With its NCAA tournament life on the line at St. John's, Syracuse won a foul-shooting contest in the last minute and a half and narrowly avoided a third consecutive loss 72-71. The Orange trailed 62-60 when Guard Dennis DuVal made a jump shot and then moments later hit with a three-point play to lift Syracuse to a 67-63 advantage. DuVal, 11 for 20 for the night, had been 5 for 20 against Connecticut earlier in the week as Syracuse lost at home 61-60, its first home defeat in 37 games.
Penn has a weapon that is getting pretty familiar, Guard John Beecroft. Trailing Temple 42-41 in the final seconds, Coach Chuck Daly leaned over, hit him on the chin and said, "Stick it, Beek." Beecroft followed orders with a 15-footer good for a 43-42 victory. On Saturday, Beecroft stuck another one, this time with one second left, to down Harvard 55-53. Said Beecroft, becoming a connoisseur, "It wasn't the kind of picture shot you like to get." Harvard, which has now lost six games by a total of 11 points, also lost to Northeastern, 55-53. Princeton won over Harvard 63-49 and Dartmouth 67-49, and Brown beat Yale 102-70 on the strength of its midget backcourt. Eddie Morris, 5'10", had nine points and 12 assists. Jim Burke, two inches shorter, led all scorers with 24 points.
Providence turned the ball over 30 times against young and inexperienced Villanova, but managed an 87-77 margin in a game with the usual formula: Kevin Stacom, 23 points; Marvin Barnes, 16 rebounds. St. Bonaventure's ace freshman Essie Hollis, a 6'5" forward, connected for 28 points and 13 rebounds as he personally destroyed visiting Duquesne 84-71. The Dukes, who missed 6'9" Lionel Billingy, sidelined with a sprained ankle for at least another week, probably will miss the postseason tournaments, too. Massachusetts, 9-0, toyed with Boston University's Terriers 82-68, and Pittsburgh downed Duke 62-46.
1. PROVIDENCE (11-2)
2. PENN (9-3)
Cincinnati's Gale Catlett and Louisville's Denny Crum, supposedly good friends, seemed in no need of additional enemies after Catlett's Bearcats had defeated Crum's Cardinals for the second time this season. Crum was angry because his team had been denied practice time on the home team's floor. He got a small measure of revenge when the Cardinals were awarded a pregame free throw because Cincinnati's Mike Franklin had dunked during warmups. In turn, that burned Catlett, who claimed Crum had gone to the officials requesting the technical call. "Tell Denny to run his program and I'll run mine," said Catlett, threatening to walk away from a postgame interview after Cincinnati's 77-70 win. Otherwise, Louisville kept pace in the Missouri Valley race by beating Drake 87-82, while New Mexico State, 3-0 in the conference, dealt an 80-75 knockout blow to Tulsa.
Indiana slipped by Wisconsin 52-51, marking the fourth time in five games that the Badgers have been involved in a one-point decision. Even in defeat, Wisconsin, playing at Indiana, gained some of the stature the Hoosiers continue to lose. Before their game the two schools were tied at 13th in the national rankings. Purdue also looked like a team that could finish atop the Big Ten. The Boilermakers made turnovers their first six times down the floor against Northwestern, yet came back from a 17-2 deficit to win 85-78. John Garrett and Frank Kendrick combined for 42 points against Illinois, losing its 10th consecutive game to Purdue, this time by 91-69. At Minneapolis, Gopher Coach Bill Musselman failed to see the light. Trailing Michigan by seven points with 37 seconds left, Minnesota pulled to within two at 65-63—or so it seemed to Musselman. Actually, the score was 66-63; but a burned-out scoreboard bulb made it appear that the margin was two points. As a result, PeteGilcud's last-second tip-in for Minnesota sent Gopher fans into a false delirium—and Michigan home with its 10th triumph in 12 games.
"Too many guys are putting their hands on their hips too soon," said Al McGuire, concerned that his team had grown complacent after being all but alone on campus for a month at semester break. The Warriors broke out of their stupor by drilling San Diego State 90-66 but was so sloppy in edging DePaul 63-59 that McGuire held a closed-door dressing-room session.
If it was too early for returns to mean much in the Big Eight, one thing seemed certain: Oklahoma's prize sophomore, Alvan Adams, will again be voted Player of the Year. He hit the last four Sooner field goals and totaled 27 points in a 65-63 thriller over Kansas State. Missouri waved aloha to Hawaii and its 11-0 record in a mainland unwelcome, beating the islanders 86-74 as Al Eberhard and Gary Link combined for 42 points. Notre Dame, girding for Saturday's game with UCLA, jumped out to a Bruinlike 12-0 lead over Xavier and romped home 87-44.
1. NOTRE DAME (8-0)
2. MARQUETTE (12-1)
It was a bad, bad, bad week for Jerry Tarkanian, the new coach at Nevada-Las Vegas. His Rebels were upset in two West Coast Conference games, at St. Mary's 69-66 and Seattle 82-64, and his old team at Long Beach State was slapped with a three-year probation for violations that in some cases involved him. State President Stephen Horn submitted to the NCAA a resolution that would penalize the previous athletic administration and not the school where the infractions took place.
In a separate action, the NCAA also suspended Long Beach starters Roscoe Pondexter, a junior, and Glenn McDonald, a senior, for alleged entrance rule infractions. Both players missed the 72-53 beating Long Beach State gave Pacific. But after receiving temporary restraining orders from a federal court judge, they were in on the similar battering of San Jose State 72-57.
Weekend madness in the Western Athletic Conference usually involves a complete revamping of the standings and this one was no exception. New Mexico, 12-0 before the action started, was 12-2 at the end. Ahead by as many as nine points in the second half at Arizona, the Lobos could not prevent the Motown duo, Detroiters Coniel Norman and Eric Money, from zinging in 26 and 24 points respectively. The next night in Tempe they lost again, to Arizona State 80-68. The Sun Devils, who earlier ripped Texas-El Paso 73-53, took second in the conference as angry UTEP whacked Arizona 81-63, holding the Wildcats without a basket for nearly 10 minutes during the second half.
A new star emerged in Los Angeles: USC's Biff Burrell. A substitute, he played a prominent role in two of the Trojans' three Pacific Eight victories.
1. UCLA (12-0)
2. LONG BEACH ST. (12-1)
North Carolina state and Maryland, once again fighting prelims on the Super Bowl card, nearly upstaged the feature attraction before a nationwide TV audience. Amend that. State's David Thompson was a show in himself, scoring 41 points on 14 of 20 shots from here, there and everywhere, grabbing eight rebounds and three steals and on defense holding his men to two points. John Lucas and Tom McMillen had 24 points apiece for Maryland but N.C. State prevailed 80-74. Earlier, the Wolfpack routed Clemson 96-68 and Maryland beat Wake Forest 72-59. North Carolina found trouble on its trip to Clemson. Six of the Tarheels were battling the flu, including starters Darrell Elston and John O'Donnell, and everybody was battling the officials. Carolina finally won 102-90 as seven players fouled out.
In the Southeastern Conference the most exciting game—not to say most bruising—was LSU's 84-81 victory over previously unbeaten Vanderbilt in Baton Rouge. A fight near the end resulted in the ejections of Vandy's Jan van Breda Kolff and LSU's Collis Temple. Alabama beat Tennessee in Knoxville 79-73, giving the Tide a decided edge in the conference's tough home-and-home round robin. "Alabama is definitely the team to beat," Coach Ray Mears said afterward. "If they can always play that brand of inspired basketball, nobody is going to head them off." Kentucky, which did last season, beat Georgia 80-74 and Auburn 79-58, and Kentucky Coach Joe Hall declared, "We're back in the race." Meanwhile, Mississippi, which never was in a race, even when Johnny Neumann was dropping in his 25-foot bombs, is in one now, with a 9-1 record, 3-0 in the SEC.
A malfunctioning scoreboard had Florida State Coach Hugh Durham embarrassed. The clock in State's gym may have lopped as much as one minute off the game, which officials finished by a stopwatch. Said Durham, whose Seminoles barely hung on to edge fast-closing Virginia Tech 85-80, "If I were Coach Don DeVoe I'd never bring a team back into this place." Jacksonville, abandoning the deliberate attack prescribed by new Coach Bob Gottlieb, reverted to run-and-gun and blasted South Alabama and its 10-game winning streak 101-83 as Butch Taylor put in 31 points in 29 minutes. Fly Williams, whose absence for two games with a sprained wrist had reduced Austin Peay to an also-ran in the Ohio Valley Conference, proved himself fully recovered by getting 35 points and 15 rebounds during an 80-70 win over Morehead State. Little-noted Mercer University raised its record to 11-2 after defeating E.C.A.C. Holiday Festival champion Manhattan 81-71, which also lost to South Carolina 75-61.
1. N.C. ST. (9-1)
2. MARYLAND (9-2)