THE TOP THREE:
1. OKLAHOMA STATE (8-2)
2. OKLAHOMA CITY (8-3)
3. TEXAS WESTERN (11-1)
"Everything," Will Rogers once philosophized, "is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else." A fellow Oklahoman and an equally folksy type, OKLAHOMA CITY Coach Abe Lemons concurred after his team lost to WICHITA in the finals of the All-College tournament by a not-so-funny 80-47. Lemons was all smiles following wins over Idaho (104-66) and Wyoming (99-86), but not after Wichita threw up an all-out zone press and cut his Chiefs' scoring in half. "More coaches than ever are using the delay game," Lemons said sourly. "They get a good lead and they start stalling. I don't think it's good." Wichita opened up slightly in the second half but, with their 35-18 cushion, it did not matter. Dave Stallworth, who scored 92 points in three games for Wichita, was the MVP of this 28th and oldest of all holiday tournaments. Still, it was Bennie Lenox who broke Frank Selvy's 10-year-old scoring record with 53 points as he led TEXAS A & M to third place with a 99-87 win over Wyoming.
SMU Coach Doc Hayes knew how Lemons felt. Just when his Mustangs started to close in on undefeated STANFORD, the Indians slowed the game to a crawl and salvaged an 80-70 victory.
THE TOP THREE:
1. MICHIGAN (8-1)
2. LOYOLA (8-1)
3. WICHITA (9-3)
Lemons' counterpart, Hank Iba of OKLAHOMA STATE, has for 30 years been a leading practitioner of ball control and defense. Last week he, too, spotted a trend. Commenting on the recent flurry of high-scoring games, Iba said, "Maybe the wide-open offense is what we want, too. I may just have my boys cut loose and drive." Few believed him, however, and his boys did not cut loose. They took only 43 shots in a 65-56 win over slumping Kansas in the semifinals of the Big Eight tournament in Kansas City, but waiting for the Cowboys in the championship showdown was KANSAS STATE. Tex Winter, State coach, was not entirely pleased with his team's 100-78 win over Nebraska in the first round. "We'll make a sensational play," he said, "and then look like the Katzenjammer kids." But with such pranksters as Willie Murrell (27 points) and 7-foot Roger Suttner (he blocked 13 shots) and the rest of a deep State squad taking a total of 80 shots, Winter's Wildcats beat Missouri 84-67.
No one was slowing down the pace in Detroit's Motor City Classic. No team scored less than 82 points, as underdog PENN STATE put on two come-from-behind efforts to take the title. A 97-92 overtime win over Western Michigan was followed by an 88-83 finale against Detroit.
Small but swift WISCONSIN took the Milwaukee Classic. Twice getting 27 points from Ken Gustafson, the fast-breaking Badgers swamped Dartmouth (94-68) and Georgia Tech (102-84).
There was also a bit of nontournament scrambling, with CINCINNATI twice barely escaping defeat. With 14 seconds left and the score 70 all, Ron Bonham of the Bear-cats missed a shot. Kansas State's Murrell was coming down with the rebound when, as he put it, "Somebody lifted it right out of my hands." George Wilson was that somebody, and his last-second tap-in won for Cincinnati. The next time Bonham had a clutch shot was against Tulsa and this time, with 53 seconds left, he made it, giving the Bearcats a 54-52 win.
In another MVC opener, Johnny Smith came off the bench, scored 34 points and gave ST. LOUIS an 80-79 win over Bradley.
Big Ten rivals OHIO STATE and MICHIGAN STATE got 29-point scoring sprees from Gary Bradds and Pete Gent, respectively, to win easily. The Buckeyes defeated Houston 79-62, and the Spartans beat Butler 76-65.
THE TOP THREE:
1. VILLANOVA (8-1)
2. ST. BONAVENTURE (8-0)
3. NIAGARA (5-1)
"I never saw so many jumping jacks," marveled Utah Coach Jack Gardner after watching VILLANOVA outscore Dayton 77-73 in the opening round of the Holiday Festival. Two nights later Gardner was literally the jumpingest Jack ("I wish I could walk up and down the sidelines the way you can in football") in Madison Square Garden. Walled up outside Villanova's hustling zone, the Utes shot over the top, worked in close now and then on Skippy Kroeger's on-target passes and built up a 31-22 advantage. Villanova, though, capitalized on aggressive offensive work by Richie Moore (24 points) and clutch rebounding by Jim Washington to pull out an 82-75 win. This solid performance made the Wildcats a favorite over MINNESOTA, which moved into the finals by beating scrappy St. Joseph's 69-63.
Biggest eye-opener in a week of surprises came in Philadelphia's Quaker City tournament when GEORGETOWN, an early-season loser to Loyola of New Orleans, shocked NCAA champion Loyola of Chicago 69-58. Slim Jim Christy hit for 30 points and left Loyola, winner of 12 in a row, strangling in the tentacles of its own new "octopus" defense. But Georgetown's success was short-lived. Stealing the ball left and right, the Hoyas went in front by a dozen points in their next game, against LA SALLE. Then Frank Corace went to work for the Explorers. He scored from outside, he scored from inside (29 points in all), he picked off passes and rebounds and guided La Salle to an 80-69 victory. ST. BONA VENTURE'S Fred Crawford sank a 25-foot shot at the buzzer for a 64-62 win over Drake that put his club into the championship round against La Salle.
THE TOP THREE:
1. KENTUCKY (8-0)
2. VANDERBILT (9-0)
3. DAVIDSON (7-0)
Miami did not win its own Hurricane Classic, and it was Miami's own fault. The Hurricanes' first mistake was to invite SYRACUSE. The second was in not realizing that the calm of intermission is like the eye of a real hurricane. Miami led at half time of the title game, but Syracuse came back like a Force 10 gale and won 86-85.
Like Syracuse, THE CITADEL used a second-half surge to win the Poinsettia Classic in Greenville, S.C. More than anything, it was the Bulldogs' tight zone, holding Furman to 15 points in the second half, that paid off with a 42-41 triumph. FLORIDA, too, got a dividend from a zone, harassing the Air Force into its worst shooting (36% from the field) of the season and winning the prestige game of the Gator Bowl tournament 74-68.
Vanderbilt again proved itself one of the class clubs of the South. Memphis State could not cope with John Ed Miller's 10 straight field goals and bowed to the Commodores 85-79 at the start of the Vanderbilt Invitation. South Carolina lost in the championship match 106-78.
Because they had averaged 101.5 points in their six most recent wins, the KENTUCKY Wildcats already had been dubbed the Century Express before they tangled with Notre Dame. After five minutes the Irish led 10-1, but from there on Kentucky took over and won easily 100 to 81. The Wildcats used pinpoint shooting (57.8% in the second half) to make it a runaway. Thoroughly outrebounded, Coach Adolph Rupp moved Cotton Nash from center to forward early in the game, and he scored 33 points. Notre Dame Coach Johnny Jordan, awed by Kentucky's speed, said, "You can't pass against them; they'll steal your pants. I've never seen a quicker bunch of kids in my life."
Not quite as fast but zeroing in on the basket with even greater accuracy (81% in the first half, 61% overall), WAKE FOREST beat Navy 77-69.
THE TOP THREE:
1. UCLA (9-0)
2. STANFORD (6-0)
3. OREGON STATE (9-1)
Everybody likes to be home for the holidays, but no one enjoys it more than the OREGON STATE players, who have never lost a game in the Far West Classic in Portland, Ore. This year they won their 19th and 20th, taking the opener from LSU 87-57 as Mel Counts scored a record 48 points and edging Colorado State 53-51. This put the Beavers into the Monday finals against BRIGHAM YOUNG, which knocked Seattle from the undefeated list 77-74 and then beat Oregon 80-70.
The West Coast Athletic Conference tournament was one of magic numbers. In the first round, three of the four winners scored 68 points. In the second round the two eventual finalists each scored 77 points. In the end, though, the magic number was the one point that separated winner SAN JOSE STATE (56) from Santa Clara (55). But the big news was little SANTA BARBARA'S 68-57 upset of San Francisco.
UCLA swept through the Los Angeles Classic, upsetting Michigan 98-80 and finishing up with an 83-79 win over Illinois on Walt Hazzard's playmaking and Gail Goodrich's shooting (see page 48).
Wayne Estes of UTAH STATE is twice the fine player he was last year now that he has slimmed down to 225 pounds. Estes uses a sort of half-moon dribble crosscourt in front of the basket and then, when he is within 10 feet or less of the rim or even under it, he reaches back and shovels his shot upward just before he crashes into the home court's retaining wire fence. Ohio State could not stop Estes, as he dropped in 40 points, and the Aggies won 79-66. Earlier the Aggies also surprised Bradley 95-90.
Creighton, its winning streak stopped at nine, started a new one with victories over Nevada (92-63) and South Dakota (75-74). STANFORD edged Kansas in overtime 69-64. Before going on to their tournaments, BRIGHAM YOUNG outlasted Michigan State 95-90, COLORADO STATE beat Washington 82-52 and UTAH achieved Coach Gardner's 500th college win by downing New Mexico State 101-72.