There were empty seats in Carmichael Auditorium when sixth-ranked North Carolina, fresh from wins over Maryland and Florida State and looking ahead to Virginia, entertained Miami of Ohio. Tar Heel followers were staying home to listen to the North Carolina State-Duke game. Just as well. The Redskins, whose teams have been stinging unsuspecting Big Ten neighbors for years, zinged Carolina 102-92, the most points ever scored on the team in the arena. Chastened North Carolina beat Virginia 76-68 and continued to lead the nation in team shooting. North Carolina State, with spectacular David Thompson getting 31 points, topped Duke 74-50 to remain undefeated.
"I'm not here to play Richard Fuqua," Dwight Lamar insisted when Southwestern Louisiana arrived in Tulsa for a nationally televised shoot-out with Oral Roberts. But it seemed clear from the way the ball kept flying out of people's hands that outshooting somebody was the order of the day. The nation's two highest-scoring teams put it up 196 times, with Oral Roberts missing more shots (71) than most teams take in a game and Southwestern winning 104-89. Lamar, recovered from the flu, scored 34 points while Fuqua made but five of 23 shots.
Tennessee won the game of the year in the SEC, shuddering past Alabama 72-71 in Knoxville when Vol Center Len Kosmalski sank two free throws with less than a minute left. Seconds later, Wendell Hudson missed two for Alabama, then with three seconds left Charles Cleveland had his driving shot blocked by Kosmalski. "It was a lucky one," said Kosmalski. "He took my arm off," said Cleveland. The play gave Tennessee a two-game edge over Alabama and Kentucky in the loss column.
Virginia Tech waited most of the year to get into the national rankings, then promptly fell out as Richmond and Toledo cooked the Gobblers 94-93 and 89-74.
Florida State, with Benny Clyde playing for the first time in three weeks following disciplinary suspension, beat South Alabama 86-69. Clyde did not score, but passed a lot, which is something he had not been doing, and Reggie Royals got 30 points.
SMU lost the fourth of its last five games to Arkansas 103-96 as Martin Terry scored 47 points—leaving the Southwest race to Texas Tech and the Razorbacks. Texas A&M scored on a goaltending call with seven seconds to go to beat Texas Tech 76-75.
1. N.C. STATE (23-0)
2. N. CAROLINA (21-5)
Minnesota, the Big Ten's best rebounding team, was jumped by the league's second worst, Illinois, but still won 82-73 to move alone into first place for the first time this season. Gopher Center Jim Brewer scored on nine of 11 field-goal attempts and snatched 13 rebounds to offset the efforts of Illinois' Nick Weatherspoon, the conference's most explosive player and leading scorer. Minnesota also unraveled Michigan's talented but uncoordinated attack 98-80. Purdue, which had teetered on top of the standings for two surprising days, was routed at Ohio State 102-79. Indiana won twice, 57-55 over Wisconsin and 75-65 over Michigan State. In the Wisconsin game Hoosier Coach Bobby Knight turned cheerleader when the home crowd sat in virtual silence. Outraged, he said, "I think it is an absolute shame that 15,000 people can sit there on their dead rear ends and a coach has to get up to get somebody to cheer."
Marquette beat Bowling Green and Ford-ham for its second 11-game winning streak of the season. Coach Al McGuire's son Allie dropped in long jumpers and Forward Larry McNeill two braces of free throws to stave off the fast-closing Rams.
Missouri's 6'7", 220-pound John Brown says he has been distracted of late by pro scouts and agents, but his concentration was perfect against Kansas State. He connected on his first nine shots from the floor against the Big Eight leaders to get the Tigers started toward an 80-66 victory. When Oklahoma opened up a 14-point lead on State four nights later, it looked as though the conference race was alive again. But 10 free throws in the last four minutes and Center Steve Mitchell's 23 points saved the Wildcats 82-78. Colorado's 70-66 loss to Oklahoma State, whose coach, Sam Aubrey, resigned earlier in the week, was a blow to the Buffs' slender title hopes.
Memphis State's 54-53 win over New Mexico State was triply memorable. It also was Coach Gene Bartow's 200th and it clinched the school's first outright Missouri Valley championship. In a game involving a tournament bid for at least the winner, Louisville turned back Cincinnati 91-81 to give Coach Denny Crum his second consecutive 20-win season.
By taking Kent State 75-66, Miami of Ohio regained the Mid-American Conference title from Ohio University.
1. MINNESOTA (18-2)
2. MARQUETTE (22-2)
Back-to-back losses to powerful St. Joseph's (76-65) and Notre Dame (75-71) dealt severe blows to St. John's hopes of escaping its niche in the NIT. As usual, Bill Schaeffer was a tornado, scoring 56 points for the Redmen, but Olympian Mike Bantom and the Irish's John Shumate spelled the difference in the respective games. Bantom scored 23 points—many on near dunks—and grabbed 21 rebounds. Shumate had 31 points for Notre Dame, which also beat West Virginia 92-73.
If Penn wins the Ivy League title, it should send part of the trophy to Brown. The Bruins enjoyed the finest basketball weekend in their history, first beating Penn itself 53-51—when Guard Eddie Morris dropped in a 20-footer with two seconds left—then knocking off co-leader Princeton 68-62, Brown's first win over the Tigers since 1960. Yale helped Penn, too, upsetting Princeton 63-61 before losing to the Quakers 78-49.
Providence breezed past Villanova, college-division power Assumption and Seton Hall as Marvin Barnes collected 72 points and 74 rebounds. In the process Guard Ernie DiGregorio became the school's second-highest scorer behind Jimmy Walker.
American University's Kermit Washington outrebounded the entire La Salle team 31 to 28 in an 88-79 victory to assure (unless American gets into a postseason tournament) a career average of 20 a game. Next, needing 39 points to average 20 points in his career, he rammed in his most ever, 40, in a 90-68 rout of Georgetown. Only others in the 20-20 club? Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor, Paul Silas, Artis Gilmore, Julius Erving and Walter Dukes.
"I've seen ballplayers get an ovation that lasted six or seven minutes," said Temple's retiring Harry Litwack, "but never a coach." What followed the applause was a 76-67 victory over Villanova, giving Litwack a 372-192 coaching record at Temple in 21 seasons.
Syracuse's surprising Orangemen won their 31st home game in a row, 80-77 in overtime against Niagara, and made it 32 straight against Colgate 83-66.
1. PROVIDENCE (20-3)
2. ST. JOSEPH'S (20-5)
At times Coach Jerry Tarkanian gives his Long Beach State players the feeling he is more impressed with L.A. State's Raymond Lewis than he is with any of them. "Raymond, Raymond, Raymond. That's all Coach ever talks about, how good Raymond is," said 49er Guard Glenn McDonald following a lopsided victory over L.A. State earlier this month in which Lewis, the nation's No. 2 scorer, missed 26 of 34 shots. But in a rematch Friday night Lewis broke loose for a conference-record 53 points while his mother fainted from excitement in the stands. L.A. State won 107-104 in double overtime, making Tarkanian almost euphoric. "I knew you were going to do it to us," he told Lewis. The 49ers blinked that one off with a 92-65 drilling of Santa Barbara to take their fourth straight PCAA title.
Since the bruising Notre Dame game, UCLA Coach John Wooden has been experimenting with a stronger front line of Bill Walton, Swen Nater and Dave Meyers. Maybe he shouldn't have. The Bruins ran into what Wooden termed "more a wrestling match than a basketball game" at Oregon and promises of similar trouble in the future. Ducks Coach Dick Harter said, "They think this was rough. They'll really get played tough in a couple of years when we have the people." UCLA just may have to go back to slick, as it did with a stall late in a 73-67 squeaker against Oregon State. To save their 68th straight, Wooden's regulars went most of the way.
The WAC was never more in whack, New Mexico and Brigham Young, typically, tossing the lead back and forth with losses to Wyoming and Arizona and raising the specter of a four-way tie for the title. Weber State, second in winning percentage to UCLA over the past 10 years, roped in its sixth straight Big Sky championship by defeating Gonzaga 70-65 while San Francisco was being shot down by Jimmie Baker and Bobby Florence of Nevada-Las Vegas. The two got 56 points and Baker took down 26 rebounds in an 87-85 desert ambush.
1. UCLA (23-0)
2. LONG BEACH STATE (22-2)