UCLA lurched to a 2-4 start last season, reaching its nadir with a 19-point loss to St. John's at Madison Square Garden. This year the 3-2 Bruins lost to the Redmen in Pauley Pavilion—but respectably, 69-65 after trailing by 15. In defeat, UCLA coach Walt Hazzard found encouraging morsels. "They struggled and scrapped and fought and just couldn't get over the top," he said of the Bruins.
Unlike the Redmen's Walter Berry, who started slowly and then went on a tear to finish with 23 points and six blocked shots, Reggie Miller, UCLA's offensive machine, sputtered throughout, finishing with just nine points. He was very much daunted by Redman forward Willie Glass, whose D earned him an ovation in the winners' dressing room.
Dwayne Polee, a 6'5" guard who limited Ron Kellogg of Kansas to eight points this year in Pepperdine's only loss, had 36 points in two games as the Waves swept the Cougar Classic in Provo.
"These guys are going to make me feel like I'm 85 in about another week," said Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson after his Hogs stole a 79-70 overtime game from Ohio State. Razorback forward William Mills' foul shot after regulation time expired forced the overtime, and he scored five more points in the extra period.
Bowing 73-70 to Louisville, Western Kentucky left no doubt that it is the third-best team in the Bluegrass State. Hilltopper coach Clem Haskins gave his team an "A-minus" for its effort. The minus was for Western's inability to block out; Louisville filched an inexcusable 20 offensive rebounds from the visitors. Forward Herb Crook got seven himself.
Another intrastate feud resulted in an upset as Virginia Tech walloped Virginia in Roanoke 84-66. Suffering from an intestinal adhesion, Cavalier coach Terry Holland was flown home before the game. "We can't use it as an excuse," said guard John Johnson after Virginia's worst non-ACC loss in nine years. "There's no excuse for the way we played."
Giving West Virginia a shooting edge—and with five players suspended in connection with an alleged sexual assault, the team needs every edge it can get—is mascot Tim Nilan. Dressed up as the Mountaineer, Nilan fires a musket during home games—again and again. "Man," said Maryland forward Len Bias after the Terps nipped West Virginia 42-41, "that thing is loud."