Bill Schaeffer was the one player to have when your team was having more than one game. St. John's, in fact, played four games in five days, sweeping to the ECAC Holiday Festival title in Madison Square Garden with Schaeffer scoring 112 points. He started with 40 in a 112-86 rout of Grambling, added 19 more as the Redmen held off Tennessee 56-55 with the help of three foul shots in the last 28 seconds by Larry Jenkins, and had 22 more in an 85-83 upset of Michigan. He finished with 31 points as St. John's whipped South Carolina 86-79 in the championship game. The winning basket against Michigan came on a play that worked out perfectly or imperfectly, depending on the teller. According to Coach Frank Mulzoff, "The last play was set up for Schaeffer." According to Schaeffer he "wasn't supposed to take it." With 11 seconds to go the St. John's reserves arose in a prearranged signal to set the winning play in motion. "I didn't see the subs stand," said Schaeffer who did, however, see the clock and dropped in the winner with one second left.
Two Philadelphia squads—St. Joseph's and La Salle—made it to the championship round of the Quaker City Tournament. To get there the Hawks drubbed Rhode Island 89-64 and outlasted Duquesne 76-71. For the Explorers the path was bumpier as they held off USC 77-72 and New Mexico State 76-70. They were outshot from the field by the Trojans 32-25, but were bailed out by Jimmy (Skyman) Crawford, who had 20 points, and by freshman Charlie Wise. Four times in the last 57 seconds of the first half the Trojans got the ball with the clock stopped, and each time Wise was sent in from the bench. Twice he stole the ball as La Salle cut a 37-31 deficit to one point at halftime. Against New Mexico State, Crawford sank 11 straight shots and had 30 points. But neither Crawford nor Wise nor hurry-up tactics helped against the Hawks in the title game. St. Joseph's held Skyman to 12 points, refused to be rushed into errors and came away a 77-52 winner.
Canisius won its own Queen City Tournament, beating Murray State 90-79 in Buffalo, where a bat swooped in on the action.
January 8, 1973
1. PROVIDENCE (5-1)
2. ST. JOHN'S (7-2)
Illinois downed Temple 82-77 on the first day of the Sugar Bowl Tournament, then took on the world, otherwise known as UCLA, an 85-72 winner over Drake. What lent drama to the title matchup went back 16 years to another Fighting Illini team that ended the longest college winning streak of all time—San Francisco's—at 60 games. This time Illinois was no stopper, although it came closer to the Bruins than anybody else has this year, losing by only 71-64. It was UCLA's 53rd straight.
For the seventh time in 10 years host Davidson won the Charlotte Invitational, taking the title game 66-63 from Cincinnati, a team it had lost to by 11 points earlier on the road. T. Jay Pecorak led the Wildcats with 35 points in two games and a lot of defense, throwing all of his 210 pounds into his work. Admitted Pecorak, "I'm surprised with what I'm able to get away with because it's so obvious what I'm doing."
Craig Lieder of Virginia Tech made himself equally at home in the Old Dominion Classic at Norfolk, his hometown. Lieder, who had been averaging 6.3 points a game, scored 51 as the Gobblers nipped Old Dominion 81-80 and defeated Stanford 77-71. Said MVP Lieder: "I wanted to play well at home, but this was ridiculous."
Before the Gator Bowl Tournament Jacksonville Coach Tom Wasdin told his players that if they took first place they could have three days off to go home. Whereupon sophomore Henry Williams made a fast break for a travel agency where he bought a ticket to Pittsburgh, his hometown. Then the Dolphins beat Miami of Ohio 66-59 and, with 21 points from homeward-bound Williams, put down Rutgers 84-71.
Kermit Washington had 24 points and 25 rebounds as American U. won the Roanoke Invitational from Roanoke 85-76. Wake Forest scrubbed Brown 65-59 in the Palmetto Classic finale, Furman took the Poinsettia Tournament and Maryland walked off with its own invitational by beating Syracuse 90-76.
In single-game battles, Memphis State squeezed past previously undefeated Vanderbilt 74-71 and Kentucky put down Notre Dame 65-63. The Tigers came to Nashville with nine cheerleaders and a flock of fans who had bought seats left vacant by vacationing Commodore students. Playing without a single cheerleader and without its best rebounder and No. 2 scorer, injured Rod Freeman, Vandy trailed 40-26 at the half but fought back and even went into the lead with four minutes to go. But the Commodores faltered and Memphis' Larry Finch finished with 21 points. Earlier Finch had 35 as Memphis State stomped on Cornell 96-64. Kentucky had to overcome its own disgruntled fans as well as the Irish in order to prevail. "I felt the crowd forced us into some bad shots with their impatience," ' said Kentucky Coach Joe Hall. After receiving the MVP award for his 23 points and 16 rebounds Jim Andrews of the Wildcats said, "They gave me a trophy all right—a bowling trophy. I don't know where the real one was."
1. MARYLAND (7-0)
2. SW LOUISIANA (6-0)
At the outset of its Lobo Invitational, New Mexico was unbeaten, but it felt unloved and unwanted—at least by the AP and UPI pollsters, who were not impressed enough by its 7-0 record to include the team in their top 20 lists. So the Lobos took out their frustrations on Dartmouth 107—36 and then forced Seattle into 26 turnovers in taking the title 70-54. James Brown of Dartmouth and Willie Biles of Tulsa, the Nos. 3 and 4 scorers in the nation at the tournament's start, felt that the altitude in mile-high Albuquerque affected them. Brown connected on just five of 26 field-goal attempts, Biles on 13 of 51.
George Karl scored 10 points in the closing minutes and North Carolina held off Louisville 89-86 in the Rainbow Classic.
Minnesota built an 18-point lead, squandered all but two points of it and hung on for an 83-80 victory over Oregon State in the Far West Classic in Portland. Leading the Gophers were Dave Winfield, a non-starter when the season began, and Bob Nix, a playmaker and an often erratic shooter. Winfield had 20 points, Nix 19.
With 7:44 minutes to go and with San Francisco trailing Penn 69-64, the Dons brought in John Boro who, they claim, is "the best sixth man in the country." He sank two free throws and converted two steals into field goals as San Francisco overhauled Penn 84-77.
1. UCLA (8-0)
2. LONG BEACH STATE (11-0)
There was only cold water at the hotel where Kansas State stayed during the Big Eight Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. but the Wildcats soon had all the hot water they could handle when they fell behind by 15 points in the title game against Missouri. They surged back and tied the score at 62, but eventually lost 82-72 as the Tigers upped their record to 11-0. This season the Big Eight is using a 30-second clock, and apparently it was instrumental in keeping teams from sitting on leads. Half of the 12 tournament games were decided by three points or fewer.
Marquette, continuing to win, was emulating two other hometown teams—the Bucks and Wisconsin-Milwaukee—in the fisticuff division. The aptly named Warriors beat Northwestern the hard way, playing most of the second half without Maurice Lucas, who was banished after punching a Wildcat player. The Warriors took the decision in overtime 89-85, then almost got taken themselves in the Milwaukee Classic. Playing Wisconsin, they came from 13 points down in the final 10 minutes to tie, and then won in double overtime 75-73.
Oral Roberts, getting its run-and-gun game untracked at last, won its own classic, too, squelching Montana State 116-68.
Indiana Coach Bob Knight, who had just earned his third technical foul, got a police escort from courtside with seven minutes left in the finals of the Sun Bowl Tournament. Texas-El Paso, playing in its own backyard, jolted the Hoosiers 74-65 to win the event for the ninth time in 12 years.
Erratic Cincinnati won a nontournament game from Penn 71-65, causing Coach Gale Catlett to say, "Tonight we played with intensity." Long-range shooting by Forwards Gene Harmon and Gene Ellefson, who accounted for 40 points, carried surprising Creighton to a 79-71 defeat of Ohio State.
1. MARQUETTE (8-0)
2. MINNESOTA (9-0)