1. PRINCETON (19-1)
2. BOSTON COLLEGE (15-2)
3. SYRACUSE (17-2)
It was no week for favorites in the East. FORDHAM hardly figured to give Boston College more than a workout. The Eagles had looked good enough to make anybody's top 10 while beating St. Joseph's 83-69. But Fordham's hustlers made 35 of 38 foul shots, Dennis Witkowski scored 21 points and the Eagles went down 85-81. "Maybe it's good psychologically," philosophized BC's Bob Cousy. "We were getting a little cocky."
Providence, which had beaten St. Bona-venture 80-65 and Fairfield 89-71, was sailing along 16 points ahead of NIAGARA with less than eight minutes to play, when suddenly the Eagles began pressing. Their subs, Pete Erwin and Bill Zeits, shot like Jimmy Walker (who was shut out the last 12 minutes after scoring 28 points), and Alan Schug's foul shot caught the Friars 77-76.
Oklahoma City appeared harmless enough while losing to LA SALLE 108-97, and even Coach Abe Lemons joked about his defense. "It's what we call a sieve," he drawled. "I don't think it's going to catch on, though." TEMPLE had drubbed La Salle 79-65 and should have been a cinch to take OKLAHOMA CITY. But OCU's Gary Gray got going, scored 21 points and the Chiefs won 68-65.
Rutgers got hit, too, by LEHIGH'S slowdown 45-43. But Bobby Lloyd salvaged some glory from the upset. He made his first four foul shots before missing, to stretch his NCAA record to 60 straight.
Even PRINCETON had a couple of close calls. The Tigers blew a 14-point lead to Yale and needed Gary Walters' last-second foul shot to win 81-80. The next night Brown had Princeton 54-53 with a minute to go. This time four free throws by Chris Thomforde and Joe Heiser saved the Tigers 57-54. It was enough to make Coach Butch van Breda Kolff brood about CORNELL, next Saturday's opponent. The Big Red, beaten only once in the Ivy League thrashed Dartmouth 86-71 and Harvard 85-71.
Syracuse and ST. JOHN'S escaped the debacle. Syracuse beat Connecticut 90-79, squeezed past Niagara 67-65 on Rick Dean's two foul shots and trounced West Virginia 118-104 as Dean put in 34 points. St. John's was in trouble against West Virginia until a 14-point spree overtook the Mountaineers 83-71. ARMY'S grabby, chest-to-chest defense, which had overpowered Manhattan 69-64, also gave the Redmen a hard time before St. John's prevailed 51-45. "It looked like some sort of guerrilla warfare," observed Coach Lou Carnesecca.
Villanova survived a body-banging hassle (73 fouls) with St. Joseph's to win 78-73, while MANHATTAN beat Canisius 68-65, and NYU, after losing to ST. PETER 69-68, surprised Georgetown 83-77 and then lost to HOLY CROSS 92-85.
1. NORTH CAROLINA (16-2)
2. WESTERN KENTUCKY (18-1)
3. VANDERBILT (17-3)
Life for NORTH CAROLINA (page 24) was difficult enough in the Atlantic Coast Conference—the Tar Heels barely beat Virginia 79-75 and Wake Forest 75-73 in overtime—but it was intolerable in Atlanta. GEORGE TECH, an independent with an eye for a post-season tournament, shocked North Carolina 82-80, when sub Bob Brizendine dropped in the winning layup with six seconds to go. "I had a feeling about this game," said Tech's Whack Hyder jubilantly.
Even before that, though, some folks were calling DUKE the best in the ACC. But the Blue Devils had their troubles beating North Carolina State 69-65 and Southwestern Louisiana 94-83. CLEMSON was coming on, too. The Tigers, with Randy Mahaffey firing in 18 points, shot up South Carolina's 1-3-1 zone to whip the Gamecocks 73-57 and then edged Wake Forest 70-68.
Georgia was determined to hold the ball when it played VANDERBILT and TENNESSEE, the SEC leaders. It almost worked against Vandy. Little Dick McIntosh scored 15 points and the 'Dogs had Vanderbilt in a 40-40 tie at the end of the game. Then Jerry Southwood and Bob Warren threw in seven quick points, and Vandy won in overtime 51-41. But Tennessee, which had thumped LSU 75-69 at the beginning of the week, simply shot Georgia out of its delay game. The sharpshooting Vols had a 15-5 lead before the visitors took their second crack at the basket, with 2:42 to go in the first half. That finished the stall. Ron Widby scored 21 points as Tennessee rolled to an easy 68-36 victory. Vanderbilt, however, almost lost its tie for first. The Commodores had to scramble to overtake Mississippi 72-67.
"I felt just like I did the day they told me there wasn't a Santa Claus." That was WESTERN KENTUCKY Coach Johnny Oldham's pained reaction after learning that Clem Haskins, his star, had suffered a lineal fracture of his right wrist. Haskins had just scored 33 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to put the Hilltoppers ahead in an 88-79 overtime win over Murray State when it happened. Without Haskins, Western had to struggle to hold off East Tennessee 65-56 for its 18th straight.
Virginia tech, running hard for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, beat George Washington 78-70 and Ohio U. 87-47. MEMPHIS STATE also was hopeful after taking Mississippi State 61-53, but the Tigers were unable to hold DAYTON'S Don May. He got away for 30 points and 15 rebounds, as Dayton won its 17th game 81-56.
1. HOUSTON (16-3)
2. TEXAS WESTERN (16-4)
3. SMU (14-4)
What started out to be a long, hard pull had suddenly become a breeze for SMU. Thanks to some totally unexpected help from last-place TEXAS TECH, which upset TCU 77-72, the Mustangs were sitting pretty with a two-game lead in the Southwest Conference. Baylor, a stubborn 96-89 loser to TCU earlier in the week, tried to shake up SMU with a tough press in the second half, but the Mustangs survived. Denny Holman and sophomores Lynn Phillips and Bill Voight just kept shooting (for 20 points each), and SMU won its sixth straight 94-88.
Houston and OKLAHOMA CITY, prepping for the road, both won at home. Houston, with Elvin Hayes throwing in 42 points, took Hardin-Simmons 92-85, while OCU overwhelmed West Texas 107-75.
1. LOUISVILLE (20-2)
2. KANSAS (15-3)
3. TOLEDO (16-1)
There have not been many bright moments for NOTRE DAME'S Johnny Dee lately. But Dee knew the only chance he had against fifth-ranked Houston was to stop Elvin Hayes. So the Irish concentrated on the Big E and held him without a field goal for 18 minutes. By the time Hayes got away from his tormentors (for 30 points), it was too late. Sophomore Bob Arnzen had sneaked through the Cougars' zone for 37, and Notre Dame had an 87-78 upset.
Louisville, rushing to its first Missouri Valley title, was almost brought up short by Drake. The Cards had to stall the last 3½ minutes to pull out a 57-54 victory. Wichita State was easier. The Shockers fell 90-68. But TULSA, which beat Bradley 72-71 in Peoria for the first time in 12 years, was still in the race, despite a 76-62 loss to ST. LOUIS.
Northwestern, an easy 105-82 winner over Michigan, had unexpected company at the top of the Big Ten. INDIANA surprised Michigan State 82-77 and then beat Wisconsin 93-81 for a 5-1 record. TOLEDO was back in form in the MAC. The Rockets beat Western Michigan 86-76 and Ohio U. 84-80 to hold a one-game edge over Marshall and Miami of Ohio.
Kansas had a half-game lead in the Big Eight. The Jayhawks, with Jo-Jo White playing superb defense, trounced Nebraska 84-58, but Kansas State, after a bad start, gave them a tussle. K-State made only one of its first 11 shots and wished it had missed that—confused, Roy Smith drove in for a layup at the wrong basket. Kansas eventually won 60-55.
Marquette and De Paul kept their tournament hopes alive. Marquette eased past Loyola of Chicago 81-80 and Davidson 66-65, while De Paul defeated Notre Dame 56-49 and Xavier 71-60 for Coach Ray Meyer's 400th victory.
1. UCLA (19-0)
2. UTAH STATE (17-3)
3. PACIFIC (16-3)
Some night some team may find a way to beat UCLA and maybe a stall will do it. But Oregon State played its usual deliberate game and a tight zone against the Bruins, and all it did was keep the Beavers close for a while. Then Lew Alcindor and his quick friends took off for 16 points, and the game was over. Alcindor and Lucius Allen each scored 22 as UCLA won 76-44. Against Oregon, Alcindor got only 16 points, but Allen's 20 and Mike Warren's ball-stealing did in the Ducks 100-68. "They're amazing," said OSU's Paul Valenti admiringly.
It was discouraging, but all the other Pacific Eight teams could look forward to was second place. WASHINGTON STATE was the current runner-up, after beating Stanford 82-58, while USC outscored Oregon 71-63 and Oregon State 60-47, and WASHINGTON surprised California 85-80.
Pacific was still going strong in the West Coast AC. With Keith Swagerty pulling down 55 rebounds, the Tigers ran over Santa Barbara 84-71 and San Jose State 107-60. SAN FRANCISCO took second place after beating Loyola of Los Angeles 59-54.
Utah tried to walk and play zone with BRIGHAM YOUNG, and the style, unusual for Coach Jack Gardner, almost caught the Cougars in Provo. The Utes led 24-21 at the half, but BYU's zone press finally took its toll, and 6'11" Craig Raymond's last-second tip-in gave the Cougars a 64-62 win and a two-game lead in the Western AC.
Denver's Troy Bledsoe had all kinds of defenses ready for UTAH STATE, but nothing helped. The Aggies won 97-83 in Logan and 82-81 in Denver; then they hammered Arizona State 90-59. TEXAS WESTERN road trip started out harmlessly enough with a 75-65 win over Arizona. But SEATTLE had a surprise for the Miners. Tom Workman worked them over for 17 points and 18 rebounds, and TW went down 69-56.