But by mere coincidence, McQuarn and Mel Franks, Fullerton's sports information director, had attended an Orange County Sports Hall of Fame banquet the night before UNLV came to Fullerton, and their tuxedos were still hanging in the locker room the next day. A student started to return them, but Franks said to leave his hanging.
The student accidentally left McQuarn's burgundy tuxedo behind instead, and Franks--who had issued 84 media credentials for the game--decided to wear it.
"The idea was that this was a big-time event so I figured I would dress that way," Franks said. "I would have looked pretty silly had they beaten us by 20."
But there was this feeling around Fullerton. This would be the night. For one thing, Danny Tarkanian, UNLV's point guard, had a severe case of bronchitis and had been released from the hospital the previous day.
"My dad had wanted to hold me out and play me against West Virginia (on national television that Saturday)," Danny Tarkanian said. "But no way was I going to sit that one out. We were undefeated and No. 1 in the nation.
"I remember the place was nuts. The fans were crazy. I was always pumped to play Leon, and I warmed up really hard.
"I think I used most of my energy during warm-ups."
Tarkanian missed all seven of his shots from the field that evening and was scoreless. He had six assists and two turnovers.
Still, Fullerton trailed at halftime, 46-41. The Titans made 50% of their first-half field goals, but UNLV shot 56%.
"UNLV had such a style back then," Neal said. "As soon as the game started, you could be down 14 points. We started to contain them, and our defense was clicking. It was a fast-paced game. . . .
"We knew coming out of halftime that we were going to bust these guys."
Sure enough, Fullerton went on a 17-6 run to open the second half and never again trailed. When Wood banked in a 27-foot three-pointer as the 30-second clock was expiring to boost Fullerton's lead to 58-52 with 12:52 left, many in the building had one word in mind: Destiny.
The final free-throw count--Fullerton was 20 for 27, UNLV was seven for 16--sealed it. The fact that UNLV had 21 turnovers to Fullerton's 12 also helped.
At one point during a timeout with 6:36 to play and Fullerton ahead, 71-60, Neal remembers McQuarn wild-eyed in the huddle.
"He said, 'You guys are playing like a bunch of crazed dogs out there--I told you we could do it,' " Neal said.
Wood, who would play parts of six seasons in the NBA, finished with 21 points and 12 assists--boosting his season assist total to 260, tops in the nation.
"The greatest mystery to me was how Leon wasn't an NBA all-star," said Danny Tarkanian, who developed a friendship with Wood when the two attended Jerry Tarkanian's basketball camp when they were in grade school. "I thought he was the best I ever played against in college."
For one night, though, the future was something to be dealt with tomorrow. By the time Wood dribbled out the final nine seconds, there was bedlam.
Fans engulfed the floor as the final buzzer sounded, and the Titans celebrated into the night.
"I've never seen the display of wildness that I saw that night," said Jerry Lloyd, Fullerton's trainer at the time. "Especially with Leon. I was concerned someone might get hurt.
"It was a great win for the Titans."
While Fullerton celebrated, a few others weren't so happy. The West Virginia sports information director had called press row for score updates throughout the UNLV-Fullerton game and, when it was final, he congratulated Fullerton but the disappointment was evident in his voice.
It was nothing, though, compared to the Rebels. Lois Tarkanian wasn't the only Las Vegas resident who felt like crying.
"After the game, I was really down," Danny Tarkanian said. "In the hotel room, Sid (Green) comes up and says, 'Don't worry about it, Danny.'
"I said, 'I really cost us the game.' "
"He said, 'No, I cost us the game. I had four or five turnovers.' "
"And I said, 'It was really eight, Sid, but who's counting?' "
From a hotel room in Seattle, where he was staying with the Charlotte Hornets, Green laughed.
"I remember that very vividly," Green said. "That was the worst. That was a game I will never, ever forget."
How could he? Fullerton, for the first time, had set up 250 folding chairs along the baselines and stuffed another 633 people into the gym's corners, standing tight against one another.
"I remember walking out onto the court and seeing all the fans wearing Coach Tarkanian masks," Green said.
Fate, an often fickle point guard, certainly hasn't dealt everyone involved in the game their share of assists. Jerry Tarkanian, after a year he could have easily done without, underwent an angioplasty Monday.
Gary Davis, a starting forward for Fullerton that evening, is on vacation this week. He is a policeman in Compton, and a former partner of Kevin Burrell, one of the Compton officers who was murdered during a traffic stop last week. On Monday, Davis was a pallbearer at Burrell's funeral.