouri Valley Conference home games. The Redbirds blew all but two points of a 17-point margin over Bradley before winning 77-69 behind Rick Lamb's 23 points. Then Illinois State needed 22 points by Dwayne Tyus and a late rally to beat Indiana State 96-82.
Missouri and Oklahoma State prepared for the start of Big Eight play with two wins each. Jon Sundvold sank 15 of 21 field-goal attempts and scored 40 points as the Tigers beat Northern Iowa 91-62 and Dayton 78-64. Oklahoma State got 25 points from Leroy Combs while drubbing Oral Roberts 108-82. Centenary and the Cowboys swapped the lead 17 times before State broke away and won 78-65 behind Matt Clark's 23 points.
Houston won two squeakers and a blowout. After holding off Southwestern Louisiana 79-78, the Cougars used four free throws in the last 37 seconds to triumph 54-51 at TCU. Then, with Clyde Drexler scoring 24 points, Houston won 77-52 at Texas.
In a league of luminaries, the Big East's Boston College has been largely ignored this season. No more. Last Saturday Michael Adams led the Eagles to a 68-64 home-court upset of previously unbeaten St. John's. Adams, a 5'10" sophomore guard, had 27 points, eight steals and five assists as BC thwarted the Redmen's try for a school-record 15th consecutive victory. Earlier, St. John's had equaled the old mark, set in 1910-11, with an 85-73 win at Connecticut as David Russell had 29 points and 11 rebounds.
Another young guard named Michael, 6'1" freshman Michael Jackson, enabled visiting Georgetown to jolt Syracuse 97-92. A crowd of 31,127, the largest ever for an on-campus game, saw the Orangemen fall 21 points behind early in the second half and then scramble ahead 92-91 with 1:28 left. Jackson, however, put the Hoyas on top to stay with a 22-foot shot that gave him the last two of his 31 points.
Villanova also won a pair of Big East games, breezing to a 66-48 triumph at Pittsburgh and salvaging a 70-61 defeat of Providence. The Wildcats blew a 17-point second-half lead over the Friars before settling down. During the final minute, Villanova got four free throws and a 20-foot swisher from Stewart Granger.
Virginia staged sparkling comebacks in both its games. The first started with North Carolina State leading 50-34 late in the first half and ended with the Cavaliers winning 88-80. The resurgence was ignited by Ralph Sampson, who had 11 rebounds and scored 19 of his 33 points in the second half. Dereck Whittenburg had put the Wolfpack ahead with 27 points before the intermission. But early in the second half Whittenburg put up a jump shot, came down on an opponent's foot and broke his own right foot. Whittenburg, who had made seven of 11 of the ACC's 19-foot three-point shots against the Wahoos, will be out for the rest of the season.
Three days later, Virginia trailed North Carolina 85-62 with 9:41 left and cut the deficit to 97-95 with 50 seconds remaining. But the Tar Heels prevailed 101-95 as Jimmy Braddock and Michael Jordan each sank two free throws. Sam Perkins played his finest game ever, popping in four three-pointers, scoring 36 points and getting 10 rebounds.
North Carolina had a closer call at home against Maryland, which made only six turnovers and got 20 points and 12 rebounds from Ben Coleman. Braddock climaxed the Tar Heels' rally from a 52-45 deficit to a 72-71 win with a three-pointer nine seconds before the buzzer. North Carolina State beat Georgia Tech 81-61 as Ernie Myers, taking over at guard for Whittenburg, set a freshman record of 27 points for the Wolfpack.
Before facing Duke, Louisville players heard a Durham, N.C. sportscaster remark that the Cardinals, once known as the Doctors of Dunk, now might better be described as the Lords of Layup. "We decided to do something about getting our image back." said Milt Wagner, Louisville's 6'5" guard. Wagner then jammed a two-handed reverse dunk, his teammates added four more slams, and the Cardinals won 91-76.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ANTOINE CARR: Three weeks after returning to action after suffering a stress fracture of his right shinbone, the 6'9" senior paced Wichita State to three wins, with 68 points, 25 rebounds and 10 blocks.
SI TOP 20
1. UCLA (11-1)
2. INDIANA (12-1)
3. UNLV (14-0)
4. MEMPHIS STATE (12-1)
5. ST. JOHN'S (14-1)
6. N. CAROLINA (12-3)
7. LOUISVILLE (13-2)
8. VIRGINIA (12-2)
9. IOWA (11-2)
10. MISSOURI (12-2)
11. OKLAHOMA ST. (12-1)
12. ILLINOIS STATE (12-1)
13. WICHITA STATE (12-1)
14. AUBURN (10-3)
15. KENTUCKY (11-3)
16. VIRGINIA TECH (14-1)
17. HOUSTON (13-2)
18. ARKANSAS (13-0)
19. TENNESSEE (10-3)
20. VILLANOVA (10-2)
* Last week