BASKETBALL—ABA: Third-place New York raced to a surprising 3-2 lead over heavily favored Kentucky in their semifinal playoff series (page 28). In the other East semifinals, Virginia defeated the Floridians four straight, winning the last two games 118-113 on rookie Julius Erving's playoff-record 53 points and 115-106 as Erving tossed in 39. Defending champion Utah swept Dallas in one Western Division semifinal, winning the last three games 113-107, 96-89 and 109-99 as Willie Wise averaged 26 points a game. Indiana and Denver traded victories in the other West series. The Pacers edged the Rockets 122-120 in overtime, lost 112-96, won by a walloping 91-79 and then lost 106-99 to leave the semifinals tied at 3-3.
NBA: Los Angeles defeated Chicago 108-97 to sweep its Western Conference semifinal playoff series in four straight games. Jerry West and Gail Goodrich averaged 28.5 points apiece in the series, while Wilt Chamberlain pulled down 83 rebounds. Milwaukee also won four in a row, after an opening game loss to Golden State, to win its semifinal four games to one. In the final two games the Bucks beat the Warriors 106-99 as Bob Dandridge scored 31 points (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was held to 15) and 108-100. In the West finals, Milwaukee humiliated Los Angeles 93-72 to take a 1-0 lead. Boston and Atlanta traded home-court victories until the Celtics broke the pattern with a 127-118 win in Atlanta to take their Eastern semifinal four games to two. New York gained a 3-2 edge over Baltimore with a 106-82 trouncing of the Bullets in Baltimore after they had also alternated home court victories.
BOXING—BOB FOSTER became undisputed world light-heavyweight champion when he knocked out WBA champion Vicente Rondon in the second round of a scheduled 15-rounder in Miami Beach (page 26).
GOLF—JACK NICKLAUS won his fourth Masters title when he shot a 286 to finish three strokes ahead of the field (page 22).
April 17, 1972
GYMNASTICS—SOUTHERN ILLINOIS beat defending champion Iowa State by 3.6 points for the NCAA title at Ames, Iowa. Leading the Saluki comeback from third place after the compulsories were two individual titlists—GARY MORAVA in vaulting and TOM LINDNER on the horizontal bar. RUSS HOFFMAN of the Cyclones won the pommel horse an unprecedented third straight time, while STEVE HUG of Stanford was the all-round champion.
HOCKEY—In the East, New York and Montreal slugged it out in their Stanley Cup series (page 30), while Boston sandwiched shutouts—5-0 with Gerry Cheevers in the nets and 2-0 with Ed Johnston in goal—around a 4-3 overtime loss to Toronto before defeating the Maple Leafs 5-4 to take a 3-1 lead. In the West, Chicago romped to four straight over Pittsburgh—3-1 as Pit Martin scored two goals, 3-2, 2-0 on Gary Smith's shutout and 6-5 while Minnesota and St. Louis split their first four games. The North Stars won the first two—3-0 on 42-year-old Gump Worsley's fifth Stanley Cup shutout and 39-year-old Dean Prentice's two goals and 6-5 in overtime—and the Blues took the next two, 2-1 as Phil Roberto scored both goals and 3-2 after being down 2-0.
HORSE RACING—Laffit Pincay gained his 10th stakes victory at Santa Anita's 75-day meeting when he guided PRACTICANTE ($19.80) to a ¾-length win over odds-on favorite Cougar II, ridden by Bill Shoemaker, in the $125,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap.
Gleaming ($6.80), Angel Cordero up, won the $145,200 Turf Cup Handicap at Hialeah by half a length over Double Entry.
Champion National Hunt Jockey Graham Thorner rode WELL TO DO to a two-length victory over Gay Trip, the 1970 winner, in the 130th running of the Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree as only nine of 42 horses finished the grueling four-mile course.
LACROSSE—Attackman JACK THOMAS equaled a Johns Hopkins record for the second time in less than a week when he scored 11 points, on four goals and seven assists, in a 15-7 win over Washington College. Four days later he had three goals and four assists in an 11-4 victory over Brown to boost his season total to 41 points (17 goals, 24 assists) in five games.
SWIMMING—Two-time Olympic champion ROLAND MATTHES of East Germany broke his 100-meter backstroke world record twice within two days at an international meet in Moscow, the second time lowering it by .04 of a second to 56.3.
Susie Atwood set American women's records in the 200-yard backstroke (2:04.01) and the 400-yard individual medley (4:28.85) and swam on the record-breaking Lakewood Aquatic Club 400-yard medley relay team (3:57.43) at the National AAU Short Course championships in Dallas. She also won the 100-yard backstroke, giving her three individual titles. MARK SPITZ won three men's championships—the 100-and 200-yard butterflies and the 100-yard freestyle. Other American records were broken by KAREN MOE in the women's 200-yard butterfly (2:03.34); BARBARA SHAW in the women's 100-yard freestyle (51.6, swimming the first leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay); the SANTA CLARA A TEAM in the women's 800-yard freestyle relay (7:36.84); GARY HALL in the men's 400-yard individual medley (3:58.09); and BRIAN JOB in the men's 200-yard breaststroke (2:02.36).
TRACK & FIELD—World indoor record-holder KJELL ISAKSSON of Sweden cleared 18'1" in the pole vault at the Texas Relays in Austin to break Chris Papanicolaou's world outdoor mark by ¾". RANDY MATSON heaved the shot 69'2", while JIM RYUN won the 880 by 20 yards over Ken Swenson in 1:48.1. "It was the best half mile I have run this early in the season," said Ryun, who set the world record of 1:44.9 six years ago at the age of 18.
MILEPOSTS—AWARDED: To the ABA Carolina Cougars, by a federal appeals court, Philadelphia 76er Forward BILLY CUNNINGHAM, 28, who ranked 13th in scoring in the NBA with a 23.3 average. Cunningham signed a three-year contract with the Cougars in 1969, then changed his mind and continued to play with the 76ers.
HIRED: As basketball coach at Cincinnati, GALE CATLETT, 31, an assistant coach at Kentucky last season, replacing Tay Baker, who resigned after seven seasons.
HIRED: JACK RAMSAY, 47, who had resigned as coach of the Philadelphia 76ers at the end of the regular season, as coach of the Buffalo Braves, replacing John McCarthy, who had been fired.
HIRED: JACK McCLOSKEY, 46, who compiled a 70-89 record at Wake Forest in six seasons, as coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, succeeding interim coach Stu Inman.
NAMED: As manager of the New York Mets, succeeding Gil Hodges who died suddenly, YOGI BERRA, 46, Met first-base coach the past six years. After 18 seasons (1946-1963) with the New York Yankees, in which he batted .285, hit 358 home runs, won three American League Most Valuable Player awards and played in 14 World Series, Berra managed the Yanks in 1964. He won the pennant but lost the World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals and was fired.
TRADED: By the Montreal Expos to the New York Mets, Outfielder RUSTY STAUB, 28, who averaged 26 home runs and 90 RBIs and had a .296 batting average in his three years with the Expos, for three promising young players—Infielder TIM FOLI, 21, Outfielder-First Baseman MIKE JORGENSEN, 23, and Outfielder KEN SINGLETON, 24.