Three years ago, when Charlie Sitton announced his decision to play basketball at Oregon State, Bill Walton, the former UCLA star, warned him that he had made a mistake. "Walton told me at an all-star game that it was too bad I had chosen OSU," Sitton said. "He said that I was going to lose to UCLA for four years." But the only one in error thus far has been Walton. Oregon State upset UCLA in Corvallis 69-65 for its fourth straight homecourt victory over the Bruins since 1980. It was UCLA's first defeat in the Pac-10 this season. Sitton was the power in this latest Beaver victory, scoring 25 points, getting six rebounds and dishing out five assists.
But for UCLA there were mitigating factors: the Bruins' Stuart Gray, the conference's leading rebounder, suffered an injured left knee while going to the boards only 25 seconds into the game, and Forward Kenny Fields, UCLA's leading scorer, dislocated his left shoulder while chasing a loose ball with 9:49 to play in the first half. Nonetheless, the Bruins rallied to tie the score at 39-39 on a jump shot by Michael Holton with 15:20 remaining in the game. But Oregon State scored the next three hoops, one by Sitton and two by Forward A.C. Green, which gave the Beavers a 45-39 lead with 13:09 to go.
Earlier in the week, the Bruins came from behind to beat Oregon 67-56 in Eugene, but they had to resort to a 2-3 zone defense to overcome a 41-34 Duck lead with 14:11 to play. "I don't like the zone," said UCLA Coach Larry Farmer, echoing his legendary mentor John Wooden, "but you've got to play it in certain situations. Tonight I guessed right and it worked for us."
Despite Nevada-Las Vegas' 22-0 record, many observers still wonder just how good the Runnin' Rebels really are. After UNLV beat hapless Pacific in Stockton 79-62, Coach Jerry Tarkanian was one of them. "If we're a good team, we have to play better than this," said Tark. "We had no intensity and concentration. Our zone defense was poor and our man-to-man no better. I was embarrassed at halftime." With good reason. Despite suiting up just eight players, the Tigers trailed by only 42-39 at the half and held a 47-46 lead with 18:06 minutes to play. But UNLV Center Sidney Green, who scored 24 of his career-high 34 points in the second half, pumped in 14 points during a 20-7 spurt that gave the Rebels a 13-point lead, putting the game on ice.
UNLV found the going no easier in a 66-59 victory at Tarkanian's alma mater, Fresno State. The Rebels trailed 22-21 at the half, having been stifled by the Bulldogs' tenacious 1-3-1 zone. "I thought we played too cautiously," Tarkanian said. "I told the kids at halftime to open it up a little." Forward Larry Anderson did. He had eight points during a 23-10 run that gave UNLV a commanding 44-32 advantage.
Big Sky leader Montana snapped Idaho's 43-game home winning streak, pounding the Vandals 80-61 behind Forward Derrick Pope's 20 points and eight rebounds.
Based on its recent performances, Virginia appeared to have the edge in its ACC showdown with North Carolina in Chapel Hill. "We're playing well right now," said Cavalier Coach Terry Holland. "I guess you could call it the Game of the Century—again." With the Cavs ahead 63-53 with 4:12 left in Game of the Century II, it appeared that Virginia would avenge its 101-95 loss to the Tar Heels six weeks ago. But North Carolina ran off seven straight points to pull three points behind, 63-60, with 2:54 left. That set the stage for the Tar Heels' Michael Jordan, who tapped in a missed three-pointer with 1:07 to play and then stole the ball from Cavalier Guard Rick Carlisle and jammed home a breakaway bucket that gave North Carolina a 64-63 victory. "The opportunity was there," said Jordan of his last-minute heroics. "If I see an opportunity like that, I take it." Three days later, Dwayne McClain of Villanova took advantage of the Heels, hitting three free throws in the last 1:16 of the game to cap the Wildcats' 56-53 victory over North Carolina.
Villanova opened the week with a pair of Big East wins, 86-79 over Connecticut and 78-65 over Pittsburgh. Guard Stewart Granger riddled UConn's 2-3 zone for 24 points, hitting 11 of 15 from the field, while Center John Pinone, who was taking penicillin for a bad case of the flu, scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half. Pinone added 25 more in the victory over stubborn Pitt; it was his final performance in Villanova's cozy (3,000-seat) Field House. "John was a little nervous and excited before the game, besides being really sick," said Wildcat Coach Rollie Massimino, "but that will never stop him from playing." Boston College had a 91-76 victory over Seton Hall and an 89-74 win over archrival Holy Cross.
A blizzard kept Connecticut from playing St. John's in New York and Syracuse from journeying to Landover, Md. to play Georgetown, but nothing could stop the Redmen and the Hoyas from brawling at the Capital Centre. St. John's won the game 75-69, with the Redmen's Chris Mullin scoring 25 points, shooting seven of 11 from the floor and a perfect 11 from the line.
But the oncourt violence that marred the two teams' first meeting this year at Madison Square Garden continued. With 17:28 to go in the game, Billy Goodwin of St. John's and Georgetown's David Wingate traded punches and both benches emptied. Goodwin was charged with a flagrant foul and ejected. Twenty-two seconds later, the benches cleared again when the Hoyas' Michael Jackson charged into the Redmen's Kevin Williams on a rebound attempt.
The incidents have troubled Hoya Coach John Thompson, the unwitting architect, some say, of his team's bellicose style of play. "Last night was the most frustrating," Thompson told Dave Kindred of The Washington Post after the St. John's game. "I'm sick about the situation.... For the first time I wondered, 'What the hell am I, a boxing manager or a basketball coach?' "
The key to Minnesota's chances in the Big Ten race, according to Gopher Coach Jim Dutcher, was simple. "We need a split in our series with Indiana," he said. "If we don't get it, Minnesota and everybody else in the Big Ten will be playing for second place." If what Dutcher says is true, the Gophers' 63-59 loss to the Hoosiers, which gave Indiana a sweep of the season series, put them in an awfully big hole.
Ted Kitchel, the Big Ten's top scorer, got 26 points, including a jumper with 8:44 left that put Indiana ahead to stay, 51-49. Two days later Kitchel added 21 points and Randy Wittman had 26—with 12 of 16 shooting from the field—to lead Indiana to a 75-56 rout of Wisconsin. Badger Coach Steve Yoder could have spoken for the rest of the Big Ten when he asked reporters, "How in hell can we take the guys we got and beat Indiana when they are playing like this?"
After Purdue beat Iowa and Northwestern in West Lafayette two weeks ago, the Hawkeyes and Wildcats showed the Boilermakers that turnabout is fair play with a little home cooking of their own. Iowa defeated Purdue 55-46 behind Greg Stokes' 18 points and 10 rebounds. Northwestern whipped the Boilermakers in Chicago 66-55, marking the first time in three years that the Wildcats have won five conference games. "We may lose nine in a row," said Purdue Coach Gene Keady afterward. The Boilermakers might well do that if their shot selection doesn't improve; Purdue missed 15 of 17 three-point attempts against Northwestern.
Louisville got 27 points from Guard Lancaster Gordon and 22 from Rodney McCray in an 81-73 victory over Marquette in Milwaukee. Gordon hit 11 of his first 12 shots from the floor, moving Marquette's Mark Marotta to remark, "We knew he was good, but we didn't think he was that good."
As Kentucky moved into sole possession to first place in the SEC (page 16), Tennessee split a pair of conference games, beating LSU 66-63 in Knoxville behind Dan Federmann's 20 points but losing to Mississippi State 75-66 in Starkville. Georgia was the biggest loser; the Bulldogs dropped their second straight home game, 76-59 to Ole Miss, and then lost a 73-71 heartbreaker to Alabama.
With the game between Wichita State and host Memphis State tied 69-69 and 3:45 left, Tiger freshman Guard Andre Turner made a fist and proceeded to knock out the Shockers by himself. An upraised clench from Turner means a delay offense for Memphis, and this time it meant trouble for Wichita. Turner reeled off 10 points in 3:03—a pair of uncontested layups and six free throws—as the Tigers pulled away to an 85-73 triumph. "That kid has his head completely in the game," Shocker Coach Gene Smithson said afterward. Subsequently, Memphis State was handed its head in a 49-47 defeat at Tulane; it was the Tigers second loss to the Green Wave in seven days.
Louisville President Donald Swain is mulling a proposal, made by the school's Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics, to leave the Metro Conference. After the Cards whipped Florida State 89-63 and Tulane 73-56 to run their league record to 8-0, the rest of the Metro might well chip in for a going-away present. Scooter McCray had a virtuoso performance against Florida State: 20 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks and four steals. "That's really not bad—even for a senior," said Louisville Coach Denny Crum. Against Tulane, Scooter and his brother Rodney—the Double Mac Attack—combined for 29 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists.
Wichita State resumed Missouri Valley Conference play with a 111-96 win over Indiana State, but Illinois State dropped a pair of road games, 53-41 at Creighton and 71-57 at Drake, to fall from a first-place tie with the Shockers. "They're obviously in a slump," Drake Coach Gary Garner said of the Redbirds. "But every winning major league baseball team has a slump during the season, and so do college basketball teams."
After Barry Stevens' 25-foot jumper at the buzzer gave Iowa State a 73-72 overtime victory over Missouri, the crowd at State's Hilton Coliseum streamed onto the court chanting, "Bar-ry, Bar-ry." Stevens deserved the adulation. He hit 14 of 23 from the field, and 12 of 13 from the line for 40 points against six different Tiger defenders. "We've got to win [at Oklahoma] now," said Missouri Center Steve Stipanovich. The Tigers, who had won in Norman just three times in 23 years, pulled out an 84-79 overtime victory thanks to Steve Stipanovich's 26 points and Jon Sundvold's 28. Oklahoma's Wayman Tisdale had a game-high 32 points—and 23 more in a 64-62 victory at Kansas State.
Houston stretched its Southwest Conference record to 11-0 with victories over Southern Methodist, 85-68, and Texas Christian, 74-66. Second-place Arkansas also won a pair, beating Baylor 81-66 behind Joe Kleine's career-high 25 points and Texas A&M 62-55 as Darrell Walker had 17 points and seven rebounds.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
BARRY STEVENS: The sophomore forward scored 57 points, hitting 21 of 39 shots from the floor and 15 of 17 from the line, and had 17 rebounds for Iowa State in wins over Missouri and Kansas State.
SI TOP 20
1. UNLV (22-0)
2. INDIANA (18-2)
3. ST. JOHN'S (20-2)
4. N. CAROLINA (21-4)
5. VIRGINIA (19-3)
6. UCLA (17-3)
7. LOUISVILLE (21-3)
8. HOUSTON (20-2)
9. VILLANOVA (17-4)
10. MEMPHIS STATE (18-3)
11. MISSOURI (19-4)
12. WICHITA STATE (18-3)
13. ARKANSAS (20-1)
14. KENTUCKY (16-5)
15. GEORGETOWN (16-6)
16. TENNESSEE (15-6)
17. ILLINOIS STATE (17-4)
18. MONTANA (19-3)
19. BOSTON COLL. (17-4)
20. OKLAHOMA (18-6)
* Last week