BASKETBALL—NBA: BALTIMORE (57-24) clinched first when it beat the Bulls 115-103, Earl Monroe scoring 41 points. Westley Unseld was the overwhelming MVP choice of the NBA players and the first rookie since Wilt Chamberlain to win the Podoloff Cup. PHILADELPHIA (55-26) held second with two wins, and NEW YORK (54-27) edged closer with three. In the Knicks' last home game, a 104-100 win over the Bullets, Willis Reed scored 37 points to give the Knicks a 4-3 edge for the season. BOSTON (46-34) won two, lost one, as did CINCINNATI (40-41). DETROIT (31-50), also 2-1, fined Jimmy Walker $1,250 for not appearing for a game against the Sonics. MILWAUKEE (26-55) won the big coin flip for the draft rights to Lew Alcindor, the Phoenix fans wrongly calling heads. LOS ANGELES (54-27) clinched the Western Division with a 108-73 pasting of the Celtics, while ATLANTA (48-33) stayed well ahead of third-place SAN FRANCISCO (41-41). SAN DIEGO (36-44) clinched fourth though losing one to the Bucks, as CHICAGO (33-48) lost three, SEATTLE (30-52) five and PHOENIX (16-65) three.
ABA: INDIANA (41-32) retained first in the Eastern Division with two wins. The Pacers also set an ABA record for attendance (219,715), an average of 5,782 a game, but they have no place to play the playoffs in, their regular home court being booked most of April. KENTUCKY (39-32) moved to within one game of first, and MIAMI (38-34) held third. MINNESOTA (34-38) lost four, as did NEW YORK (17-56), which set another record of sorts when Mel Daniels of the Pacers scored 56 points against the Nets, bettering the 46 scored by Roger Brown the week before. In the West, OAKLAND (54-17) lost its fourth straight before defeating the Mavericks 147-115. DENVER (42-31) won three and lost two. Larry Jones, whose streak of 30 points or more per game was stopped after 23 games, came back a couple of nights later with 52—after getting only three in the first quarter. He is now the first ABAer to score more than 2,000 in a season. NEW ORLEANS (41-32) won four, including its eighth straight, DALLAS (37-35) was three for five, LOS ANGELES (32-39) two for three and HOUSTON (21-50) one for three.
BOATING—FLYWAY, a 40-foot yawl owned by Representative Ogden R. Reid (R-N.Y.), won her second 811-mile Miami-Montego Bay race (she sailed as Vamoose and under a sloop rig in 1967) with a record corrected time of 4 days, 4:41:21. WINDWARD PASSAGE, the brand-new 73-foot ketch owned by Bob Johnson of New York, set an elapsed time record (4:10:22:29) for the third time in as many starts.
Don Aronow of Coral Gables, Fla. won the premier Long Beach-Ensenada International in The Cigarette, beating Bill Wishnick of New York, in Boss O'Nova, by over 16 minutes. Aronow covered the 180 miles in 2:37.19, and his average speed of 64.10 mph is a new APBA offshore record.
March 31, 1969
BOXING—FREDDIE LITTLE of Las Vegas won the vacant world junior middleweight championship in Las Vegas with a 15-round decision over Stanley (Kitten) Hayward of Philadelphia.
CROSS-COUNTRY—GASTON ROELANTS of Belgium won the 56th annual international championship near Glasgow, covering the 7½ miles in 36:25; Dick Taylor of Britain was second, 100 yards back, and Britain won the team championship. MRS. DORIS BROWN of Seattle won the women's 2½-mile race in 14:46, beating Maureen Dickson of Santa Monica, Calif. by five seconds; the U.S. won the team title.
CURLING—CANADA, skipped by Ron Northcott of Calgary, Alberta, beat the U.S., skipped by Bud Somerville of Superior, Wis., 9-6 in the finals, to win the world championship for the third time in four years in Perth, Scotland.
GOLF—JIM COLBERT, 28, of Overland Park, Kans., fired a final round 67 despite 35-mph winds, to win the $100,000 Monsanto Open in Pensacola, Fla. with a 17-under-par 267.
Ray Floyd of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., birdied the 73rd hole to win the $100,000 Greater Jacksonville Open in sudden death over Gardner Dickinson after the pair finished regulation play tied at 278.
HOCKEY—NHL: MONTREAL (45-17-11) won three games as Yvan Cournoyer scored his 42nd and 43rd goals in a 3-1 defeat of the Rangers. BOSTON (41-16-15) won three and tied one, and Phil Esposito tied Jean Beliveau's record for goals by a center when he got his 46th and 47th against his old Black Hawk teammates. In another game with the Hawks, a 5-5 tie, Bobby Orr scored his 21st goal—on his 21st birthday—a record for defensemen, and Bobby Hull got his 54th and 55th to break his own record of 54. NEW YORK (38-25-8) lost its first game in nine to the Canadiens after winning two and clinching a Stanley Cup berth. TORONTO (33-23-15) had a loss and a tie before beating DETROIT (33-29-11) 3-1. In the Leafs' 11-3 loss to Boston, Bruce Gamble gave up eight goals in the second period. CHICAGO (31-33-8), in the cellar for the fifth week out of the last six and out of the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, won one, tied one and lost two. In the West, ST. LOUIS (35-24-14) held first despite an 0-2-1 week, OAKLAND (27-35-11) was 2-1-1 and beat LOS ANGELES (24-38-9) 4-0 for its sole victory over the Kings in seven games. The Kings had earlier beaten the Seals 3-2 on Ted Irvine's first hat trick. PHILADELPHIA (18-34-20) won two, lost one; MINNESOTA (18-40-14) won one and lost three and ditto PITTSBURGH (16-45-10).
HORSE RACING—COURT RECESS ($41.80), ridden by Mike Miceli, won the 1-mile, $126,400 Gulfstream Park Handicap, a nose ahead of Nodouble.
Angel Cordero Jr. rode TANEB ($17.40) to a halflength victory in the 1½-mile, $57,700 San Luis Rey Handicap on the Santa Anita turf course. PINK PIGEON, Don Pierce up, set an American turf record in the $57,050, 1-mile Santa Barbara Handicap. The previous record, held by both Round Table and Batteur, was also set on Santa Anita's turf course, which has a downhill chute.
MOTOR SPORTS—JACKIE ICKX and JACK OLIVER won the Sebring 12-hour race in a Ford GT-40 in a record 103.363 mph (page 24).
SKIING—KIKI CUTTER won her second consecutive slalom in the final week of World Cup competition at Waterville Valley, N.H. BERNI RAUTER of Austria won the giant slalom by 1/100 of a second over Marilyn Cochran of Richmond, Vt. and Karen Budge of Jackson, Wyo. GERTRUD GABL, however, went home with the cup. DUMENG GIOVANOLI of Switzerland won the men's giant slalom and JEAN-NOEL AUGERT of France the slalom, moving Augert into second place in the final cup standings behind KARL SCHRANZ, who clinched the title the week previous (page 20).
In Planica, Yugoslavia, MANFRED WOLF of East Germany set a world distance jumping record of 541', breaking the old mark of 538' set the day before by Jiri Raska of Czechoslovakia, who broke the old mark of 525' set an hour before by Bjoern Wirkola of Norway.
SWIMMING—NIKOLAI PANKIN of the U.S.S.R., a bronze medalist at Mexico City, swam a 2:26.5 200-meter breaststroke in Minsk to break the world record held by his countryman Vladimir Kosinsky by .9 second.
MILEPOSTS—ORDERED: By the U.S. Supreme Court; that the case of MUHAMMAD ALI, who was convicted for refusing to report for induction into the Army, be returned to lower courts to determine if he was the victim of illegal wiretapping.
NAMED: As manager of Buffalo in the International League, HECTOR (What a Pair of Hands) LOPEZ, 36, who played for Kansas City and the New York Yankees (1955-1966). Lopez is the first Negro manager in triple A ball.
DIED: LEW BURSTON, 74, boxing manager and promoter; of a heart attack, in New York City. Burston put on boxing shows in England, Spain and France, where he was called Le Juif Errant; he had made 52 trips to Europe before World War II and, toward the end of his life, was wont to say, "I have been in boxing 109 years." Burston was best known as the American representative of Randy Turpin, Marcel Cerdan and Dick Tiger.
DIED: MICHAEL (Pinky) HIGGINS, 59, former third baseman for the Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers (1933-1946) and Red Sox manager (1955-1959 and 1960-1962); of a heart attack, in Dallas. Higgins had a lifetime batting average of .292 and set a major league record of 12 consecutive hits. He was recently sentenced to four years imprisonment for negligent homicide, after killing one and injuring three in an automobile accident. Higgins died the day after he was paroled.