Iowa 6'7" Forward John Johnson is stuck in a groove, and Hawk eye fans could not be more pleased. Four times this season he has scored 33 points in a game. Iowa won three of them, the latest two victories coming last week against Minnesota and Indiana. Iowa won 90-77 and 104-89 to remain undefeated in the Big Ten and take over the lead from Illinois. The Illini, who had previously not lost a conference game, bowed to Wisconsin 66-65 when the Badgers' Albert Henry scored a layup with two seconds to play to give his team its only lead of the game. Minnesota then beat Illinois 82-73.
Notre Dame could have sold out its 11,000 seat field house twice over for its game with Marquette, and after the battle was over it was easy to see why so many people wanted to watch the area's top two independents play. The Irish's Austin Carr, who earlier had scored 44 points in a 135-88 victory over St. Peter's, dazzled the Warriors with 38 points, but Notre Dame's biggest hero in its 96-95 double-overtime win was Forward Tom Sinnott. Sinnott struck with two long jump shots during the overtimes and, with five seconds remaining in the first extra period and Marquette leading 81-79, he grabbed a deflected Warrior inbounds pass and tossed it to Carr. The Irish high scorer laid it in to throw the game into the decisive second overtime.
Kentucky barely maintained its hold on second place in the Southeastern Conference when Guard Terry Mills' 25-foot jumper, with 11 seconds to play, nipped Auburn 84-83. The Wildcats later defeated Mississippi 120-85 to regain a first-place tie with Georgia. The Bulldogs beat nonleague opponent Georgia Tech 74-69 and then clipped SEC rival Vanderbilt 94-90. LSU had its title hopes jolted by Alabama 106-104, despite Pete Maravich's league record of 69 points.
Western Kentucky maintained its two-game lead in the Ohio Valley Conference and improved its record to 15-2 with a 72-60 victory over Middle Tennessee.
1. KENTUCKY (17-1)
2. OHIO U. (15-3)
"We are the Mets of basketball," said Texas Christian Coach Johnny Swain. He might be understating his case. The Horned Frogs were picked to finish last in the Southwest Conference, and the prediction looked solid when they suffered a seven-game losing streak earlier this season. Since then TCU has won six in a row and, after Baylor lost 72-71 last week to Rice, has taken over the SWC lead. The Horned Frogs' high-geared fast break burned Texas 80-55 and Texas A&M 84-72 for the team's latest successes, leading Swain to give an uncoachly reason for TCU's surprising turnabout. "We stopped working out so hard," he explained. "I cut down the practice sessions and everybody's legs started coming back. Now we can run-run-run at every break."
Kansas State lost its first game in the Big Eight when it was trapped at Colorado 72-59. The Wildcats' game plan worked well in the first half when they held the Buffalos' Cliff Meely and Gordon Tope to a total of nine points. But superstitious K-State Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons, who has worn the same purple-and-white-checked trousers, purple blazer and purple-and-white tie to every game since league play began, ran out of luck in the second period. Meely scored 17 points in the final 20 minutes, and Freddie Shell, who came off the bench to replace Tope, added 12 more for Colorado.
Missouri Valley-leading Drake played outside its league, defeating Tulane 98-92, while second-place Louisville and No. 3 Cincinnati each won twice in the MVC to keep the race close. The Cardinals topped Memphis State 77-48 and North Texas State 71-60. Cincinnati's Bearcats tagged the same teams 77-63 and 84-69, with Jim Ard scoring 31 points against the Tigers and adding 21 more against the Eagles.
Houston blasted small-college-power St. Mary's, which earlier had beaten the Cougars, 118-77. It then pulled out a much tougher win in overtime against Creighton as Jeff Hickman scored a field goal, made a steal and scored another basket in the closing seconds of the extra period to give Houston its 78-77 victory.
1. DRAKE (16-4)
2. HOUSTON (16-3)
Nobody in the Pacific Eight wants to help UCLA, but when it comes to breaking the Bruins' string of three consecutive league championships, all the other teams seem helpless. UCLA took undisputed possession of first place with a 66-56 win at Washington. The Huskies were trailing by just four points and were controlling the tempo of play with 5:55 remaining in the game when Guard Bruce Case let the ball slip away to UCLA's Henry Bibby. Bibby immediately converted the error into a three-point play, which clearly swung the momentum UCLA's way. Washington State gave the Bruins' cause an added boost by trouncing Southern Cal, previously undefeated in Pacific Eight play, 89-72. The Cougars' Jim Meredith hit a career high of 32 points, sinking 15 of 19 field-goal attempts.
The home-court advantage at Nelson Fieldhouse and Paul Jepperson's 26 points were not enough for Utah State to stop New Mexico State from taking the game between the West's best independents 95-90. The Aggies trailed until 17:12 remained in the second half, when Jim Collins pumped in a long jumper to give his team a 52-51 edge. Collins, with 17 points, led five New Mexico State players who scored in double figures. The Aggies also defeated Athletes in Action 85-60.
Trouble continues to shadow Brigham Young on the road. The latest flare-up over the racial policies of the Mormon Church occurred during BYU's 94-71 loss at Colorado State. At halftime 150 demonstrators milled onto the court, tossing eggs and a fire bomb that spewed a trail of flame across the playing floor. Utah got burned, too, at Colorado State, figuratively. The Runnin' Redskins lost peacefully, however, 89-77, and that was the end of their two-game Western Athletic Conference lead. Earlier Wyoming beat them 98-85.
Santa Clara moved into a first-place tie with Pacific in the West Coast Athletic Conference by defeating Pepperdine 105-72 while the Tigers were losing to Nevada at Las Vegas 100-98. Dennis Awtrey hit 23 points in the Broncos' victory to set a school career scoring record of 1,453 points.
1. UCLA (17-0)
2. NEW MEXICO ST. (18-2)
Haynsworth and S.C.—both not good enough judged the banners carried by Temple fans when the Owls took on South Carolina last week at Philadelphia's Palestra. The Gamecocks won 79-71, but not before they had almost as many difficulties as their rejected native son. Temple outscored the visitors 9-0 in the last 2:14 of the first half to take a five-point lead to the locker room. Only a hot second period by Gamecock John Roche, who scored 30 of his 34 points in the final 20 minutes, prevented Temple from pulling off the upset.
Back home in the Atlantic Coast Conference, South Carolina had a cosier time of it, defeating Clemson 99-52. But the ACC's two surprise teams, North Carolina State and Wake Forest, are now second and fourth behind the Gamecocks and could make life perilous for them. The Wolfpack beat Virginia 71-66 and Maryland 64-54, while the Deacons, helped by Charlie Davis' 41 points, upset North Carolina for the second time, 88-85.
Villanova, whose ball-hawking zone defense is one of the toughest, was outzoned by Providence and upset 54-44. The Friars' energetic all-court press forced the Wildcats into 24 turnovers, nine of them in the final nine minutes, and Providence Guards Jim Larranaga and Vic Collucci scored a total of 32 points.
St. John's visited Rhode Island, too, and the weather was so bad that before the game Redmen Coach Lou Carnesecca said, "Thank goodness we're not here to play baseball. At least basketball cannot be called because of rain." Whereupon, with St. John's leading Rhody 55-40 in the second half, a ventilator blew off the gym roof and the game was called as rain poured through to the floor. St. John's returned the next day to complete its 85-67 victory.
St. Bonaventure had trouble on the road, edging out Toledo 77-71, but set a scoring record at home in beating Belmont Abbey 131-64. Jacksonville romped everywhere it played, nailing Iona 110-75 before traveling to East Carolina and Richmond to register 111-94 and 88-49 victories. Artis Gilmore totaled 83 points in the three wins.
1. S. CAROLINA (17-1)
2. ST. BONA (15-1)