Five seconds remained in the game between Texas, the Southwest Conference leader, and second-place Texas Christian. The Long-horns led 54-53 and had one more non-shooting foul to give before TCU would go to the line. Texas coach Bob Weltlich called timeout and told his players to "make sure we got the guy fouled—make it look good [unintentional], but foul him."
Easy enough, right? Well, the ball came inbounds to Horned Frog guard Jamie Dixon, who was waylaid by Long-horns immediately. "We hit him three times," said Texas center John Brownlee. "There was nothing more we could do." But there was no whistle. "I was surprised I was able to make it down to the other end and get any kind of shot off," Dixon said. That shot, an off-balance 30-foot jumper at the buzzer, won the game, 55-54.
Weltlich lost the game, the conference lead and his temper. "This is totally unbelievable," he fumed. "We mugged him."
Texas Tech, traditionally a slowdown, look-for-the-good-shot team, nearly ground to a halt in a 71-54 loss to Texas A & M. "The first half was the worst offense we've played all year," said Tech coach Gerald Myers. Let's hope so. The Red Raiders scorched the strings for all of seven points in the first 13 minutes of play and finished the first half trailing 31-13.
DePaul made a lot of people wonder why its record is only 15-10. Before a below-capacity crowd at the Rosemont Horizon Saturday, the theretofore disappointing Blue Demons upended St. John's 81-72. Logic would have demanded a St. John's blowout: The seventh-ranked Redmen were coming off wins over Georgetown and Villanova. DePaul had just squeaked by lackluster Indiana State 48-44 to end a four-game losing skid.
Against St. John's, DePaul junior forward Dallas Comegys, with 21 points, played up to his potential (a rare occurrence) and was, for the most part, effective on defense (rarer yet). Equally surprising was DePaul's accuracy from the foul line—17 of 23. Coming into the game, the Blue Demons were averaging a chilly 59% from the stripe. "This is the best feeling I've had as a coach," said Joey Meyer after the win, his first over a Top 10 team in his two-year tenure.
Michigan's Antoine (The Judge) Joubert was probably ready to impose a gag order on himself after Thursday's 74-59 home loss to Michigan State. On Tuesday Joubert had publicly guaranteed a win over the hated Spartans. After a Feb. 15 win over Iowa, Joubert had told reporters that he could have attended Michigan State, "but then, I wouldn't have had this atmosphere...a chance to win the national championship. I'd be like [State's] Scott Skiles...30 points a game and going nowhere."
Michigan State, after hearing it from the Judge, proceeded to hand the Wolverines their first loss in 25 games at Crisler Arena, helping bump Michigan out of first place in the Big Ten, temporarily. Livid after the loss, Michigan coach Bill Frieder declared his players off-limits to the press. "I've been a nice guy," said Frieder. "I'm going to have to quit that."
Indiana, meanwhile, climbed ahead of the Wolverines with a 61-60 win over Illinois on Thursday. On Sunday, though, the Hoosiers fell to surprising Purdue, 85-68, leaving Indiana and Michigan tied for the Big Ten lead at 10-4, with the Boilermakers half a game behind.
In its ascent to the No. 1 ranking, Duke got a boost from a pair of second-division ACC squads. Maryland forward Len Bias's redemptive 35-point performance—one week after he had been suspended for a game for breaking curfew—all but singlehandedly upset host North Carolina in overtime 77-72. Said Terp coach Lefty Driesell: "Bias made spin shots, lobs, jump hooks, banks, jumpers—I've never seen anything like it. If Lenny Bias ain't the player of the world after tonight, somebody don't know something about basketball."
Tar Heel guard Steve Hale was injured diving for a loose ball late in the game. Officials stopped play, and there was speculation that Hale had faked an injury to buy time. The following day, however, Hale reported to the UNC infirmary to have his partially collapsed right lung reinflated. On Sunday, without Hale and Warren Martin, who was out with an ankle sprain, the Tar Heels were beaten in Raleigh by N.C. State, 76-65. Suddenly mortal, Carolina missed 10 of its first 11 shots from the field. State's 6'11" sophomore center, Chris Washburn, scored 16 of his 26 points in the first half.
Senior guard Johnny Dawkins, who scored 20 points in the Blue Devils' 93-84 defeat of Oklahoma, had his jersey number, 24, retired in a pregame ceremony. Upon the introduction of his parents, Duke fans—they're not always nasty—chanted "Thank you! Thank you!"
Fairfield, the Connecticut school that had been a stranger to winning seasons since 1979, is 20-6, 12-1 in the Metro Atlantic and, under new coach Mitch Buonaguro, an untold number of pounds lighter. Buonaguro has, with Xavier's Pete Gillen, done one of the two best rookie coaching jobs in the country.
One of Buonaguro's innovations was an off-season conditioning program. Three mornings a week, Stag players reported at 6:30 for sprints and agility drills. As a result, the streamlined Stags have held opponents to 17 fewer points per game than last season's 11-17 training-table hounds. A 61-57 win over La Salle Jan. 11 marked the first Fairfield win at Philadelphia's Palestra in 18 years. Pre-Buonaguro, Fairfield hadn't beaten Fordham in 10 tries; the Stags have done it twice this season. Stagmania sweeps the sedate Jesuit campus. Six straight times the Stags have sold out 3,000-seat Alumni Hall—no mean feat at a school with 2,800 students.
Northeastern forward Reggie Lewis's 34 points in a 90-57 drubbing of Canisius upped his week's total to 97. Lewis, who earlier in the week had 22 and 41 points in Northeastern waltzes past Maine and Siena, is surely the best forward in Division I not to have started for his high school team. But as sixth man for Baltimore's Dunbar High in 1983, Lewis had nothing to be ashamed of. The starters included Reggie Williams and David Wingate, now at Georgetown, South Carolina's Keith James and Wake Forest's Muggsy Bogues.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LEN BIAS: Maryland's 6'8" senior forward had three blocks and 17 straight free throws and scored 65 points: 35 in a 77-72 OT upset of top-ranked North Carolina, 30 in a 77-70 loss to No. 5 Georgia Tech.
1. DUKE (27-2)
2. KANSAS (26-3)
3. N. CAROLINA (25-3)
4. GEORGIA TECH (21-4)
5. SYRACUSE (22-3)
6. MEMPHIS STATE (23-3)
7. KENTUCKY (24-3)
8. BRADLEY (28-1)
9. UNLV (27-3)
10. MICHIGAN (23-4)
11. ST. JOHN'S (25-4)
12. NOTRE DAME (19-5)
13. LOUISVILLE (21-7)
14. GEORGETOWN (20-6)
15. OKLAHOMA (23-5)
16. N.C. STATE (18-9)
17. VIRGINIA (18-7)
18. INDIANA (18-6)
19. MICHIGAN STATE (18-6)
20. PURDUE (21-7)