A 12-point spurt by Center Dennis Awtrey in the last four minutes of the first half against Pacific gave Santa Clara the boost it needed to take over the West Coast Athletic Conference lead. With the score tied for the 11th time at 32-32, Awtrey pumped in his team's next dozen points on a layup, a tip-in, a hook, a rebound follow-up, a goaltending violation by Pacific's John Gianelli and two free throws, giving his team a 44-39 half-time edge. Awtrey's deadeye shooting close to the basket netted him 27 points in all as the Broncos won 80-71. Earlier, Pacific defeated the league's other top contender, the University of San Francisco, 86-60.
Utah and UTEP, separated by half a game in the Western Athletic Conference, are headed for a showdown in El Paso next week. The WAC's best teams won four games between them, all on their home courts. The Utes scored 16 points in a row midway through the first period in pasting Arizona 92-75 and then raced past Arizona State 107-93. The Miners dropped Wyoming 88-80 and Colorado State 80-61.
With a two-game lead and all four of its remaining league games to be played at home, Weber State all but wrapped up the Big Sky Conference championship by winning two of three games on a road trip through Idaho. The Wildcats defeated Idaho 67-60 and then split two games with their nearest contender, Idaho State. The Bengals' high-scoring wingman, Willie Humes, poured in 35 points as ISU won the first meeting 85-77, but Weber Coach Phil Johnson devised a 2-3 zone defense that collapsed a guard and a forward on Humes when the teams met the next night. Humes, who averages 30.6 points a game, was checked with only 14 points while Willie Sojourner scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Wildcats in their 70-65 overtime victory.
Sidney Wicks, who totaled 42 points and 36 rebounds in the three games, led UCLA to a triple sweep over Washington and Washington State. The Bruins defeated State 72-70 and 95-61 and topped the Huskies 101-85 to increase their Pacific Eight lead to three games.
After beating Montana State 92-73, New Mexico State jolted Air Force 99-81 as the Aggies' defense forced 27 turnovers by the Falcons and Jimmy Collins set a school record of 42 points.
1. UCLA (20-0)
2. NEW MEXICO ST. (20-2)
"I've never been in an avalanche or a tornado, but that's what it must be like," said North Texas State Coach Dan Spika of the noise level in State's gym as a crowd numbering 600 over capacity rooted the Eagles on to a 93-81 double overtime upset of Missouri Valley Conference leader Drake. The Eagles were outrebounded and outshot by the visiting Bulldogs, who suffered their first MVC loss in 18 games, but the home-court advantage paid off in extra pressure and extra penalties for the Drake players. They committed 25 turnovers to State's five and were called for 20 fouls in the second half and overtimes after committing only five in the opening period. Drake later beat Bradley 68-65, but its loss dropped the defending champions into a tie with Louisville, victor over Wichita State by 91-84 and Tulsa 77-67. Should the co-leaders falter, Cincinnati, loser of three of its first four MVC games this season, could move ahead. Coach Tay Baker's Bearcats have now won eight consecutive Missouri Valley Conference games, including two last week over Wichita State 84-57 and Tulsa 72-68.
Kansas State wavered to its second straight Big Eight loss, bowing to Iowa State 80-64, but held on to its conference lead by coming back to win a critical game with Kansas. With the Wildcats trailing the Jayhawks by nine points in the second half, Bob Zender and Jerry Venable combined to score 13 straight points and give Kansas State the lead it never relinquished on the way to a 71-68 win.
By defeating SMU 66-63 and Baylor 61-60, Rice took over the Southwest Conference lead from TCU, beaten twice. The Horned Frogs lost 75-60 at Texas Tech and 77-73 to Texas A&M. Against Tech, TCU was literally handcuffed. A campus policeman slapped bracelets on the Frogs' Evans Royal during a melee in the final minute of the game.
Houston topped Hardin-Simmons 109-91 and Miami (Fla.) 118-98.
1. HOUSTON (18-3)
2. DRAKE (17-5)
"When they left the zone and switched to man-for-man, they quit doing what they do best," said Davidson's sophomore Guard Brian Adrian of South Carolina's second-half defensive tactics against the Wildcats last week. "They admitted they were in trouble, but they're too good to choke. We just played a little cooler." There was no one calmer than Adrian, who hit eight of nine shots and scored 22 of his 26 points in the last period as Davidson, which had trailed by 10 points at the half, stopped the Gamecocks' unbeaten string at 17 games, 68-62. Adrian received plenty of help from his front court of Mike Maloy, Doug Cook and Jerry Kroll. They held South Carolina's three tall men, Tom Owens, Tom Riker and John Ribock, who average out at over 6'9", to only 14 points. Davidson later clinched the Southern Conference title with an easy 97-60 win over Richmond.
The Gamecocks, who had two league wins—81-54 over Wake Forest and 82-65 over Duke—were not the only Atlantic Coast Conference team to feel the bite of outsiders. After North Carolina tripped up once-defeated North Carolina State 88-86, the two teams played back-to-back games with Georgia Tech, already the loser to ACC's last-place Clemson. Tech's 6'10" Rich Yunkus must have forgotten to look at the standings. On Friday he cruised through State's defense for 27 points and 20 rebounds as his team won 89-77. That was just about half as well as he did on Saturday against North Carolina. Hitting 14 of 21 field-goal tries and 19 of 20 foul shots, Yunkus scored 47 points and the Yellow-jacks won 104-95.
Up North, Massachusetts was also upset-minded. With spectacular sophomore Julius Erving scoring 24 points and pulling in 25 rebounds, the Redmen trounced Holy Cross, which has the best record in New England, 83-66.
St. Bonaventure defeated Seton Hall 103-83 and Providence 68-52 as Bob Lanier led the scoring with 37 and 26 points.
1. ST. BONA (17-1)
2. S. CAROLINA (19-2)
Iowa Coach Ralph Miller considers defense his strong suit, so it seemed superfluous when a new, three-digit scoreboard was installed in the Hawkeyes' field house before the season began. In 68 years Iowa had scored over 100 points only 11 times. So far this season, as the surprised Big Ten leaders, the Hawkeyes have needed that third digit in eight games, including twice last week as they bombed Wisconsin 119-100 and Michigan State 103-77. The victories gave Iowa an 8-0 conference record and a 1½-game lead over defending champion Purdue, which is putting together a late-season rally behind the record-breaking shooting of Rick Mount. Mount scored 69 points last week to set a new Big Ten three-season mark of 1,259 points as the Boilermakers crushed Indiana 98-80 and erstwhile league-leader Illinois 83-49.
Marshall University, ejected from the Mid-American Conference last summer for football recruiting violations, enjoyed sweet revenge by knocking off MAC leader Ohio 93-88. Sophomore Forward Russ Lee led the Thundering Herd with 29 points and 17 rebounds. Ohio bounced back to ensure itself of at least a tie for the MAC title by defeating Miami 58-57 on Greg McDivitt's basket with 15 seconds to play.
Even with previously suspended Dick McGowan and Randy Poole permanently dropped from the team by Coach Adolph Rupp for violating curfew, Kentucky took a firm hold on the Southeastern Conference race. The Wildcats stopped Mississippi State 86-57 and Florida 110-66 while their toughest rival, Georgia, lost twice, 94-86 at Alabama and 57-55 at Tennessee. Louisiana State and Mississippi both triumphed at Vanderbilt for the first time in 16 years, by scores of 99-89 and 83-80 respectively. The Commodores, considered one of the SEC's strongest teams before the season began, are now, at 9-12, headed for their worst year since 1948.
1. KENTUCKY (19-1)
2. IOWA (13-4)