This is an article from the Jan. 13, 1986 issue
For the first month of the season, the Redmen of St. John's barely had to breathe heavily. Two Big East games, in which the Redmen racked up overtime like elves during the Christmas season, reacquainted them with hard labor. St. John's wins over Providence (95-90) and Pittsburgh (78-75)—teams the Redmen have handled with ease in recent years—were both OT affairs. Walter Berry's 35 points in Providence tied his career high.
For a squad with a lame-duck coach—Roy Chipman will resign after this season—9-3 Pitt came to the St. John's campus with a pronounced swagger, having knocked off Georgetown 80-76. On the eve of his 61st birthday, Redmen coach Lou Carnesecca received a gift in the form of some spurious officiating. With just under two minutes to play, Shelton Jones committed a blatant—but uncalled—lane violation as Willie Glass hit a foul shot that sent the game into overtime.
Providence's trip to Landover, Md. landed the Friars between a dragon and its wrath. Cranky and a trifle concerned over the Pitt loss—Georgetown's second straight—Hoya coach John Thompson spurred his troops by shaking the Capital Centre rafters with verbal thunderclaps. "Anytime you lose a couple of games back-to-back," explained Thompson, "it's time to really get involved. I've been too calm." In the ensuing storm, Georgetown punished Providence 110-79. The Hoyas had not broken the 100-point mark since 1982.
Maryland, although improving, is still too much of a one-man band to jam with the ACC's top combos. Len Bias's 28 points were six too few as Duke dropped the Terps 81-75. "It was hot in there," noted Blue Devil coach Mike Krzyzewski. "What did they do, turn up the heat?" Purely a rhetorical question. Krzyzewski has been in the league long enough to know about Lefty Driesell's Sauna Solution, whereby Cole Field House becomes Cole Crucible. Anything for an edge in the ACC.
But Driesell was good and steamed, too—at a foul by one of his guards that was deemed intentional under a new interpretation of the rules. As Duke's Johnny Dawkins drove and made a layup early in the game, John Johnson reached in on him. Dawkins then made both free throws, completing a four-point play that gave Duke its first lead. "It was a ridiculous call," said Driesell. "That's the way officials are. You put in a new rule, and they go berserk."
Georgia Tech should be 0-8 at Virginia's University Hall. Instead, the Yellow Jackets are 1-7 there because Virginia, with a six-point lead, the ball and a glorious upset less than five minutes away, collapsed like a bad soufflé. The Cavaliers lost the ball three of their last four trips up the court as Tech scored the game's final 11 points and won 64-61. Chagrined Virginia coach Terry Holland called the loss "a killer."
After trailing by 10, North Carolina beat upstart N.C. State 90-79. It was the 189th and last game to be played in Chapel Hill's Carmichael Auditorium—may-be. Last season's Clemson game was also billed as the Carmichael finale. But the new $34 million Student Activities Center wasn't ready to open when this season rolled around. It will be when Duke comes to town on Jan. 18—probably. Tar Heel center Brad Daugherty discussed the powerful emotions that visited him while playing in what was, in all likelihood, the last game Carmichael Auditorium would ever see: "I totally forgot."
Before Arizona's intrastate rumble with Arizona State, Wildcat coach Lute Olson told freshman guard Sean Elliott to take it to the hole. Elliott obeyed, scoring 17 points in a 62-53 win, Arizona's fifth straight over the Sun Devils. ASU, which takes pride in its tenacious man-to-man defense, had no one to help out when Elliott would get a step on his defender, which was virtually every time he touched the ball. Said Elliott, a high school All-America from Tucson, "I was just going to take it all the way until someone stopped me." Three Sun Devils drew a total of 10 fouls trying to stay with Elliott; nine of his points came on free throws.
When the Michigan Wolverines finally came out of the closet, they were not, to the surprise of some critics, wearing skirts. Doubted and maligned for their easy pre-Big Ten schedule and aversion to travel—the 14-0 Wolverines had played a grand total of three road games before last week—Michigan embarked on what coach Bill Frieder called one of the toughest road trips in America. After trailing at Indiana 8-0, Michigan went on a 17-2 tear, eventually handing the Hoosiers a 74-69 defeat at Assembly Hall.
Two nights later, Wolverine soph Gary (The General) Grant, a former Ohio schoolboy player of the year, scored 23 points in Michigan's 78-68 win at Ohio State.
Indiana was especially hard hit by imports from the Great Lakes state. After the Wolverines had proved themselves at the Hoosiers' expense, Michigan State snuck into Assembly Hall on Sunday and left with a 77-74 upset. Forward Larry Polec's four free throws in the last half minute stretched Indiana's losing streak to two. The bloom is off the rose in Bloomington, where the Hoosiers are suddenly 8-4, 0-2 in the Big Ten. Indiana has lost only 25 games in Assembly Hall in the last 16 years, but that total includes their last seven conference games.
Illinois had been involved in only two close games this season and lost both, so a sense of relief pervaded Champaign after the Illini nipped Iowa State 63-61.
"We had to fight hard," forward Anthony Welch said proudly. He cited the team for "mental toughness." Forward Efrem Winters's appraisal was more guarded—and honest: "We were very, very fortunate to get a win out of this one." Coach Lou Henson, reflecting on his team's 14 turnovers or perhaps the Cyclones' 11 steals, concurred, saying, "We did look lousy at times."
Winters and Henson hadn't seen anything yet. Four nights later, Iowa spoiled Illinois' 31-game home winning streak with a 60-59 upset.
HOW SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH...
No one was surprised when bigger, faster South Alabama beat Division II Quincy (Ill.) College 73-61 in Mobile. Afterward, Mike Hanks, South's 33-year-old second-year head coach, was asked if he had considered taking it easy on the Hawks and their coach, 60-year-old Sherrill Hanks. "No way. He's the one with 730 wins," said Mike of his father. "I'm still on this side of a hundred. I needed it a hell of a lot more than he did."
The Hankses spent a lot of time together before the game. "But once it started," said Mike, who played guard for his father at Quincy High, "we got down to business." When a Quincy player was whistled for holding, Sherrill protested, "C'mon, Ref, he's not strong enough to hold!"
Last month, when South Alabama went to Hawaii for a Christmas tournament, Mike and his wife, Susan, dropped their three children off at their grandparents' home in Illinois. Sherrill resisted the temptation to grill his grandchildren about their father's program, but was not above playing a trick on his son last week. "We were going to exchange films before our game," says Mike, "but he conveniently forgot to bring theirs."
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
CURTIS AIKEN: Pitt's junior guard scored 18 points, 16 in the second half, in an 80-76 upset of Georgetown, and 23 more on 11-for-13 shooting in a 78-75 overtime loss to 11th-ranked St. John's.
1. MICHIGAN (14-0)
2. GEORGIA TECH (11-1)
3. N. CAROLINA (14-0)
4. DUKE (12-0)
5. MEMPHIS STATE (12-0)
6. LSU (14-0)
7. SYRACUSE (10-0)
8. KANSAS (12-2)
9. OKLAHOMA (13-0)
10. KENTUCKY (10-1)
11. ST. JOHN'S (14-1)
12. GEORGETOWN (10-2)
13. LOUISVILLE (7-3)
14. UNLV (13-2)
15. UAB (13-2)
16. ILLINOIS (10-3)
18. PURDUE (13-2)
19. VIRGINIA TECH (11-2)
20. PITT (9-3)