For the second Sunday in a row, the nation's longest winning streak ended. Following in the footsteps of Virginia, which had its 28-game string broken the previous week. Louisiana State fell 73-71 at Kentucky after having won 26 straight. The Tigers, bottled up by the Wildcats after inbounding the ball from under the basket with 10 seconds left, couldn't work the ball inside, and a last desperate outside shot fell short. Guard Dirk Minniefield directed the Kentucky offense, scored 11 points and had 10 assists. Both teams won earlier SEC games, the Tigers beating Mississippi 74-67 and the 'Cats prevailing 78-74 at Mississippi State.
Georgia defeated visiting Tennessee, clinching a 76-75 overtime win when Terry Fair dunked after taking a pass from Dominique Wilkins. The Bulldogs, trailing 37-24 in the first half, got superb performances from Fair, who had 18 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, and Wilkins, with 24 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots. Then, while Georgia was being surprised by Mississippi 64-62, Tennessee beat Auburn 75-63.
"Emotion shows in the way your team goes after loose balls and rebounds, and tonight we played without emotion, without intensity. That will not stand." Those were the stern words of Iowa Coach Lute Olson after the Hawkeyes were outrebounded 31-28 during a narrow 69-66 win over Michigan. Two days later the chastised Hawkeyes outboarded Wisconsin 50-33—and won 96-75.
Indiana remained one game in back of Iowa in the Big Ten by sweeping past Ohio State, 74-58, and Michigan, 98-83. Guard Isiah Thomas kept the Hoosiers sailing along in those games with 53 points, 13 assists, 11 rebounds and eight steals. Minnesota was a spoiler for the third week in succession, knocking Illinois out of a tie for second place. Trent Tucker and Randy Breuer got 43 points for the Gophers, who held the Illini to seven points in one 15�-minute stretch en route to a 76-59 victory. Illinois then won at Purdue for the first time in 18 years as freshman Derek Harper had a school-record 12 assists and Eddie Johnson and Perry Range split 46 points evenly during an 81-70 triumph.
"I've never seen this team so loose, but we are playing with intensity," said DePaul Coach Ray Meyer, who felt his players had finally attained the proper perspective. The Blue Demons kept Meyer happy by drubbing Butler 89-64, and then they zipped to a 22-point halftime lead against Loyola of Chicago, got 31 points from Mark Aguirre, 22 from Terry Cummings and breezed 105-95.
One thing seemed certain at the start of the final week of Mid-American play: the four-team logjam at the top of the standings would be broken. No way. When the last shot had been taken, first place was shared by five teams. Toledo, Bowling Green, Ball State and Western Michigan stayed in first after each picked up a win and a loss. Joining them was Northern Illinois, which beat Eastern Michigan 74-57 and Western Michigan 65-63.
Notre Dame beat St. Francis (Pa.) 87-81 and, with Tracy Jackson, Orlando Woolridge and Kelly Tripucka combining for 58 points, defeated Dayton 70-57.
The less pressure that Guard Jerry Eaves has felt, the tenser things have gotten for Louisville's opponents. Eaves, whose play suffered early in the season because he was paired in the backcourt with 6'9" Scooter McCray, has regained his touch since Jan. 5, when freshman Lancaster Gordon became his running mate. Gordon, a true guard at 6'3", scored 17 points and Eaves 21 during an 81-67 victory over Cincinnati. What's more, with freshman Charles Jones having bumped Wiley Brown out of his starting role at center in recent weeks, the Cardinals have played better defense. Then Louisville ran its winning streak to 13 games by knocking off St. Louis 97-85 and Western Kentucky 90-75.