After watching senior Guard Greg Jones burn Nevada-Las Vegas for 32 points and seven rebounds in leading West Virginia to an 87-78 win over the Runnin' Rebels in Morgantown, Coach Jerry Tarkanian said, "I didn't think he was that kind of player." Jones hit 12 of 21 from the floor, including five of 10 three-pointers, to send the Rebels to their second straight upset loss. "When you try to play a full-court game with Jones," said Mountaineer Coach Gale Catlett afterward, "you're crazy."
Not crazy, says Tarkanian. "We're sick," he said. "Danny [Tarkanian] has bronchitis, John Copeland got the flu, and they think Jeff Collins suffered a concussion out there." The Rebels also played their second consecutive road game without freshman Power Forward Eldridge Hudson, who suffered a knee injury two weeks ago.
Before ACC co-leader Virginia traveled to play at last-place Clemson, Cavalier Coach Terry Holland said, "We've been trying not to get ourselves caught up in a conference stretch run like we did last year. We're not conceding the league championship, but we're looking toward the end of the year, toward the NCAAs."
Clemson, which lost 85-83 in overtime after leading Virginia for most of the second half, nearly caught the Cavs gazing too far down the road. The Tigers hit 12 of 18 shots from three-point range in regulation time and forced the game into OT when freshman Anthony Jenkins sank a pair of free throws with one second left. But Virginia's Othell Wilson, who cost the Cavs a victory in regulation by inexplicably fouling Jenkins, redeemed himself with two seconds left in OT by hitting the winner, a 12-foot jumper. Virginia returned to the fast lane on Sunday by whipping North Carolina State 86-75.
North Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak and kept pace with the Cavaliers in the ACC by going "back to the fundamentals," as Tar Heel Guard Michael Jordan put it. Carolina routed Wake Forest in Chapel Hill 100-85, shooting 62.1% from the floor, and then breezed past Clemson 93-80 on Sunday. Jordan scored 43 points in the two victories, while Sam Perkins got 41 points and 26 rebounds.
After senior Center John Pinone hit a 20-foot jumper at the buzzer to give Villanova a 71-70 overtime victory over St. John's at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, losing Coach Lou Carnesecca told reporters, "This was one you guys should have paid to see." Looie then handed the postgame microphone to Pinone and said, "Enjoy this, John. This one you'll remember for a lifetime." Pinone will, but the Redmen's Chris Mullin might like to forget it. After hitting the first of two free throws that gave St. John's a 70-69 lead with seven seconds left in OT, Mullin, going for his 1,000th career point, missed and the ball bounced into Pinone's hands. Pinone whipped an outlet pass to Guard Stewart Granger, who darted to the right and looped a pass back to Pinone outside the key. Pinone's buzzer beater guaranteed the Wildcats at least a tie for the Big East regular-season title. Earlier, Villanova clinched the mythical Big Five championship with a 70-62 triumph over archrival St. Joseph's, while Billy Goodwin's 24 points and Mullin's 19 gave St. John's an 85-69 home-court victory over Syracuse.
Because someone stole Patrick Ewing's jersey the day before Georgetown's Big East game with Seton Hall in the New Jersey Meadowlands, he was forced to wear No. 50 instead of his familiar No. 33. But Ewing still had the Pirates' number, scoring 16 points and making seven steals in a 71-60 Hoya victory. Earlier, Georgetown pounded hapless Providence 86-62, with Ewing getting 28 points and seven rebounds.
Boston College moved into third place in the Big East, a half game behind St. John's, with an 86-80 victory over Connecticut and then went to Pittsburgh and clobbered the Panthers 70-52.
It was not the finest of weeks for Indiana Coach Bobby Knight. First, he was reprimanded and placed on warning by Big Ten Commissioner Wayne Duke for publicly criticizing conference officiating. Then the Hoosiers dropped into a first-place tie with Ohio State by losing to Michigan 69-56 and to Michigan State 62-54. After the loss to the Wolverines, Knight said, "This was a game of our mistakes. Michigan came out at us, and as the game went on, they wouldn't let us come back. They stayed in the game."
But Hoosier Forward Ted Kitchel, who was the Big Ten's leading scorer, did not. He left with back spasms 5:53 into the first half and never returned. The next day he was admitted to a hospital in Indianapolis with a lower-back injury and is probably lost for the year. With Kitchel sidelined, the Wolverines concentrated on the Hoosiers' other main man, Forward Randy Wittman, and held him to 18 points—including just four field goals. Wittman then shot a miserable 3 of 14 from the field and had only seven points against Michigan State. Two nights earlier the Spartans slowed Ohio State's drive to the top of the Big Ten with a 101-94 triple-overtime triumph. Spartan freshman Scott Skiles scored 35 points, hitting 12 of 19 from the field and a perfect 10 of 10 from the line. He converted six of those free throws in the final two minutes of the third overtime, which secured the Spartans' victory. But the Buckeyes finally tied for the lead by beating Michigan 81-71.
After Kentucky pounded out an 81-72 Southeastern Conference win over Georgia, Bulldog Coach Hugh Durham moaned, "Kentucky was playing with machetes. We might need some blood transfusions." Indeed, 56 fouls were called—27 against the 'Cats and 29 against the Dawgs—which prompted Durham and Wildcat Coach Joe B. Hall to rely heavily on their benches. Hall went to his more often and with greater results: Kentucky's reserves outscored Georgia's 30-5. The 'Cats clinched a tie for their 34th SEC regular-season championship with a 69-61 win over visiting Tennessee on Sunday.
Earlier, Dale Ellis, in his final game at Tennessee's Stokely Center, scored 35 points to lead the Vols past Auburn 82-74. But two nights later, against Vanderbilt in Nashville, the Commodores gave Ellis something to remember them by. Vandy upset Tennessee 69-68 on Phil Cox's two free throws with one second left. It was the Commodores' second one-point win over the Vols this season.
Virginia Commonwealth extended its winning streak to 14, defeating Jacksonville 65-58 and North Carolina Charlotte 73-71. Six-three Freddie (Throw-Down) Brown hauled in a career-high 16 rebounds to go along with 11 points to lead the Rams over the Dolphins, while Guard Calvin Duncan scored 20 points to pace Virginia Commonwealth past UNCC.
After Arkansas raced past Texas 84-67 in Austin, Longhorn Coach Bob Weltlich said, "We are like Clydesdales chasing quarter horses. They were dribbling with the ball faster than we could run without it." Texas committed 16 first-half turnovers but trailed only 38-32, thanks to 82.3% shooting (14 of 17) from the field. But when the Longhorns' shooting cooled in the second half, the Razor-back defense, led by Smothers Brothers Darrell Walker, who also scored 22 points, and Alvin Robertson, who had 20, helped convert 33 Texas turnovers into 39 Arkansas points. "I've never played against quicker guards in my life," said Longhorn Guard Craig Carlton. "I've never seen guards do a better job of cutting off passing lanes and trapping you." The Hogs tuned up for their showdown with Southwest Conference leader Houston by whipping Texas Tech in Fayetteville 77-63.
In the Big Eight, Missouri moved within one victory of becoming the first team in 49 years to win four straight championships. After routing Colorado 88-53, the Tigers rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to edge Nebraska 54-51 and clinch a tie for the title. "I don't think there are many teams that could come back like that against a team as good as Nebraska playing in Lincoln." said Mizzou Coach Norm Stewart. Guard Jon Sundvold led the Tigers with 19 points, including 11 of Mizzou's last 13.
Wichita State's 72-62 victory over visiting Illinois State wrapped up the Shockers' second Missouri Valley Conference title in three seasons, but Wichita, which is on a three-year probation for recruiting violations, won't be going to the NCAA tournament. "Our goals are to finish 25-3 and finish in the Top 10," said Shocker Coach Gene Smithson. Earlier, Wichita State had won at New Mexico State for the first time since 1976, beating the Aggies 72-70. Xavier McDaniel was held to season lows of nine points and six rebounds, but he scored seven of the Shockers' last nine points, including a game-winning tip-in at the buzzer. They then beat Creighton 81-71, as Antoine Carr scored 24 points.
Louisville breezed past Division II Wright State of Ohio 71-55 and then had to overcome an 11-point first-half deficit to beat Western Kentucky 73-62. Florida State sent Memphis State to its fourth loss in six games, beating the Tigers 74-72 on Granville Arnold's layup with two seconds to go. Senior Guard Mitchell Wiggins, who has attained double figures in all 42 of his games as a Seminole, led Florida State with 37 points.
Cal State-Fullerton Forward Tony Neal took a single-minded approach to the Titans' game with Nevada-Las Vegas. "I wasn't worried about anybody else's performance," Neal said after an 86-78 victory knocked the Runnin' Rebels from the unbeaten ranks. "I just knew that if we all did our jobs individually, we'd come together like a fist."
Sure enough, the fist scored a knockout. Neal scored 18 points and had 13 rebounds, while Guard Leon Wood had 21 points and 12 assists, despite playing the last 10 minutes with a sprained right ankle. Although UNLV outshot Fullerton (51.5% to 45.1%) and out-rebounded the Titans 44-38, the Rebels committed 21 turnovers, including 16 in the second half. "We've had a lot of good times this year," said Rebel Coach Jerry Tarkanian. "Now it's time for us to experience this." Fullerton then got 21 points from Ricky Mixon in a 75-71 win over Utah State.
UCLA whipped crosstown rival Southern Cal in a home-and-home series to extend its string of consecutive 20-win seasons to 17, an NCAA record. The Bruins got 24 points from Darren Daye and 21 from Kenny Fields in a 77-60 victory in Pauley Pavilion. Fields then burned the Trojans for 23 more during a 71-64 win on the Trojans' home floor in the Sports Arena.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
TROY LEE MIKELL: The senior guard, top field-goal shooter (71.6%) in the nation, scored 46 points, hitting 17 of 20 shots from the floor and 12 of 19 from the line, as East Tennessee State won twice.
SI TOP 20
1. VIRGINIA (23-3)
2. UCLA (21-3)
3. LOUISVILLE (24-3)
4. HOUSTON (23-2)
5. VILLANOVA (21-4)
6. ST. JOHN'S (23-4)
7. UNLV (24-2)
8. WICHITA STATE (23-3)
9. ARKANSAS (24-1)
10. KENTUCKY (20-5)
11. N. CAROLINA (23-6)
12. MISSOURI (22-6)
13. INDIANA (20-5)
14. GEORGETOWN (19-7)
15. VA. C'WEALTH (22-5)
16. OHIO STATE (18-7)
17. MEMPHIS STATE (19-5)
18. ILLINOIS STATE (20-5)
19. CSU-FULLERTON (20-5
20. BOSTON COLL. (20-5)
* Last week