Up went the ball to start the new season; down came a passel of teams that had been highly ranked in preseason polls. Utah's two powerhouses—Weber State and Brigham Young—both had their press clippings clipped. The Wildcats were 91-84 losers to Utah State. And the Cougars were jarred by Illinois 86-76 as Mark Smith scored 20 points and Rob Judson 18 during a game in which there were 18 ties and 25 lead changes. Both upset victims won the next day, Weber State beating Utah 91-79 and BYU defeating Baylor 100-58. Danny Ainge of the Cougars, who had 19 points in the opener, scored 20 against the Bears.
Nevada-Las Vegas didn't get a chance to atone for its opening-night setback, a 77-75 shocker by Pan American. The Broncs led by nine points in the first half, but needed Donald Knight's jumper with two seconds left to win. Pan Am's Kenneth ( Apple) Green had 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Richard Box of the Rebels had one more of each.
In last year's tournament in Anchorage, Alaska, Indiana was jolted twice. This time it was Texas A&M that suffered double damage in the Great Alaska Shootout, dropping a 78-62 decision to Iona in the first round and a 61-60 squeaker to Lamar. Iona, which also beat Long Beach State 85-75, advanced to the finals against Kentucky, which defeated Bradley 79-58 and Alaska- Anchorage 97-68. The Gaels' upset of A&M was built around 26 points by Kevin Hamilton and 17 by Jeff Ruland, who several weeks ago broke his shooting hand, and then came down with the flu while in Alaska. Sam Bowie, Kentucky's 7'1" freshman, had 16 points against Bradley. Fred Cowan of the Wildcats added 19 points and 11 rebounds in the second-round game, which made Coach Joe Hall feel that a trip he took last season had been worthwhile. That journey—a 200-mile flight to Cowan's hometown of Sturgis, Ky.—came when Hall learned that his 6'8" forward had left the team because he was distressed by his lack of playing time. Hall talked Cowan into rejoining the Wildcats, who took the Shootout by knocking off Iona 57-50 in the finale despite 14 points by tournament MVP Ruland, who had 61 points in three games.
Purdue's Joe Barry Carroll is called Rocky Mountain High for two reasons: he stands 7'1" and he is from Denver. Last week, playing 65 miles north of Denver, Carroll paced the Boilermakers to a 65-55 triumph at Colorado State. It was Carroll who triggered Purdue's comeback from an 11-point first-half deficit. He pumped in 20 of his 29 points in the second half when the Boilermakers went into a zone, slowed the game's tempo, spread their offense and got the ball to the big man.
Oregon State and UCLA had little trouble winning. The Beavers, as tenacious as ever on defense, drubbed Eastern Washington 92-59 and Wisconsin-Parkside 74-46 behind 6'10�" Steve Johnson's superb shooting. Altogether, Johnson connected on 20 of 28 field-goal attempts and scored 50 points. Against Eastern, the relentless Oregon State defenders hounded the Eagles into committing a total of 24 turnovers.
UCLA hardly worked up a sweat while swamping Idaho State 82-40, allowing only four field goals in the first half, which closed with the Bruins leading 43-12. However, Hofstra put up a battle. After trailing 31-18, the Flying Dutchmen made it 34-32 at the intermission. Then UCLA's Kiki Vandeweghe began popping in shots, scoring the first 13 points of the second half. When the game ended, Vandeweghe had 31 and the Bruins a 90-71 victory. New Bruin Coach Larry Brown made his presence known as UCLA showed off an energetic zone press and a penchant for substitutions. Brown made 63 lineup changes in the two games.
1. UCLA (2-0)
2. OREGON STATE (2-0)
3. BYU (1-1)
Nowhere was there more vivid evidence that it's a new season than at Indiana State. Gone is Larry Bird. Back are Carl Nicks and Bob (Miracle Man) Heaton. Nicks scored 37 points against Division II Armstrong (Ga.) State, but Heaton, playing sparingly on a bum left ankle, had just 11—and no miracles. The Running Pirates got 20 points from Foy Balance and four last-minute free throws by Mike Pringle as they handed the Sycamores, 33-1 last season, a 66-63 loss.