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THE WEEK (Feb. 27-March 4)
Roger Jackson
March 12, 1984
MIDEAST
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March 12, 1984

The Week (feb. 27-march 4)

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Billy Tubbs wouldn't call Oklahoma's 78-70 victory over UNLV in Norman his biggest as the Sooner coach. "I don't want to take anything from any of our other big wins, so let's just say it was a great, great victory," said Tubbs. But it was the Sooners' first defeat of a Top 10 team during Tubbs's four seasons in Norman. Wayman Tisdale scored a game-high 21 points, hitting 8 of 14 shots from the floor, against four different defenders. Three of them—center Paul Brozovich and forwards Richie Adams and Frank (Spoon) James—fouled out.

Tulsa's 126-102 triumph over Indiana State clinched a share of the Missouri Valley Conference championship for the Golden Hurricane for the first time since 1955 and contributed to school records for victories in a season (13) and consecutive 100-point games (three). Still, the Tulsa players were in no mood to celebrate. "We don't want to share anything," forward Vince Williams said. "We want the whole thing." Thus Tulsa's 91-81 loss to Illinois State in the season finale was doubly bitter for the Golden Hurricane. The Redbirds' triumph not only earned them a tie with Tulsa for the MVC title, but also gave Illinois State the home court advantage through the postseason playoff.

With center Joe Kleine scoring 22 points, including a 10-for-10 performance from the free-throw line, Arkansas upset Houston 73-68 in Fayetteville and broke the Cougars' 39-game Southwest Conference winning streak. The Razorbacks have now beaten three Top 10 teams—first came North Carolina and Oklahoma—this season. Arkansas' latest victory also avenged its 64-61 loss in Houston on Feb. 26, which clinched the Coogs' second straight Southwest Conference regular-season title. Houston's Akeem Abdul Olajuwon, who had 19 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots in the earlier victory, scored just 10 points and had six rebounds before fouling out with six minutes to play. With the Cougars leading 45-44 and 14:36 left, Kleine converted five straight free throws during a two-minute, 7-0 surge that gave the Hogs the lead for good, 51-45 with 12:23 left. "When Kleine sank all those free throws at one time," said Houston forward Michael Young, "that was the big turning point."

Louisville edged Tulane 61-60 in New Orleans when the Cardinals' Milt Wagner, who had a team-high 24 points, hit a 15-foot jumper with 24 seconds to play. Louisville then beat Memphis State for the second time this season, 68-58 in Freedom Hall, to claim a share of the Metro Conference title with the Tigers and gain the top seed in this week's league tournament in Memphis.

WEST

During the player introductions before UCLA's 73-59 Pac-10 victory over Washington in Pauley Pavilion, a fan displayed a large poster that read: HEY ALUMNI, LEAVE LARRY ALONE. Larry is Bruin coach Larry Farmer, and he has been sharply criticized during UCLA's 16-10 season, its worst regular season since 1960. "One of the players told me to turn around," Farmer said. "The show of affection was really touching." The Bruins' performance on the floor touched Farmer further. UCLA outrebounded Washington 34-19 and sank 31 of 39 free throws. "Some people are saying we're the joke of the Pac-10," said Bruin guard Ralph Jackson, who scored a game-high 22 points. "We probably earned some respect tonight." The Huskies dropped into a temporary tie for the conference lead when Oregon State survived Oregon's slowdown tactics to defeat the Ducks 29-23 in Corvallis. Washington regained the lead by a half-game on Sunday with a 71-66 win over USC.

Sophomore center Tod Murphy completed an unusual three-point play with three seconds left as UC-Irvine upset UNLV 77-74 in the PCAA. The winning points came after the Rebels' Richie Adams was charged with goal-tending on Murphy's slam-dunk attempt, along with his fifth foul. "He made a good block," said Murphy, "but his hand was inside the rim." The Anteaters then nipped Cal State-Fullerton 72-69 to clinch second place in the PCAA behind UNLV.

The University of San Diego clinched a tie for the WCAC title with a 71-69 double-overtime win at Gonzaga. Earlier, the Toreros had defeated Portland 63-56 as Mike Whit-marsh scored a team-high 16 points. San Diego was one game ahead of St. Mary's with one to play: Their head-to-head showdown is in San Diego on March 8. BYU's Devin Durrant scored 35 points and sophomore center Jim Usevitch added 25 and 11 rebounds in the Cougars' 83-65 upset of UTEP in Provo. BYU's win momentarily kept the Miners from clinching their first outright WAC title since 1970. UTEP wrapped up the championship two days later with a 55-54 defeat of Utah in Salt Lake City.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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