Calvin Coolidse was President the last time Oklahoma State's Henry Iba used a zone defense. Over the past 42 seasons Iba's teams have worked strictly man-to-man and this year, after the Cowboys won their first nine games, it hardly seemed likely that they would change. But suddenly, with his Cowboys trailing Kansas State 19-13 in the first half of an opening-round game in the Big Eight tournament in Kansas City, Iba shifted to a zone. That shocker almost brought victory to Oklahoma State, as K State won 51-49 on a steal and five points by Jerry Venable in the last 1:52. Said Iba, who will retire at the end of this season, "I never used a zone because I never had a bunch of midgets before. I've always played man-to-man because I thought I could do a better job with it. Tonight I didn't think so."
Kansas, which entered the tournament with five consecutive wins and was picked to take the championship, was upset in the first round, losing to Oklahoma 68-64 in overtime after leading by 11 points with just under five minutes of regulation time remaining. Garfield Heard sparked the Sooners' comeback with a steal, the tying jump shot and a block of a Kansas layup in the closing moments. Preseason Big Eight favorite Colorado defeated Nebraska 72-60 behind Cliff Meely's 27 points.
Houston finished a holiday party with visitors from California by beating Long Beach State 76-69. The win made the Cougars four out of four over West Coast teams, including impressive victories over highly rated Santa Clara 91-76 and Southern Cal 77-73.
January 5, 1970
1. HOUSTON (9-0)
2. COLORADO (6-3)
Portland's Far West "Classic" finished only its first round last week, yet it showed signs that it could become a tournament worthy of its self-proclaimed title. Three of the four opening games were classy. Southern California and Washington went at it to determine who should rank as UCLA's toughest challenger in the Pacific Eight, and the Huskies came out ahead 90-86. George Irvine led the hot-shooting Huskies with a career high 41 points, including 16 of 20 from the floor. Washington's 66% accuracy, strangely, gave encouragement to Trojan Coach Bob Boyd. He figures that Washington will not be able to duplicate that effort once league play begins in January.
Also in that first round, Washington State, which had lost 85-76 to New Mexico earlier in the week for its only defeat, stopped unbeaten Illinois 59-58. Illini Greg Jackson led all scorers with 20 points, but the Cougars had better balance with four starters in double figures. Oregon, the Classic's defending champion, defeated Michigan State 87-82, even though it was the Spartans' sophomore Ralph Simpson who made the game special. "He's the best sophomore I can remember seeing, with the exception of Lew Alcindor," said Oregon Coach Steve Belko of the 6'4" Simpson, who scored 40 points. "He's the closest thing to Oscar Robertson I've ever seen."
The West Coast got a look at LSU's Pete Maravich, and Maravich got an unpleasant view of UCLA. Both sides came away impressed. Maravich scored 38 while his Tigers lost 133-84 to the Bruins and then 46 more in a 76-68 victory over Oregon State. "Fabulous," said UCLA's Johnny Wooden of Pistol Pete. "They don't belong here. I think they should join the NBA," said Maravich of Wooden's team. The Bruins also defeated Georgia Tech 121-90.
Oregon State Coach Paul Valenti said before the Beavers' game against LSU, "We'll play Maravich one-on-one." The unlucky defenders assigned to guard Maravich hacked him repeatedly. Two of them fouled out, and Maravich scored on 30 of 31 free throws. "We lost to the greatest basketball player in America," said Valenti after the game.
1. UCLA (6-0)
2. WASHINGTON (7-0)
With South Carolina idle and North Carolina dallying to an unimpressive 99-87 victory over outclassed Rice, North Carolina State and Duke were the Atlantic Coast Conference teams taking the big wins. The undefeated and underrated Wolfpack increased its streak to eight games with victories of 76-70 over Vanderbilt, 75-51 over Alabama and 98-75 over Northwestern. Sophomores Paul Coder, a 6'9" center, and Ed Leftwich, a 6'5" guard, have joined with senior Vann Williford to pep up the once slow-down offense of Coach Norm Sloan. Coder dumped in 27 points against Vandy, and Williford scored 25 and 31 against the Crimson Tide and the Wildcats at Fayetteville, N.C.
Duke improved its record to 7-1, and Coach Bucky Waters feels he is still just getting organized. "This is a different team than we were early in the year," he says. "We learned in a hurry we couldn't freelance. We couldn't have Randy Denton moving out for those 10-foot shots he likes. When he does, there's no one to rebound and we lose our fast break." Denton, the Blue Devils' 6'10" junior center, scored 31 points in under the basket as Duke defeated Wake Forest 98-90. Waters is not entirely pleased even yet. "We're satisfied with where we are but we can still play better."
Florida State and Jacksonville (page 18) both added victories. The Seminoles fought off a late Louisville challenge to win 79-69 and provide sweet revenge for Forward Willie Williams. Williams missed a last-second shot in a game against the Cardinals a year ago, and State lost. This time he scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
St. Joseph's surprised Cincinnati 109-92 in the first round of New York's Holiday Festival, but the other openers went as predicted. Purdue defeated Manhattan 89-79 as Rick Mount, returning to the lineup after missing four games, scored 30 points. Penn stopped Boston College 86-65 and St. Bonaventure stunned NYU 107-60.
Columbia scored an opening-round victory in the Quaker City Tournament over Wake Forest 101-78. It was the Lions' ninth straight and a celebration of sorts for Hey-ward Dotson. Dotson, a quick guard with an assertive personality, missed one game early in the season because he was involved in interviews for a Rhodes scholarship. Back to basketball full-time against the Deacons, he celebrated the announcement that he would be going to Oxford by scoring 24 points.
The other Quaker City co-favorite, Villanova, won its opener 89-71 over Connecticut, but Cornell upset Brigham Young 68-62. The Big Red's victory was an assist for Columbia whose black players, including Dotson and All-America Jim McMillian, had secretly voted that if the Lions had to play BYU they would sit out the game in protest against Mormon racial policies.
1. S. CAROLINA (6-1)
2. JACKSONVILLE (8-0)
Kentucky, getting ready to play Notre Dame at Louisville's Freedom Hall last week, created so much excitement that 7,000 people turned out the morning before the game merely to watch the Wildcats practice. There was reason for the fervor. The Irish's Johnny Dee, formerly coach of Alabama and a foremost needler of Adolph Rupp, is the only man to have beaten the Kentucky coach with teams from two different schools, and Notre Dame's 6-1 record nearly matched Kentucky's undefeated mark. The game lived up to expectations and then some as the Wildcats held on for a 102-100 win. Kentucky broke quickly to a 15-point lead, but then Notre Dame's Austin Carr, who finished the evening with 43 points, began to operate, hitting on 20 of 27 field goal attempts. Mike Pratt and Dan Issel, with 42 and 35 points, held the Wildcats together as the Irish missed three shots in the final 20 seconds.
Marquette picked up two of its three victories against teams from the struggling Big Ten, which has now lost 33 of 75 games against nonleague opponents. The Warriors' Dean Meminger scored 11 points during a 16-6 streak that helped quash Minnesota 67-51. Then, after dropping Delaware 99-71 in the opening round of the Milwaukee Classic, Marquette took the championship by defeating Wisconsin 64—43. The team's rough-and-tumble defense allowed the Badgers only 15 field goals.
Unbeaten Ohio University increased its streak to seven straight with a 92-80 victory over Fresno State, and no one is more surprised about the Bobcats' blazing beginning than Coach Jim Snyder. "I don't think I'm dreaming, but don't pinch me," he said after the Fresno win. "These kids have really surprised me with their aggressive play, and we've been getting great help from the bench. That's probably our secret—up until now."
1. KENTUCKY (7-0)
2. OHIO U. (7-0)