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"I feel that in certain situations, like when the game is tight, I can get the ball and make things happen," said Houston forward Michael Young before the Cougars' Southwest Conference opener at SMU. True to his word, Young stole a pass from the Mustangs' Butch Moore with 1:03 left and drove the length of the floor for the basket that gave Houston a 60-59 victory. It was the Coogs' 25th consecutive regular-season conference win—a league record. Then, in Houston's 81-67 victory over visiting TCU, Young's 22 points and Alvin Franklin's 18 offset a 36-point performance by Horned Frog Dennis Nutt. Arkansas jumped out to a 10-0 lead over Baylor and coasted to a 57-50 triumph over the Bears in Waco, then got a career-high 15 points from forward Charles Ballentine in a 77-54 defeat of Texas A&M.
"We have a goose egg in the loss column," said Tulsa guard Ricky Ross before the Golden Hurricane's 82-69 Missouri Valley Conference win at Bradley. "Every team we play wants to knock that egg off." Indeed, after easy wins over West Texas State (121-82) and Drake (91-79), Tulsa trailed the Braves 37-32 at the half. But Ross kept the egg off Tulsa's face by scoring 22 of his game-high 27 points after the intermission.
After burying Eastern Kentucky 82-50 and opening its Metro Conference schedule with an 85-62 rout of Cincinnati, Memphis State barely held on for a 67-65 Metro victory over Tulane. Keith Lee led the Tigers with a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds.
Wayman Tisdale had 31 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots in Oklahoma's 118-79 thrashing of McNeese State. The Sooners smashed seven school records in that game, including those for most points in a game and consecutive victories (10).
Kentucky's Melvin Turpin and Kenny Walker led the way as the Wildcats broke their three-year victory drought at LSU. Turpin and Walker combined for 57 points and 25 rebounds as Kentucky pounded the Tigers 96-80. In scoring 35 points, Turpin made 15 of 17 shots. " Joe Hall is to be congratulated," LSU coach Dale Brown said afterward. "This is by far the most poised team he has brought to Baton Rouge. This is the best team we've played against, period. I think they're one of the two or three best teams I've ever seen in college basketball." Earlier, the Wildcats' 68-55 defeat of Mississippi in their SEC opener had extended Kentucky's mastery over the Rebels to 63-5 since 1925. LSU got past Georgia 81-77 in Athens.
Iowa coach George Raveling received a rude welcome to the Big Ten in two rugged road games: Michigan State edged the Hawk-eyes 73-72 and Michigan followed up with a 53-49 victory. "Those damn freshmen are killing me," said Raveling after a hotshot freshman victimized Iowa in each game. The Spartans' Darryl Johnson sank a 15-foot game-winning jumper with seven seconds to play to give Michigan State its victory, and then swingman Antoine Joubert made a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left that enabled Michigan, which led 20-3 early in the first half, to hold off a furious Hawks rally.
The Wolverines' triumph left them tied with Illinois and Purdue for first place in the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini pummeled Minnesota 80-53 behind Efrem Winters' 22 points and beat Wisconsin 63-62 in overtime.
Terry Catledge scored 24 points and had 10 rebounds to pace South Alabama to a 97-73 rout of Virginia Commonwealth. The victory not only snapped the Jaguars' six-game losing streak against VCU, but it also marked the first time that South Alabama had defeated the Rams in Sun Belt Conference play in the Mobile Municipal Auditorium.