"Oh, man, those guys are a lot better, exclaimed Providence Center Marvin Barnes after he tangled with the fearsome frontcourt men from Western Kentucky, a team the Friars beat by 30 points last season. Barnes was in a position—or, more precisely, out of position—to know. Boxed out by Center Ray Bowerman (16 points, 12 rebounds) and bombed by Forward Mike Odemns (20 points, 10 rebounds), Barnes & Co. were consistently outmuscled in the second half as the unranked Hilltoppers rallied to upset the eighth-ranked Friars 89-84. "I just hope this isn't a big balloon going up in the air to burst," said Hilltopper Coach Jim Richards. For the moment, at least, it was not, as the high-flying Kentuckians went on to post their fifth straight victory, downing Butler 104-96.
Bob Davis, the new head coach of Auburn, teaches his players to cope with taller opponents by having them practice against subs armed with squash rackets on defense. "Any edge helps," says Davis, who proved his point when his charges swatted rangy Georgia Tech 88-86. The Yellow Jackets lost another close one to Clemson 63-61 when they were unable to contain Wayne (Tree) Rollins, a 7'1" freshman who contributed 23 points and 19 rebounds to the Tigers' cause. Rattled by Wake Forest's tenacious defense, Penn turned the ball over 16 times and was upset 69-61 by the undefeated Deacons. Memphis State improved its record to 6-1 when John Washington, a 6'10" sophomore, came off the bench to block eight shots, score 14 points and snare 12 rebounds as the Tigers bested East Texas State 99-76. Freshman T. R. Dunn came through with 12 crucial points to help Alabama come from behind to defeat defending NIT champion Virginia Tech 75-64. "Heck, fire, we're better than that," said Kentucky Coach Joe Hall after the Wildcats suffered their third straight loss, a 101-84 drubbing by North Carolina. Fortunately for Kentucky, which has not lost four in a row since 1926, Hall was right. The Wildcats saved face by outlasting Iowa 88-80.
Scoring only one point in the second half, Temple was chilled by its own deep freeze, losing the finals of the Volunteer Classic to Tennessee by the startling score of 11-6. Angered by the Owls' delaying tactics, Vol Coach Ray Mears afterward had his team play an impromptu intrasquad game "to give the fans a chance to see some basketball."
December 24, 1973
1. N.C. (3-0)
2. MARYLAND (2-1)
The last time Notre Dame ventured into Indiana's vast Assembly Hall two seasons ago, it was humiliated 94-29, the worst defeat in ND history. Even so, Coach Digger Phelps could not count on revenge as a motivating factor when the Irish, sixth-ranked and 4-0, paid the Hoosiers, third-ranked and 3-0, a return visit last week; only one member of his young squad, Forward Gary Novak, had suffered through that embarrassment. Worse yet, Phelps was without the services of his No. 2 scorer, Guard Gary Brokaw, who was sidelined with a bruised thigh. What the Irish did have, though, was an overabundance of what Indiana Coach Bob Knight called "intensity"—a clawing defense and sheer brute strength under the boards. Center John Shumate provided a lot of the punch (26 points, 13 rebounds), but the difference was the performances of freshman Forwards Adrian Dantley and Billy Paterno, who combined for 31 points and 19 rebounds. Trailing by as much as 14 points, the Hoosiers gave the record crowd of 17,463 something to get excited about when they closed to within three points with 35 seconds left, but the Irish, turning on the intensity, pulled away to win 73-67.
Kansas State's Danny Beard, plagued by errant marksmanship last season, vowed to "come out shooting and tell myself that everything was going in." Everything almost did. Led by Beard's 11-for-15 performance, the Wildcats hit 62% of their shots from the field to riddle Iowa 105-67. Then, cooling off only slightly, they shot down Brigham Young 95-85 for their fifth win in six outings. Kansas won its own Jay hawk Classic by outclassing Washington Slate 66-51 and Oregon 67-49. After two consecutive one-point losses in overtime, Purdue Coach Fred Schaus needed a psychological boost and he got it when his wife presented him with a sterling-silver horseshoe. Though Schaus claims he is not superstitious, something worked as the Boilermakers put the hex on Missouri 79-66.
1. NOTRE DAME (5-0)
2. INDIANA (4-1)
Back home after the dispiriting loss to Western Kentucky, Providence got just the kind of lift it needed from Rick Santos. Coach Dave Gavitt followed an "instinct" and decided to start the scrappy guard against San Francisco. Santos responded by keeping the Friars' sputtering o(Tense going in the first half with 16 points. Then, switching defensive assignments, he held the Dons' high-scoring Phil Smith to four points in the second half as Providence, shifting its fast break into high gear, won going away 76-57. Against Austin Peay, Marvin Barnes poured in 52 points, two points better than Jimmy Walker's school record, but it was the omnipresent Santos who made it all worthwhile. With the score tied 92-92 in the waning moments, Austin Peay stalled to set up a final shot by Fly Williams. But Williams, who had 40 points, lost his touch and the ball. Then, with two seconds remaining, Barnes missed a long desperation shot, but Santos tipped in the rebound to cinch a 94-92 Friar victory.
"Every time I called a time-out to change things," moaned Canisius Coach John Morrison, "that Rick Aberegg knew what I was thinking and adjusted to what we did." While Aberegg played clairvoyant, his Long Beach State teammates ruled the backboards, effectively denying Canisius a second shot. Canisius' Larry Fogle rained in eight straight points in the second half, but his 34 points were not enough as the Californians defeated the Golden Griffins 94-82. Villanova Coach Rollie Massimino tried to unnerve Niagara's Cleve Royster by calling two consecutive time-outs with 1:27 left. Royster, however, calmly dropped in a pair of free throws that proved the winning margin for Niagara 65-63. Harvard Coach Tom (Satch) Sanders had good reason to be unnerved. "We're playing "almost,' " is the best he could say of the Crimson's back-to-back losses to Springfield (85-82) and Boston College (68-65).
1. PROVIDENCE (3-1)
2. SYRACUSE (3-0)
With all eyes focused on the big showdown between No. 1 and No. 2 in St. Louis, the Utah Classic was hard pressed to divert attention to Salt Lake City. The tournament succeeded thanks to a spirited finale between Utah and Seattle. With Center Mike Sojourner and Guard Ticky Burden combining for 59 points, the Utes broke open a tight game to win 100-85. Idaho traveled to the sun country and got burned twice, first by Arizona 101-80 and then by Arizona State 104-71. Arizona followed with one of its best offensive efforts in a dozen years, overpowering San Diego State 109-79. Arizona State, however, ran afoul of USC and an unyielding defense that hounded the Sun Devils into a horrendous 31 turnovers. Paced by Gus Williams' 19 points, the Trojans made 18 of 32 shots in the second half to take State 79-70.
Trailing archrival New Mexico State by 11 points at the half, New Mexico Coach Norm Ellenberger took his team into the locker room and wrote PATIENCE on the blackboard, a gentle reminder to the team not to panic. The Lobos patiently whittled away in the second half to gain a 71-71 tie and a two-shot foul at the buzzer. Then Rich Pokorski ended the suspense to give New Mexico a one-point victory. The Lobos then went on to make it seven wins in a row, coasting over Houston Baptist 115-72 and Abilene Christian 98-84.
"The players like it, the coaches enjoy it, and the fans prefer it," Ralph Barkey, coach of suddenly successful University of California at Santa Barbara, said of the Gauchos" scrambling full-court press and wide-open attack. Their most recent victims—SMU (68-66) and Wyoming (91-67)—obviously would prefer something more refined.
1. UCLA (4-0)
2. LONG BEACH STATE (5-1)