1. ST. BONAVENTURE (9-0)
2. COLUMBIA (7-3)
3. TEMPLE (8-2)
It was a fitting finale for the last ECAC Holiday Festival in the old Madison Square Garden. For the first time in the 16-year history of the tournament it was an all-New York City championship game. Columbia, the intellectual's Cinderella team, had crushed West Virginia 98-71 in the opening round and, in the semifinals, had surprised Louisville 74-67. In that game the Lions' 7-foot center, Dave Newmark, contributed a hook shot and two clutch free throws in the last 2:06 to take Columbia from a 66-67 deficit to a 70-67 lead.
St. John's, 11 miles from the Columbia campus, had made the finals by beating Syracuse 60-55 and Boston College 60-57.
January 8, 1968
Then, before 18,013 enthralled and involved New Yorkers, Columbia upset the Redmen, 60-55. The Lions got a magnificent performance from sophomore Jim McMillian, who scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half, mostly on long jump shots and quick turn-around layups. After the buzzer sounded, the Columbia students started the usual chant, "We're No. 1!" They knew they weren't No. 1 in the nation, but they were No. 1 in New York and that was enough.
Before the Quaker City Tournament got underway in Philadelphia, Temple's Joe Cromer told his coach, Harry Litwack, that he was getting a bit confused out on the court. Litwack immediately sent Cromer to the bench, shifted 6'4" Clarence Brookins to forward from guard and put Tony Brocchi in the backcourt. The moves helped the Owls sweep three games and capture their first Quaker City title since the tournament began in 1961. Temple whipped Providence 93-63 in the first game, upset Wisconsin 82-80 in the semifinals and defeated St. Francis 83-77 in the title game. Brookins accounted for 71 points and 45 rebounds in the three games, the best series of his career. "The trouble with me before," he said, "was that all I had to do was to miss a couple of shots and I'd forget about the basket for the rest of the evening. Then I saw Calvin Murphy on television. He's the best there is and if he can miss shots and not let it bother him, I am sure I can do the same."
Midwestern visitor Drake is not exactly the gracious guest. The Bulldogs have yet to lose a game in Buffalo's Queen City Tournament. They easily won their fourth title by defeating host Canisius 85-84.
The Brown Indians of St. Bonaventure continued unbeaten as they shot over 50% for the eighth time in nine games in defeating Baldwin-Wallace 81-69.
1. CINCINNATI (7-2)
2. DRAKE (8-1)
3. MARQUETTE (8-2)
Kansas, overwhelmingly favored to win its fourth straight Big Eight Tournament, wound up playing Missouri for fifth place as the championship game matched Kansas State and Nebraska. The Jayhawks were shocked in the first round by Oklahoma State, Henry Iba's pupils performing in their well-drilled style. After grabbing a 10-point lead in the first half, State came back with a spread offense. As the clock ticked on, Kansas, in desperation, came out after the Cowboys, which is just what Iba wanted. State made 13 of 19 field-goal attempts, 12 on drives. "Possibly Kansas underestimated us," said Iba tactfully after the 79-67 victory.
The title game pitted Kansas State's size and zone defense against Nebraska's speed. "We saw no way to get inside on them," said Husker Coach Joe Cipriano, sporting a flaming-scarlet linen jacket, "so we had to rely on the outside shooting of Stuart Lantz and Tom Baack." Both came through beautifully as Baack got 28 points, Lantz 21, and Nebraska won 66-62.
Kansas State had reached the finals by beating Missouri 71-61, and two nights later utilized a tough zone with special man-to-man coverage on accurate outside shooter Pat Frink to defeat Colorado 74-69.
Nebraska's route to the title was more difficult. Outscored from the field by Oklahoma, the Huskers made 27 of 28 free throws, including 25 in a row, to win 75-65. The next night they gave Oklahoma State a little of Iba's own medicine as they played deliberate ball throughout the game. With the score tied at 46, Nebraska stalled for two minutes and 43 seconds and won on a rebound shot by Bob Gratopp. This time the Cornhuskers hit on 16 of 18 free throw attempts.
Powerful Cincinnati won its 12th straight game—and the second this year—from Dayton, as the Bearcats pierced the Flyers' zone continually for an 82-68 victory. Toledo took a giant step toward its second consecutive MAC title when the Rockets stopped their leading rival, Marshall, 102-87. Earlier in the week Toledo experimented with Morris-Harvey and won 98-76. Coach Bobby Nichols had Center Steve Mix at forward, Forward John Brisker on the bench, 7-foot sophomore Doug Hess at the pivot and Don White at guard, filling in for playmaker Willie Babione, who had become scholastically ineligible. But when Marshall came to town, Nichols had Mix back at the post and Brisker in the front court, and both showed him that's where they prefer to play. Brisker scored 35 points and Mix added 30.
Everyone in Detroit expected, and hoped, that Niagara's Calvin Murphy would score 100 points. That is, everyone except the opposing teams in the Motor City Tournament. Valparaiso met Niagara in the first round, and Calvin got 41 as the Crusaders tried a man-to-man on him. After three minutes the man guarding Murphy had three personal fouls. The rest of the Purple Eagles were also hot and they won easily, 113-82. The next night, however, Calvin scored only 29 points as host Detroit kept him outside with a tight zone defense. With Murphy relatively silent, Detroit won the title game 102-91.
Michigan sophomore Forward Rudy Tomjanovich was in an auto accident on Monday, could hardly walk on Tuesday. But, miraculously, he recovered enough on Wednesday to score 21 points and grab 10 rebounds while leading the Wolverines to their first victory in their new arena, 93-76 over Butler. Three days later the Wolverines defeated Northern Illinois 84-77.
1. VANDERBILT (9-1)
2. NORTH CAROLINA (7-1)
3. KENTUCKY (7-1)
After winning their fifth straight Vanderbilt Invitational Tournament before Christmas, the Commodores added to their holiday cheer with a happy New Year in New Orleans by beating Davidson 80-67 in the finals of the Sugar Bowl Tournament. Unlike an earlier meeting between the same teams, which went into overtime before Vandy won by two points, this one saw the Commodores open a big lead in the second half behind the shooting of Bo Wyenandt and Tom Hagan and hold on to win easily. Hagan finished with 26 points and Wyenandt had 23. The night before, in the opening round, Tommy-gun paced the Commodores to a 73-63 win over Michigan State while Davidson's Mike Maloy was leading his team to a 51-44 victory over deliberate Memphis State.
Alabama, fresh from winning the Mobile Classic with a 90-83 victory over Tulane, got its chance to silence the nation's and LSU's big gun, Pistol Pete Maravich, and, in a manner of speaking, succeeded. The slender sophomore was held to his lowest total of the year, 30 points, but the other Tigers more than took up the slack and LSU won 81-70. Not since 1951 have the Georgia Bulldogs had a winning season, but Ken Rosemond's surprising young squad is now 5-1. The Bulldogs took the Triangle Classic in Raleigh, beating Yale 79-75 and North Carolina State 62-58. The biggest reason for Georgia's success is 6'11" sophomore Center Bob Lienhard. After battling the flu the day before, Lienhard almost beat State single-handed. He hit six of 10 shots from the floor, made seven free throws, grabbed 23 rebounds and blocked 12 shots. "He's the most coachable player I've ever seen," says Rosemond. Kentucky beat Notre Dame 81-73 in Louisville.
The action in Miami Beach was a little too tough for visitors as Miami won the Hurricane Classic with a 102-91 victory over NYU. Tournament favorite Santa Clara lost in the first round when NYU and Adolfo Porrata surprised the Broncos 93-88 in overtime. Guard Porrata collected 39 points, seven in the extra period, to lead the Violets. The other northern visitor, Dartmouth, was beaten 110-91 by Miami and then 77-69 by Santa Clara in the consolation game.
In Jacksonville, at the Gator Bowl tournament, the northerners and the westerners fared a lot better. Defending champion Florida was knocked out in the opening round by St. Joseph's of Philadelphia 89-69, and Washington took care of Mississippi State 82-80 after almost blowing a 17-point halftime lead. In the championship game St. Joseph's edged the Huskies 79-74.
Duke Coach Vic Bubas gave Mike Lewis the O.K. to shoot anytime he wanted to before the season began, and against Wake Forest Lewis went wild. He made 35 points, hitting on 14 of 22 from the floor, as the Blue Devils won 103-76. "I'm never going to tell him to quit shooting now," remarked an elated Bubas after the game.
1. HOUSTON (13-0)
2. OKLAHOMA CITY (8-0)
3. NEW MEXICO STATE (10-1)
Before the final game of the All-Sports Classic in Dallas, Western Kentucky Coach John Oldham predicted that for his team to beat California it would have to stop Cal's big man (6'11" Bob Presley) and the little man (5'10" Russ Critchfield). Despite the presence of a goodly number of red-towel waving Kentuckians, Oldham's team failed to stop either. Critchfield got 31 points and Presley 28 and 19 rebounds. Still, the 'Toppers scored their second upset in two nights by winning 96-85 behind Butch Kaufman's 25 points and Wayne Chapman's 24. Western had advanced to the finals by surprising Indiana 110-91 with Chapman, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, getting 34 points. Cal, cheered by its Straw Hat Band that had driven 1,800 miles, held off SMU in a first-round game 88-84 as Critchfield collected 33 points, hitting 15 for 25 from the floor. In the consolation game, host SMU got its first victory of the year with a king-size upset of Indiana, 91-84, disappointing two planeloads of Hoosiers who had stopped by on their way to the Rose Bowl.
Oklahoma City took the nation's oldest holiday tournament when it defeated Brigham Young 91-88 for the All-College title. The Chiefs' Rich Travis had BYU defenders throwing up their hands in frustration and looking to the bench for aid as he made 20 of 38 field-goal attempts on his way to 45 points.
It was a good week for New Mexico schools. New Mexico State traveled to Jonesboro for the Arkansas State Invitational and brought home the trophy. New Mexico stayed home and won its own Lobo Invitational for the third straight year, defeating Rhode Island 75-62.
1. UCLA (8-0)
2. CALIFORNIA (6-1)
3. UTAH (10-1)
The most alluring holiday tournament turned out to be one of the toughest as mighty Houston had to hang on to defeat North Texas State 45-43 in the final game of the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. The Cougars were held to their lowest point total of the year and the Big E, Elvin Hayes, had only 12. Ohio State also took its undefeated record to sunny Hawaii and came back with two surprise losses. Marquette struck first, beating the Buckeyes 64-60. Then, after an OSU win over Bradley, host Hawaii sent the Buckeyes home with an Aloha and an 80-76 trimming. Bradley also went home with two defeats. Only a 72-71 win over the Submarine Forces Pacific kept the Braves from being totally humiliated.
In Los Angeles it was a rerun. In the last L.A. Classic to be played the Bruins won their sixth consecutive title with a 104-71 victory over Wyoming before 14,918, the largest crowd ever to see a college game in the Sports Arena. After the Cowpokes had faced the Bruins in the NCAA regionals last March and had lost by 49 points, Wyoming Coach Bill Strannigan said, "I'm not sure we'll recover from Lew Alcindor." This time Strannigan' had his players in a 1-2-2 zone, double-teaming Alcindor in front and back. It worked fairly well as Lew got only 20 points and 21 rebounds, but the rest of the Uclans killed the Cow-pokes. Lynn Shackleford led the attack with 12 of 18 jumpers and made the zone look like a tactical error. "You sit there and think that Shackleford can't make another shot, and damned if he doesn't," remarked Strannigan between halves.
In the early rounds UCLA had no trouble with Minnesota, 95-55, and St. Louis, 108-67. Wyoming barely got by USC 79-78 and had to go into a double overtime before defeating Iowa, 94-87. Iowa earlier had upset Tennessee 64-59.
Texas A&M upset twice to win Seattle's Legion Tournament, beating the Chieftains 80-72 and San Francisco 77-75.