UCLA beat Stanford in Los Angeles for the 36th straight time, 71-66, but the Bruins were embarrassed in a 62-51 defeat at Oregon. The Ducks' first victory over UCLA in seven years was hardly a work of art, though. Oregon sputtered so badly in the first half that, trailing 14-8 with 9:16 left before intermission. Coach Don Monson yanked his starting lineup "to get their attention."
In the second half, the Ducks came at the Bruins with larceny on their minds and a half-court trap in their game plan. "We never adjusted [to the trap]," said UCLA coach Larry Farmer. "We made some terrible decisions." The Bruins also made 10 second-half turnovers and shot just 30% from the field. Oregon's 7-foot Blair Rasmussen outplayed UCLA's 7-foot Stuart Gray, getting a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds to Gray's six points and seven rebounds. In Corvallis, Oregon State got past Southern Cal 51-45.
UNLV held PCAA rival UC-Irvine. a 53.0% shooting team, to just 34% in an 83-68 romp in Las Vegas. "They kicked the hell out of us," said UCI coach Bill Mulligan. "Their defense had a lot to do with that." Defense also keyed the Rebels' 105-77 romp at San Jose State. UNLV made 13 steals and forced the Spartans into 27 turnovers. In the Rebels' 93-88 win at Utah State, Richie Adams scored seven points—including a spectacular back-door slam off the delay offense—in the final 3:17 to help break open a tight game.
Fresno State bounced UC-Santa Barbara 69-51, but Cal State-Fullerton, led by Leon Wood's 26 points, stunned the Bulldogs 53-51. The loss was only the fourth at home for Fresno in its last 27 games.
In the WAC, unbeaten UTEP muscled past San Diego State 75-59 despite Aztec Michael Cage's 20 points and eight rebounds, then pounded Hawaii 74-54.
Kentucky's 82-63 defeat at Auburn was the worst loss for a Wildcat team since Indiana bombed Kentucky 98-74 on Pearl Harbor Day, 1974. "I'd be lying if I said I thought anybody could beat us by 19 points," said Wildcat forward Sam Bowie. "I would never have believed it." Auburn forwards Charles Barkley and Chuck Person—dubbed the Twin Powers by the local press in answer to Kentucky's Twin Towers, Bowie and Melvin Turpin—made a believer of Bowie. The Twin Powers outscored the Twin Towers 46-37 and outrebounded them 19-15. "Person is as good a forward as there is in the conference," said Bowie. "And Barkley is a great player. He is going to score his points, and it doesn't matter who he is playing against."
Against Auburn's triangle-and-two defense, the Wildcats' Jim Master and Kenny Walker failed to get their points. Master scored just two, while Walker, who had a total of 33 in Kentucky wins over Alabama (76-66) and Mississippi State (51-42), had just six. "Kentucky was a tired basketball team," said Auburn coach Sonny Smith. Indeed, it was UK's fourth game in a week.
LSU blew the front ends of four one-and-one situations in the last :56 of a 70-69 loss at Tennessee, leaving Tiger coach Dale Brown furious. "We're going to find five people who want to be committed to something for 40 minutes," he snapped. Brown then drove his players relentlessly in practice in anticipation of a battle with Mississippi, and it paid off: LSU roared to a 39-14 lead in the first half and coasted to a 93-70 rout of the Rebels. Seventy-one fouls were called in the game, and the teams hit 63 of 89 free throws.
DePaul dealt Alabama-Birmingham its worst defeat—98-63—in the school's six-year history, at the Horizon. Coach Ray Meyer might not have expected that his Blue Demons would play their best game of the year. DePaul was abysmal in a 76-74 squeaker at St. Mary's (Calif.), and the team was so ravaged by illness and injury before the UAB game that Meyer recruited the father of center Lemone Lampley and former player Dennis McGuire to fill out a practice. But after the defeat of UAB, in which DePaul shot 63.5% from the field and outrebounded the Blazers 45-29, Meyer mused, "Maybe we shouldn't practice." Tyrone Corbin led De-Paul with a career-high 25 points.
Purdue took over first place in the Big Ten with a 4-0 record by beating Ohio State in Columbus 63-52 and Indiana in Bloomington 74-66. The Boilermakers won consecutive conference road games for the first time in Gene Keady's 3½ seasons as coach.
"Wayman Tisdale is the best player in the country," said Iowa State coach Johnny Orr before the Cyclones' Big Eight opener against Oklahoma. "All we can hope for is that he has a bad night." Tisdale did have a bad night—for Tisdale. He scored just 22 points on eight for 20 shooting from the field and was held scoreless in the game's last nine minutes as Iowa State won 74-68. The Cyclones' Barry Stevens had a game-high 29 points against the Sooners, and 28 more as Iowa State beat Iowa 76-72 in double overtime. Tisdale bounced back to score 36 points and pull down 11 rebounds in a 107-51 Sooner romp over Nicholls State.
Stingy defense and Akeem Abdul Olajuwon's dominance carried Houston to three Southwest Conference victories. In a 69-58 win over Texas at Hofheinz Pavilion, the Cougars' Smothers Brothers—reserves Eric Dickens, Derek Giles and Renaldo Thomas—combined to force 13 of the Longhorns' 22 turnovers. In two road victories, 88-66 at Texas Tech and 70-64 at Texas A&M, Olajuwon totaled 45 points, 46 rebounds and 20 blocked shots. Arkansas kept pace with the Cougars, nipping SMU 70-69 in Fayetteville and winning 70-62 at TCU. The Hogs' defeat of the Frogs was their 23rd straight regular-season league victory.
The night of Tulsa's return match at Oral Roberts, Golden Hurricane coach Nolan Richardson was denied entrance to the Titans' Mabee Center because he didn't have proper identification. "I couldn't believe it," said Richardson after the undefeated Hurricane struggled to an 84-78 win. "This place is the hardest gym to get into I've ever seen." Though Richardson finally talked his way into the arena, he could hardly wait to get out. Richardson thought that ORU's homecourt advantage had become too cozy—Tulsa's starting center, Bruce Vanley, picked up three fouls in eight minutes and played just 13 minutes—and the coach stalked off the floor with two minutes to play. Steve Harris and Ricky Ross combined for 49 points for Tulsa. Two nights later, Vanley, unencumbered by foul trouble, had 32 points and 12 rebounds in a 99-93 win at West Texas State. Memphis State ran its Metro Conference record to 3-0 with a 52-47 win over Southern Mississippi.
While North Carolina solidified its hold on the No. 1 spot in the SI Top 20, Maryland recovered from its loss to the Tar Heels to hold off stubborn Duke 81-75 in Durham. "This is a tough place to play," sighed Terrapin coach Lefty Driesell, himself a former Blue Devil (class of '54), after he watched his team overcome a three-point deficit midway through the second half.
Duke, which trailed 41-36 at halftime, used a tenacious man-to-man defense to take a 58-55 lead with 12:09 to go. But the Terps didn't fold, scoring eight straight points to go up 63-58 with 9:40 left. Len Bias led Maryland with 17 points, including a baseline drive with 11:05 to go that gave Maryland the lead for good.
Following a pair of frustrating defeats, 63-61 at Clemson and 57-54 at Virginia, North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano was philosophical. "Last year the basketball gods paid me off for 15 years of close losses," he said after Virginia sank six free throws to win in the final 1:05. "Now they're building the thing up again." The gods were no kinder Sunday as the Wolfpack's conference losing streak reached five with a 56-47 loss to Georgia Tech. "Any resemblance between this year's team and last year's," said Valvano, "is purely accidental."
With Georgetown and Big East rival Villanova tied 63-63 and 16 seconds remaining in the second overtime, the Wildcats' Harold Pressley told teammate Dwight Wilbur during a time-out that Wilbur would hit the winning basket. But Wilbur was the last option on Villanova's ensuing play—Pressley was supposed to get the ball inside—and, he admitted, "I thought we were in for another overtime," when he launched an 18-footer from deep in the right corner with four seconds to play. But as it turned out, Wilbur's shot was on target, and the Wildcats came away 65-63 winners. Pressley led Villanova with 17 points and 17 rebounds, while a stifling Wildcat zone held the Hoyas' Patrick Ewing to just seven shots and 14 points.
Boston College lost at Providence, after which, according to Eagle guard Michael Adams, "It seemed like we had lost three games. It was that heavy on us." BC was up 63-62 when the Friars' Brian Waller banged in a 20-foot jumper with 22 seconds left. Then the Eagles missed three potential game-winning shots—two of them by Adams. The defeat may still have been on Adams' mind in the first half of Boston College's showdown with St. John's in Chestnut Hill; he scored just two points as the Redmen, playing their first game of the season away from New York City, took a 33-28 halftime lead. But Adams broke loose late in the second half, making eight consecutive free throws, including two with four seconds to play, to clinch a 69-67 win for the Eagles.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
RICK OLSON: The Wisconsin sophomore guard scored 68 points, sinking 27 of 41 shots from the field and 14 of 15 free throws, in the Badgers' Big Ten upset victories over Michigan State and Michigan.
SI Top 20
1. N. CAROLINA (12-0)
2. DEPAUL (13-0)
3. KENTUCKY (12-1)
4. HOUSTON (15-2)
5. UTEP (15-0)
6. GEORGETOWN (13-2)
7. MARYLAND (11-2)
8. ARKANSAS (13-2)
9. LSU (9-3)
10. OREGON STATE (9-2)
11. WAKE FOREST (11-2)
12. UCLA (10-2)
13. FRESNO STATE (11-3)
14. MEMPHIS STATE (11-3)
15. TULSA (15-0)
16. UNLV (14-1)
17. BOSTON COLL. (11-3)
18. OKLAHOMA (13-2)
19. AUBURN (10-3)
20. PURDUE (11-3)