1. UCLA (19-0)
2. SANTA CLARA (21-0)
3. WEBER STATE (20-2)
The blizzard was in Utah, but Wyoming Coach Bill Strannigan felt he was the victim of a snow job in Albuquerque. "We lost it right at the end with a lousy call," he lamented. "I've never had a game so tough to take." What drew his ire was that the Lobos, who won 65-63, had scored four points after the buzzers had sounded. New Mexico went in front 35-34 when Dave Culver, fouled as the first half ended, sank two foul shots. Then, with the score 63—all, Ron Becker scrambled after a loose ball and was fouled as time ran out. Becker, like Culver, sank both ends of a 1-and-1 and Strannigan agonized. Further north, Arizona and Arizona State trekked through the snow to challenge Utah and Brigham Young in other Western Athletic Conference games. Although Arizona's Bruce Larson warned his players, "You never win in Salt Lake City and Provo when you run with Utah and BYU," his Wildcats and the Sun Devils were forced to make haste, and both were outrun and outshot. Arizona, making only 35% of its shots, lost 105-75 to Utah and 70-66 to BYU. State, making 36% of its shots, lost 104-87 to Utah and 102-89 to BYU. That left BYU in first with a 5-2 record, one game ahead of Utah.
Life was equally frantic for teams in the Southwest Conference, but when all the excitement had subsided, Texas A&M was in first place and all alone. Seventh-place Rice got things started with a 75-73 upset of Baylor, a team that had been expected to go nowhere this season but which had started the week tied for the lead with the Aggies. Baylor followed up with a 63-58 win over Texas, but fell a game behind A&M when the Aggies struggled to a pair of overtime victories. The first came against Texas, 70-69, on two free throws by Ron Peret in the final seven seconds. Improbably, the Aggies had an even harder time against Rice, rallying from a nine-point deficit in the last four minutes of regulation play and a four-point handicap in overtime before winning 84-83. SMU tied Baylor for second by getting past Texas Tech 84-65 and Arkansas 76-68.
February 24, 1969
Nothing perturbed UCLA or Santa Clara as both teams frolicked through the Pacific Eight and West Coast AC. The Bruins defeated Washington State 83-59, while the Broncos beat San Francisco 72-47. Last-place Stanford dumped Oregon State 70-61 and Oregon 81-76 in the Pacific Eight. Idaho took three in a row from Idaho State, but Weber State kept its lead in the Big Sky by winning three of its own, all against Gonzaga.
Colorado State made it 14 wins in 17 games as it stopped Denver 79-62. Marv Roberts' 43 points against Montana State were not enough to keep Utah State from losing 86-76, nor were his 35 enough to stop Notre Dame from winning 108-82.
New Mexico State's Aggies were riled up. They had been dropped from the UPI and AP top-20 lists despite winning three games in a row since the previous voting, while New Mexico, which had split two games, had moved up. The Aggies took their frustration out on Texas-El Paso 78-62 and West Texas State 69-68.
1. LA SALLE (20-1)
2. DUQUESNE (16-2)
3. ST. JOHN'S (18-3)
"Finney has been telling me that if I would just get a little confidence in him he would do a job for me," said Syracuse Coach Roy Danforth of Bill Finney, a sophomore who had been averaging 3.5 points a game. Given a chance to play against Canisius when teammate Bill Case got into early foul trouble, Finney scored 22 points in an 85-78 win. Thirteen of his points came as the Orangemen, trailing 56-53, spurted to a 71-64 lead. In a briefer appearance in an earlier game against Colgate, Finney got six points as Syracuse won 86-85.
Bob Lanier of St. Bonaventure, who does not have to plead to get into the lineup, was superb against Marquette, finishing with 36 points and 16 rebounds as the Bonnies won 84-62.
St. John's had little trouble beating Niagara 97-60, but labored to earn a 51-46 win over Fordham, which was unable to score in the final seven minutes and 10 seconds. Niagara's Calvin Murphy, who had 29 points against the Redmen, poured in 42 as the Purple Eagles beat Iona 104-78.
With Ken Durrett getting 16 points and 21 rebounds, La Salle easily took care of American University 96-72. Then, as Durrett put in 13 of 17 shots, the Explorers beat St. Joseph's 84-67, giving them the Philadelphia Big Five title with a 4-0 record. Providence defeated St. Joseph's 80-77, and then came the tough one for another Philadelphia team. Villanova stopped Canisius all right, but ran into Duquesne at Pittsburgh and suffered its fourth loss, 70-59.
A pair of wins, 70-62 over Rhode Island and 67-63 over Penn State, upped Boston College's winning streak to 11 games. NYU made it nine in a row, outscoring Lehigh 87-70 and Georgetown 87-67. At Rutgers the streak reached eight as the Scarlet Knights beat Georgetown 85-72, Delaware 105-73 and Army for the first time since 1952, 49-47. A 98-80 win over Holy Cross left Duquesne with a 16-2 record. Ed Siudut of the Crusaders, who had 24 points in that loss, scored 36 in a 97-68 win over Massachusetts. Connecticut's Bob Staak sank a "jump shot at the game's end to down Boston University 74-72.
Princeton clung to its two-game lead in the Ivy League, stopping Yale 67-56 and Brown 75-56, as Jeff Petrie of the Tigers scored 30 points in each game. Columbia and Cornell took turns beating Dartmouth and Harvard, while Penn kept pace by downing Yale and Brown.
1. NORTH CAROLINA (19-2)
2. SOUTH CAROLINA (17-3)
3. DAVIDSON (20-2)
Pete Maravich of LSU went on a scoring rampage, totaling 170 points in three games. Averaging 42.8 a game, he is now the first junior in NCAA history to reach the 2,000-point level and already is ahead of Oscar Robertson's two-year record of 1,962 points. Maravich accomplished all this despite an injured right knee, which may be operated on after the season, and a painful growth on his right heel, which has forced him to wear a special shoe with padding. When Maravich was battered to the floor against Auburn, the team trainer and Pete's father, Coach Press Maravich, hurried to his side. Looking his father in the eye, Pete said, "I'm not coming out, so forget it." He stayed in, wound up with 54 points and LSU had a 93-81 Southeastern Conference win. Maravich scored 50 in a 95-79 loss to Florida and had 66—a record for an SEC player—as the Tigers lost to independent Tulane 110-94.
Even more stunning than Maravich's scoring was Florida's 82-81 upset of Kentucky. To win the game, Boyd Welsch of the Gators sank four free throws and a layup in the last two minutes. For the Wildcats, who earlier had beaten Mississippi State 91-69, it was their first loss in a dozen SEC contests. Florida, meanwhile, won three times as Neal Walk had 34 points against LSU, 19 against Kentucky and 24 in a 75-73 win over Vanderbilt. The Commodores also lost to Mississippi 75-68—their sixth defeat in a row—before defeating Alabama 89-74. Moving to within one game of Kentucky with a 10-2 record was Tennessee, which used its stingy defense to hold off Mississippi 61-45 and Georgia 57-55.
South Carolina's strategy against North Carolina not only was precise, it worked. When the defense was not forcing the Tar Heels to shoot over a tight zone, the offense diligently set up multiple screens and picks for John Roche, who took aim 23 times and connected on 17 tries. Roche ended with 38 points, the Gamecocks with a 68-66 win that left them tied with North Carolina for the Atlantic Coast Conference lead.
There was no catching Davidson in the Southern Conference. The Wildcats finished 9-0 in the league race by stopping Richmond 114-95 and Furman 103-67.
Georgia Tech, exhibiting a perked-up offense, downed Air Force 88-67, Tulane 90-79 and Georgia 73-66. Virginia Tech beat Virginia 68-64, Florida State brought its record to 15-7 by stopping Dayton 79-71 and West Virginia, which had lost seven of its last eight games, got 56 points from Skip Kintz as it beat Pitt 89-69 and Duke 90-88.
1. PURDUE (14-4)
2. OHIO STATE (14-4)
3. LOUISVILLE (16-3)
Louisville, capitalizing on Jerry King's foul-shooting accuracy and on a seldom-used defense, tied Tulsa for the lead in the Missouri Valley Conference. It was King who sank two free throws in the final seven seconds of overtime to clinch an 83-81 win over the Hurricanes, and who put in another pair in the last nine seconds to beat Wichita State 65-62. As for the defense—a half-court zone press they had not even practiced for a month—the Cardinals put it to use when they trailed the Shockers by 12 points with 11 minutes to go. Tulsa was upset for a second time, 76-63 by the Cincinnati Bearcats, who became aroused after Coach Tay Baker had been hanged in effigy. That occurred after Cincinnati's 75-73 loss to Wichita State on Ron Mendells' 30-footer at the buzzer. Drake beat Bradley 73-72 and North Texas State 91-67 to advance to within 1½ games of the leaders.
In the Big Ten, first-place Purdue lost 88-85 as Ohio State made good on 26 of 31 foul shots. Speaking later of Purdue's Rick Mount, who scored 35 points in that game—and 35 more as the Boilermakers downed Wisconsin. 87-69—State Coach Fred Taylor said: "He's a pure shooter—the best outside shooter I think I've ever seen." Ohio State added a 58-41 win over Minnesota to pull within a game of Purdue. Northwestern, in its first game under new Coach Brad Snyder, got a 91-88 win over Indiana. Michigan State's John Benington announced that he had nominated Harvey Schmidt of Illinois as Coach of the Year, then beat him 75-70. Illinois had its hopes further dashed when Michigan's Rudy Tomjanovich scored 37 points as the Wolverines won 92-87.
Western Kentucky was jostled out of the lead in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Hill-toppers, who lost 85-77 to Eastern Kentucky, relinquished first place to Murray State, which beat Tennessee Tech 62-59 and Eastern Kentucky 80-78.
Colorado retained its half-game lead in the Big Eight despite a 70-68 loss to Kansas State. The Buffaloes earned a split for the week by beating Oklahoma 92-69, while runner-up Kansas got by Oklahoma State 45-41 before losing to Missouri for the second time by one point, 56-55. Sophomore Cliff Meely set a Colorado record with 16 field goals against Oklahoma, thanks to Assistant Coach Chuck Gardner. It was Gardner who saw to it that Meely got back into the game in the waning minutes so that he would have a chance to break Gardner's own record of 15.
Miami of Ohio, losing 60-59 to second-place Ohio University, missed three shots in the last 24 seconds and with them a chance to clinch the Mid-American title. Xavier also beat the Redskins 59-51 and stopped Detroit 104-67. The Titans played that game without Spencer Haywood, who was suspended for two games after throwing a haymaker at a referee in a wild game at Toledo. Detroit beat Toledo 92-90, in spite of 17 rebounds and 39 points by Steve Mix. In his next game, a 66-58 win over Kent State, Mix had 30 points, the fifth straight time he had scored that much or more.
Marquette beat DePaul 66-55, and Creighton had three wins—90-88 over Seattle, 94-80 over Oklahoma City and 93-66 over Loyola.