In a pregame ceremony before UTEP's 60-59 WAC defeat of resurgent New Mexico, Lobo coach Gary Colson presented Miner coach Don Haskins with a plaque for "contributions to the game of basketball." Haskins responded by presenting Colson with a Coach of the Year award—as selected by Haskins. New Mexico, a surprising 16-4 going into the game, then tried to earn Colson some real Coach of the Year honors by jumping to a 33-27 halftime lead and a 48-38 advantage with 11:29 to play. But UTEP won, thanks to swingman Juden Smith, who scored 11 second-half points, and point guard Luster Goodwin, who sank a 22-foot jumper with six seconds remaining. "That's the reason they're ranked where they are," said Colson. "They were down 10 and playing under extremely tough conditions [before an SRO crowd of 18,040], and they still kept plugging. It was a great game. Everybody got his money's worth except me."
Stanford handed visiting Washington its first Pac-10 loss, beating the Huskies 78-74. Afterward. Washington coach Marv Harshman said, "It was an officials' game." The Huskies were assessed 31 fouls to only 17 for the Cardinal. " Stanford was just grabbing and slashing." Harshman went on. "What we saw tonight wasn't typical of any other court in America." The Cardinal made 32 free throws in 39 attempts, while Washington sank just six of 15.
With WCAC favorite Santa Clara trailing St. Mary's 32-21 at halftime. Bronco coach Carroll Williams took a page from Pogo. "I told the players that the enemy is us," said Williams. He was right: The Broncos shot only 41% in the second half as the Gaels romped to an 81-64 victory. St. Mary's, which had lost 11 of its first 14 games, took over first place in the WCAC with a 3-0 record. In the PCAA, six UNLV players scored in double figures in a 100-68 romp at UC-Santa Barbara. Two days later Frank (Spoon) James scored 23 points and Richie Adams added 20 in the Rebels' 82-75 overtime win at Cal State-Fullerton.
Houston's 84-58 victory at Baylor left the Cougars in sole possession of first place in the Southwest Conference, but Phi Slamma Jamma made its biggest news off the court. Coach Guy Lewis reinstated junior swingman Benny Anders one month after Anders had quit the team, complaining that he wasn't playing enough. "He was dissatisfied not getting over 18 minutes playing time before," Lewis said. "There's no way he's gonna get that now."
Lewis at first had refused to let Anders return this season, suggesting that he rejoin the Cougars next fall or transfer to another school. But Anders visited Lewis' home for three straight nights, seeking another chance. Lewis said center Akeem Abdul Olajuwon finally persuaded him to take Anders back. Lewis also admitted to being "touched pretty good" by point guard Reid Gettys, a born-again Christian, who reminded Lewis that everyone needs to ask forgiveness sometime. "I've asked for forgiveness myself," Gettys told the coach. Lewis subsequently forgave Anders, but he didn't forget: Anders played just two scoreless minutes against Baylor.
Rice reserve guards Teddy Johnson and Tyrone Washington, in the starting lineup against Arkansas to combat the Razorbacks' full-court pressure defense, sparked the Owls to a 65-62 upset victory. Washington scored 14 points and had five rebounds, while Johnson scored only four points, but had five assists, four steals and, according to Rice coach Tommy Suitts, "had his teammates and Arkansas convinced he was quick enough to handle the press." Forward Mike Cunningham, whom Johnson replaced in a revamped, three-guard offense, came off the bench to score 19 points and get 10 rebounds. Arkansas' Joe Kleine had 24 points and made 10 of 11 shots, but his brilliance wasn't enough to prevent Rice's first victory over the Hogs since Eddie Sutton became coach at Arkansas in 1974. After Memphis State's 69-65 defeat of Oklahoma, the Tigers' Keith Lee, who had been sleepwalking in State's previous two games, said he had been awakened by the challenge posed by the high-scoring Sooners and their sophomore star, Wayman Tisdale, whom Memphis State coach Dana Kirk had dubbed Mr. T. "A big game like this will fire anybody up," said Lee. He outscored Tisdale 22-12 and outrebounded him 18-14, and the Tigers' sticky 2-3 zone limited Oklahoma to just 40.6% shooting. The Sooners earlier had had five men in double figures and shot 52.9% in winning a 115-100 Big Eight shootout with Oklahoma State. Louisville crushed Florida State 95-71 to remain tied for first place in the Metro Conference with Memphis State, but the Cardinals had their nine-game winning streak snapped 65-60 by Marquette. In the Missouri Valley, Tulsa moved into a first-place tie with Illinois State by defeating Creighton 75-64.
" Charles Barkley is as good a player as there is in the country," said LSU coach Dale Brown of the Auburn center after the Tigers from Alabama upended the Fighting Tigers from Baton Rouge 80-78. "If he isn't on the Olympic team they'd better have Paul Bunyan or Samson." In a Bunyanesque performance, the 280-pound Barkley scored 19 points, took down 17 rebounds and blocked a school-record eight shots. With LSU leading 64-58 with 7:43 left to play, Barkley ignited a 16-5 surge with a pair of dunks—one a spectacular length-of-the-court drive off a steal—that gave Auburn a 74-69 lead.