Through most of the first half of Cornell's 83-59 win over Brown on Feb. 13, a fan rode the visiting Bruins relentlessly. Shortly before intermission Brown coach Mike Cingiser responded by tossing a cup of water and a warning in the direction of the offender. Any more of it, the coach said, and the entire water-cooler would follow. "I'm fair game, but my players aren't," Cingiser said.
The fan obliged. For the second half he confined his remarks to Cingiser, calling him "Harry Carson," after the New York Giants' cooler-dumping linebacker.
Another coach, name of Knight, dealt somewhat differently when faced with rowdy spectators during Indiana's recent visit to Northwestern. Fans in the student section pelted the Indiana bench with ice and chanted "Season on the Brink. Knight, you stink." They were referring to the No. 1 best-seller on Knight and his Hoosiers, about which the Indiana coach has expressed his displeasure.
As Knight was leaving the floor at halftime the taunting continued, and as the coach passed by the Wildcat band a student musician bumped him. Knight grabbed one of the bandsmen and had to be restrained by assistants Joby Wright and Dan Dakich. Knight then demanded that a security guard have the offending horn blower removed, "Or there won't be a second half."
Sure enough, the Wildcats made do in the second half with one less tenor saxophone player and ended up losing to the Hoosiers 77-75.
Austin Peay has this odd habit of repeating itself. Lake Kelly, who first coached the Governors from 1971 to '77, was rehired in 1985. This season the team lost back-to-back games when, in January, Eastern Kentucky and Murray State each sank free throws with no time left on the clock.
In February things took a turn for the better but became no less repetitive. Govs forward Lawrence Mitchell scored 43 points in a defeat of Eastern. Two nights later Austin Peay beat Morehead State. Of course, Mitchell scored 43 points again.
Question (posed by a fan at Clemson's Littlejohn Coliseum earlier this season, on a hand-painted sign): IF GOD WAS A TAR HEEL, WHY DID HE PUT CHAPEL HILL IN ORANGE COUNTY?
Answer of sorts (after the blue-and-orange-clad Tigers. 5-0 in ACC road play this season but 0-31 alltime at Carolina before losing there again last week 96-80): Because He knew the Heels could handle it.
Nevada-Las Vegas is renowned for salvaging itinerant types, but UC-Irvine is tops in turning out transfers. Consider these five former Anteaters, who are now digesting more elegant fare: at forward. Northern Arizona's Anthony Burgess (10.8 points per game, 60% shooting) and Ronnie Grandison of New Orleans (17.4 points, 10.4 rebounds per game); at guard, Boris King of Nevada-Reno (18.1 ppg) and San Jose State's Rodney Scott (6.0 ppg); and at center, Arizona's Tom Tolbert (14.4 points, 6.8 rebounds), who says, "Me and [Irvine] Coach [Bill] Mulligan didn't exactly see eye to eye. But then, that's not surprising since I'm 6'8" and he's 5'9"."
NO ONE HOME ON THE RANGE
Even as UNLV cleans up both in and out of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference—the Rebs are 5-1 in intersectional games, their only loss a controversial one-pointer at Oklahoma—the decline of the rest of the West continues apace. Take the nine other PCAA teams, add the 35 members of the WAC, Big Sky, WCAC and Pac-10, and you'll find only four teams—UCLA, BYU, UTEP and Cal—that have beaten an upper-division team from the Big Ten, Big East, Big Eight, ACC or SEC.
And don't overlook U.S. International and Eastern Washington, a pair of independents that demonstrated their grasp of the game by bludgeoning each other on Feb. 14 with 63 fouls. Final score: 88-79, USIU. Attendance: 92, and that's only if you include the seven players who ended up on the pine with five fouls each.
A COOL DRAFT
Amateur talent scouts may have already concluded what the NBA scouting director Marty Blake now makes semiofficial: The pros consider the upcoming draft one from which they could catch pneumonia. It won't produce a lot of immediate stars, Blake says, but "it's a draft of David Robinson, a second tier of Reggie Williams, Kenny Smith and Horace Grant and then a lot of people who may help their clubs three or four years down the road."
Without considering underclassmen who might take early leave (the suspicion is that if Kansas coach Larry Brown leaves for the pros, Danny Manning will too), here's an early look at some players likely to be among the seven so-called lottery picks, based on interviews with Blake and several other NBA player-personnel types. Watch them as they jockey for position during postseason play:
The U.S.S. Robinson almost certainly will be the No. 1 pick, despite his requisite two-year Navy hitch. Says Blake: "I don't waste my time going to see him play. I know he can play."
Clemson's Grant is wonderfully agile at 6'10". "A big little forward," Blake says. Adds Bullets general manager Bob Ferry, "A complete player."
Ohio State's Dennis Hopson has excelled on a middling team in the country's toughest league and, at 6'5", has the size to be a first-rate NBA guard.
Washington's 7-foot Chris Welp tends to disappear when he gets a couple of early fouls, but he has a great shooting touch, and Blake points out, "You have to remember there aren't any other centers."
And while debates over who's the best point guard will always rage in college pubs, the scouts have long since settled on Kenny Smith of North Carolina. "A star in the NBA, without question," Blake says. "Nobody can stay with him."
Five other potential first-rounders are Georgetown's Williams—"a winner," says Blake—Armon (Hammer) Gilliam of UNLV, Ken Norman of Illinois, Bob McCann of Morehead State and Dallas Comegys of DePaul. Of Comegys, Blake says: "He's elevated his talent to the level it should be. Though I've had people ask, 'Won't Comegys be better as a pro?' my answer is always, 'If he's not better as a pro, he won't be a pro.' "
NBA people are reluctant to say it out loud, but such noteworthy players as Houston's Greg (Cadillac) Anderson, UCLA's Reggie Miller, Michigan's Antoine Joubert and Duke's Tommy Amaker have all played themselves down this season.
And where does all this leave Indiana's Steve Alford, considered Robinson's chief competitor for Player of the Year honors? "A nice college player who can break open a zone," Blake says. "[But] I'd like to see him guard Michael Jordan."
Through 27 games this season, Stephen F. Austin—that's a team, not a player—has had a better percentage launching three-point shots than it has shooting twos.
Center John Cavanaugh of Division III Hamilton, which has no scholarship players, on the Continentals' 84-73 defeat of Division I Utica: "[Each of us] paid $15,000 to win this game. They paid nothing."
For coming onto the court during a timeout wearing a striped shirt and a blindfold and carrying a cane, Wu-Shock, the Wichita State mascot, was ejected from the Shockers' 90-67 defeat of Southern Illinois-Carbon-dale by referee Ken Falkner.
Reggie Lewis of Northeastern, on burning his shooting hand while fixing french fries, a mishap that will sideline the Huskies' star for the rest of the regular season: "What's really embarrassing is that I'm a good cook."
With sportscaster and shoe company executive Joe (Striiiing Music) Dean selected to clean up LSU's athletic department, coach Dale Brown is one happy camper. "There's not a better man on any planet," says the well-traveled Brown.
Former Rutgers great Bob Lloyd had his jersey retired at halftime of the Knights' game with Penn State, then went down the street to see his nephew play for Rutgers Prep. In his absence, 6'8" senior Eric Riggins nearly retired Lloyd's single-game scoring record, matching it with 51 in a 100-99 double-OT loss.
Peter Soens, a guard for Lynchburg College, made 11 of 11 from the floor, including all 8 of his three-pointers, during a 97-82 win over Roanoke. Grambling's CHARLES PRICE was also a perfect 5 for 5 from three-point land, scoring 44 points in a 96-70 defeat of Prairie View.
SI TOP 20
Drop a team 12 notches and what does it do? Oklahoma sprang for 133 points—51 on treys—while scorching Nebraska. New Mexico State had UNLV down by 22 at home, only to lose 80-69. And after whupping Northwestern, Wisconsin and Minnesota by a grand total of seven points, Indiana rolled to its ninth straight victory, 84-75 over Iowa. Call it the Hoosiers' Season in the Pink.
1. UNLV (28-1)
2. N. CAROLINA (25-2)
3. TEMPLE (28-2)
4. INDIANA (23-2)
5. PURDUE (20-3)
6. DEPAUL (24-1)
7. G'TOWN (21-4)
8. IOWA (23-4)
9. ALABAMA (21-4)
10. PITT (22-5)
11. ILLINOIS (19-6)
12. SYRACUSE (22-5)
13. OKLAHOMA (21-5)
14. KANSAS (21-7)
15. TCU (22-4)
16. CLEMSON (24-3)
17. N. ORLEANS (22-3)
18. UTEP (21-5)
19. DUKE (21-6)
19.9. MIAMI* (13-14)
*Sure Tito's young, but the Tropical Depressions shouldn't lose to Florida by 39. And a 97-47 win over Armstrong State is no big deal, especially since the Pirates played without star Don Johnson. Don Johnson?