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"I just wanted to make things happen and to make sure they happened in our favor," Louisville's Darrell Griffith said after a 77-72 Metro victory over Virginia Tech. Griffith did precisely that by hitting on a three-point play, immediately stealing the ball, dribbling into the lane and zipping a behind-the-back pass to teammate Jerry Eaves for a layup and a secure 67-59 lead. In all, Griffith tossed in 23 points, six fewer than he had on Sunday during an 83-75 triumph at Florida State. Murray Brown of the Seminoles scored 13 points in that game to conclude a fruitful week. Brown had 31 points and 12 rebounds as Florida State overcame Cleveland State and Franklin Edwards' 39 points 86-83. He then scored 30 points, got 13 boards and sank his last 11 field-goal attempts, including one at the buzzer, to defeat Alabama-Birmingham 89-87. Brown, a senior who has the highest career field-goal-accuracy percentage in NCAA history (.669), was off target during a 78-76 loss to Virginia Tech, scoring only 13 points on five-of-15 shooting.
"It's not a chess game for us anymore. We're down to checkers. I can't make many moves." That was Missouri Coach Norm Stewart's assessment of his plight after his top rebounder and No. 2 scorer, Curtis Berry, was sidelined for the week with a sprained knee. Stewart, who had only eight healthy players left, made the right move when he replaced Berry with Mark Dressier. With Dressier connecting on nine of 11 floor shots and with his former high school teammate, Steve Stipanovich, adding 20 points, the Tigers picked up Oklahoma's pieces, 81-69, to clinch first place in the Big Eight. Dressler continued his marksmanship during a 67-65 victory over Kansas State by sinking six of nine field-goal attempts.
Texas A&M also did some nifty shooting (.647) to nail the Southwest title by winning 82-72 at Houston. Best of the Aggie sharpshooters was Vernon Smith, who hit on 12 of 16 and scored 26 points. Earlier, A&M took a one-game advantage over Arkansas, beating Texas Christian 57-48, while the Razorbacks were upset at Southern Methodist 62-58. Insect bites that led to a staph infection in the right knee of Scott Hastings hurt the Hogs, who got only 10 points and three rebounds from their usually productive center. Next time out, Arkansas walloped Texas Tech 84-60 to become the first SWC team to win 20 or more games four years in a row.
For the first time in 23 years, the Pac-10 race entered its final week with three teams in contention for the title, and none of them was UCLA. Deadlocked at the top were Oregon State and Arizona State. Quickness, deft passing and 23 points apiece by guards Ray Blume and Mark Radford propelled the Beavers past Stanford 85-57. Arizona State caught up with the Orange Express by winning twice. First came an 11-dunk, 92-80 defeat of UCLA, which had won the past 13 conference championships. Freshman Byron Scott netted 21 points for the Sun Devils, whose 7-foot Alton Lister also had 21, plus 15 rebounds and five blocked shots. Arizona State then squandered a 14-point lead against Arizona, fell behind 67-66 and finally salvaged a 78-72 victory. Igniting the decisive spree were Scott, who fired in 18-and 22-footers, and Lister, who blocked a shot and got a dunk. Scott wound up with 31 points, teammate Kurt Nimphius with 30.
Two games off the pace was Washington State, which lost 80-66 at UCLA, even though Don Collins had 37 points. The Cougars then nipped Southern Cal 69-67 as Stuart House poured in 31 points and Collins 18. For the first time in more than 20 years of trying, Washington Coach Marv Harsh man was a winner at UCLA. The Huskies won 72-70 when, after botching up a planned play. Bob Fronk fired in a desperation 25-footer as the buzzer sounded.
Another Collins—Weber State Guard Bruce—needed 15 points against Idaho State to become the Big Sky's alltime leading scorer. Collins got 30, raising his four-year total to 1,949 as the Wildcats (24-2) romped 81-67.
Western AC titlist Brigham Young became the first conference team ever to win all seven road games in one season. The Cougars accomplished this with a 111-86 victory at Colorado State and a 39-30 slowdown triumph at Wyoming. Devin Durrant's 13-for-15 shooting, 31 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists carried BYU in the first game. A flurry of late back-door baskets did the trick in the second outing. Utah State joined Weber State and BYU as the third team from the state to earn a league title, defeating Pacific 91-78 to clinch the top spot in the Pacific Coast AA.