1. BOSTON COLLEGE (16-3)
2. PRINCETON (20-2)
3. SYRACUSE (19-2)
It had been eight years since BOSTON COLLEGE last beat Providence and Coach Bob Cousy had lost four straight to Joe Mullaney, his old Holy Cross teammate. No wonder, then, that it sounded like New Year's Eve in BC's Roberts Center when the Eagles led by 17 points after 5:21 of the second half. Quick little Billy Evans, ball handling and passing like a pro quarterback, and Steve Adelman, firing in long and medium jumpers, led the BC assault while a tight 2-3 zone shut off Jimmy Walker and the other Friars. Then Walker went to work. Dribbling deftly for position, he shot over the zone for 20 points in the next 12 minutes, and pretty soon he had Providence ahead 76-73. But big Willie Wolters put in four foul shots and a layup to get BC back in the game, and Jack Kvancz's two free throws with 34 seconds to go won for the Eagles 83-82. Walker finished with 33 points, Adelman with 31, but Mullaney raved about Evans. "We pressured him, we did everything," he said admiringly, "but still he passed over us."
There was bedlam at CORNELL, too, where 8,000 jammed into Barton Hall in great expectation. Princeton (page 20) was unbeaten in the Ivy League and ranked third in the nation, but the Tigers had been having their troubles lately and the Big Red had won nine in a row. Sure enough, Cornell stayed right with Princeton on the shooting of Walter Esdaile, and pulled ahead in the last three minutes to win 62-56.
Right now, SYRACUSE is the hottest team in the East. The Orange had 12 straight after walloping Colgate 100-86 and Georgetown 108-95 on 27 points by Richie Cornwall and 26 by Rick Dean. It was a harrowing week for ST. JOHN'S. The Redmen survived an unruly display by Villanova's home fans—they hurled cans at the officials and chanted loud curses—to beat the Wildcats 59-52, then trounced Niagara 66-48 at home and squeaked past old rival Fordham 54-52 on John Warren's two foul shots. The Villanova affair had some drastic repercussions. School authorities switched the Wildcats' final home game to Providence, VILLANOVA'S players, who were not involved, went about their business. They edged Canisius 47-44 and knocked off La Salle 68-59 to win Philadelphia's Big Five title, TEMPLE polished off Delaware 66-48 and Navy 92-70.
It has not been much of a season for NYU but Mal Graham, an acrobatic shooter who leads the nation in scoring, piled up 45 points as the Violets upset Manhattan 76-63. ARMY, however, beat NYU 68-55. Rutgers also lost to the Cadets 77-59 in between victories over Navy 83-49 and Delaware 95-72.
1. WESTERN KENTUCKY (20-1)
2. NORTH CAROLINA (18-3)
3. TENNESSEE (17-4)
Tennessee's Ray Mears likes his offense and defense disciplined, and you had better not make a mistake against his team. The patient Vols proved that last Saturday in Knoxville. They were wrapped in a tense 24-20 struggle with Vanderbilt for the SEC lead when suddenly the Commodores let up momentarily. In less than a minute Tom Hendrix rebounded his own shot, Bill Justus beat Vandy's Tommy Hagen twice one-on-one, and Tennessee had a 10-point lead. Vanderbilt never recovered, and the Vols won 70-53. "We just played our game," said Mears.
Clemson's little Bobby Roberts had the ACC in a dither. His team beat Duke 73-68 for the first time in five years and then the Tigers went after North Carolina, the ACC leader. The Tar Heels had won a couple of easy ones, over North Carolina State 77-60 and South Carolina 80-55, and Roberts figured they were ready to be taken. They were, too. Only two Carolina starters and one Clemson regular were left at the end—all the others fouled out—but Randy Mahaffey threw in 31 points and Clemson finished on top 92-88. "We were loose and relaxed, fat and happy," grumbled Carolina's Dean Smith. "There's a fine line between confidence and complacency."
With or without ailing Clem Haskins, WESTERN KENTUCKY is just too strong for its Ohio Valley neighbors. Butch Kaufman, Greg Smith and Wayne Chapman took over the scoring as Western trimmed Tennessee Tech 80-71 and Morehead 86-65 for its 20th consecutive win. WEST VIRGINIA had a lock on the Southern Conference regular-season title after beating Richmond 105-93 and George Washington 94-73, but it was an uncomfortable week for two tournament-conscious independents, EAST CAROLINA pulled a stall on Virginia Tech and played it out for a 43-33 victory, TULANE caught Georgia Tech with its defenses lagging and took the Yellow Jackets 74-71. But MEMPHIS STATE won twice, over Loyola of New Orleans 52-46 and Creighton 74-66, while DAYTON beat Loyola 101-71.
1. LOUISVILLE (22-2)
2. KANSAS (17-3)
3. TOLEDO (18-1)
The way teams have been popping in and out of the Big Ten lead lately the conference may never get a clear champion. Northwestern lost twice, to IOWA 80-75 and INDIANA 81-79, while Iowa was shocked by WISCONSIN 96-95 in triple overtime. So last week it was MICHIGAN STATE'S turn to come back from the dead. The Spartans whipped Indiana 86-77, and then, with three seconds to go and Minnesota leading 66-65, Steve Rymal fired a 34-footer toward the basket. Lee Lafayette leaped and rammed the ball through the hoop, and Michigan State won 67-66 to join the Hoosiers at the top. That winning shot aroused Minnesota's Johnny Kundla. "It was goal tending," he fumed. "I plan to protest."
What everyone expected to be a Missouri Valley showdown between LOUISVILLE and Tulsa turned out to be a breeze for the Cards. They slipped through Tulsa's extended zone for easy baskets, and almost before the Hurricanes knew it they were behind 26-11. Butch Beard scored 25 points, Westley Unseld grabbed 15 rebounds and Louisville won 82-64 to clinch a tie for the title.
Kansas fans sang out the number of times Oklahoma State passed the ball before shooting, and once the count hit 22. Then, characteristically, the Cowboys missed a layup. Still they were only seven points down at half time. So Kansas switched to a rarely used full-court man-to-man press to speed things up, outscored State 10-0 and went on to win 52-39. Oklahoma tried a zone against the Jayhawks, and it gave them a hard time—until Ron Franz and Jo Jo White shot it apart. Kansas won 82-74. NEBRASKA, a game behind in the Big Eight, beat Iowa State 76-65, but Colorado, another challenger, was two games out—as was KANSAS STATE—after losing to the Wildcats 55-53 in overtime.
Toledo rolled on in the Mid-American. The glittering Rockets, fired up by Steve Mix's talented shooting, swept Bowling Green 103-83 and Northern Illinois 84-71. MARSHALL, despite the ejection of bully-boy George Stone for being careless with his elbows, outmuscled Miami of Ohio 66-61 to take second place. Independent MARQUETTE had its ear cocked for a tournament bid after beating Xavier 71-69 and Wisconsin-Milwaukee 90-80. LOYOLA of Chicago had no hope, though, even after taking St. Louis 88-83 and Wichita State 92-81. But the brashest optimist of all was NOTRE DAME'S Johnny Dee. Although his team was 11-13 after beating Butler 57-48 and losing to BRADLEY 94-89, Dee insisted, "I think the NCAA ought to consider us for the tournament. If we get in we'll get to the finals."
1. UCLA (21-0)
2. UTAH STATE (18-3)
3. PACIFIC (17-3)
Can you imagine UCLA, with Lew Alcindor and all those flashy shooters, holding the ball? Well, Coach Johnny Wooden had a surprise for Oregon. The Ducks, behind 18-14 after a first half in which they attacked very deliberately, suddenly found themselves stewing in their own game. For the first eight minutes of the second half the Bruins played catch and never took a shot. Then Mike Warren was fouled, missed the free throw and Alcindor put in the rebound. Seven minutes later UCLA took its second shot, a driving layup by Lucius Allen. After that the Bruins speeded things up. Alcindor scored only 12 points, but UCLA won 34-25. The next night against normally cautious Oregon State, the Bruins played it straight. They simply put more pressure on the Beavers. Alcindor had 28 points and 23 rebounds, and UCLA coasted home 72-50. But Wooden had a warning for future stallers. "The way things are going," he said, "I'll do it again under similar circumstances."
Meanwhile the battle for second place in the Pacific Eight raged on. WASHINGTON STATE beat California twice 75-67 and 85-81, and WASHINGTON took Stanford 79-73 and 85-82 for its sixth in a row. Then STANFORD upset Washington State 71-70 in overtime, and CALIFORNIA whipped Washington 87-73. USC won over Oregon State 72-63 and Oregon 73-70.
The races were just about over in the West Coast AC and the Western AC. PACIFIC had a two-game lead in the WCAC after SANTA CLARA upset San Francisco 64-62, and the Tigers, with muscular Keith Swagerty sweeping the boards for 27 rebounds, buried St. Mary's 98-62. Utah gave BRIGHAM YOUNG a tussle, but the Cougars held on for a 61-60 victory. That put the Utes out of the running in the WAC and left BYU 1½ games ahead of WYOMING, which beat Arizona State 78-72 and Arizona 68-59. New Mexico was out of it, too, after losing to ARIZONA 70-64.
Utah State, an easy 86-63 winner over Portland, may be the area's leading independent, but NEW MEXICO STATE has to be the most amazing. The Aggies, who lost 22 times last year, upset Texas Western again, 64-53, and were now 14-8 for the season. They flustered the Miners with an aggressive 1-2-2 zone press that held TW to only two field goals in the first half and double-teamed "Big Daddy D" Lattin to distraction. "Our little kids just did a job on them," said Coach Lou Henson happily.
1. HOUSTON (19-3)
2. TEXAS WESTERN (17-5)
3. SMU (15-5)
The runners-up in the Southwest Conference—Texas and TCU—were full of hope when last-place TEXAS TECH upset SMU 82-74. Texas, however, got whacked by BAYLOR 101-75, but TCU almost had the Mustangs. Wayne Kreis gave the Frogs an 83-83 tie, with 41 seconds to go. Then SMU went into a stall. TCU came out of its full-court zone press for the first time and, with seven seconds to play, overzealous Mickey McCarty fouled Charlie Beasley. Beasley calmly dropped in the two free throws to win for the Mustangs 85-83, and they had a two-game lead with four games left. "I expect they'll go all the way now," predicted TCU's Buster Brannon sadly.
Texas Western, back home in friendly El Paso, finally got some help for its sagging backcourt. Sophomore Kenny John shot seven for seven field goals, and the Miners beat Seattle 80-54. But no one had a week like HOUSTON'S big Elvin Hayes, and the Cougars thrived on it. Hayes scored 38 points in an 87-80 victory over Creighton, 30 against St. Mary's of Texas as Houston won 122-58, and 38 more when the Cougars trounced Miami of Florida 105-86.