The Dispatch from Moline, Illinois on March 2, 1980 · 14
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The Dispatch from Moline, Illinois · 14

Moline, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 2, 1980
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14 THE SUNDAY DISPATCH, Moline, Illinois March 2, 1980 'Lester Day' has happy ending for Iowa 1 J RONNIE LESTER ... triumphant return By BUD VANDERSNICK Dispatch Sportswrlter IOWA CITY If Iowa coach Lute Olson had asked an award-winning choreographer to stage a fitting day of tribute for Ronnie Lester, the request might have gone like this: The manic Iowa fans would show up in time to wildly cheer Lester in pre-game ceremonies, retiring his jersey, No. 12. Lester would return to action for the first time in five weeks, sufficiently recovering from a nagging knee injury to start his final regular season home game. He would score the first points of the game on one of his patented drives to the basket. He would lead the team in scoring and make the final point in an Iowa win that may guarantee the Hawks a spot in the NCAA tournament. Give that choreographer another award. He scored on all points. Lester had an experience Saturday that is only a fantasy to most people. The 13,365 fans at Iowa Field House cheered him throughout the day, right up to when he made a free throw with three seconds left to give Iowa a 75-71 win over Illinois. THE 6-FOOT-2 SENIOR from Chicago Dunbar had played in just three games since he stretched the ligaments in his right knee Dec. 22 at the Dayton Invitational. He had not played since Jan. 26, but he returned triumphantly with 15 points and five assists in 29 minutes. "It was great that we could celebrate Ronnie's day with a win," Olson said. "It's only fitting that he should lead in scoring today the way he has so many times in the last four years. "We felt he had been ready to play for a while; it was just a matter of him feeling he could do it. He's ready now for our next season." He meant a postseason tournament. The 19-8 Hawks know they will practice Monday, but they don't know if their next game will be in the 48-team NCAA tourney or the 32-team NIT. Both tournaments will announce their pairings Sunday afternoon. IOWA'S DESTINATION DEPENDS on whether the NCAA takes three or four teams from the Big Ten. The Hawks tied Minnesota for fourth in the conference, but they would go as the fourth team because they beat the Gophers twice. Olson thinks the NCAA has an easy decision. "This team, in my estimation, is one of the top 20 teams in the country," he said. "It would be a great injustice if we don't get in the NCAA. "It would be wrong to penalize teams from the Big Ten or Atlantic Coast Conference just because they're in a conference. If we were an independent, would we be in the tournament with a 19-8 record? You bet we would." BUT OLSON STRESSED he also would be happy with an NIT bid. And many fans probably inquired about the availability of NIT tickets at halftime because the NCAA seemed out of reach. The 18-12 Illini, with NIT aspirations of their own, resembled party-crashers in the first half when they overcame the emotional lift of Lester's return and raced to a 41-32 lead. Illinois played a superb first half, with junior forwards Mark Smith and Eddie Johnson scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively, and guard Reno Gray adding 10 on five perimeter jump shots. The Illini shot 57 percent from the field in the first half, slowed Iowa's running game and dominated the backboards after they switched to a zone defense early in the half. But Gray also picked up three fouls in the first half, and Coach Lou Henson had him on the bench to protect him when the second half started. That left Illinois with no outside weapon, and the Hawks started their comeback, eventually taking the lead at 56-54 on a drive by Kevin Boyle with 10 : 32 left. THE TEAMS TOOK TURNS scoring until the Hawks ran off eight straight points to move from a 60-59 deficit to a 67-60 lead with 2:56 left. Boyle, who finished with just seven points, made four free throws in that stretch. The fans started chanting, "NCAA, NCAA," at that point, but Illinois wasn't ready to get on the plane yet. The Illini, aided by two foolish fouls by Hawks guard Kenny Arnold, chopped away at the ' margin and moved within two points, 70-68, on a corner jump shot with 44 seconds left by Johnson his only field goal of the half. , Henson called time immediately after the basket to set up his defense in hopes of stealing the in-bounds pass. The strategy nearly paid off when Boyle, taking the ball out of bounds, was forced to throw a pass to the top of the key. Johnson and Iowa forward Steve Waite ran toward the ball, but Waite arrived first and was fouled by Johnson. THE 6-10 JUNIOR from Iowa City made both ends of a one-and-one situation to hold off the Illini. Vince Brookin's two free throws with 26 seconds left clinched the win after Smith's basket had put the Illini within two again at 72-70. Lester's free throw with three seconds left iced the cake. "The difference in the game was that we had some crucial turnovers," said Henson, who got just four points from his two centers, Derek Holcomb and James Griffin. "We could have had a 12- or 13- point lead at halftime had we not made some mistakes. "I thought Ronnie Lester definitely helped them. He was instrumental in their win." He had plenty of help, though. Arnold scored 14 points, Steve Krafcisin added 13 and Waite and Brookins each had 12. "I THINK I'M ABOUT 80 percent ready," said Lester, Iowa's career scoring leader. "I got a little tired. Today was the first time in a long time I've played that long. "My knee felt strong. I'm a little conscious of it, especially on defense. I'm not able to do some things yet." Having to guard the speedy Gray didn't help matters, and Gray forced Lester to move constantly on that fragile knee in the first half. But Gray scored just four points after intermission. Smith was Illinois' only real threat in the second half, scoring 15 points to finish with a game-high 27. Johnson made just four of 13 field-goal attempts and had 13 points. The loss disappointed Henson and the Illini, but they may get a chance to redeem themselves this week. They performed admirably and. could be rewarded with an NIT bid. It would be Illinois' first postseason action since 1963. "I THINK WE HAVE a shot at it," Henson said. "We have beaten several good teams and won two major tournaments (Illini Classic and Rainbow Classic). "The NIT did contact us to ask if the Assembly Hall would be available for a game," he said, emphasizing the Illini could host a game. And that would be fine with him. He learned Saturday it is not easy to crash someone else's party. !7ir ' 1 1 Jf a. 'mum l , fit., i . 4 vf-jfV . t --1 f , f , i vy ' '7? JA Bradley NCAA tourney-bound PEORIA (AP) Mitchell Anderson scored 16 points and snagged 12 rebounds to pace Bradley to a 62-59 victory over West Texas State in the finals of the Missouri Valley Conference postseason tournament. The Braves, who ended the season with a 23-9 record, are guaranteed a bid to the NCAA tournament, Bradley's first trip there in 25 years. WITH THE SCORE tie'd 12-12 midway through the first half, Hasan Houston scored from underneath and added two jumpers in quick succession to put the Braves in front to stay. Bradley, at one point holding the Buffaloes scoreless for 4'i minutes, built its lead to a game-high 15 with 2 : 57 left to play in the half on a 25-foot jump shot by David Thirdkill that made it 31-16. The Braves took a 33-22 lead into the dressing room, but the Buffaloes stormed back in the se cond half, closing the gap to two points with 1 :06 to play. After an exchange of baskets, the score was 59-57. Anderson pushed Bradley ahead by four when he hit on both ends of a one-on-one with 13 seconds left. Then junior guard Terry Adolph closed the gap on a driving layup and Anderson added a final free throw to ice the game in its final seconds. THIRDKILL and Houston had 14 points each for Bradley. Terry Adolph of West Texas State led all scorers with 21 points. "We made them play five on five which is something they don't do well," said Bradley Coach Dick Versace. "I told this team at the beginning of the season that there was enough talent here to achieve three goals. They had the talent to become great, the talent to turn this program around and the talent to be in the final four (of the NCAA tournament) and they about fell out of their chairs. "I knew it could happen, but I didn't think it would happen this soon," said Versace, whose Braves finished last season in the conference cellar and failed to qaulify for the post-season MVC tournament. VERSACE noted his team had lost earlier in the season by only six points to top-rated DePaul. "We're not the same team as we were then," he said. "I'd say we could play with any of these teams right now." "I feel a load off my shoulders," said Anderson, the 6-foot-7 sophomore sensation who leads Bradley in scoring with an average of 20.9 points. "We now have a few days to rest up and get ready for the NCAA." Northwestern edges Badgers in final EVANSTON (UPI) Brian Gibson scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the second half Saturday to spark Northwestern to a 53-50 victory over Wisconsin. Gibson made nine of 11 free throws seven in the second stanza to keep Northwestern ahead in the final minutes. The triumph was Northwestern's fifth against 12 conference losses. The last time the Wildcats won as many as five games in the Big Ten was in the 1976-77 season. Overall, they finished 10-17, marking the first time that all Big Ten teams finished with at least 10 victories. Wisconsin finished at 7-11 in the conference and 15-14 overall. The Wildcats held a 24-20 lead at the half and were paced in the opening period by Rod Rober-son with eight points, and Jim Stack, who added seven. ' Northwestern's largest lead in the game was seven points. In the closing minutes, Wisconsin's sophomore guard John Bailey scored four straight baskets, his last with 53 seconds remaining, to cut Northwestern's lead to 49-47. But Bailey committed his fifth foul with 20 seconds to go and Gibson converted the one-and-one to put the Wildcats up by four. Joe Chernelich paced the Badgers with 14 points and Clark Gregory had 13. Wisconsin played without its leading scorer, Wes Matthews, who has been averaging 19 points per contest. He was benched because of disciplinary reasons. Purdue rips Spartans, eyes NCAA bid WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (UPI) Joe Barry Carroll scored 26 points to lead Purdue to a 91-73 victory over Michigan State Saturday, giving the Boilermakers sole ownership of third place in the Big Ten basketball standings. The game really ended in the first half for the Spartans, but they didn't know it at the time. Purdue was already ahead 34-30 late in the first half when the Boilermakers steamed ahead to outscore Michigan State 12-4 in the last four minutes, endingthe half at 46-34. Purdue never trailed after that. Michigan State never got closer afterward than eight points, at 59-51, with more than 12 minutes left to play. The top Purdue scorer behind Carroll was Greg Morris with 16. Jay Vincent was the top Spartan scorer with 23 points. Teammate Terry Donnelly scored 20. The biggest Boilermaker lead was 20 points, 91-71, with seven minutes to go. Purdue Coach Lee Rose said afterward the win should qualify Purdue for a berth in the NCAA tournament. 1 Minnesota win starts tournament talk MINNEAPOLIS (UPI) -Kevin McHale and Darryl Mitchell scored 16 points apiece Saturday night to help Minnesota edge a stubborn Michigan 68-67 in a Big Ten finale. The Gophers kept alive their hopes for a postseason tournament bid, boosting their overall record to 17-10, and their conference mark to 10-8, good for a fourth-place tie with Iowa. Michigan clos ed at 15-12, 8-10 in the Big Ten, and tied for sixth. Trailing by 36-27 at halftime, Michigan fought back behind Mike McGee, who led all scorers with 26 points, and Johnny Johnson, who added 20. The Wolverines overtook Minnesota at 45-44, less than seven minutes into the second half and stayed close the rest of the way. Johnson's tip-in gave Michigan its last lead at 67- 66 with 2:38 to go. Mitchell's drive put the G gophers on top 68-67 with 2:08 left. Both teams then played keep away until Michigan's Paul Heuerman missed a corner jump shot at the buzzer. United Press International Getting ready for some NCAA tournament action, Bradley center Donald Reese, left, shoots past West Texas State's Carl Johnson, in the Missouri Valley Tournament final Saturday at Robertson Memorial Field House. Bradley won the game 62-59. Irish close with win throw to tie the game and at 3:51, Tripucka got a steal and fast break layup that put Notre Dame in front 52-50. The Irish ran off 10 straight points after that and never trailed again. Oregon State ends Bruins reign DAYTON, Ohio (UPI) Kelly Tripucka netted 22 points and teammates Tracy Jackson and Orlando Woolridge combined for another 27 Saturday to pace Notre Dame to a 62-54 win over Dayton and a probable berth in the NCAA tournament. CORVALLIS, Ore. (UPI) Center Steve Johnson scored 19 points and collected 11 rebounds Saturday to lead fifth-ranked Oregon State to a 67-55 victory over Oregon and win the Pacific-10 Conference basketball championship. Oregon State's title ends a 13-year reign by UCLA. The Beavers were the last team to win the championship, in 1966, before UCLA's dynasty dominated the West. OREGON STATE, 16-2 in final conference standings and 26-3 on the season, will draw the No. 1 seed in the Western Regional NCAA post-season playoffs. Coach Ralph Miller said NCAA post-season pairings, to be announced Sunday, will decide who the Beavers will play in their first game of the playoffs. The game got off slowly, but Oregon State led all the way, getting a 17-point advantage midway through the second half. But Oregon, 10-17 on the season and 5-13 in the conference, kept closing the gap. Johnson, an all-coast selection with guard Ray Blume, fouled out with a little over five minutes to play, but was the game's high scorer with 19 points. Blume had 12 and the other guard, Mark Radford, had 11. Ray Whiting was high for Oregon with 15 points. WITH THE GAME tied 32-32 at the half, Jackson, who scored a total 17 points, connected on a basket and two free throws to give the Fighting Irish a 36-32 lead, which they held until 5:02 when Dayton pulled ahead 50-49. c With 4:13 to go Jackson made a free Woolridge was the third Notre Dame player in double figures with 10 points, While Mike Kanieski topped Dayton with 18 points. Notre Dame, 22-5, will await an NCAA bid, while Dayton ends the year with a 13-14 record, only the second time in 34 years the Flyers have suffered a losing season. Oral Roberts nips Oklahoma City EVANSVILLE, Ind. (UPI) Calvin Garrett scored 27 points and Robert Griffin had 23 to lead Oral Roberts to a 101-100 victory over Oklahoma City Saturday night in a semifinal game of the Midwestern City Conference post-season basketball tourney. Free throws sink Rocks Oral Roberts, 17-10 for the season, is scheduled to play the winner of Saturday's other semifinal game between Evansville and Loyola Sunday afternoon. After the first half ended in a 54-54 tie. Oral Roberts started to slowly pull away, eventually opening a 12-point advantage, 88-76, with 7:51 left. Oklahoma City, 13-15 overall, was able to move within one point several times but could never take the lead as the teams traded baskets through the last minute and a half. Oklahoma City scored six more field goals than the Titans, 44-38, and shot 100 percent from the charity stripe, 12 for 12. Oral Roberts, however, received 31 shots from the foul line and made 25 to make the one point difference. Ernie Hill led Oklahoma City with 30 points. The game was decided at the charity stripe. La Salle-Peru connected on 22 of 29 freethrows and Rock Island missed four of their 14 attempts as the Cavaliers crept by the Rocks 64-58. Neither opponent could find the target, as the field game was neutralized with 42 percent shooting by each team. . Rocky's Stephon Talley was the only eager in double figures to hit more than 50 percent from the floor, as the 6-foot-2 senior bucketed 9 of 17 including two from the foul line as he closed the regular season with a 20-point effort. : It was all for loss though, as Rock Island watched their lead vanish in the final period. The Rocks entered the last stanza with a five-point cushion, but the Cavaliers never gave up outscoring their visitors 21-10. That was more than enough to claim the victory. Wayne Steele and Mike Long were the only other Rocky players to reach double digits, as the pair scored 13 and 11 respectively. Roth of I .a Salle-Peru sank 10 of his 14 points from the line, and missed onlythree free throws. Barker led the Cavalier scorers with 16, while his teammate Szott tallied 11. Rock Island finished the regular season at 8-15. Bantam books 'gold' NEW YORK ( UPI ) The U.S. Olympic hockey team may - have caught a lot of people napping in winning the Gold , Medal, but the book publishers certainly weren't among them. Bantam Books announced Friday the first copies of "Miracle On Ice," an account of the U.S. team's Cinderella march to the medal, had started rolling off the presses. In a statement, the company claimed the feat had set a record for "fastest publishing." Bantam said the time elapsed between receipt of the manuscript and publication was 46 'n hours. The previous record for fastest publishing listed In the Guinness Book of World Records was 66 Va hours for a book on the Pope'syisit to the United States, also put out by Bantan. V Men! Bring your hair to Rhonda. She cares! 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