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Athletes in Action, the preach-and-play adjunct of Campus Crusade for Christ, lived up to the Biblical admonition in Proverbs 18:9 about not being "slothful" in one's work by working over DePaul 91-86. Four fast-break baskets during a 14-0 stretch put AIA ahead 17-6 in the exhibition game, which Blue Demon Coach Ray Meyer booked so his squad wouldn't have a two-week layoff before going into the NCAAs. Meyer didn't mind the defeat, which didn't end his team's streak of 21 collegiate triumphs, because he hoped it would arouse his sometimes lethargic players. Terry Cummings popped in 27 points for DePaul and Bernard Randolph had 26. Dave Johnson, formerly of Weber State, led AIA with 27 points. This was the biggest win for AIA since it shocked San Francisco in 1977, when the Dons were ranked No. 1 in the nation. It was also the third triumph over a Top 20 team for AIA, which earlier in the season beat Wake Forest 63-62 and Idaho 77-73 in double overtime.
Minnesota's 7'3" Randy Breuer had to wait two months for a chance to atone for his miserable 6-for-17 shooting during a defeat at Ohio State. When his chance finally came, Breuer made the most of it, sinking 11 of 16 field-goal attempts and all 10 of his free throws to carry the Gophers past the Buckeyes 87-75. In addition to 32 points, Breuer had 12 rebounds, two blocked shots, two steals and two assists. That victory, plus a 54-51 thriller over Michigan State, gave Minnesota its first Big Ten title since 1972.
Iowa, which at one stage was 10-1 in the conference, continued to plummet. Losses at Illinois (73-67 in overtime) and Purdue (66-65) left the Hawkeyes with five defeats in their last seven outings. Iowa led 54-45 before wilting under stepped-up pressure from the Boilermakers. Purdue's Keith Edmonson, who led the Big Ten in scoring (20.6), had 17 points and knotted the game at 65-65 with a baseline jumper with 1:04 left. Then freshman Dan Palombizio, who had a 2.3-point average, got his only point of the game on a foul shot with no time remaining, enabling the Boilermakers to finish 14-13 and avoid their first losing season since 1965-66. Despite its slump, Iowa got an NCAA bid, as did defending national champion Indiana and Ohio State.
Northern Illinois was also in the 48-team field. The Huskies (16-13) made it by upsetting Bowling Green 67-66 and regular-season-winner Ball State 79-75 in overtime during the Mid-American tournament. Northern Illinois' Allen Rayhorn had 24 points in the semifinal against the Falcons, including a basket that tied the score at 64-all and a decisive foul shot with five seconds to go. The 6'9" Rayhorn then scored 23 points against Ball State. At least as vital in that game was the defensive job that Leonard Hayes did on high-scoring Ray McCallum, whom he held to 14 points. Three SEC teams also made it to the NCAAs: postseason playoff winner Alabama (page 26), Kentucky and Tennessee. Marquette picked up a bid, too, as did Trans-America champ Middle Tennessee State and Sun Belt victor Alabama-Birmingham.
The NCAA announced that Louisiana Tech would be the top-seeded Midwest team in its first-ever Division I women's tournament. The top seeds in the other three brackets are Southern Cal, Old Dominion and Long Beach State.
The way his players put on their sneakers was about all they did right, said Oregon State Coach Ralph Miller after a 68-60 defeat at Arizona State. Corey McMullen, a 6'9" Sun Devil junior who hadn't done much right all season (he was averaging 2.6 points and 3.1 rebounds a game), did the most to knock off the Beavers. Although he didn't enter the game until well into the first half, McMullen latched on to 15 rebounds, blocked seven shots and scored 10 points. Last season, in the next-to-last game, at Corvallis, Arizona State had spoiled the Beavers' try for a perfect regular-season record by pulling off an 87-67 upset. Oregon State, the Pac-10 champ, which earlier in the week drubbed Arizona 92-64, advanced to the NCAAs along with Southern Cal (19-8), which defeated Washington State 61-56 and Washington 76-70.
UCLA, which is on probation and cannot take part in postseason competition, beat Washington 68-67 and Washington State 57-54. Rod Foster, who had 25 points against the Huskies, sank nine of 10 free throws in that game and set an NCAA mark for accuracy from the foul line by ending up the season with 95 conversions in 100 tries.
California's Mark McNamara was also on target. The 6'11" senior center, playing despite a badly injured ankle, sank 10 of 11 floor shots as the Golden Bears whipped Stanford 78-59. By netting 25 of 30 shots in three games during the past two weeks, McNamara wound up with the second-best field-goal percentage ever for a season, 70.2%. The only higher NCAA figure was the 74.6% by Oregon State's Steve Johnson last year.