1. UCLA (22-0)
2. SANTA CLARA (22-1)
3. WEBER STATE (22-2)
Some of the wildest scenes this side of the O.K. Corral erupted in the Southwest Conference. One incident began when Ron Peret of Texas A&M, going in for a layup, was fouled from behind by Tom Friedman of Baylor. An Aggie teammate decked Friedman with an elbow to the jaw, and then Aggie fans hurried out of the stands to get in a few swings themselves. Preventing an out-and-out riot were the Aggie band, which brought the stands to attention with the national anthem, and the A&M players, who formed a protective circle around Friedman. As it was, Friedman wound up with a bruised back, shoulder and head, plus five stitches in his lip. The first-place Aggies, incidentally, won 86-74 and took a two-game lead over the Bears. At Texas Tech, fans littered the court with debris before the contest with the Aggies. Then, after the Red Raiders had lost 71-70, when a last-second basket was nullified by a traveling violation, the Tech rooters showered the floor again.
Action also boiled in the Western AC. Because of the guerrilla warfare in an earlier game between New Mexico and Arizona State, six extra police were on hand for the rematch in Tempe, Ariz., but even Marshal Dillon would have had trouble with this one. Punches were thrown on the floor and in the stands, and both benches charged out for a second-half melee. When it was all over, 46 fouls had been called, and the Lobos had won 84-75 as Petie Gibson put in seven points in overtime. Utah, with Mike Newlin getting 37 points, beat the Brigham Young Cougars 98-85 to tie them for the lead. Arizona, victor over New Mexico, 77-75, might have been alone at the top were it not for a 68-67 loss to Wyoming, which in turn was beaten by Arizona State 87-79. So tight is the race, all six teams could still finish in a tie.
March 3, 1969
The two biggest upsets were double-overtime affairs, with West Texas State beating New Mexico State 93-92 and San Jose State ending Santa Clara's 21-game win streak 73-69. Dennis Awtrey kept the Broncos going with 37 points—18 of them in a row—and it was not until he fouled out that the Spartans were able to prevail.
UCLA remained invincible. Extending their winning streak to 38, the Bruins squelched Washington 53-44, Oregon State 91-66 and Oregon 103-69 in Pacific Eight contests. They did trail the Huskies 32-28 with 11:39 left and led Oregon by only 41-37 at the half before pulling away with their infamous second-half blitz. Second-place Washington State beat USC 64-52 and Stanford 69-68. Weber State controlled the Big Sky as it easily defeated Idaho 85-61 and Idaho State 94-75 to bring its league record to 13-0.
Houston avenged a loss to Lamar Tech, winning 95-71, then lost to Seattle 69-66. Rich Travis had 111 points as Oklahoma City lost to Utah 99-87, beat Denver 112-100 and Centenary 94-83.
1. LA SALLE (22-1)
2. DUQUESNE (17-3)
3. ST. JOHN'S (20-3)
Philadelphia's Palestra, the scene of some dandy imbroglios through the years, had its biggest ever when St. Joseph's met Seton Hall. One fan took a swipe at Hawk Coach Jack McKinney; others threw cans of beer—unopened, of course—and one struck a player. The game itself was a fine rowdydow of flying elbows and uppercuts that erupted at one point into a free-for-all with both benches emptying and fans rushing onto the floor to toss punches. Between rounds the teams threw in some basketball, St. Joseph's getting the decision 92-76.
La Salle made it 14 in a row by beating Duquesne 85-71 and Detroit 98-96. Larry Cannon, who wound up with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, won the Detroit game when he flipped in four points in the closing minutes. The star, however, was Detroit's Spencer Haywood, playing for the first time since he was suspended for taking a poke at a referee. He had 41 points and 32 rebounds. Villanova got 23 points and 27 rebounds from Howard Porter to defeat Providence 69-62.
Austin Carr's 25 points and 24 more by Bob Whitmore enabled Notre Dame to defeat NYU 98-88. Fordham and Rutgers each won three times. Penn State, after handing West Virginia a rare 81-67 loss in Morgan-town, beat Pitt 57-49. Canisius, with 6'4" Tony Masiello limiting 6'10" Luther Rackley to 11 points, downed Xavier 76-66. Boston College beat Georgetown 72-66 in overtime, then Detroit 99-72 as Terry Driscoll got 29 points and 18 rebounds against Haywood. Providence upset Holy Cross 82-69.
Princeton clinched at least a tie for the Ivy title by downing Yale 72-53 and Brown 74-46. Still two games back were Penn, which beat Brown 58-52 and Yale 85-74, and Columbia, winner over Harvard by 92-74 and Dartmouth 74-41.
A couple of 6'11" players—Bob Lanier of St. Bonaventure and Bill Smith of Syracuse—were impressive. Held to 13 points by Niagara's zone in an earlier game, Lanier this time scored 43 as he was confronted with the defense he likes best, a man-to-man, and the Bonnies won 98-80. They won again—81-58 over Kent with Lanier getting 28 points, 23 rebounds and blocking seven shots. Smith, a sophomore for the Orangemen, had 28 points in a 95-83 win over West Virginia and 23 in a 71-63 loss to St. John's. Calvin Murphy of Niagara, often playing as a decoy rather than as a gunner, had 20 points in the loss to the Bonnies and 23 in an 83-75 victory against LIU. Neither Lanier nor Smith nor Murphy, though, could match Mike-White of American International. He has put in 209 points in his past four games, 71 of them in a 128-101 loss to Springfield.
1. NORTH CAROLINA (21-2)
2. SOUTH CAROLINA (19-3)
3. DAVIDSON (22-2)
Life in the Southeast was every bit as lively—or deadly—as in other sections of the country. Tennessee's Ray Mears, trailing Florida 62-59, deliberately took a pair of technicals by calling time out when he knew he had none left. The Gators made one of the two free throws, but the Vols gained a point by controlling one of two center jumps and getting a field goal. Still, the Gators won 65-63, and Coach Tommy Bartlett was mumbling about changing the rules. Kentucky built its lead to two games by beating Georgia 85-77 and LSU 103-89. Dan Issel of the Wildcats had 36 points and 29 rebounds against LSU, but most of the cheers were for Pete Maravich of the Tigers. Fans gave him a standing ovation before the game and oohed and aahed as he kept the Tigers in front until the last seven minutes. At the game's end Pete had 45 points and had broken the two-year scoring record of Elvin Hayes. With four games to go this season, Maravich has 2,104 points. Kentucky's Adolph Rupp, though, was not impressed. "Pete," he said, "didn't have a good shooting night [21 of 53] but, of course, he never does, and I believe that, if there's any weakness on their club, it may be that." Pete's father and coach, Press, also was roasted by a newspaper poll in which SEC referees labeled him as the "most inflammatory" coach in the league. Maravich retorted by promising to go through game films and splice together inflammatory calls by the referees. "It will be a real comedy," he said. "They think I'm a headache. They'll have a headache when they see what I have to show 'em."
Davidson, which finished first in the Southern Conference, came from five points behind in the last 1:25 of regulation time to beat Duke 88-80, then stopped Virginia Tech 79-71.
The Carolinas—North and South—headed into their Atlantic Coast showdown oh similar winning notes. The Tar Heels defeated Maryland 88-86 as Rusty Clark scored on a tip-in with two seconds left and then eased past The Citadel 106-59. The Gamecocks beat Virginia 86-70 and Furman 63-53. By topping North Carolina State 52-49 and Clemson 100-84, Wake Forest took over third place.
1. PURDUE (16-4)
2. LOUISVILLE (17-3)
3. OHIO STATE (15-5)
YOU CAN'T ROLLER-SKATE IN A BUFFALO HERD BUT YOU CAN CERTAINLY STAMPEDE 'EM. This advice, lettered on a banner carried by Iowa State fans before a game against Colorado, must have had some magical effect on the Cyclone players. They slowed down the Buffaloes and won their fifth overtime game and third extra-period victory in a row, 80-76. That shook up the Big Eight, enabling Kansas to tie Colorado for the lead and leaving Kansas State half a game back. Kansas moved up by defeating Nebraska 79-73, while State gained ground with a 69-59 win over Oklahoma and a 58-50 victory over Oklahoma State. Iowa State, which beat Missouri in overtime 76-74 on Jim Abrahamson's jumper with four seconds left, was 1½ games out.
Races in the Missouri Valley (page 48) and Ohio Valley tightened up, too. With three seconds to go and the score 77-77, Lamar Green of Morehead State, who had just stolen a pass, sank a foul shot to beat Western Kentucky. That left both teams half a game behind Murray State, which stopped Morehead 91-89 in overtime and lost to East Tennessee 87-81.
Cool and proficient Purdue took a giant stride toward its first Big Ten title in 29 years. With Herm Gilliam putting in two foul shots in the last seven seconds and with Rick Mount getting 32 points, the Boilermakers beat Indiana 96-95. Then, as Mount got another 32 against Northwestern, they won 107-68. Runner-up Ohio State edged past Iowa 88-81 but was upset by Illinois 73-57 and fell two games back.
Miami of Ohio earned no worse than a tie for first in the Mid-American with its 68-62 win over Western Michigan, then lost to outsider Miami of Florida 74-68. Ohio University kept its MAC hopes aglow as it put down Marshall 86-80. Loyola lost to Ohio U. 103-92 but beat Colorado State 75-64.
Few coaches have been as aware of the frequency with which technicals have been called this season as State's Jim Williams. Having had a few fouls called against him for leaving the bench, he decided on a new tack, but even that has backfired. "Now I spend most of my time on my knees," he explains, "and the fans get onto me for praying."