Nate Robinson, a sophomore guard at Washington, is generously listed at 5'9", but last week he hit new highs. Two weeks after he was derisively called Gary Coleman by chanting fans at Oregon State, Robinson led Washington to impressive wins over No. 9 Arizona and Arizona State. Those triumphs gave the Huskies (9-8,4-5 in the Pac-10), who started off 0-5 in league play, their first four-game winning streak in the Pac-10 since 1999. Robinson dropped a career-high 31 points to go along with five rebounds, five steals and three assists in last Thursday's 96-83 upset of Arizona. He also earned plenty of style points with a gravity-defying jam on an alley-oop pass from guard Curtis Allen.
"Their guys tried to defend me, but they saw my face over the rim," Robinson said, somewhat hyperbolically, of the play. Added Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, "I tried to give it my best acting skills, folding my arms and making it look like I've seen that before. But if I was watching at home on TV, I'd be jumping up and down."
LOYOLA WINS... FINALLY
When Loyola (Md.) defeated Marist 63-57 last Thursday to end the nation's longest losing streak at 31 games many in the season-high crowd of 2,311 at Reitz Arena rushed the floor in a mad celebration. "I give our student body credit; they really created a great atmosphere," says Loyola coach Scott Hicks, whose Greyhounds came within two games of tying the Division I record for futility.
Loyola has been so beset by injuries and transfers this season that Hicks has sometimes dressed only seven players for a game. He has had to enlist walk-ons, managers and alumni for practices, and he and his assistants have frequently suited up. The Greyhounds followed their triumph by losing to St. Peter's on Saturday, but at least they got to taste victory. "It was just nice to see smiles on our players' faces," Hicks says. "It's been a long, depressing experience, and they deserved to be happy,"
Ohio State guard Tony Stockman, who was leading the Buckeyes in scoring at week's end with 12.6 points a game, did not travel with the team to Iowa on Jan. 24 after coach Jim O'Brien disciplined him because he was not pleased with Stockman's attitude in practice. After a heart-to-heart talk the next day with O'Brien, Stockman got the message. He then turned in his best performance of the season last Saturday with a team-high 17 points that included four critical free throws down the stretch in the Buckeyes' 65-59 upset of No. 21 Purdue, breaking a three-game losing skid. O'Brien calls Stockman "the biggest challenge of my coaching career" and adds, "If I didn't think he had enormous potential, I wouldn't be on him as much as I am."
1. P.J. Tucker has hit the wall. Texas's talented 6'5" freshman forward averaged 15.4 points in his first 12 games but scored only 3.6 per game in the Longhorns' next five.
2. North Carolina is playing lousy defense. The Tar Heels, who were 13-5 at week's end and hadn't won a single ACC game on the road, allowed Clemson to make 11 of 13 three-pointers in their 81-72 loss to the Tigers last Saturday.