BASKETBALL—NBA: the LOS ANGELES (21-16) lead in the Western Division dwindled to one game after the Lakers lost two games to the 76ers. But L.A. bounced back by defeating the Warriors 132-120 and the Pistons twice—122-112 as Rookie Gail Goodrich scored 25 points and 115-106 as Jerry West hit more than 40 points for the eighth time this season—and the Lakers' lead was back up to three games. BALTIMORE (18-19) ran off a four-game winning streak to make it 13 out of 18 before losing back-to-back games to the Celtics, and slumping SAN FRANCISCO (16-22) dropped six out of nine despite the all-round play of rookie Rick Barry. In one losing game against the Knicks he scored 57 points (including 21 foul shots), the most in the NBA this season, and in a winning game against the 76ers he grabbed 25 rebounds and threw in 37 points. ST. LOUIS (13-18) split four while last-place DETROIT (9-23) played six games and lost all six. Eastern Division leader BOSTON (22-8) dropped a game to the Royals, then won four in a row by defeating the Pistons 114-112 on John Havlicek's jump shot with 19 seconds left, the Knicks 123-120 in overtime after being down 21 points early in the fourth period, and the Bullets twice, 113-99 and 120-99. Second-place CINCINNATI (21-13), three games behind, won four out of six, including a 112-109 victory over the 76ers that broke a three-game losing streak and a 117-110 win over the Celtics that momentarily pulled the Royals within one game of Boston. PHILADELPHIA (19-12) also won four of six while NEW YORK (12-20) lost three out of five, but still showed signs of improvement. A 141-137 victory over the Warriors was the Knicks' third win in a row and a 122-114 victory over the Royals was the Knicks' first over an Eastern Division team in eight tries this season and the sixth win in nine games under New Coach Dick McGuire.
BOXING—In a 15-round fight at Rome's Sports Palace, undefeated (62 wins) World Junior Middleweight Champion NINO BENVENUTI of Italy successfully defended his title against his countryman, former champion Sandro Mazzinghi. Benvenuti, Olympic welterweight winner in 1960, had relieved Mazzinghi of the title six months ago in Milan.
FOOTBALL—NFL: A 25-yard field goal by Don Chandler in a sudden-death overtime playoff gave GREEN BAY a 13-10 victory over Baltimore and the Western Division championship (page 10). The playoff game had been set up when the Packers were tied 24-24 by SAN FRANCISCO on a TD pass by John Brodie to Vern Burke with 1 minute 7 seconds remaining in the last game of the regular season. BALTIMORE reached the playoff by defeating Los Angeles 20-17 as Tom Matte, filling in for injured Quarterbacks Johnny Unitas and Gary Cuozzo, gained 99 yards rushing in 16 carries and led the Colts 85 yards to set up Lou Michaels' game-winning 23-yard field goal. Third-place Chicago was upset 24-17 in the last minute of play by MINNESOTA when Rip Hawkins intercepted a Rudy Bukich pass and ran it back 35 yards for a TD. Rookie Tom Nowatzke, who had carried the ball only 12 times previously this season, scored two touchdowns as DETROIT beat Philadelphia 35-28. CLEVELAND, the Eastern champion, defeated St. Louis 27-24 when Frank Ryan threw a 24-yard TD pass to Tom Hutchinson in the closing minutes of play. Jimmy Brown scored his 21st touchdown but was ejected for fighting in the first half and lost any chance to pass Gale Sayers' league-leading mark of 22. DALLAS tied New York for second in the East with a 38-20 victory over the Giants as Don Meredith threw three TD passes and WASHINGTON crushed last-place Pittsburgh 35-14. Jimmy Brown led all runners at season's end with 1,544 yards rushing; John Brodie earned the passing title, gaining 3,112 yards on 242 completions; and Dave Parks topped the receivers with 80 passes caught.
AFL: Underdog BUFFALO, representing the Eastern Division, gained the league championship for the second year in a row by defeating San Diego 23-0 (page 16). In the final week of regular-season play second-place NEW YORK upset the Bills 14-12 as Joe Namath threw scoring passes of 18 and 36 yards to Don Maynard and the Bills' Pete Gogolak went scoreless for the first time in his two-year pro career, missing three field goals and one extra point. Gino Cappelletti took the league scoring title away from Gogolak when he totaled 28 points in BOSTON'S 42-14 defeat of last-place Houston. In the West SAN DIEGO broke a 14-14 tie in the last quarter when Lance Alworth made a spectacular catch of a pass from Don Breaux, a reserve quarterback, and ran 44 yards with it for a TD to beat second-place Oakland 24-14. Curtis McClinton scored one touchdown and set up three others as KANSAS CITY defeated last-place Denver 45-35. Charger Paul Lowe broke the league's season rushing record with a total of 1,121 yards, bettering Clem Daniels' mark (1,099) set in 1963. John Hadl, also of San Diego, took the passing title with 2,798 yards, and Lionel Taylor of Denver was the leading receiver with 85 catches.
January 3, 1966
COLLEGE: Dewey Warren completed three of his four passes, one of them for a touchdown, and ran for two more scores to lead TENNESSEE to a 27-6 win over Tulsa in a driving rain at the Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston. At the Liberty Bowl in Memphis' Memorial Stadium, MISSISSIPPI drove 59 yards early in the third quarter for the deciding TD that came on a six-yard pass from Joe Graves to Doug Cunningham in the Rebels' 13-7 victory over Auburn. Texas A&I's Randy Johnson completed 20 of 33 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns as the SOUTH beat the North 23-19 in the Blue-Gray game in Montgomery, Ala. The Shrine College All-Star game in Miami ended in a 21-14 victory for the SOUTH after Bill Clay of Mississippi ran 39 yards with an interception for a fourth-period TD.
HOCKEY—MONTREAL'S (16-7-4) lead over second-place CHICAGO (16-9-3) slipped to one point after the Canadiens won two, lost three and the Black-hawks won three, dropped two and tied one. Bobby Hull scored four goals in an 8-4 victory over the Bruins and two more in each of three games to lift his season total to 27. DETROIT (14-11-4) moved within three points of second place with four wins and three losses, while TORONTO (13-10-5), only five points out, extended its unbeaten streak to nine games with five wins and a tie. NEW YORK (7-16-7) beat the Canadiens and the Bruins but lost four others, while BOSTON (6-19-3) lost once to every team in the league but beat the Rangers 4-2 to break a 12-game winless streak and an eight-game losing streak.
TRACK & FIELD—KIPCHOGE KEINO of Kenya continued his South Pacific campaign (page 44) with an 8:25.2 two-mile run, the third-fastest ever and a 5,000-meter race in which he defeated Australia's Ron Clarke by 30 yards. Keino's assault on Michel Jazy's mile record was thwarted again, however, by East Germany's JURGEN MAY. In Auckland, New Zealand, May let Keino set the pace, then overtook him with a strong burst in the closing yards. May's time was 3:54.1, [5/10] of a second off Jazy's world record.
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: BILLY CASPER, as winner of the 1965 Vardon Trophy for the lowest average (70.586 strokes for each 18 holes over 111 rounds) on the PGA tour. Casper, who also gained the trophy in 1960 and 1963, earned $99,931 and won four out of 31 tournaments in 1965.
TRADED: By the New York Jets to the Boston Patriots, 1964 Heisman Trophy winner JOHN HUARTE for six-year receiver JIMMY COLCLOUGH, a fourth-round draft choice and an estimated $40,000. Huarte, who was signed by the Jets for a reported $200,000 last winter, was retired to the Jets' taxi squad after two exhibition games and never played in a regular-season game.
HIRED: To replace Al Lopez as manager of the Chicago White Sox, EDDIE STANKY, 48, director of player personnel for the New York Mets. Stanky, who managed the St. Louis Cardinals for 3½ seasons (1952-1955), said: "This is my kind of club, and I want it to be the most alert one in the American League and also the best conditioned." He will be working across town next season from his former manager, LEO DUROCHER, who recently took over the direction of the Cubs.
HIRED: By the University of Oklahoma to replace Corner Jones as head football coach, JIM MACKENZIE, 35, defensive coach under Frank Broyles at the University of Arkansas for eight years.
HIRED: As head football coach at Tulane University, JIM PITTMAN, 40, chief assistant coach at the University of Texas. Pittman succeeded Tommy O'Boyle, who resigned at the end of the season.
FIRED: HARLAND SVARE, 35, head football coach of the Los Angeles Rams, who finished last in the NFL's Western Division with a 4-10 record. "I did the best I could. I wouldn't do it any differently," said Svare after 14 wins, 31 losses and three ties in 3½ seasons guiding the Rams.
DIED: MACK LEE HILL, 25, Kansas City Chiefs' fullback, in Menorah Medical Center of complications that set in after surgery for a ruptured ligament in his right knee. Hill had gained 627 yards this season, his second in the AFL, and his average of 5.02 yards per carry was second best in the league.