The rowdydow Big Ten, where title hopes are often as fragile as a dollar watch, won't begin its conference schedule until Jan. 2, but Ohio State is busy establishing itself as the team to beat. The rangy Buckeyes eased past Butler 99-66, then polished off St. Louis 81-74 for their fifth straight. Talented Sophomore Jerry Lucas gave away two inches to St. Louis' 6-foot 10-inch Bob Nordmann and beat him off the boards while scoring 30 points. Lucas had help from Popshooter Larry Siegfried, who fed him with uncanny lobs and added 22 points of his own, mostly from outside.
Meanwhile, unbeaten Iowa and Illinois kept winning while defending champion Michigan State rested on its 2-0 record. But Indiana, the preseason favorite, was shocked by Missouri 79-76. The Tigers, beefed up offensively by Joe Scott's 31 points, put a defensive lock on Indiana's big Walt Bellamy and held him to six points before he fouled out early in the second half. A severe tongue-lashing by Hoosier Coach Branch McCracken worked and Indiana came back to beat Ohio U. 80-68. This time Bellamy scored 24 points.
Hardly pausing to ponder its loss to Ohio State, St. Louis turned on touring Kentucky and beat the Wildcats 73-61. Coach John Benington's cutting, driving St. Louis offense piled up the points and Kentucky's Adolph Rupp just didn't have anyone big enough or tough enough to handle the Billikens' Nordmann underneath the boards.
December 21, 1959
Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati's Big 0, oblivious to double-and triple-teaming defenses, continued to score at an almost superhuman rate. He got 36 as the Bearcats drubbed Miami of Ohio 89-58 and added 48 more in a 123-79 rout of St Joseph's, a highly respected team back East.
Notre Dame, working smoothly around double-postmen John Tully and Mike Graney, ran off three straight over Wisconsin 78-58 (see above), Northwestern 93-88 in double overtime and Air Force 67-52. Detroit, a dark horse among midwestern independents, turned loose brilliant Sophomores Charlie North and Dave DeBusschere and trounced both Iona (85-67 in New York) and Purdue (84-63 at home).
The surprising Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech were still feeling no pain, though more celebrated Southeastern Conference brothers were nursing bruises. Tech, picked up by Roger Kaiser's adept sharp-shooting, buzzed serenely past Alabama 69-53 and South Carolina 70-64. Even Coach John (Whack) Hyder was becoming impressed.
With little regard for convention, Louisiana Tech took the Mississippi State Maroons 71-62 to end their 18-game winning streak. Tech used a tight zone to tie up State, and Jackie Moreland did the rest.
Kentucky lost its second game, and Vanderbilt ran into big trouble in Texas, losing to SMU 86-67. Auburn, another SEC contender, barely shuffled by Florida State 62-58.
North Carolina's Tar Heels took a while to get up a head of steam against Kansas but smothered the Jayhawks 60-49 once Harvey Salz, York Larese and Lee Shaffer got the range. Next night, the defense held Kansas State's Wally Frank and Cedric Price, and the Tar Heels used Shaffer's tremendous rebounding and scoring (24 points) to whip the Wildcats 68-52. North Carolina State also had some success against the visitors from Kansas, upsetting K-State 66-59 when Sophomore Danny Lutz broke away for two quick field goals in the closing minutes, but the Wolf-pack lost to Kansas U. 80-58.
Jerry West was up to his old scoring tricks, packing away 62 points in all to help West Virginia drub Richmond 84-62 and Penn State 104-74; Louisville, girding for an invasion by Cincinnati this Saturday, warmed up by beating Furman 77-61, Eastern Kentucky 75-67 and Davidson 90-47.
Two of the nation's wiliest coaches matched wits in Madison Square Garden, but Manhattan's Ken Norton couldn't shoot for his team and LaSalle's Dudey Moore walked off with a 71-58 victory. The Explorers' switching man-to-man effectively plugged the inside gaps and, when Manhattan couldn't hit from the outside, the jig was up for the luckless Jaspers. And, to make matters worse, LaSalle's Joe Heyer shot over the Manhattan defense for 22 points while nimble Bob Herdelin drove through it for 19 more.
All in all, it was a sorry week for New York area teams. Towel-tossing Ed Diddle brought in his Western Kentucky club to joust with Seton Hall, and Al Ellison's 36 points pushed the Pirates aside 78-69; Detroit was too much for Iona. Only NYU, fast-breaking and pressing on defense, looked good enough to win—and did. The Violets scurried past Rutgers 82-56 and Lafayette 87-59.
Pitt, humbled earlier in the Midwest, was more ac home in its own Steel Bowl tournament. The Panthers, trailing St. John's by 11 points, suddenly exploded for 15 straight points and edged the Redmen 74-73, while undefeated Duquesne outlasted William & Mary 53-52. But the Dukes were no match for Pitt in the final and lost 75-44. St. John's finally managed to put two good halves together and beat William & Mary 77-65 in the consolation game.
Holy Cross unveiled its much-publicized sophomore whiz, Jack Foley, and his 25 points helped the Crusaders hold off challenging Yale 85-84; Navy's Jay Metzler was all around the boards as the Middies beat Baltimore 90-74 and Princeton 57-47; 6-foot 10-inch Jim Hadnot led Providence to victory over Brown 84-53 and St. Francis of Brooklyn 75-63. The week's biggest surprise: little Villa Madonna, up from Covington, Ky. for an "educational" tour, taught Niagara a lesson, 77-73.
It is difficult to predict just what will happen in the Southwest Conference, but one thing is sure: Texas will not be the patsy it was last season. Jay Arnette scored 25 points and the unbeaten Long-horns dunked 51% of their shots against defenseless Tulane to swamp the Green Wave 94-71 for their third straight.
Texas A&M, generously stocked with junior college transfers and veterans, romped over Houston 67-49 and Midwestern 70-43 to keep pace with the Longhorns. SMU, too, began to flex its muscles, outscoring Oklahoma City 67-56 and surprising Vanderbilt 86-67. But the bubble burst for Baylor, which fell before Memphis State's speed, 71-56. Arkansas also faltered, bowing to swift, sure Mississippi 78-63.
California, slowly building up to the meaty part of its schedule, toyed with San Francisco 65-40 but met sterner opposition from determined San Jose State before winning 54-43 for its 19th straight. San Jose's Dennis Marc made Cal's big, rough Darrall Imhoff his personal assignment and held him to four field goals.
USC continued to prey on invaders. The hot-handed Trojans, led by Johnny Werhas, first riddled Oklahoma State's usually tight defense 73-50, then pounced on Brigham Young 79-61. UCLA took on the same two foes and had little trouble beating Brigham Young 62-42. However, Oklahoma State's tight zone was too much for the Uclans and they lost 52-48.
Fast-breaking Utah hardly stopped to draw a breath as it raced over New Mexico State 82-67 and Wichita 103-80. Allen Holmes, Globetrotter-type dribbler, mesmerized Wichita with his zigging and zagging, and by the time the Shockers figured out how to keep up with him the game was over and Holmes had scored 27 points. Wichita tested the Utes again and lost 88-85 when Bill (The Hill) McGill, a 6-foot 9-inch sophomore, scored 22 points.
Utah State's iron men finally fell before Drake 83-73; New Mexico, after 17 straight losses, upset New Mexico State 68-63; Wyoming gave Coach Bill Strannigan his first win, downing Pepperdine 75-68.
Although Philadelphia's amazing Wilt Chamberlain is creating a special kind of havoc around the NBA (see page 24), Boston's solid old pros are still head and shoulders above the pack in the East.
With brilliant Bob Cousy dispensing his ball-handling magic and Big Bill Russell rebounding as well as ever, the Celtics outscored New York 121-105, Philadelphia 137-116, 126-117 and St. Louis 122-99 to run their winning streak to nine and stretch their lead over the Warriors to 5½ games. Meanwhile, Syracuse's Johnny Kerr matched Chamberlain's 36 points, outrebounded him 17-15, and the Nats won 150-121 to move within a game of second place. But the accolade of the week belonged to New York's Richie Guerin, who filled the baskets with 57 points as the sagging Knicks got off the floor to whomp Syracuse 152-121.
In the West, veterans Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan, with an occasional assist from Rookie Bob Ferry, brought St. Louis an even split in four games with Boston, Cincinnati (101-105, 118-98) and Detroit (129-111) and led the second-place Pistons by three games.