For Lorenzo Romar, the NCAA basketball tournament always meant watching as many games as he could.
But not this year.
After UCLA was upset by Princeton, 43-41, in a first-round game Thursday, Romar said he has directed attention to his new job as Pepperdine coach rather than catching tournament games on the tube.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday March 21, 1996 Valley Edition Sports Part C Page 10 Zones Desk 1 inches; 33 words Type of Material: Correction
Diving--The performance of Cal State Northridge diver Sara Cassady in the Zone E meet last weekend was incorrectly reported in Wednesday's Times. Cassady finished seventh overall and missed qualifying for the NCAA finals by two spots.
"I have no interest in watching any tournament games," he said. "That's a big difference for me because I was always glued to the TV come tournament time."
Romar said UCLA's loss to Princeton was one of the most devastating in his four seasons as a Bruin assistant.
"Oh, my goodness," he said Tuesday. "I knew it would be a tough and difficult game, but I didn't see that coming. Traveling back with the team was very difficult. . . . When I'm with [UCLA's] players or that coaching staff, it brings me back to that night very quickly."
In that regard, Romar said taking over Pepperdine's program has been a pleasant diversion.
"It's like if your house burned down and you were able to go to Hawaii and get away from it all," he said.
Romar has reason to feel better this week. Sophomore guard Jelani Gardner, a former high school All-American at Bellflower St. John Bosco, will transfer from California to Pepperdine, and Romar is confident he can fill Pepperdine's other four available scholarships.
Never satisfied: Robert Fick's 23-game hitting streak is the longest in the nation this season, and except for a two-game drought the Cal State Northridge catcher has been on a tear since opening day.
Fick has 20 multiple-hit games and leads the team with 54 hits, a .454 batting average, an .815 slugging percentage, nine doubles and nine stolen bases. After getting nine hits in Northridge's first five games, he went 0 for 8 in two games then embarked on his streak.
So what were he and Coach Mike Batesole whispering about after rain shortened last Wednesday's game?
"Robert's gonna get in the cage for some extra batting practice," Batesole said. "He's swinging at some pitches he shouldn't be and he wants to work his way out of it."
Looking back: Bill Oates, the men's basketball coach at The Master's College, hates to lose. But the Mustangs' loss to Oklahoma City in the NAIA Division I tournament last week was easier to handle after the Chiefs defeated top-seeded Georgetown (Ky.), 86-80, for the national championship Monday night.
It was the fourth title in the last six years for Oklahoma City, which defeated Master's, 108-85, in the second round.
The Chiefs (32-6) were seeded only 14th in the 32-team tournament but had little difficulty with third-seeded Master's (28-7).
"I think we just caught a very good team on a great night," Oates said. "They were very athletic and they shot the ball very well. They hit 11 [three-point shots] against us and they shot nearly 60% from the field."
Through Monday, the Northridge softball team had won 11 in a row for the first time since May 1994. The school record is 29 consecutive victories, set in 1988.
James Mosley of The Master's men's basketball team ended his collegiate career with 1,801 points and 588 rebounds to finish sixth and 13th on the school's all-time lists. Mosley, a 6-foot-3 forward from Colonial High in Indianapolis, averaged 15.6 points and 6.4 rebounds this season.
Junior guard Mike Penberthy of Master's has moved to seventh on the career scoring list with 1,764 points after averaging 23.2 points this season.
Diver Sara Cassady missed being Northridge's only representative in the NCAA swimming and diving championships when she finished 14th in the Zone E meet last weekend. The top five divers advanced to the NCAA finals.
"I'm really just a mellow guy who likes to surf. People probably don't realize that when they see me play." -- Pepperdine freshman outside hitter George Roumain, who at 6-6, 230 pounds is one of the top hitters in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Things to Do
Ventura College will honor its state champion men's and women's basketball teams with a ceremony at 6:30 tonight at the school gym. Admission is free.
Contributing: Fernando Dominguez, Rob Fernas, Jeff Fletcher, Irene Garcia, Steve Henson, John Ortega.