When Michigan visits Champaign it will lose. It just might take Illinois five, 10, perhaps 20 extra minutes to do the job. Wolverine coach Bill Frieder is 0-7 at Assembly Hall, and the last three of those defeats have come in overtime; one 1984 game had four OT periods. On Saturday, Efrem Winters had his first 20-point game in two seasons, and fellow forward Ken (The Snake) Norman had his second in three days, as the Illini took a 52-35 lead, fell behind 68-64, tied the game and then held on to win 83-79—in overtime, of course.
The Wolverines appeared to have beaten the Champaign jinx with a ferocious comeback. With his team up by two and 48 seconds to play (44 on the shot clock), Michigan's Antoine (The Judge) Joubert hurried a 22-footer that had little chance. Illinois rebounded and guard Tony Wysinger's ensuing hoop forced the customary extra period. Joubert hadn't realized that the shot clock had been reset after Winters blocked a shot by Wolverine Robert Henderson. "I thought the ball had to hit the rim [for the clock to be reset]," said Joubert.
"Hopefully he learned from it," said the snakebit Frieder. "Maybe he won't do the same thing when we get to the NCAAs."
Many had written Illinois off in December after star guard Doug Altenberger's bum knee forced him to take a medical redshirt year. But coach Lou Henson has the Illini looking inside for points, and the team is 5-2 in its last seven Big Ten games. Michigan (8-3 in league play) fell into a first-place tie with Indiana.
A home-court advantage led to upheaval in the Big Eight, as well. Iowa State, an upset winner over Kansas two weeks ago, ambushed sixth-ranked Oklahoma, 73-70, for its 14th straight win at the Hilton Coliseum. After trailing by 12, Oklahoma had just tied the game at 68 when Sooner guard Linwood Davis intercepted a Cyclone pass and drove the length of the floor with ISU freshman forward Elmer Robinson breathing down his neck. Timing his leap like an acrobat, Robinson, who was playing with four fouls, rose and swatted Davis's would-be layup out of harm's way. The Cyclones got the ball and pulled ahead for good.
Berry Hurt! screamed Sunday's New York Daily News in its usual end-of-the-world-sized headline type. But it was headline hype. Walter Berry, St. John's preeminent center, limped off the floor late in the first half of an 87-75 win over Boston College, but the team physician's diagnosis was just a mild sprain.
Berry's absence made it sophomore forward Shelton Jones's duty—as Jones saw it, at least—to pick up the slack. "When I saw Walter limping off, I figured Coach would call my number," said Jones. "I figured since I was playing Walter's position...." Jones scored 15 second-half points. Erratic Willie Glass had an up night, hitting 11 of his 14 shots as St. John's broke a 48-48 tie to coast in for the win.
An uncontrolled temper may have cost Temple a crucial game. Saturday, St. Joseph's superb guard, Maurice Martin, poured in 26 points in a 65-63 defeat of the Owls, keeping the Hawks within a game of Atlantic 10-leading West Virginia. Meanwhile, Temple's 6'10", 260-pound starting center, Ramon Rivas, could only watch and stew in his own remorse. He was finishing a two-game suspension for sucker-punching George Washington forward Moti Daniel in the back of the head during a Feb. 3 game. Said GWU AD Steve Bilsky, "I think [Rivas] has forfeited the right to leniency."
Notre Dame struck a blow for independents at Syracuse's expense. After losing a midweek match to nettlesome Dayton, the Irish visited the Carrier Dome, where the quality of charity was not strained. The 48 free throws awarded the Irish, and the 41 they canned, broke Dome records and helped Notre Dame to an 85-81 win, Syracuse's only home loss in 15 outings this season.
Notre Dame's Donald Royal explained why the Irish tend to make their foul shots. "On a daily basis, we shoot 21—the Go team [starters] against the Blue. The losers run." Without free throws, Notre Dame would have lost by 26. The Irish cause was aided by an ankle injury that Syracuse forward Rafael Addison suffered against Seton Hall on Wednesday. Addison, the Orange's leading scorer, logged 15 inconsequential minutes against Notre Dame, going without a basket for the first time in 98 games.
The Villanova-Pittsburgh game wasn't just ugly. "It was a mud fight," said Villanova coach Rollie Massimino after his Wildcats were smeared 85-71. A Big East single-game-record 72 personal fouls were called and nine players fouled out. Villanova, now 6-4 in conference play, shot just 35% and yielded 19 turnovers. "A big key was our intensity," said Panther coach Roy Chipman, who had expressed "embarrassment" after losing to Big East doormat Seton Hall the previous week.
Memphis State faithful will affix a mental asterisk to the Tigers' 67-66 loss to Nevada-Las Vegas. Without the 7-foot William Bedford, team leader in scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking, the Tigers were vulnerable inside—and UNLV exploited that weakness. Bedford was serving the first of an NCAA-imposed two-game suspension for driving cars last summer that, in NCAA lingo, belonged to "representatives of the University's athletic interests."
"Everybody makes a mistake here and there," said Tiger coach Dana Kirk. Bedford's callow replacements, sophomore Dewayne Bailey and freshman Marvin Alexander, combined for a measly four points and nine rebounds.
Freddie Banks—nicknamed Fearless Freddie by UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian because he's "not afraid to shoot the ball"—kept Memphis State at bay with 14 first-half points. His 26 led all scorers, and his clutch jumper from atop the key with 1:08 left won it for the Runnin' Rebels, now 23-2.
Arizona got a taste of the Pac-10 lead, then choked on it. The upstart Wildcats—Lute Olson's starting five includes two freshmen and a sophomore—beat California Thursday, moving AU half a game ahead of Washington. But on Saturday the Wildcats fell to Stanford as the pesky Cardinal trapping defense forced 12 turnovers. "Whoever we played would have been up against it today," said Cardinal coach Tom Davis. "Arizona is a superior club to us. They just caught us on a day we did a terrific job."
The Wildcats, preseason picks to finish near the Pac-10 basement, dropped back into second when Washington beat USC 70-64. The Huskies had earlier lost to UCLA 94-89 in overtime at Pauley Pavilion. Things might have turned out differently if Washington center Christian Welp (25 points, 10 rebounds) had played more than 22 minutes before fouling out. Bruin coach Walt Hazzard admitted, "He was killing us inside."
North Carolina State now rallies to the battle cry "Remember Loyola!" The Wolfpack, ranked No. 18 in the preseason, only crept back into the Top 20 two weeks ago with a 54-51 win over Kentucky. State's fall from grace followed a 60-58 loss to lowly Loyola of Chicago three games into the season. "We've spent all this time trying to make up for that," said Pack coach Jim Valvano. The Pack found itself on firmer footing after upending Louisville 76-64 on Saturday. The Cardinals arrived in Raleigh with four straight wins, the latest a 35-point rout of Metro rival Virginia Tech on Thursday.
The morning of the Louisville game, N.C. State's board of trustees had bestowed on Valvano a second hat—that of athletic director, effective July 1. "First thing I have to do," said Valvano, "is a quick evaluation of the basketball program." It seems safe to presume that AD-to-be V gave Coach V high marks.
North Carolina won twice, first in breathtaking fashion, then in a yawner. On Tuesday, having trailed Georgia Tech by 14 points, the Heels harassed the Wreck into missing 26 of 40 shots after intermission and won in overtime, 78-77. Tar Heel guard Steve Hale, one cool customer, said of the comeback, "Coach Smith has taught us there's just so much time when there's 12 minutes left. It's an eternity."
Georgia Tech's continued cold shooting cost it Sunday's game at Duke, which was a battle for second place in the ACC—and, for that matter, the country. Duke forward Mark Alarie, whose 24 points and nine rebounds were team highs, drained five jumpers early in the second half as the Blue Devils blew open what had been a tight game and won 75-59. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was telling it straight when he said, "We really played an excellent second half." Yellow Jacket coach Bobby Cremins was inclined to agree. "They played some great, great basketball," he said.
North Carolina's weekend opponent, Wake Forest, had little difficulty preserving its perfect (0-11) ACC record. But while Carolina cruised 91-62, and UNC big men Brad Daugherty, Joe Wolf and Warren Martin hit 23 of the 28 shots they took, there was a diminutive Demon Deacon piling up some eye-popping numbers himself. Muggsy Bogues, 5'3", dealt 17 assists—he has 193 in 23 games—a Wake Forest record.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
REGGIE MILLER: UCLA's 6'7" junior forward scored 73 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and made six assists as the Bruins defeated Pac-10 rivals Washington, 94-89 in OT, and Washington State, 88-81.
1. N. CAROLINA (24-1)
2. DUKE (22-2)
3. KANSAS (22-3)
4. MEMPHIS STATE (21-2)
5. GEORGIA TECH (18-4)
6. GEORGETOWN (19-3)
7. MICHIGAN (20-3)
8. OKLAHOMA (21-2)
9. UNLV (23-2)
10. ST. JOHN'S (22-3)
11. KENTUCKY (20-3)
12. BRADLEY (23-1)
13. SYRACUSE (18-3)
14. NOTRE DAME (16-4)
15. INDIANA (16-5)
16. N.C. STATE (16-6)
17. LOUISVILLE (15-7)
18. VIRGINIA TECH (18-5)
19. VIRGINIA (15-6)
20. UTEP (21-3)