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Metro Conference powers Memphis State and Louisville overcame a pair of gritty opponents in a double-header at New York's Madison Square Garden. In the opener, State whipped Iona 94-88 as all 10 starters attained double figures. Memphis' 6'11" Keith Lee, who, according to Tiger Coach Dana Kirk, has acquired "a gunslinger's image," shot the Gaels full of holes with 28 points (11 of 18 from the field) and grabbed 11 rebounds. Teammate Bobby Parks added 21 points, while Iona Guard Steve Burtt had a game-high 31. In the second game Louisville defeated Rutgers 54-49. The Cardinals shot just 38.3% against a sticky 1-3-1 zone, and after Rutgers closed to 51-49 with 7:48 left. Louisville went into a prolonged stall to force the Scarlet Knights into a man-to-man. But the Knights didn't bite, and the freeze was halted with 31 seconds left when Chris Nieberlein intentionally fouled Scooter McCray, who sank two from the line. "This was not a good game," said Louisville Coach Denny Crum afterward.
If Denny didn't like his club's performance against Rutgers, he must have hated the 98-81 pounding Virginia gave the Cardinals in a televised game in Charlottesville. Ralph Sampson broke out of a five-game slump and gave one of his finest performances: 14 of 18 from the floor, 35 points, 12 rebounds, five blocked shots, two assists and a steal. "You notice he doesn't play too many bad games on national TV," said Crum, perhaps alluding to the 26-point. 10-rebound game Sampson had against the Cards last season in Louisville. Earlier this week, Sampson scored 16 points and brought down 16 rebounds in the Cavs' 59-44 win over George Washington.
ACC leader North Carolina won three games and extended its winning streak to 14. After crushing Georgia State 95-55 in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels nipped Wake Forest 80-78 in Greensboro, knocking the Deacons out of a first place tie in the conference, then eased past Georgia Tech 72-65. In that game Michael Jordan scored a career-high 39 points, including 11 of 16 from the floor. Six of Jordan's field goals were three-pointers: on one of those he was fouled, and he converted the free throw for the ACC's first four-point play under the new three-point rules. On Sunday Arkansas edged Wake Forest 68-65 in Greensboro. Alvin Robertson had 23 points and 6'11" Joe Kleine had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Razorbacks.
St. John's took over first place in the Big East with an 80-71 victory over Villanova. Down 49-41 with 12:08 to go, the Redmen made 25 of 27 free throws the rest of the way to overtake the visiting Wildcats. In all, St. John's hit 36 of 39 from the line, including 10 of 10 by Chris Mullin. St. John's then stretched its record to 18-1 with a 65-58 win at Manhattan, while Villanova recovered to beat Syracuse 83-75 at the Palestra.
Georgetown routed Seton Hall 71-48. then pulled out a 69-67 win over Boston College when freshman David Wingate picked up a loose ball and drove nearly the length of the court for the winning layup as time ran out.
Memphis State came back from its triumphant Eastern swing intent on winning this week's rematch with Virginia Tech, the only team to cage the Tigers this year. In the process, State almost overlooked Eastern Kentucky, which gave the Tigers a run before falling 80-65. The Colonels trailed by just four points. 65-61, with seven minutes left. "They hit some shots you wouldn't take in a game of H-O-R-S-E," said Coach Dana Kirk afterward. But the Tigers pulled away, thanks to Keith Lee's 35 points and 14 rebounds and Bobby Parks's 20 points, 12 rebounds and uncivil defense.
Missouri took a one-game lead in the Big Eight race, whipping Kansas 76-63 in Lawrence and Nebraska 79-56 in Columbia. Steve Stipanovich and Jon Sundvold took turns sparking the Tigers past the Jayhawks; Stipo scored 16 of his game-high 25 points in the first half, while Sundvold got 18 of his 22 in the second. Stipanovich got 22 more in Mizzou's rout of Nebraska as the Tigers shot 66% from the floor and scored on 12 of their first 13 possessions.
Oklahoma State's Cowboys were ambushed twice on the road. The Cowboys dropped an 81-80 heartbreaker to rival Oklahoma, despite a furious rally that cut a 14-point lead with 10 minutes to go to 75-72 with 3:04 remaining. Iowa State Coach Johnny Orr had OSU's bitter defeat in mind when he spoke before his own team's game with the Cowboys. "There was never a better time to beat Oklahoma State," he said—and he was right. With Barry Stevens scoring 14 of his 16 points in the second half, the Cyclones walloped the Cowboys 73-64 in Ames.
Oklahoma's 1-2-3 punch of Wayman Tisdale. Chuck Barnett and David Little combined for 70 points in a 97-79 defeat of Colorado. Tisdale scored 21 points and now has 533 for the season, 17 more than the Big Eight's previous freshman record set by Kansas State's Curtis Redding in 1977. Little also had 21, while Barnett led the Sooners with 28.