Highly touted sophomore John Williams, the former Crenshaw High star, probably will start at center when ninth-ranked and undefeated Louisiana State begins Southeastern Conference play this week because Zoran Jovanovich underwent knee surgery Monday, Coach Dale Brown said after his Tigers defeated Oral Roberts, 82-64, Monday night at Baton Rouge, La.
Brown said the 7-1 Jovanovich, from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, may well have ended his career after suffering an injury while working out over the holidays.
“He had major surgery, I mean his knee was totally blown out,” Brown said, adding that Jovanovich suffered torn ligaments while practicing with roommate Ricky Blanton.
Williams, 6-8, had 16 points and 8 rebounds against Oral Roberts, while Nikita Wilson had a team-high 19 points and 8 rebounds.
LSU is 12-0 going into its first Southeastern Conference game against Georgia on Thursday.
“I feel good about going into the conference,” Brown said. “This team gives me confidence. They never seem to panic. . . . It’s a hard team to beat because it won’t beat itself.”
Junior forward Maurice Smith led all players with 22 points for the Titans, who fell to 4-7.
Notre Dame 80, Creighton 54--Ken Barlow scored 15 points, including his 1,000th career point, as the 18th-ranked Irish won at South Bend, Ind.
Notre Dame’s balanced scoring attack included 10 points each from David Rivers, Scott Hicks and Mark Stevenson. The Irish are 6-1.
Creighton got a game-high 25 points from Kenny Evans and 21 from Reggie Morris but fell to 4-5.
Bradley 86, Wake Forest 72--Donald Powell scored 18 points, Hersey Hawkins 16 and Jim Les 14 as Bradley improved to 11-1 in taking fifth place in the Rainbow Tournament at Honolulu. Wake Forest is 5-6
Villanova 76, Hawaii 61--Harold Pressley, the only returning starter from last year’s NCAA championship team, scored 36 points by hitting 13 of 20 field goals and 10 of 11 from the line to lead the Wildcats (7-6) to seventh place in the Rainbow tournament at Honolulu. Hawaii is 3-8.
Duke 78, Northwestern 55--Johnny Dawkins scored 21 points and Mark Alarie added 15 night as the third-ranked Blue Devils earned a sluggish victory at Durham, N.C.
Despite poor ballhandling (25 turnovers) and bad shooting (34.3%) in the second half, Duke improved to 11-0. Brian Schwabe led Northwestern (6-4) with 15 points.
Kentucky 93, VMI 55--Kenny Walker scored 18 points on outside jumpers and slam dunks as No. 13 Kentucky ran away with the game at Louisville, Ky.
The Wildcats improved their record to 9-1 before a sellout crowd of more than 19,000 at Freedom Hall. VMI, led by Gay Elmore’s 19 points, fell to 5-3.
Baylor 51, Texas San Antonio 50--Brandon Taylor scored 17 points as the Bears, playing without seven players suspended by the NCAA, withstood a strong second half by the Roadrunners to win at Waco, Tex.
Baylor is 8-3, while Texas-San Antonio is 2-9.
The seven players, including starters Carlos Briggs and Darryl Middleton, were suspended after an NCAA investigation of recruiting violations under former coach Jim Haller, who was fired last season.
Illinois 64, Iowa St. 62--Point guard Tony Wysinger sank three clutch free throws in the final 48 seconds to lift the 16th-ranked Illini to the victory at Rosemont, Ill.
The Big Ten Illini, who made good on eight of nine free-throw attempts in the final four minutes and 35 seconds, are 9-2. Iowa State, of the Big Eight conference, fell to 9-3.
Syracuse 88, C.W. Post 68--The unbeaten and fourth-ranked Orangemen had to bring guards Michael Brown and Greg Monroe off the bench to make up for sluggish play by the starters, but they still managed to win at Syracuse.
Syracuse is 8-0, while the Pioneers, a Division II team, are 9-2.
N. Carolina St. 106, Monmouth 53--Guard Ernie Myers scored 15 points to lead seven Wolfpack players in double figures in a rout of the Hawks at Raleigh, N.C.
Freshman forward Charles Shackleford scored 14 points, freshman forward Walker Lambiotte and center Chris Washburn had 13 each, Nate McMillan and Chucky Brown added 12 each and Teviin Binns had 10 as the Wolfpack improved to 8-3. McMillan also had 12 assists and seven steals.
The Hawks (1-7) were led by center Fernando Sanders with 18 points, while forward Mason McBride added 11.
Lamar 79, Washington 61--James Nance scored 18 points to lead all five Lamar starters into double figures at Beaumont, Tex., as the Cardinals beat the Huskies.
It was the fourth straight loss for the defending Pacific 10 champions, who fell to 6-6. Lamar improved to 7-4.
Greg Anderson hit 7 of 10 of his field-goal attempts and finished with 17 points for Lamar. James Gulley added 15 points, Shannon Nero 13 and DeWayne Brown 10 as the Cardinals’ starters accounted for 73 points.
Chris Welp scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Huskies.
Georgia Tech 90, Richmond 64--Bruce Dalrymple scored 22 points as the seventh-ranked Yellow Jackets took an early lead and romped to the win at Atlanta.