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DePaul held off Texas Tech 50-47 in the final game of the Suntory Ball round robin in Tokyo to make Coach Ray Meyer's birthday complete. Meyer, who turned 70 the day of the Blue Demons' game with the Red Raiders, agonized as his team made just one field goal in the first 8� minutes of the second half and sank just 12 of 24 from the line.
Three days before, DePaul needed two free throws apiece from Dallas Comegys and Tony Jackson in the final 25 seconds to beat Alabama 77-76. Comegys led DePaul with 19 points; Alabama's Terry Williams, a 6'8" guard, scored 24 points and had five assists. Williams, who was named the tournament's outstanding player, had 20 points and five assists in the Tide's 76-56 defeat of Texas Tech.
After watching a film from last season in which Louisville's Rodney and Scooter McCray made a Tiger sandwich of Memphis State's Keith Lee, UCLA Coach Larry Farmer decided to do the same with his front-line bangers. Seven-foot Stuart Gray and 6'10" Brad Wright would muscle Lee, while the rest of the Bruins would help out whenever the wispy forward touched the ball. The strategy paid off: Lee was held scoreless in the first half, and though he finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, he was never a factor as the Bruins won 65-51 in Pauley Pavilion. "Stu and Brad were the difference in our defense," Farmer said. "They're both physical, and Lee doesn't like a physical game." Gary Maloncon scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds in his first start for UCLA, while Kenny Fields had a team-high 16 points, 11 rebounds and three steals.
UTEP Coach Don Haskins was so frustrated with the Miners' performance during a 64-57 win over St. Mary's of Texas that he refused to call a time-out. "What do you tell a team during a time-out when they didn't come to play?" Haskins asked. St. Mary's led 30-29 at halftime and trailed 60-57 with just 1:55 to play. But Juden Smith put the game away for the Miners with four free throws with less than a minute to go. Oregon State benefited from two strong second-half performances to beat Utah 62-49 and Portland 65-49. Sophomore Steve Woodside scored 32 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and had 10 assists in the pair of wins.
In the finals of the Kettle Classic, it was host Houston's Phi Slamma Jamma versus Clockwork Orange, otherwise known as the Princeton Tigers. Employing Coach Pete Carril's patented slowdown passing game, surprising Princeton had upset Santa Clara 75-53 the previous night. Passing the ball as many as 18 times per possession against Houston's multiple defenses, the Tigers trailed just 26-24 at halftime.
"They could do what they wanted to do in the first half because they had the lead or were close to it," said Houston Coach Guy Lewis. But in the second half the Cougars roared back to win 65-40 for their fourth Kettle Classic title. Using a sticky 1-3-1 zone, one of six different defensive sets the Coogs deployed, Houston held Princeton to just 16 points on seven of 19 shooting and forced nine of the Tigers' 15 turnovers. Michael Young, the tournament MVP, scored a game-high 22 points for Houston, while Akeem Abdul Olajuwon had 21 points, five dunks and 17 rebounds. Young scored 24 points and Olajuwon 22 in the Cougars' 92-71 opening-night romp over Stetson.
Playing before a Mid-South Coliseum crowd stunned by the deaths of Football Coach Rex Dockery and three other persons in the crash of a private plane 24 hours earlier, Memphis State beat Mississippi 73-55. "We had a meeting with the players," said Tiger Coach Dana Kirk. "They knew what had happened, but they also knew what they had to do, and they did it." Bobby Parks led the Tigers with 20 points, while Keith Lee poured in 16, had 17 rebounds and blocked four shots. Alvin Robertson and Joe Kleine combined for 69 points in Arkansas' 93-64 rout of North Texas State. Louisville surpassed 100 points for the first time since 1981 in a 105-69 rout of Indiana State. Four days later, the university signed Coach Denny Crum to a 10-year contract.