1. ST. BONAVENTURE (16-0)
2. COLUMBIA (13-3)
3. ARMY (15-3)
The site, New York's Madison Square Garden, was an unlikely one for a game between unbeaten Houston and Marshall, and the crowd—a mere 8,606—must have seemed puny to the Cougars after the 52,600 who packed the Astrodome for their win over UCLA. But the sounds of bravado emanating from Marshall were familiar. The Thundering Herd thought 6'7" George Stone, their leading gunner, would give Houston's Elvin Hayes a battle. It was no contest. The Big E, nestled comfortably in a low post, soared over Stone for little jumpers, easily twisted away from him for layups and rebounds (he had 19) and generally did just about as he pleased—except when Marshall switched to a zone in the second half and began double-teaming him. While Coach Guy Lewis nervously wrung his red-and-white polka-dotted towel on the bench, Hayes went 11 minutes without a basket, and Stone, Bob Redd and Danny D'Antoni led a Marshall rally that cut Houston's lead from 12 to four points with 5:40 to play. Then Hayes threw in 11 more points, to finish with 39, and the Cougars won 102-93. Elvin had some advice for Stone. "He only plays at one end," said Hayes. "He should have passed the ball more."
Army had no trouble whipping weak NYU 75-51. The Cadets, with Bill Schutsky getting away for 23 points, chewed up the Violets with their disciplined patterns and shut them off inside with what NYU Coach Lou Rossini calls their "bunking" defense. Syracuse got caught in the same trap. Steve Hunt scored 32 points, Schutsky 27 and the Cadets took their ninth straight, 95-75.
February 12, 1968
St. Bonaventure found itself trailing Villanova 59-58 with 3:12 to go in the Palestra. So 6'11" Bob Lanier, who wears size 19 sneakers, went to work. He scored on a rebound, blocked two shots and scored again, blocked another shot to set off a successful fast break, and that took care of the Wildcats. The Bonnies pulled through 66-62. Temple, which lost to Penn State 81-68 for the 13th time in a row at University Park, beat Villanova, and at the Wildcats' own game, too. The Owls' varied zone defenses were simply better than Villanova's, and Temple won 61-52.
Syracuse was no match for Niagara's remarkable Calvin Murphy. He rattled in 50 points as the Purple Eagles outscored the Orangemen 116-107. Murphy got 42 more against St. John's, but the Redmen found a way to stop him when it really counted. Behind 59-53 with 8:28 to play, Coach Lou Carnesecca put his team into a zone press. Murphy got only one more field goal and St. John's rallied to win 74-73 on Rudy Bogad's shot with two seconds to go. Boston College beat Providence easily 86-70, but Holy Cross, with Keith Hochstein and Ed Siudut each scoring 30 points, surprised the Eagles 89-82.
If there were any doubts about Columbia, the Lions dispelled them last Saturday. They came from behind on 15 straight points by sophomore Jim McMillian, who scored 32 in all, to beat Princeton 69-60.
1. NORTH CAROLINA (14-1)
2. TENNESSEE (14-2)
3. KENTUCKY (13-4)
There's hardly anything South Carolina's Frank McGuire likes better than beating Duke, but it did not look good for his team when the Blue Devils led by 10 at the half in Columbia. So McGuire put in his ace passer, Jack Thompson, who has been ailing with a pulled hamstring. The Gamecocks began pecking away at Duke's lead, and six free throws by Thompson and Skip Harlicka in the last three minutes finally beat the Blue Devils 83-80. "I'd just like to end the season now," said McGuire happily. "I don't want to play anymore."
But McGuire and South Carolina had to go down to Wake Forest where local partisans greeted the Gamecocks by tossing a live Orpington rooster out on the court. Then the brash Deacons tore apart South Carolina's 2-1-2 zone. It took 30 points by Harlicka to subdue them 80-76. Duke also had its hands full, with Virginia, before winning 90-78. North Carolina, however, still held the Atlantic Coast lead. The Tar Heels, after coming from behind to beat Florida State 86-80, got past Maryland 73-67.
It was Adolph Rupp's week in the SEC. First, Kentucky gave The Baron his 772nd win—to break Coach Phog Allen's career record—by beating Mississippi 85-76 at Oxford. Ole Miss fans gave Rupp a standing ovation, and Coach Eddie Crawford presented him with the game ball. "I really feel great," said Rupp, "but I'm glad it's all over." Then his marvelous sophomores—Mike Casey, Dan Issel and Mike Pratt—outshot LSU's Pete Maravich, 70 points to 44, and the Wildcats won again, 109-96.
Florida, it seems, has a special talent for upsetting Vanderbilt. The Gators did it in Gainesville, and last Saturday they shocked Vandy in Nashville, 91-85, for the first time ever as Neal Walk scored 35 points. Tennessee, the SEC leader, was not exactly overwhelming while beating Mississippi State 65-57, but the Vols were at their best against Mississippi. Billy Justus shot in 21 points, big Tom Boerwinkle grabbed 21 rebounds, and Tennessee smashed Ole Miss 88-46.
"It will be nice getting back home," predicted Davidson's Lefty Driesell, and it was. The Wildcats celebrated by battering West Virginia 91-77 to regain the Southern Conference lead. Virginia Tech was happier in Blacksburg, too. The Gobblers defeated Toledo 76-65.
1. HOUSTON (20-0)
2. NEW MEXICO STATE (17-2)
3. OKLAHOMA CITY (14-4)
Nothing is sure for long in the Southwest Conference, but for now Baylor is the team to beat. It is not so much that the Bears are winning, but the way they are doing it. Baylor had no trouble beating Rice 70-52, but when Texas A&M took a 40-27 half-time lead in the Aggies' noisy Rollie White gym, it seemed to be all over for Baylor. But Tommy Bowman and Russell Kibbe, who scored 49 points between them, led the Bears to a 77-67 victory. "You've got to hand it to them, the way they came from behind," said A&M Coach Shelby Metcalf.
TCU, meanwhile, was fading. The Frogs lost to Arkansas 68-67, and then Texas Tech upset them 83-65. Arkansas, which beat SMU 70-68, and Texas, a 68-64 winner over Rice, were tied for second.
The best teams in the area, however, were still the independents. Unbeaten Houston ran over Fairfield 108-76 as Elvin Hayes scored 48 points. New Mexico State (page 20) beat West Texas State 76-64 and Hardin-Simmons 95-87, while Oklahoma City bombed Wisconsin at Milwaukee 127-99 and Loyola of New Orleans 92-77.
l. DRAKE (15-3)
2. LOYOLA (10-4)
3. MARQUETTE (14-3)
Every week a new leader-that's the theme in the Missouri Valley. The latest is Louisville. The Cards, apparently over their early bumbling, got to the top when they beat St. Louis 73-63, while Drake was upset by Wichita State 79-78 and Cincinnati was losing to Bradley 74-72. Louisville maintained its half-game lead—over Drake, which came back to whip North Texas State 77-67—by taking Cincy 81-65.
Ohio State's Fred Taylor would hardly have believed that, almost halfway through the season, his Bucks would be leading the Big Ten. But they were, after beating Wisconsin 86-64, when Purdue, with Rick Mount shooting in 30 points, knocked Northwestern out of the lead, 98-89. Illinois, playing good defense under new Coach Harvey Schmidt, polished off Iowa 66-63 and was just behind Ohio State. But one sad truth is apparent. Big Ten basketball this year is not as good as, say, the Ivy League's. Earlier in the week, Cornell beat Ohio State 76-64 at Columbus and then lost to Princeton by 20 points (71-51) at home.
The Big Eight also had a strange leader. When Oklahoma knocked off Kansas State 73-62, Iowa State, with a mediocre 9-9 overall record, moved into first place. Once they stopped trying to run with Colorado, the young Cyclones settled down to score an 84-66 victory as Don Smith got 25 points. In the Mid-American, Toledo, which beat Kent State 72-62, had the lead to itself when Marshall upset Bowling Green 75-62 and Kent shocked Western Michigan 73-69.
Marquette Coach Al McGuire did not plan it that way—in fact, he accused De-Paul's Ray Meyer of staging it—but when Marquette's Pat Smith and Bob Zoretich, DePaul's leading scorer, got thrown out for fighting early in the game, it proved to be a strategic victory for the Warriors. Without Zoretich, DePaul had trouble scoring, and Marquette won 58-53. Notre Dame's Johnny Dee ran into trouble in Michigan. His Irish lost to Michigan State 89-68 and Detroit 82-79, while Loyola of Chicago clobbered Ohio U. 109-68.
1. UCLA (16-1)
2. NEW MEXICO (17-1)
3. WYOMING (14-5)
Even the rich have problems. UCLA's John Wooden returned from an Eastern swing to learn that Forward Edgar Lacey had quit the team, criticizing the coach for his strategy against Houston and saying, "I've never enjoyed playing for that man." Wooden, however, refused to get involved in a war of words. "I care about him," he said. "I hope he finds the peace he's looking for." Then Wooden sent his Bruins out to zone press furiously against USC. They forced the Trojans into early errors. Lew Alcindor scored 32 points and UCLA won 101-67.
New Mexico's dream of an undefeated season (page 20) died in Tucson. The Lobos lost to Arizona 69-68 on two goaltending calls in the last three minutes. Wyoming also went down, to Arizona State 92-91 in Tempe. Utah lost its fifth straight, to Oregon 85-77 at Eugene, as Coach Jack Gardner watched the last 23:10 of the game from the upper balcony after drawing his third technical, but they perked up back home, beating Utah State 105-92.
Santa Clara, with victories over San Jose State 82-64 and Santa Barbara 85-72, took over first place in the West Coast AC. Loyola of Los Angeles and San Francisco were only a half-game behind.