- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Oklahoma also was a loser at home. Despite nine layups and 38 points by David Little, Tulsa defeated the Sooners 79-76. Ricky Ross of the Golden Hurricane wound up with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Missouri held Augustana to six first-half baskets, got 20 points and 11 rebounds from Steve Stipanovich and coasted to an 85-55 victory.
Ball State Coach Al Brown normally would have been ecstatic about his team's first-half performance at Memphis State: 54.1% shooting and 47 points. Trouble was, the Tigers had shot 68.6% and led by 11. Memphis State, which ended up making 35 of 49 (71.4%) shots, won 104-81. Tiger freshman Andre Turner, a 5'9" point guard, turned on the crowd with his out-of-this-world quickness. "We call him 'A.T.,' " said Coach Dana Kirk. "He may rival E.T. for popularity with our fans before the season is over." Turner had 10 points and six assists against Ball State. Keith Lee then scored 19 points as Memphis State beat St. Louis 75-56.
Drake led for more than half the game before falling 68-63 to visiting Iowa. Houston defeated Mississippi State 74-65. Michael Young and Clyde Drexler of the Cougars each scored 20 points against the Bulldogs, while Mississippi State's Jeff Malone finished with 30. Arkansas defeated Texas-San Antonio 78-59 and Centenary 79-51 as Darrell Walker had 33 points.
Kentucky Coach Joe B. Hall seems to have a new philosophy, one built on the belief that the past wasn't a blast, so let's make the present more pleasant. This was evident after the Wildcats blew most of a 15-point lead before finishing off Villanova 93-79. In other seasons Hall would have chastised his players for their letdown. The new Hall, though, eschewed such a scolding and instead told his team to enjoy the evening.
"It's been more relaxed all year," senior Derrick Hord said. "He's given us a couple days off from practice, and that's something that hasn't happened since I've been here. It feels good." Hord's 26 points against Villanova made Hall feel good. So did Dirk Minniefield's school-record 14 assists. In this battle of Wildcats, the visitors, down by 13 at the half, were behind by four with 1:28 to go.
Three days earlier, Kentucky played at Notre Dame for the first time since 1950. Thousands of Irish backers wore Kentucky Fried Chicken hats and chanted, "We want Kentucky fried." Hall insisted he didn't notice the crowd, saying, "Once I get into a game, my mother could call me for dinner and I wouldn't hear her." One thing Hall probably did notice was the swishing of the cords by the Wildcats, who shot 75% while handing Notre Dame a 58-45 loss.
The Irish then fell 65-64 to UCLA, whose Ralph Jackson put a deft fake on Joe Buchanan, drove the lane and made the decisive layup four seconds from the end. The Irish, who trailed by eight early in the second half, had gone in front 64-63 with 27 seconds remaining as John Paxson got the last of his 25 points on two foul shots.
UCLA had begun its Mideast sortie by outlasting DePaul 73-70 in overtime. Darren Daye led the way for the Bruins with 23 points and 10 rebounds, and scored 14 of his points as UCLA built a 30-18 lead. Because only six Bruins got a significant amount of playing time, they wore out as the game wore on, committing 24 turnovers and falling behind 63-60 with 3:33 to go. Rod Foster's foul shot for UCLA with seven seconds left sent the game into OT Daye put the Bruins ahead with a free throw 18 seconds into the extra period and locked things up with another eight seconds from the end.
Another West Coast team came through with a big win. Southern Cal's women got 22 points and 11 rebounds from Paula McGee en route to a 64-58 defeat of Louisiana Tech, the defending women's national champion.