During pregame warmups before their WAC game at Wyoming, the UTEP Miners were greeted by chants of "CSU! CSU! CSU!" The taunt from the Cowboy fans was in reference to UTEP's first defeat of the season, a 63-51 loss at Colorado State two nights earlier. "The fans were trying to intimidate us," said UTEP forward Kent Lockhart, "and it worked just the opposite." The Miners were nearly flawless in their 54-46 victory over Wyoming, making just one turnover, on an offensive foul, and converting 22 of 26 free throws, including 10 straight in the final 3:20.
A 16-1 start and seven straight PCAA victories finally have convinced UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian that his Runnin' Rebels have what it takes to repeat as conference champions. "Yeah, it's safe to say we're contenders," said Tark after Frank (Spoon) James's two free throws with six seconds left wrapped up UNLV's 64-62 defeat of stumbling Fresno State. The Rebels had an easier time against hapless Pacific, with all 11 players getting into the scoring column during a 117-78 rout of the Tigers.
Pacific-10 leader Washington got 14 points apiece from Shag Williams and Detlef Schrempf in a 60-53 win over Oregon and then snapped an 11-game losing streak against Oregon State with a 72-58 victory. The Huskies shot 57.1% against the Beavers' pressure defense and outrebounded them 38-28. "It's time for as to grow up and understand what Pac-10 competition is all about," said coach Ralph Miller of Oregon State, whose team had earlier suffered a 74-65 upset loss at Washington State.
UCLA got a rude reception in Louisville, where the Cards dealt the Bruins an 86-78 defeat. Louisville, which led by as many as 23 points in the first half, made 20 of its first 24 shots and finished with blistering 67.7% shooting. "I've never seen a team start so fast," said UCLA coach Larry Farmer. "We've done it to other teams, but I've never seen it done to us." Charles Jones scored a career-high 27 points for the Cardinals and hauled in 15 rebounds. The Louisville victory, which counts in the Metro Conference standings because of a scheduling conflict created by South Carolina's admission to the league, kept them in a first-place tie with Memphis State, which whipped South Carolina 75-58.
Illinois State handed Tulsa its first loss of the season 79-73, and Golden Hurricane guard Ricky Ross wasn't shy about telling why. "The officials took us out of the game," said Ross. "I felt like my hands were tied behind my back." Ross, who scored 18 points, fouled out along with teammate Herb Johnson, who added 18 points and 15 rebounds. With 17:03 to play, Tulsa center Bruce Vanley was ejected from the game for flagrantly fouling the Redbirds' Mark Zwart, and Golden Hurricane coach Nolan Richardson was hit with two technical fouls during the proceedings. The fact that Illinois State's Michael McKenny busted loose for 26 points also might have had something to do with Tulsa's defeat. The Golden Hurricane recovered to whip Bradley 80-66 in Peoria as Ross and Steve Harris combined for 46 points.
Oklahoma's 100-89 double-overtime win at Colorado ended with the Sooners, led by coach Billy Tubbs, trading insults with Buffalo fans. But when a wire-service story alleged the next day that Tubbs had made an obscene gesture at the crowd of 10,649, Tubbs replied angrily. "That's an absolute lie, and whoever wrote that story owes me an apology." With Wayman Tisdale popping in 30 points. Oklahoma won a closer, if less eventful, 83-80 game at Kansas State. Arkansas beat Texas 70-66 and Texas Tech 67-57 to remain tied with Houston for first place in the Southwest Conference.
After suffering its second consecutive loss, 69-57 at Florida, Kentucky roared back to crush Vanderbilt 67-46 and then had a super win over Houston on Super Sunday. In their 74-67 triumph, the Wildcats outrebounded the Cougars 51-45 and neutralized 7-foot Akeem Abdul Olajuwon. "They had Akeem," said Wildcat forward Sam Bowie, who grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds. "We had [Kenny] Walker, [Melvin] Turpin and Bowie. So it was 3 to 1 in our favor." Walker scored a team-high 20 points and had 10 rebounds for Kentucky, while Turpin had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Olajuwon, in foul trouble most of the game, had 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots before drawing his fifth personal with 6:14 to go.
LSU bounced U.S. International 104-66, then edged Alabama 85-84 in a game that, according to Tiger coach Dale Brown, "you knew was going to end up with heartbreak." LSU's Derrick Taylor did the breaking by hitting a pair of free throws with seven seconds left to preserve the victory. Auburn lost 73-71 to Vanderbilt and 90-86 to Georgia to tumble from first place in the SEC.
While DePaul was working out for its game at South Florida, Washington Redskin full-back John Riggins wandered into the Sun Dome and asked coach Ray Meyer if the Blue Demons would like to go five-on-five with a group of Redskins. "I don't think so," Meyer replied. "We might hurt you guys." Unbeaten DePaul subsequently put a hurt on the Bulls, coasting to a 59-50 win.
In the Big Ten, Illinois' Quinn Richardson scored 14 points to lead the Fighting Illini to a 76-52 rout of Purdue and a tie for first place with the Boilermakers.
North Carolina survived two big scares to remain undefeated in the ACC. The Tar Heels held off Virginia 69-66 at home after having blown all but one point of a 23-point lead late in the second half. Later in the week freshman Kenny Smith scored all of his 10 points in the final 3:33 to enable Carolina to beat Duke 78-73 on the road. After the game, Blue Devil coach Mike Krzyzewski raged at what he termed a "double standard" among referees—one for Tar Heel coach Dean Smith and another for the rest of the ACC coaches. Krzyzewski, who was assessed a technical foul for screaming at an official with five seconds left in the game, felt that Smith also should have received a T, for arguing with the referees and the clock operator. "There wasn't a person on our bench who was pointing at officials or banging scorer's tables...," Krzyzewski said. "So let's get things straight around here and quit the double standard that sometimes exists around the league."
Wake Forest had contributed to Krzyzewski's frustration by pounding Duke 97-66. But the Deacons were upset 80-69 at North Carolina State as the Wolfpack snapped its longest ACC losing streak—five games—since 1967. Maryland's Ben Coleman had 21 points and 18 rebounds as the Terrapins beat Clemson 85-72. Big East-leader Syracuse ripped Connecticut 95-68 and then nipped Boston College 75-73 in the Carrier Dome when Dwayne (Pearl) Washington swished a heave from midcourt at the buzzer. "We had to have a miracle to win it in regulation time," said Orange coach Jim Boeheim, "and Dwayne made it happen." Georgetown buried St. John's 83-61 in New York to hand the Redmen their third straight loss. Earlier, Georgetown had gotten 18 points each from Patrick Ewing and David Wingate in an 80-76 victory over Providence.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
MIKE BROWN: George Washington's 6'9" junior center scored 69 points—making 27 of 32 shots from the field in the process—and had 22 rebounds as the Generals split two Atlantic 10 games.
SI Top 20
1. N. CAROLINA (14-0)
2. DEPAUL (14-0)
3. KENTUCKY (14-2)
4. GEORGETOWN (15-2)
5. HOUSTON (16-3)
6. MARYLAND (13-2)
7. UTEP (16-1)
8. ARKANSAS (15-2)
9. LSU (11-3)
10. MEMPHIS STATE (12-3)
12. UCLA (11-3)
13. WAKE FOREST (12-3)
14. OKLAHOMA (15-2)
15. ILLINOIS (13-2)
16. TULSA (16-1)
17. WASHINGTON (12-3)
18. LOUISVILLE (11-4)
19. SYRACUSE (12-3)
20. BOSTON COLL. (12-4)