Oregon State's Pac-10 victories over Washington (64-52) and Washington State (66-55) in Corvallis proved once again that charity begins at home. In the Beavers' defeat of Washington, which pulled them into a tie with the Huskies for first place in the conference, Oregon State converted 24 of 31 free throws while Washington was 0 for 3. Though Husky coach Marv Harshman later maintained that "the officiating didn't make the difference," he didn't seem to subscribe to that view during the game. At one point in the first half, he pulled out his wallet and extended it toward an official. The Beavers also made frequent visits to the line against Washington State, making 18 of 28 foul shots to the Cougars' 3 of 4. Washington bounced back to bury Oregon 79-58, as a sticky Husky zone held 7-footer Blair Rasmussen, who had scored a season-high 37 points in the Ducks' 78-73 victory over Washington State two nights before, to a season-low eight.
After New Mexico beat Colorado State 61-50 for its 20th triumph of the season, Lobo coach Gary Colson said, "We've come a long way." It was Colson's 400th career coaching victory, and it gave New Mexico its first 20-win season since 1977-78, which was before the so-called Lobogate academic scandal devastated the program.
UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian had no need to gnash on his trademark worry towel during the Rebels' 92-52 PCAA rout of Pacific, the Tigers' worst PCAA loss ever. But Tark gnashed up a storm two nights later, when Fresno State pounded UNLV 68-43 and held the Rebels to their lowest point total since 1963. UNLV, which has already clinched a tie for its second straight PCAA regular-season title with a 14-1 record, hit just 34.7% of its field-goal attempts and was outrebounded 33-27. Forward Ron Anderson led Fresno State with a game-high 27 points, while front-court partner Bernard Thompson added 13 along with a game-high 10 rebounds.
" Memphis State is still in the best spot [in the Metro Conference]," said Louisville coach Denny Crum after his Cardinals had upset the Tigers 85-78 in Memphis. "But Memphis doesn't have a lock on it." Hardly. In halting the Tigers' 12-game winning streak, Louisville moved to within half a game of first place. The Cards' Milt Wagner scored 34 points—the most by a Louisville player this season—on 13 of 21 shooting from the field. More important, Louisville sank 29 of 33 free throws, including 23 of 25 after the Tigers, paced by Keith Lee's 13 points, had taken a 40-38 halftime lead. Lee, however, got off just five shots in the second half and scored only two points against the Cardinals' sagging defenses.
Another flock of Cardinals—from Lamar—crushed Louisiana Tech 85-60 to extend their homecourt winning streak to 78 games, seventh longest in NCAA history. The Cardinals' tight man-to-man defense limited the Bulldogs to 34% shooting from the field. "Everybody predicted the streak might end tonight," said Lamar coach Pat Foster after the victory, which avenged an 83-60 loss at Tech on Jan. 21 and ran the Cards' record to 20-3. "But if I hadn't been so nervous about it, I would have predicted [we would win by] 15 points. I say that because of the revenge factor. Revenge is the biggest factor in college basketball."
Houston led from start to finish in its 74-65 defeat of Virginia, but a nasty elbow by the Coogs' Akeem Abdul Olajuwon to the throat of Virginia's Olden Polynice marred what was otherwise one of Houston's finest performances. The Cougars, led by Michael Young's 22 points, shot 59.6% from the floor while the Cavs shot just 38.5%. But Virginia, which trailed 61-47 with 9:03 to play in the game, had trimmed the lead to 67-63 with 3:19 to go, when Olajuwon elbowed Polynice as the two were running downcourt. The blow went unnoticed by the three-man officiating crew, and play continued, Derek Giles making a driving layup that increased Houston's lead to six points. The officials then called a time-out to stop the action. Polynice, who had collapsed to the floor, left the game for good after waving an angry finger at Olajuwon. "Why do they have three officials out there if they're not going to call something?" said angry Virginia coach Terry Holland afterward. "He was tackling me," Akeem countered. "He was a defensive tackle. So if that's what he wants, I give it to him."
Big Ten co-leaders Illinois and Purdue each split a pair of games with Michigan and Michigan State. Michigan upset the Fighting Illini 62-60 when the Wolverines' Eric Turner, who scored a game-high 22 points, hit a baseline jumper with two seconds to play. "E.T. had another great game," said Michigan coach Bill Frieder. "He's been fighting back all year." Illinois fought back on Sunday to club Michigan State 70-53. The Fighting Illini outrebounded the Spartans 39-28 and made 26 of 36 free throws.