Went to a fight last night, and a Georgetown game broke out! That was just one of the not-so-funny japes after Georgetown and Connecticut sandwiched 40 minutes of basketball around a one-minute round of hand-to-hand at the Capital Centre. The fisticuffs resulted in the ejections of the Hoyas' Ralph Dalton and the Huskies' Gerry Besselink, but Georgetown won the game 70-66. Three days later Georgetown met its match at New York's Madison Square Garden. St. John's entertained the spectating New York Knick rookie and former Hoya, Patrick Ewing, by handling the visitors with surprising ease, 79-74. Last season the Redmen suffered four losses—three to Georgetown, including the Big East championship game and their NCAA semifinal.
In deference to Walter (The Truth) Berry, Hoya coach John Thompson threw a variety of zones at the Redmen. But the Truth will out, and he did—for 26 points, four blocked shots and two steals. "He's playing like he knows he's the Man," says Thompson.
Earlier in the week St. John's played its third straight overtime game. Despite their thin bench the Redmen had won the first two. But the third time, against Boston College, was a different story as BC won 79-77. Eagle coach Gary Williams shrugged off praise for the collapsing box-and-one defense he devised in an effort to stop Berry. "Stop him?" said Williams. "He had 18 points and 14 rebounds. I guess that's stopping Berry, though. The guy destroys entire teams."
Charlie Theokas, Temple's new athletic director, wasted no time muddying the waters of the Schuylkill. On Tuesday, Theokas wondered out loud whether the Owls might get more notice if they dropped longtime Big Five rivals LaSalle and Penn in favor of some high-powered national names. Maybe Temple should drop Big Five and Atlantic-10 foe St. Joseph's, too. On Thursday, 6'6" Hawk forward Maurice Martin had a 25-point, eight-rebound night as St. Joe's snapped Temple's eight-game win streak while extending its own to seven.
Going to Duke anytime soon? Pack your thick skins. When St. Louis went almost seven minutes on Wednesday before scoring its first points, the famous Blue Devil student provocateurs further rattled the Billikens by chanting "Zero! Zero!" But there was no goose egg. While giving up 84 points, St. Louis scored 58. On Saturday, N.C. State center Chris Washburn, who was convicted for his involvement in the theft of another student's stereo equipment last season, was greeted at Cameron Indoor Stadium with a shower of records, album covers and stereo accessories. That was somewhat harsher than the hail of pizza boxes aimed at former Wolfpack forward Lorenzo Charles after he had been caught stealing two pizzas in 1982. So thought N.C. State coach Jim Valvano, who enjoys a bit of fun himself. "A pizza can't hurt anybody," said Coach V. "A record can."
It was the alternating defense of Mark Alarie, Jay Bilas and Danny Ferry that did the most damage to the Wolfpack, though. Washburn scored just 11 points, five under his average, getting off a mere three shots in the second half as Duke rolled 74-64.
Although Mississippi State became LSU's 14th straight victim, 90-84, Bulldog coach Bob Boyd wondered if the Tigers deserved their high ranking. LSU then answered the question by losing to SEC foes Alabama (83-67) and Tennessee (88-77). The Crimson Tide's Buck Johnson drew raves after getting 29 points against the Tigers. Almost as important was the work of center Derrick McKey, who attempted no field goals but did block four shots in the first half—two against LSU forward Nikita Wilson. Wilson, the Tigers' second-leading scorer, finished with five points on 2-for-8 shooting. "I don't want to say anything they're going to put on a bulletin board," said Alabama assistant coach David Hobbs, "but after Wilson had a few of his shots blocked, he started looking over his shoulder."
Forward Chuck Person "started to get the feeling," as he put it, and Auburn perpetrated another SEC upset. What feeling is that? "That I can score from anywhere on the floor," said Person, whose 24 points included 10 in a 95-second span as Auburn upended Kentucky 60-56. Person's 18 in the first half were two fewer than the Wildcats' total of 20.
Bradley's Braves, the pride of Peoria, barely got out of Des Moines with their 15th win against a single loss, the school's best start in more than a quarter of a century. With one second to play against Drake and the score 67-67, senior guard Jim Les flung the longest assist of his career, an 80-plus-foot inbounds rainbow. Waiting for it at the other end of the floor was 6'3" guard Hersey Hawkins, the team's leading scorer. In one motion, Hawkins jumped, caught the ball, spun 180 degrees and released the 12-foot, game-winning shot. Of Les's heave, Bradley coach Dick Versace said, "I don't think Jim McMahon has ever thrown a better pass for the Bears."
Twenty-seven turnovers by Michigan had coach Bill Frieder in an understandable funk after the Wolverines' 61-59 win over Illinois. "Even when we had a lousy team four years ago, they never had 27 in a game. It's ridiculous," said Frieder. The sloppy play allowed the Illini to make up a 20-point deficit. Illinois tied the score at 59 with eight seconds to play when Bruce Douglas helped himself to a poor inbounds pass and canned the layup. Only Wolverine Robert Henderson's 12-footer at the buzzer kept Michigan from suffering its first loss.
The Wolverines may have to tune in to the radio for their sports news if Frieder has his way. "When you don't shoot well, and you have turnovers like tonight, you have to work hard to improve and stop reading the papers," fumed the coach. Michigan's Big Ten record improved to 4-0 with a 75-71 win over Purdue three days later.
After yet another one-sided win, 109-64 over Denver, Oklahoma coach Billy Tubbs spelled out his predicament: "If we make a team look bad, people say they weren't any good." Well, how good are Hawaii-Loa, Hawaii-Hilo, Penn State, West Texas State, Austin Peay and Southeast Louisiana, who have fallen to the Sooners by an average margin of 32 points? Darryl (Choo) Kennedy's career-high 41 points against Chicago State in a 98-73 romp was the eighth-highest total in Sooner history.
Bravo for Brovelli—San Francisco coach Jim Brovelli, that is, whose Dons ended a nine-game drought with a 73-51 thrashing of Fresno Pacific. "Well," said Brovelli after the game, "we just got King Kong off our backs." However important the outcome was for the 5-9 Dons' morale, it had a distinctly intramural flavor: The visiting Sunbirds forgot to bring their uniforms and had to dress in duds borrowed from the Presidio, a local Army base.
Under a coach who a year ago was an English professor, Loyola Marymount has taken the offensive. Paul Westhead, who also happens to be the former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls, presided over lopsided defeats of St. Ambrose of Iowa (116-67) and U.S. International (151-107). Westhead, let go by the Bulls after the 1982-83 season, had spent the previous two seasons at Marymount Palos Verdes, where he taught literature but did not coach. Had he lost interest in basketball? Not at all. Marymount Palos Verdes doesn't field a team.
Teams who find themselves in close games with Texas Tech will be well-advised to deny Red Raider guard Tony Benford the ball. Benford's off-balance 10-foot jumper with eight seconds to play sank Arkansas, 48-46, for Tech's third straight Southwest Conference win. Its two others, over Rice (51-50) and Houston (69-68), also came on Benford buzzer-beaters. Tech, expected to be a second-division team in the SWC this season, is 3-0 and half a game out of the lead. Nolan Richardson's Razorbacks, everyone's preseason favorites, are mired at 0-4.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DAVID ROBINSON: Navy's 6'11" junior center had 25 blocked shots, 68 points and 43 rebounds and held opposing pivotmen to only three field goals in wins over James Madison, George Mason and E. Carolina.
1. MICHIGAN (16-0)
2. GEORGIA TECH (14-1)
3. N. CAROLINA (16-0)
4. DUKE (14-0)
5. MEMPHIS STATE (15-0)
6. SYRACUSE (13-0)
7. KANSAS (14-2)
8. OKLAHOMA (15-0)
9. ST. JOHN'S (15-2)
10. KENTUCKY (12-2)
11. LSU (14-2)
12. GEORGETOWN (11-3)
13. LOUISVILLE (8-4)
14. UNLV (15-2)
15. UAB (15-2)
16. VIRGINIA TECH (13-2)
17. PURDUE (14-3)
18. NOTRE DAME (9-1)
19. UTEP (14-2)
20. PITTSBURGH (10-4)