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Curry Kirkpatrick
March 16, 1987
In a torrid warmup week for the NCAAs, conference tournaments produced memorable overtimes and upsets, as well as rugged action
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March 16, 1987

The Heat Is On

In a torrid warmup week for the NCAAs, conference tournaments produced memorable overtimes and upsets, as well as rugged action

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?In the finals of the Western Athletic Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico's Kelvin Scarborough hit a three-pointer to tie Wyoming with 13 seconds left. At that point New Mexico coach Gary Colson ordered his team to foul the Cowboys' worst free throw shooter, Sean Dent. But Dent made both to give Wyoming a 64-62 lead. Now the Cowboys fouled the Lobos' Scarborough as he drove the lane. But with five seconds on the clock he missed twice from the line and, after New Mexico got the rebound, George Adams shot—twice—from the baseline, and both were blocked by Wyoming sub Willie Jones. Questioned later about his strategy, Colson pounded his fist and stormed away, snapping, "Writers! Negative, negative, negative."

?Also feeling negative was Oklahoma's Stacey King, whose 82-foot sidearm off-the-glass in-the-basket heave with one second clearly remaining in the first half of the Big Eight semifinal between Kansas and Oklahoma was waved off by a referee. The basket would have given the Sooners a seven-point lead in a game they eventually lost by five.

So, for Colson's sake, some positives:

?Northeastern's Andre LaFleur set the NCAA career assist record (891) as the Huskies won their fourth consecutive ECAC North Atlantic final, 71-68 over Boston University.

? Austin Peay State's Richie Armstrong drained a lunging 28-foot trey at the buzzer for a 71-68 Ohio Valley championship thriller over Eastern Kentucky, which had just scored five points in 10 seconds to tie.

? Santa Clara's Jens Gordon, after taking an elbow in the nose and collapsing on the court early in the second half, came back to score 13 of his 17 points, win a Yellow Hard Hat award from his teammates and lead them to the WCAC title over Pepperdine, 77-65.

? Billy Donovan of Providence and Sherman Douglas of Syracuse took turns setting the Big East tournament one-game scoring record, Donovan with 34 points against St. John's in the quarterfinals, Douglas with 35 against Pills-burgh in the semifinals. Then each ran into the Georgetown defense, which held Donovan to 11 and made Douglas work extra hard for every one of his 20.

?In the Southwest Conference tournament, last-seeded Texas A & M beat first-place TCU in the first round, 81-70. The Aggies then whipped Texas Tech and walloped second-seeded Baylor for the title, 71-46.

?And Donn Holston of Idaho State, who is one-half Yurok Indian, scored 24 points in the Bengals' 92-81 Big Sky win over Nevada-Reno—a climax to the wildest tournament of all. Three of the first four games were won by the lower-seeded team; two were one-pointers, one was a two-pointer. And for the kicker, last-place Weber State beat first-place Montana State 106-101.

Yurok, I'm O.K. But Grambling State wasn't. Like North Carolina, the Tigers won the regular-season title in their league, but lost the SWAC tournament final. To Southern U. By 50 points.

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