More than ever before, multiple defenses have become an integral part of college basketball. Last week coaches everywhere were busy shifting their teams in and out of a wide variety of zones and presses. Typical was Nebraska's use of a zone press, man-to-man press, straight zone and man-to-man against Oklahoma State. But perhaps the most successful exponent of the trend was Providence's Joe Mullaney, an expert in the art of combinations and zones (SI, Dec. 7). Mullaney's variable defenses have worked so well that at week's end Providence was the nation's only unbeaten major team.
THE TOP THREE:
1. PROVIDENCE (11-0)
2. ST. JOHN'S (9-2)
3. ST. JOSEPH'S (12-1)
Only minutes before his team was to play Bob Cousy's Boston College club, PROVIDENCE'S Joe Mullaney gathered his young players around a blackboard in the locker room and plotted a 1-2-1-1 zone press for use against the Eagles. The zone was designed to cut off BC's fast break and keep the ball away from 6-foot-8 John Ezell and Willie Wolters underneath the basket. It worked beautifully. The hustling Friars harassed Boston College's guards, and Providence led 26-8 after 10 minutes. After that it was easy. Bill Blair and Jim Walker, a slick, 6-foot-3 Cousy-type backcourter who sets up, ball-handles, shoots, drives and even rebounds with consummate skill, each scored 28 points, and the unbeaten Friars won 89-79. Three nights later Providence went back to its combination defense (for only the third time this season) against Canisius. It smothered the Griffs, Walker got away for 27 points and the Friars took their 11th straight, 86-60, in Buffalo.
For more than a half, DAVIDSON'S celebrated 6-foot-8 Fred Hetzel hardly looked the part of an All-America against NYU in New York's Madison Square Garden. First Clem Galliard and then Ray Bennett, both just as big as Hetzel but tougher, guarded him so relentlessly that he had only a single field goal and Davidson was behind 47-42 with 17 minutes to play. Then Coach Lefty Driesell sent in Don Davidson, who had been held on the bench with an ailing instep, to play the high post and Hetzel moved to the side. Almost immediately, the poised Wildcats began to assert themselves. They opened the middle for drives by Hetzel and Charlie Marcon, Davidson (the player) fought for rebounds, Dick Snyder, who scored 26 points, threw in jumpers, and NYU quickly faded. Davidson won 82-73, but Hetzel was not happy. "I'm just not a Bill Bradley," he explained dejectedly.
St. John's, still savoring its Holiday Festival victory over Michigan, was almost brought up short by George Washington. The flat Redmen had to go into overtime to beat the Colonials, 72-70, on sub Henry Guess' tip-in. But St. John's was sharper against Loyola of New Orleans. The Redmen routed the Wolfpack, 74-54.
Philadelphia's Big Five (page 18) had only one internal test, and VILLANOVA hammered La Salle 86-72. Its other members concentrated on out-of-towners. ST. JOSEPH'S routed Lehigh 85-55 and Boston College 93-71; TEMPLE trounced Delaware 65-46 and Navy 67-60; PENN, already bruised by La Salle and Temple, took out its vengeance on fellow Ivy Leaguers, beating Brown 73-63 and Yale 80-64.
Princeton, the Ivy favorite, had a scare. Bill Bradley, held to 14 points in 40 minutes by Yale, finally beat the Elis 57-56 with seven points in overtime. Bradley then scored 38 points as the Tigers smashed Brown 80-58. CORNELL, after a big 106-96 win over Syracuse, took Dartmouth 95-91 and Harvard 91-53.
THE TOP THREE:
1. VANDERBILT (11-2)
2. DAVIDSON (11-1)
3. DUKE (8-2)
North Carolina's Dean Smith, after bleakly watching WAKE FOREST rip his disappointing Tar Heels 107-85 for their fourth loss in a row and with Duke next on the schedule, came to a decision. "I made up my mind to go with five men," he said later. "I told Billy Cunningham, Ray Respess, Ray Hassell [a new starter] and sophomores Bob Lewis and Tom Gauntlett they were my team and that we had to control the tempo, stop Duke's fast break and open up when they overplayed us on defense." Smith apparently had an attentive audience. Carolina's man-to-man contained Duke's Bob Verga and Steve Vacendak outside and successfully shut off Jack Marin's favorite push shot from the side. The Tar Heels, meanwhile, attacked cautiously but accurately. Cunningham hit for 22 points, Lewis for 21 and down went the Blue Devils, a 15-point favorite, 65-62. It brought a caustic comment from Duke's Vic Bubas. "Whatever they did tonight, they ought to study real well and see if they can do it again," he warned.
Bubas had better begin to worry about some other Atlantic Coast teams, WAKE FOREST, which edged Virginia Tech 86-85 in overtime in a nonconference game, was in first place and Duke was tied for second with NORTH CAROLINA STATE, a winner over South Carolina 68-49 and Virginia 73-67.
Vanderbilt, looking more and more like the best in the Southeastern Conference, had its strategy set for Kentucky. Coach Roy Skinner expected Adolph Rupp's team to go at his Commodores with zone defenses, and he was ready for them. Skinner set a guard almost back to half-court and had him hold the ball, hoping that the Wildcat zone would send two men after him. Kentucky obliged and Vandy had no trouble getting the ball to big Clyde Lee, who shot over the Wildcats for 41 points as Vanderbilt won 97-79. Mississippi State was even easier for Vandy. The Maroons succumbed 94-70.
Auburn, however, kept pace with Vanderbilt. With its big boys crashing the boards and Lee DeFore, Jimmy Guy and Larry Cart bombing away, the Tigers trounced Mississippi 77-53 and then shot holes in three different Florida zone defenses to win, 74-63. "You play it tough in this league or get killed," observed Coach Bill Lynn. "We play it tough."
The Southern Conference had a strange look. West Virginia, which almost never used to lose to a conference opponent, was wallowing in third place behind DAVIDSON and THE CITADEL after losing to GEORGE WASHINGTON 79-74 and RICHMOND 74-71. But there is some cheer in Morgantown. West Virginia fans are showing up early on game nights to watch the unbeaten (10 straight) freshman team play. The frosh are averaging 100 points, and four of the top six scorers are Negroes, who next year will become the first of their race to play in the Southern Conference.
THE TOP THREE:
1. UCLA (11-1)
2. SAN FRANCISCO (10-1)
3. BRIGHAM YOUNG (9-3)
UCLA continued to show the variety of its skills. The aggressive Bruins, pressing and running like happy cubs, gave their northern leaguemates an eyeful. Gail Goodrich helped shoot Oregon out of sight, 91-74, with 27 points and then Keith Erickson got 22 as Oregon State fell, 83-53. OSU's Jim Jarvis, who got to UCLA for 28 points, could hardly believe his eyes. "Every time I turned around there were more of them," he said, shaking his head, "and they were jumping higher."
Catching the frisky Bruins in the AAWU was beginning to look like an impossible chore. But STANFORD, for one, may just have a chance. The Indians looked solid enough while trimming Washington State 70-43 and Washington 80-68.
San Francisco's shooters were back on target again. Ollie Johnson hit 10 for 12, Erwin Mueller seven for seven, all from within eight feet, as the Dons routed San Jose State 77-53. Then San Francisco breezed past Santa Barbara 102-69.
Western AC observers can hardly wait for NEW MEXICO'S stingy defenders, the nation's best, and BRIGHAM YOUNG'S freewheeling runners to tangle next month. But meanwhile the Lobos put down Arizona State 69-48 and Arizona 64-42 for their 11th straight. And BYU's Cougars, who would rather shoot than defend, raced past Seattle 92-72 and Utah State 99-90. But there was some consolation for the Aggies. They edged Utah 86-84 in Salt Lake City, where the Redskins almost never lose, as LeRoy Walker scored 33 points and big Wayne Estes got his usual 32.
Idaho State's DeWayne Cruse must have set some kind of a record for futility when his team lost to WEBER STATE 64-55. First the officials called a technical foul on him, then a second and a third and finally one on the ISU bench. Minutes later Cruse, called for a personal foul, threw up his arms in disgust and accidentally caught a referee full in the face. It cost him a fourth technical before the sensitive referee threw him out of the game.
THE TOP THREE:
1. OKLAHOMA CITY (10-3)
2. HOUSTON (9-6)
3. BAYLOR (8-3)
It did not take long for the hurly-burly Southwest Conference, where upsets are the norm, to begin playing an old familiar game. BAYLOR survived the incessant roar of leather-lunged rooters at College Station to edge Texas A&M 80-77 on sophomore Darrell Hardy's twisting reverse layup and two pressure free throws in the very last minute. But then came retribution for the precocious Bears, RICE, beaten 10 straight times, slowed down Baylor's run-and-shoot game with a tight zone defense and shocked Baylor 59-56, and at Waco, too. "We were ripe to be plucked," mourned Coach Bill Menefee. "They just whipped us good."
Before the first week of conference play was out, Texas A&M lost again, to SMU 89-77 and TCU, which had not won a conference game in almost two years, ended its 21-game losing streak. Led by sophomores Wayne Kreis and Stan Farr, a 6-foot-9 center, who both scored 17 points, the Frogs surprised Texas 77-64.
Houston, feeling 10 feet tall after out-scoring Oklahoma City 61-54, was whittled down by NOTRE DAME 110-80.
THE TOP THREE:
1. MICHIGAN (9-2)
2. WICHITA STATE (10-2)
3. INDIANA (10-1)
The Big Ten race was hardly under way and already there were almost as many contenders as there were also-rans, IOWA, on to new Coach Ralph Miller's running game now, was in first place after whacking Wisconsin 92-62 and Michigan State 85-78. MINNESOTA and PURDUE each had a victory, too.
Undefeated Indiana, however, finally found a team it could not press to death. ILLINOIS simply turned loose its big shooters—Tal Brody, Skip Thoren and Bogie Redmon—against the Hoosiers and they ran away for 23, 21 and 20 points, respectively, and the Illini won 86-81.
Then it was Illinois' turn to go down. MICHIGAN, with some fence-mending to do after its disastrous trip to New York, set out to beat the Illini off the boards in boxy little Yost Field House. Bill Buntin and Larry Tregoning snapped up almost every rebound in sight, Buntin and Cazzie Russell poured in baskets (they each scored 30 points) and the Wolverines led by 13 early in the second half. Then the lead began to shrink. But this time Michigan held on to win, 89-83.
Wichita State and St. Louis, both 4-0 in the Missouri Valley, are heading for a showdown next Saturday. The Shockers shot magnificently—Nate Bowman was nine for 10, Kelly Pete eight for 10 and Dave Leach five for seven—against Bradley and beat the Braves 85-79. Cincinnati was tougher but the overly cautious Bearcats also lost, 65-61. St. Louis opened up a 16-point lead over Tulsa and then almost blew it before winning, 54-53. Coach John Benington's new defense—a half-court press that fell back into a 2-3 zone—puzzled Drake long enough for the Bills to win, 66-63.
Big Eight opponents of KANSAS had a problem: whether to give the Jayhawkers their inside or outside shooting game. Obviously neither Nebraska nor Missouri had the answer. Kansas beat the Huskers 66-56 and Missouri 73-66. But the Jayhawkers had company at the top. OKLAHOMA STATE, playing Hank Iba's patient game, took Iowa State 54-52 in overtime, then went out of character to whomp Nebraska 93-54.