- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Coaches whose teams have lost to Louisiana State this season have often complained about their lackluster offense. LSU Coach Dale Brown, on the other hand, prefers to think the Tigers' tenacious defense has been the difference. Consider the comments after LSU took a two-game lead in the Southeastern Conference with an 81-67 home-court victory over Kentucky. "We're obviously in a terrible slump," Wildcat Coach Joe Hall complained. "I think our switching defenses was the key," Brown insisted. One fact was clear to both: Tiger sixth man Willie Sims had been a big factor. Sims, who entered the lineup after eight minutes of play, quickly tossed in 10 points to propel the Tigers from two points down to a 38-25 halftime lead. When it was all over, he had 22 points. Hoping to avoid letdowns against Auburn and Tennessee, Brown told his Tigers to "pretend we're the underdog all the time." With Howard Carter successful on 23 of 31 field-goal attempts and scoring 54 points, LSU beat Auburn 74-64 and the Vols 80-63. Ethan Martin, the SEC's Light-fingered Louie, had five steals against Tennessee while helping the Tigers hold an opponent below 70 points for the 11th consecutive game.
Kentucky handed Florida its worst regular-season loss ever, 102-48, and defeated Vanderbilt 78-64. The Gators regrouped to stun Alabama 97-91 as Vernon Delancy, one of four freshman starters, slammed in five dunks on his way to 38 points.
"It's a screwy league," said Michigan State Coach Jud Heathcote of the Big Ten. The Spartans added to the confusion with a 74-68 victory at Purdue as Kevin Smith scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half. At the week's end the Boilermakers were tied for first with Indiana, Iowa and Ohio State.
Indiana and Iowa also lost home games. The Hoosiers fell to the Hawkeyes 56-53, a 29-24 lead slipping away when they were out-scored 10-1 at the start of the second half. However, Iowa didn't go in front to stay until Kenny Arnold, operating out of the four corners offense, hit a short jumper from the lane to snap a 46-46 deadlock with 3:19 remaining. Shortly before Indiana won 93-56 at Northwestern, the Hawkeyes were jarred 60-48 at home by Minnesota. The Gophers' 7'2" Randy Breuer sank eight of nine field-goal tries and helped limit 6'10" Steve Krafcisin and 6'11" Steve Waite to one basket apiece. Earlier, Minnesota had lost 76-63 at home—where else?—to Ohio State. Before playing at home against Michigan, Coach Eldon Miller told his Buckeyes, "Everybody says you are an up and down team. Now it's time for you to go up and stay up." That they did, rallying from four points back with 9:21 left, playing with uncommon intensity and winning 69-63. Herb Williams finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and three of Ohio State's nine blocks.
The loss dropped the Wolverines a game off the league lead, even though they did win at home, 80-76 over Illinois in double overtime after blowing a 12-point margin. A novel five-point play helped the Illini get back into that game. It began when, after a Michigan foul, Illinois was given the ball out of bounds because the official scorer didn't realize the visitors were in a bonus free-throw situation. Before the error was caught, Mark Smith of the Illini sank a basket and was fouled. To rectify matters, the refs let Perry Range take the one-and-one he should have been granted earlier. Range made both shots and Smith added his free throw to conclude the five-pointer. Johnny Johnson led Michigan with 31 points.
Freshman Tom Sluby of Notre Dame sank three foul shots in the last 21 seconds to beat Fordham 67-61. In another tight game, the Irish avenged an earlier loss to San Francisco, 80-75. John Paxson put Notre Dame in front to stay with a 21-foot shot with six seconds left and finished with 22 points.
South Alabama's victory string ended at 14 in an 86-70 loss to Virginia Commonwealth as the Rams' Edmund Sherod scored 26 points and Danny Kottak 23. The Jaguars then barely held off McNeese State on the road, stalling for most of the last eight minutes of a 64-60 triumph. USA's Herb Andrew and Scott Williams sank nine straight foul shots down the stretch.
The time: 22 seconds left. The place: Seattle. The score: Washington 85, undefeated Oregon State 81. Those were the circumstances as the Beavers' Rob Holbrook took a pass from Les Conner and tossed in a 12-foot jumper. After the Huskies brought the ball inbounds, Oregon State's Ray Blume forced a jump ball. The Beavers gained possession after the tip, Conner missed a shot, Steve Johnson rebounded it and scored with two seconds left to force an overtime. Although Washington had the lead most of the way, including a 44-34 advantage at halftime, Oregon State prevailed 97-91. Johnson began the extra period with a three-point play and added another basket, giving him 38 for the game—30 for the second half.