Missouri's Greg Cavener made just 43% of his foul shots last season, and Dean Smith knew it. So as North Carolina's game with the Tigers in St. Louis wound down, the Tar Heel coach had his players foul the 6'9�" sophomore. And foul him. And Cavener kept burying free throws—eight of his last 11, including his final five. The result: a 64-60 loss for the defending national champs, their second defeat, which is as many as they had all last season. With Prince Bridges and Michael Walker sidelined by injuries, Mizzou found another unlikely hero to go with Cavener. Barry Laurie, a fifth-year senior who has had foot problems, sank two long jumpers in the second half. The second was an 18-footer with 3:19 left that wiped out North Carolina's only lead. "That shot won the game for Missouri," said Smith. Steve Stipanovich had 22 points and eight rebounds to lead the Tigers, and Jon Sundvold, an 87.0% foul shooter who spent the summer counseling Cavener on his free-throw shooting technique, added 18.
Perhaps the Crush Classic in Chicago ought to be renamed the Crash Classic. After DePaul beat Arizona State 73-72 in the title game, someone dropped the trophy and it broke into pieces—an appropriate conclusion to a tournament that drew poorly in its first year. Even Walter Downing, who won the game with an eight-foot turnaround on a pass from teammate Tyrone Corbin with four seconds left, couldn't gloat; he'd gone scoreless for 33 minutes. "I want to thank Tyrone for having enough confidence to throw me the ball," said Downing.
Larry Micheaux had 26 and 22 points and 16 and 10 rebounds as Houston won its own Kettle Classic with a 104-63 rout of Arizona and a 106-72 defeat of Lamar. Illinois State plodded its way to a 62-54 win over Chicago State, and Arkansas sloughed past Southeast Missouri 74-57 despite missing 20 of 32 free throws. In Oral Roberts' 72-51 upset of Southern Cal, Jeff Acres had 18 points and three assists; most came out of the Titans' "mouse" offense, which calls for a guard to scurry about the top of the key. Washington State called three time-outs in the final 20 seconds against Wisconsin before Guy Williams scored two of his 26 points on a last-second 15-footer for a 66-64 win.
Virginia's schedule runs from the sublime (it includes each of last season's Final Four) to the ridiculous (Division III Johns Hopkins and Chaminade of Hawaii, an NAIA school). "[ UVa Athletic Director] Dick Schultz scheduled 27 games and I scheduled two," explained Coach Terry Holland before opening against Hopkins in the first round of the Cavalier Invitational. In a 124-60 rout of the Blue Jays, Virginia set school records for points and shooting percentage (68.0%) and equaled its largest margin of victory ever. Ralph Sampson, playing against a team with no one taller than 6'6", scored 25 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked five shots in the 20 minutes he played. Things were more difficult in the Cavs' 69-63 championship game defeat of Virginia Commonwealth. VCU closed to five midway through the second half before Virginia went to Sampson, the tournament MVP, for a couple of dunks off lob passes. Othell Wilson had 17 points for UVa, which won its own tournament for the sixth straight time.
St. John's won its Joe Lapchick Tournament, the eighth, as it had the previous seven. "They just invite three teams they know they can beat and call it a classic," said Les Wothke, Army's new coach, before the Cadets became 81-38 first-round fodder for the Redmen. Ohio University, a 57-54 victor over St. Mary's of California in the other bracket, fell 62-52 to St. John's in the final. MVP Chris Mullin of the Redmen scored 17 points in each game and sank his first eight shots against Army. Stewart Granger's 16 points led Villanova past Colgate 83-63, and James Madison subdued VMI 58-33.
Syracuse's clockwork Orange beat Ford-ham 66-44 with a triangle delay offense. Coach Jim Boeheim's decision to sit on a 10-point lead with eight minutes left didn't sit well with the Carrier Dome crowd. "With the
lead and the ball and them in a zone," Boeheim reasoned, "I'm not going to attack them." West Virginia got its 33rd straight win at home with a 103-60 breeze past St. Leo's of Florida. Senior Guard Greg Jones was tops with 22 points as 13 Mountaineers scored. For their game at a neutral site in Baltimore, Maryland and Penn State compromised on a 35-second clock, the Atlantic Coast Conference having newly adopted a 30-second clock and the Atlantic 10 a 40-second timepiece. Then the Lions milked an ACC rule, the 19-foot three-pointer, nine times—out of 14 attempts—in a 97-79 pounding of the Terps.
Poor Wyoming. In its back-to-back cracks at the Mid-South Classic—a tournament designed not to choose a champ, but to let the Metro Conference strut its stuff against inter-sectional foes—the Cowboys couldn't even break 45. At times, in fact, it seemed that the Western Athletic Conference visitors were trying another sport. In a 52-38 loss to Tulane, Wyoming fouls resulted in 27 free throws for the Green Wave. In Memphis State's 71-45 win, the Tigers took 44 foul shots. "They just play a different kind of basketball in the WAC," said Memphis State Coach Dana Kirk, whose Tigers also beat West Texas State 89-74. "Several times they had our players in a turtle hold." Say what? "You know, a turtle hold. They grab you and don't let go until it thunders." Memphis State Forward Keith Lee's 44 points and 33 rebounds earned him the MVP award.