1. ST. BONAVENTURE (15-0)
2. COLUMBIA (11-3)
3. VILLANOVA (10-5)
Critical New Yorkers—18,106 of them—came to be convinced, but for Holy Cross Coach Jack Donohue it was like old times. There he was, sitting on the bench in Madison Square Garden, and out on the court Lew Alcindor—not noticeably bothered by his celebrated eye injury—was jamming the ball into the basket, grabbing rebounds, blocking shots and intimidating shooters. Unfortunately, Alcindor was doing all that for UCLA and murdering his old high school coach's team. Despite a valiant effort by 6'4" Pivotman Keith Hochstein, who scored 22 points, and 6'7" Ed Siudit, who played Alcindor on defense and got 19, Lew and his quick Bruin teammates were just too good for the Crusaders. Alcindor finished with 33 points and 22 rebounds, and UCLA won 90-67.
The next night, before 18,499, Boston College gave UCLA a little trouble before losing 84-77. Coach Bob Cousy had admitted there was just no way to defense Alcindor. "I plan to simply ignore him," he said. He put 6'7" Terry Driscoll on Alcindor, and Lew scored 10 of UCLA's first 14 points. But Steve Adelman threw in his first five shots, and BC was only one point behind after 10½ minutes. By half time, however, Alcindor had 22 points and UCLA was ahead 46-36. Cousy switched to a sagging defense, with his forwards dropping off to help Driscoll, and Alcindor got only six more points. But Mike Warren (he had 25) and Lynn Shackelford bombed the Eagles from outside and the Bruins had a 17-point lead with 9:30 to go. Then BC began muscling Alcindor hard underneath and, with Playmaker Billy Evans directing the show, the Eagles rallied. Led by Adelman, who scored 26 points, they cut UCLA's lead to five points with 1:30 to play. Alcindor and Warren fouled out in the last minute, but the Bruins hung on to win. "A few more minutes," reflected Cousy, "and we might have been able to catch them."
February 5, 1968
There was no stopping unbeaten St. Bonaventure. Detroit tried to do it with a 3-2 zone, and Bob Lanier (28 points) and Bill Butler (29) shot it full of holes to give the Bonnies a 103-74 victory. St. Francis of Loretto, Pa., which had been averaging 91.8 points a game, went for a slowdown and got drubbed 74-58.
Whenever Villanova Coach Jack Kraft talks basketball, he talks defense. No wonder—his shifting zones and combinations have now won him nine straight games. St. John's was the latest to get caught, 62-57. "That defense!" said Coach Lou Carnesecca. "It's like you're playing 15 men."
The other members of Philadelphia's Big Five were busy beating each other. St. Joseph's surprised Temple 67-62, while Penn, in a slowdown, upset La Salle 57-45. But Penn's tactics failed to work against Princeton. The Tigers won 61-46. La Salle recovered to beat Duquesne 80-79 in overtime.
Army, another streaking team, had seven in a row after beating Manhattan 75-69 and Penn State 73-55 as Bill Schutsky scored 64 points. Fordham also won twice, over Rutgers 67-50 and Georgetown 84-67. Niagara's Calvin Murphy had a middling week. He scored only 28 as Fairfield beat his team 89-85 but got 42 in a 95-91 win over Providence.
1. NORTH CAROLINA (12-1)
2. TENNESSEE (12-2)
3. VANDERBILT (13-3)
Kentucky's Adolph Rupp had an idea he could beat Tennessee at Knoxville with a new defense—a 2-1 zone with two chasers—and he even took his players over to nearby Oak Ridge to work on it in secret. It took the Vols about 20 minutes to wreck it, while they harassed the Wildcats with their own aggressive 1-3-1 zone. Bobby Croft, a 6'10" sophomore, scored 20 points, Bill Justus 18 and Tennessee won 87-59. It was Kentucky's worst defeat in 18 years. "I thought I had something that would work," said Rupp sheepishly.
But there was a better day ahead for The Baron. Pete Maravich, LSU's Wunderkind, riddled Kentucky with 52 points (he took 51 shots, made 19), but the Tigers rarely got the ball after one of his misses. Kentucky's five-man offense was better than Maravich's one-man show, too. Sophomore Mike Casey piled up 31 points, Thad Jaracz 24 and the Wildcats won 121-95 for Rupp's 771st victory, tying former Kansas Coach Phog Allen's record. "Bless his bones," said Allen when he heard about it. "I'm glad Adolph made it."
LSU's loss put Tennessee, a 66-65 winner over Mississippi, in the SEC lead all alone. Vanderbilt, still in the race, beat Mississippi State 90-69. The big talk in the South, though, was about Florida's 6'11" Neal Walk. He had 33 points and 25 rebounds as the Gators, now 11-6, walloped Georgia 90-63, and 36 points and 31 rebounds in an 88-75 victory over Alabama.
Exams over, North Carolina was ready for the stretch run in the ACC. The Tar Heels warmed up by beating Georgia Tech 82-54, while second-place Duke took North Carolina State 82-76. West Virginia, the Southern Conference leader, defeated Penn State 77-63 and East Carolina 77-60, but the Mountaineers worried about Davidson. Even without 6'9" Rodney Knowles, who was benched for disciplinary reasons, the Wildcats ran over Wake Forest 75-52. Doug Cook, a 6'6" sophomore, was moved to center, and he scored 26 points. "Knowles will have to win his job back," said Coach Lefty Driesell.
1. DRAKE (13-2)
2. LOYOLA (9-4)
3. MARQUETTE (13-3)
"It was a very, very physical game," said Marquette's burly 205-pound George Thompson after he and Loyola of Chicago's skinny (185 pounds) Wade Fuller went at each other like tigers in a bruising battle in Chicago Stadium. Thompson, who is called "Brute Force" by his teammates, got his points—23—but Fuller's team won the game 79-71 as Jim Tillman scored 29 points. Brigham Young had a surprise for Texas at El Paso in the second game of the doubleheader, an 81-59 trouncing.
BYU, however, got it from Loyola in Saturday night's tripleheader. The smaller and quicker Ramblers ran all night, and three clutch free throws at the end won it for Loyola 67-65. Notre Dame, behind by one point with 15 seconds to go, fouled Les Busboom, Illinois' worst foul shooter, hoping for a chance to get the ball. But the luck of the Irish ran out. Busboom dropped in two shots, and Illinois went on to win 68-67. In the other game Michigan State defeated Southern Illinois 68-56.
Life on the road in the Missouri Valley was as hazardous as ever. Cincinnati survived a littering jag by Memphis State spectators to win 75-68 in overtime but lost at St. Louis 70-66. Tulsa was beaten at Wichita State 86-78. Drake, playing at home, moved into first place by beating North Texas State 57-48. Louisville, still muddling around, managed to slip by independent Dayton 73-72 and visiting Bradley 77-75.
"It was about as exciting as watching paint dry," was Ohio State Coach Fred Taylor's reaction after his Bucks drubbed Georgia Tech 66-55. But Taylor had enough excitement to satisfy him when his team played Michigan. It was Bloody-Nose Lane all over again as the two old Big Ten rivals battered each other. The officials whistled 69 fouls, and Ohio State finally won 95-92. Northwestern, despite 27 points by Purdue's Rick Mount, beat the Boilermakers 82-74 to hold the Big Ten lead.
Oklahoma's prosperity in the Big Eight was short-lived. The Sooners lost to Iowa State 80-70 and Nebraska 110-90. Western Michigan, surprisingly, was back in contention in the Mid-American. The Broncos beat Miami of Ohio 91-71 and Marshall 96-92 to tie Bowling Green, a 56-54 winner over Miami, for first.
1. HOUSTON (18-0)
2. NEW MEXICO STATE (15-2)
3. TEXAS AT EL PASO (11-4)
Houston's Guy Lewis, enjoying his team's newly acquired No. 1 status, warned his Cougars, "You have to be ready when any team throws the ball out." They were, against little Lamar Tech. Elvin Hayes scored 38 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and Houston clobbered the visitors 112-79.
Oklahoma City's Abe Lemons was happy, too. His Chiefs beat SMU 93-82, edged Arkansas 92-90 in overtime—thanks to a technical foul on Coach Duddy Waller when his Hogs were leading by a point—and then outscored Denver 104-95. Texas at El Paso took West Texas State 79-61.
The first thing Baylor players saw when they got to TCU's Daniel-Meyer Coliseum was a poster that read BAPTIZE BAYLOR and showed a frog about to dunk a forlorn-looking bear under water. It was prophetic. TCU's Frogs inundated Baylor's Bears 99-86 as Mickey McCarty scored 36 points.
1. UCLA (15-1)
2. NEW MEXICO (16-0)
3. WYOMING (13-4)
Utah's Jack Gardner probably knew when he was well off, but it didn't do him any good. Ten of his team's 13 victories were scored in the Redskins' cozy Einar Nielsen Field House. Then they went on the road. That can be disastrous, and it was for Utah. After losing at New Mexico and Wyoming, the Redskins hit bottom in Seattle. They lost to Washington 93-76 and Seattle 79-77 on a last-second tip-in by Jim Gardner (no relation to Jack, obviously). Wyoming, however, enjoyed its sorties away from home. The Cowboys buried Colorado Slate 84-68 and beat Air Force 95-91 in overtime.
Weber State, the Big Sky leader, also took Colorado State, 88-73, as Justus Thigpen, Dan Sparks and Nolan Archibald split 49 points. "Their zone hurt us—that was my fault," said CSU Coach Jim Williams. "They outboarded us—that was your fault," he told his players. A couple of other Big Skyers were not quite so lucky in the Pacific Eight. Montana was beaten by Washington State 79-57 and Washington 76-65, while Idaho lost to Washington State 75-45. USC, waiting to get at UCLA, whipped Santa Barbara 85-64, and Oregon State defeated Oregon 58-46.