"I'm so damned proud of what happened," said Central Florida Coach Torchy Clark after a 57-41 loss at Florida State. Proud of a 16-point defeat? Well, yes. Clark was proud his Division II team didn't lose by more and that it went into an effective freeze with 14:08 remaining and the Seminoles leading 49-39. Dean Rossin, Central's 6'5", 250-pound forward, simply held the ball for the next nine and a half minutes. To add a little spice to that otherwise dull interlude, Rossin, who was stationed at halfcourt in Seminole territory and went unchallenged by Seminole defenders, sometimes swayed his body to the rhythm of the drumbeat of the Florida State pep band. Clark's explanation for the prolonged stall was that, "I wanted the clock to run down to three minutes. I'm sorry we lost, but you always give your team an opportunity to win." Some opportunity. Once play resumed, it was the Seminoles who made the most of the chance by scoring eight of the game's last 10 points.
Bradley and Wichita State, the two favorites in the Missouri Valley Conference race, tuned up with easy victories. The Braves romped past Illinois-Chicago Circle 99-48. Bradley, which got 30 points from Mitchell Anderson, outscored Circle 28-0 during one stretch and did not yield a field goal for the first 11:57 of the second half. And Antoine Carr was the big gun for the Shockers with 29 points—he made all 13 of his field-goal attempts—during a 101-60 drubbing of Abilene Christian. Wichita State started fast and led at one point 36-8.
Northern Iowa gave Kansas State a bit of a scare, battling to a 27-27 standoff with 2:29 left in the first half. But that was it for the weary Panthers, who had played Alabama the night before. By sinking 12 of their first 16 shots from the field in the second half, the Wildcats took a comfortable lead and went on to a resounding 72-54 victory.
Joe Cipriano, who had coached Nebraska for 17 seasons, died early in the week of cancer. The Huskers opened the season at home against Wyoming under the direction of former assistant Moe Iba and nearly picked up a 52-50 victory even though their all-Big Eight center. Andre Smith, was sidelined with an ankle injury in the second half. But a 20-foot jumper by Mike Jackson of the Cowboys beat the buzzer and sent the game into overtime. Jackson then sank two foul shots in the waning moments of the extra period to seal a 62-59 win for Wyoming.
"Once we went inside, it was no contest," said Maryland's Lefty Driesell after starting his 21st season as a coach with his 400th career victory, an 86-64 win over Navy. More than anyone, it was Buck Williams who opened up the inside, with his career-high 27 points and 18 rebounds. Albert King of the Terps, who wound up with six assists, chipped in with 18 points.
Bangor enters the big time read the program for Maine's game with Texas A&M. The Black Bears, who play Kentucky in December and DePaul in January in an attempt to make a name for themselves, began their pursuit of national recognition with a 66-57 loss. Tyrone Ladson, the point guard in A&M's unique 1-4 offense, controlled the attack. Capitalizing on its considerable height advantage over Maine, the Aggies' Wall combined to produce 42 points: 19 by 6'6" Rynn Wright, 16 by 6'8" Vernon Smith and seven by 6'11" Rudy Woods.
Even with its Louie and Bouie Show a thing of the past, Syracuse had no trouble wiping out Columbia 108-81, as a record home crowd of 15.685 saw the Orangemen play for the first time in the new Carrier Dome. Tony Bruin led the way for Syracuse with 21 points. Penn State and St. Joseph's also won convincingly, the Nittany Lions 101-68 over Ur-sinus and the Hawks 76-62 over Scranton.
There's nothing quite like staging a tournament on your own court, as Virginia, Clemson and St. John's continued to prove. The Cavaliers won their own Tipoff Tournament for the fourth time in a row, the Tigers triumphed for the fifth consecutive time in the IPTAY Invitational, and the Redmen came out on top at the Joe Lapchick Memorial for the sixth straight year.