PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: Los Angeles' Pat Riley scored a career-high 38 points in a 127-122 victory over New Orleans. He was not even supposed to play because of his bad knee. Coach Bill Sharman said Riley's performance "was the most gutsy I've ever seen." The presence of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (page 22), stimulated the Bucks, who defeated the Midwest Division leader Kansas City- Omaha 102-99 by closing the lane to the Kings' Nate Archibald. Chicago halted Buffalo's 11-game streak 91-89 but had a 1-2 week, despite the return of holdout Bob Love. The Braves went on to lose three of four, including a 118-111 tussle with New York, which beat Boston the previous night. Central leader Washington had a 4-1 week. Houston dropped four games. Pacific leader Golden State continued to get consistent performances from rookie Keith Wilkes. The backcourt combination of Geoff Petrie and Larry Steele guided Portland to a 3-0 week. The Blazers walloped New Orleans 117-85 as the Jazz dropped three more games. Detroit's Bob Lanier scored 36 points in a victory over the Knicks. Billy Cunningham's legal troubles were solved, but Philadelphia, last in the Atlantic, still had court problems. Phoenix, Cleveland and Atlanta each won two, lost one, while Seattle won one and lost four.
ABA: The New York Nets relied on a change of pace, pulling the reins on the Denver Nuggets 99-90, but Denver, the Western leader, won its other four games and topped the ABA in scoring with a 122-point average. The Nets also beat Kentucky, the Eastern leader. The surprising San Antonio Spurs slumped and failed to win during the week. The second-place Spurs lost to the third-place Utah Stars, who lost to the fourth-place San Diego Conquistadors, who lost to last-place Indiana. The Pacers' Darnell Hillman had 30 points to provide the winning margin and then some over the Qs. Memphis won a pair, nipping St. Louis 103-94 and trouncing Virginia 118-83.
BOXING—Colombia's RODRIGO VALDES retained his World Boxing Council middleweight title with an 11th-round knockout of France's Gratien Tonna, in Paris.
Guts Ishimatsu of Japan kept his WBC lightweight championship by knocking out Rodolfo Gonzalez of Mexico in the 12th round, in Osaka, Japan.
CROSS-COUNTRY—JOHN NGENO of Kenya and Washington State won the 10,000-meter AAU Cross-Country Championship at Belmont, Calif. in 29:58.8, 16 seconds ahead of Neil Cusack of Ireland (page 93). The COLORADO TRACK CLUB, led by third-place finisher Ted Castaneda, won the team title.
Oregon won the NCAA cross-country championship over the six-mile Indiana University course in Bloomington. NICK ROSE of second-place Western Kentucky captured individual honors.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—Texas A&M's 32-3 loss to Texas gave Baylor, a 24-3 winner over Rice, its first Southwest Conference championship since 1924 and its first Cotton Bowl bid ever. The Bears will meet Penn State, which beat Pitt 31-10, while Texas heads for the Gator Bowl. Oklahoma strengthened its hopes for an unofficial national championship by blasting Oklahoma State 44-13. Alabama beat Auburn 17-13 (page 75) and USC's 55-24 comeback (page 30) handed Notre Dame its worst defeat in 30 years. Arizona beat Arizona State for the first time in 10 years, 10-0. Bob Jackson's two touchdowns guided Navy past Army 19-0, while Vanderbilt settled for a 21-21 tie with Tennessee. Florida sank Miami 31-7. Fred Solomon's hand in five touchdowns led Tampa past Florida A&M 35-10. Mississippi dealt Tulane its sixth straight loss, 26-10.
PRO FOOTBALL—NFL: Minnesota's NFC Central clinching 29-9 victory over New Orleans left three divisions still undecided. AFC Central leader Pittsburgh was set back by the resurgent Houston Oilers 13-10 on Skip Butler's 34-yard field goal with 2:32 remaining. The Buffalo Bills dealt Baltimore a 6-0 loss and waited for Miami's Monday tussle with Cincinnati to see if they had first place to themselves in the AFC East. St. Louis succumbed to Kansas City 17-13 but clinched a playoff berth anyway, and second-place Washington lost to Dallas 24-23 (page 26). The New York Jets won their fourth straight, beating San Diego 27-14 behind John Riggins' three touchdowns. Cleveland beat San Francisco 7-0. In Chicago, before 18,802 spectators and 36,951 no-shows, the Bears downed the New York Giants 16-13, while in Atlanta (18,648, with 40,202 no-shows) Los Angeles whacked the Falcons 30-7. Philadelphia snapped a six-game losing streak with a 36-14 thumping of Green Bay. Otis Armstrong rushed for 144 yards as the Denver Broncos beat Detroit 31-27, and AFC West champ Oakland beat New England 41-26 on four touchdown passes by Ken Stabler.
WFL: The Birmingham Americans, 15-5 for the season, and the Florida Blazers, 14-6, made it to the first, and perhaps only, World Bowl with victories in the semifinals. The Americans edged past the Hawaiians, who were 10-11, by a 22-19 score, while the angry Blazers, who had not been paid in 13 weeks, upset the favored Memphis Southmen 18-15. Memphis' 17-3 was best in the league.
HARNESS RACING—KEYSTONE SMARTIE ($27.40), Peter Haughton driving, was an upset winner in the 1?-mile $113,350 American Pacing Classic at Hollywood Park.