Houston scheduled a game with St. Mary's College (Texas) to help its recruiting in the San Antonio area and to lay in a breather between games against supposedly tougher major-college opponents. By the time the Rattlers had finished with the Cougars, Houston's would-be recruits were unimpressed, its players were out of breath and its record showed its second loss, 76-66. In helping Stephen F. Austin prove the claim that the best Texas basketball is played in the smaller colleges, St. Mary's came from 12 points behind in the first half, as 6'9" Center Doug Williams paced the upset with 24 points and 18 rebounds.
Rapidly improving Drake held the lead in the Missouri Valley Conference with an 86-75 victory over league co-favorite Louisville. Four Bulldog starters scored in double figures, with junior Jeff Halliburton topping the attack with 26 points, 16 of them in the second half.
Before the Colorado-Oklahoma State game in Boulder, Colo., Buffalo Coach Sox Walseth was awarded a plaque as the Big Eight Coach of the Year for last season. "Frankly, I'd rather have it for this year," said Walseth, whose team was the overwhelming choice to repeat as league champion. Walseth had better settle for his past rewards. Colorado saw its 16-game, home-court win streak broken by the Cowboys 65-62 as State, playing its usual tough man-to-man defense, stopped the Buffs' high scoring pair of Jim Creighton and Cliff Meely with simple, single coverage by Paul Mullen and Bob Buck. Creighton and Meely totaled 28 points, while Buck and Mullen each scored 16, to go along with John Robinson's team-leading 19. Meanwhile Big Eight leader Kansas State lost 66-60 to Athletes in Action, a team of former college players that combines a 26-game tour with a crusade to uplift campus morality.
Baylor scored its most points ever in Southwest Conference play by defeating Arkansas 110-76.
1. HOUSTON (12-2)
2. DRAKE (13-4)
For the 40 miles between El Paso and Las Cruces, Interstate 10 was clogged with traffic last Saturday as several thousand UTEP fans drove to New Mexico State hoping to see an upset. Sadly for the travelers, the day belonged to the Aggies. All those out-of-state visitors helped set a new attendance record (13,227) in State's field house, and the Aggies' big men, Jeff Smith and Sam Lacey, combined for 40 points as their team won 90-77. Smith led the offense by converting 10 of 16 field-goal attempts, while the Aggies' backcourt choked off UTEP's high-scoring Guard Nate Archibald with an energetic zone defense. Archibald scored only three baskets and finished with 13 points.
Utah got ready for its Western Athletic Conference showdown with UTEP this week by defeating Brigham Young 91-81. The victory, which was paced by Mike Newlin's 36 points, increased the Redskins' league record to 4-0, the same as the Miners'.
Washington and Washington State had their own showdown, but it was more like a bore-down. The yawning set in as the Huskies' zone defense refused to come out after the Cougars' nonpenetrating offense. After a first half during which the pro-Washington crowd amused itself by derisively chanting "pass-pass-pass, dribble-dribble-dribble" at State's unshooting play, the score stood 7-6 in favor of the Huskies. Only by comparison was the action fast and furious in the second period. Both teams scored 30 points, but Washington won on Jay Bond's two foul shots, with six seconds to play.
Dennis Layton, who transferred to Southern Cal this season from Phoenix College, returned to the Phoenix area with his new team and enjoyed quite a homecoming against Arizona State, firing in 41 points as the Trojans won 108-95.
1. UCLA (14-0)
2. NEW MEXICO ST. (16-1)
Predictably, Kentucky won again in the Southeastern Conference and Louisiana State's Pete Maravich gunned again. With five players scoring in double figures, the Wildcats had no trouble defeating LSU 109-96 even while weathering a record-setting 55-point performance by Pistol Pete. He brought his career total to 2,905 points, passing Elvin Hayes, to become the second highest scorer in college history and moving within 68 of the leader, Oscar Robertson. Maravich's total has been accumulated over 65 games, while Hayes needed 93 to register all his points and Robertson played in 88.
Georgia remained a close second to Kentucky in the SEC, with wins of 71-67 over Auburn and 96-84 over Mississippi. Bob Lienhard led the Bulldogs in both games, scoring 21 points and nabbing 16 rebounds against the Tigers and adding 23 points and 22 rebounds against the Rebels.
The Big Ten's two unbeaten teams, Iowa and Illinois, played no league games, but they had prosperous weeks anyway as the other title contenders, Ohio State and Purdue, were both upset on the road. Earlier in the season Minnesota Coach Bill Fitch said, "I'll be greatly surprised if Ollie Shannon ever plays basketball again." Shannon, a 6'2½" New Yorker, was sitting out part of the season with a back injury but during the past weeks he showed signs of recovering. Against OSU he finished his recuperation with 28 points, 22 of them in the second half of the Gophers' 77-76 victory.
Purdue also lost a one-pointer, 66-65, to Northwestern. Prior to the game the Wildcats had the worst defensive record in the league, but against the Boilermakers they could not have been stingier. Dale Kelley covered Purdue's Rick Mount, holding him 15 points under his Big Ten average.
Western Kentucky stretched its record to 12-2 and took firm hold on first place in the Ohio Valley Conference with an 85-75 victory over defending champion Murray State. After the Hilltoppers' Jim McDaniels scored 27 points and Jim Rose added 20 more, Murray Coach Cal Luther sounded ready to concede the championship to Western right now. "They're as tall and talented a team as we've played in two years," he said. "They will certainly be great champions."
Ohio University took over the Mid-American Conference lead by beating Kent State 77-68, while Toledo clipped Bowling Green's undefeated string 82-76. Marquette topped Xavier 82-73.
1. KENTUCKY (14-0)
2. MARQUETTE (13-1)
Penn, usually a tailender in Philadelphia's hotly contested Big Five round robin, guaranteed itself at least a tie for the championship last week by sweeping two intracity rivals. In defeating Temple 68-59 the Quakers nearly dissipated a 17-point first-half lead by committing 16 turnovers in the second period. Sophomore Corky Calhoun kept Penn ahead by scoring three free throws and an 18-foot jump shot over a two-minute span late in the final half. Later in their 63-56 overtime victory over St. Joseph's the Quakers missed an opportunity to win in the last minute of regulation time when Guard Steve Bilsky failed on two one-and-one foul-shooting chances. Bilsky redeemed himself by converting two free throws in the overtime which, added to backcourt-mate Dave Wohl's field goal, gave Penn a four-point lead it never relinquished.
Princeton also had trouble with foul shooting—and fouls—in losing in overtime to Davidson 71-64. The Tigers could complain that home-town refereeing gave the Wildcats 20 more free throws than they received, but Princeton could blame no one except itself when it missed over half of the 18 foul shots it was awarded. The Tiger sloppiness at the free-throw line opened the way for Davidson's Jerry Kroll. He started the overtime with two long push shots to key his team's winning rally.
After trailing by 11 points in the first half North Carolina State came back behind Al Heartley's three foul shots in the last 23 seconds to win at Duke 77-76. The victory improved State's record to 13-1.
St. Bonaventure remained unbeaten, with wins of 83-59 over De Paul and 62-49 over Canisius. As usual, Bob Lanier led the Bonnies, with 28 points and 22 rebounds against the Demons and 32 points and 18 rebounds against the Golden Griffins.
Connecticut improved its Yankee Conference record to 5-0, with an 85-79 victory over Vermont. Bob Boyd's 27 points sparked the Huskies.
1. S. CAROLINA (12-1)
2. ST. BONA (12-0)