- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Oregon State rooters could hardly wait to celebrate a triumph over Arizona State in the regular-season finale, a win that would have made the Beavers the 25th team since 1939 to finish its schedule without a loss. But the visiting Sun Devils had other ideas. They topped off a week of upsets—12 of last week's SI Top 20 were beaten—with an 87-67 shocker. The Beavers' string of 26 victories was put in early jeopardy when Center Steve Johnson was whistled for a pair fouls in the first two minutes and then quickly picked up a third when he came back off the bench. With Johnson sitting out 17 minutes of the first half, Arizona State put together some dazzling numbers: 77.3% shooting, a 21-6 advantage in rebounds and a 40-20 lead at intermission. Byron Scott kept the Sun Devils rolling by scoring 17 of his 25 points in the first half.
Oregon State fans, however, had plenty to cheer about two days earlier. Despite a 33-point performance by Ron Davis, the Beavers defeated Arizona 80-62 to sew up the Pac-10 title. One of the Beaver boosters' biggest cheers came when Johnson, who rarely shoots from more than a couple of feet from the basket, banked in a 12-footer.
Arizona State began its West Coast trip with a 78-77 overtime victory at Oregon. After three Sun Devil starters had fouled out, reserve Forward Walt Stone pulled Arizona State through by scoring all but one of his team's overtime points on three jumpers, the last with five seconds to go.
Strong finishes carried UCLA to victories at Washington State (59-50) and at Washington (91-72). In each game the Bruins had a substantial lead trimmed to two points in the second half before they put on their closing surge. Mike Sanders was UCLA's big gun against the Huskies, sinking 12 of 14 shots and scoring 28 points.
Many Fresno State followers think their Bulldogs, with their relentless and aggressive defense, are the finest team in California. More than 1,500 of these diehards traveled 230 miles to the PCAA tournament in Anaheim to see Fresno knock off Utah State 71-57 and San Jose State 52-48. The Bulldogs, who led 19-14 at halftime of the finale, trailed by a point with 3:23 remaining. Then Rod Higgins and Bobby Anderson each came through with a three-point play to make Fresno State a winner.
One thing seemed certain when Utah played at Brigham Young: the Cougars would go with their standard 2-3 zone defense. However, BYU used a man-to-man in the first half, and at the intermission the Utes had shot 68%, had outrebounded the Cougars 19-14 and led 46-41. So one thing seemed certain when the second half began: BYU would surely return to its zone. So much for certainties. The Cougars stuck with their man-to-man, forced Utah out of its usual patterns, unloosed their own fastbreak, isolated Danny Ainge in the low post for numerous open shots and went on to win 95-76. Ainge finished with 35 points and teammate Fred Roberts had 21 to go with his 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Wyoming tied Utah for first place in the WAC by knocking off Air Force 46-38. The Cowboys then handed Coach Jerry Tarkanian his worst home defeat in eight seasons at Nevada-Las Vegas by a score of 97-70. Wyoming, which outrebounded the Rebels 51-26, got 27 points from Bill Garnett and 21 from Charles Bradley.
Pepperdine and San Francisco ended up tied for first in the WCAC, a situation that was to be settled by a playoff game on March 10. A 92-86 defeat of Loyola Marymount earned the Waves their share of the lead. The Dons kept pace by beating St. Mary's 94-80.
As soon as Montana narrowed Idaho's advantage to 56-54 in the finals of the Big Sky tournament, the Vandals applied their decisive K.O.—Ken Owens, that is. Owens, who finished the two-game tournament with 37 points, wrapped up the MVP award with a steal, a layup and six quick points to propel Idaho to a 70-64 victory.