While Notre Dame and UCLA were doing their thing at South Bend, sixth-ranked Marquette was biding its time with some carefully planned lean talk among some fat scheduling. The Warriors beat Butler 73-54, and Coach Al McGuire sounded like a losing coach. "The second half was a completely undisciplined solo extravaganza," he said. "The only thing I liked about it was the horn at the end of the game. I don't know how we can possibly stop the drought that's coming without a complete turnaround. Our ball handling was atrocious and our offense was Dunkirk. I honestly don't know how we can be 13-1." The Warriors were 14-1 after downing another patsy, Fordham, 90-74, but with Long Beach State, Loyola and Notre Dame directly ahead, McGuire said with even longer face, "The party's over now."
Purdue and Michigan, until Monday the two undefeated teams in Big 10 play, both scored conference wins. The Boilermakers fast-broke their way past Northwestern 89-76 in a game that saw the two top scorers from both teams foul out. Michigan needed a 17-foot jumper from ex-football Tight End C. J. Kupec at the buzzer to nip Michigan State 84-82. Indiana and Wisconsin, with one conference loss each, continued to threaten the leaders. The Hoosiers scored the last six points to beat Northwestern 72-67 and scrambled back from a 48-42 deficit to edge Iowa 55-51. Indiana Coach Bobby Knight has now started 12 players one or more times while looking for the right combination. Wisconsin toyed with Illinois 101-75.
Kansas took over the lead in the Big Eight when it squeezed past Iowa State 73-69 and Oklahoma State 68-66. The Jayhawks virtually duplicated Notre Dame's shocking finish against UCLA when they scored the final 10 points of the Oklahoma State game in the last 1:56. A 25-foot jumper by a substitute, Tommy Smith, heretofore noted principally for his lackadaisical attitude, floated into the basket after the buzzer to decide the contest. Oklahoma, which clobbered Colorado 91-66 early in the week, fell out of a share of the lead when it lost to Nebraska 63-58.
Louisville handed Memphis State its third straight loss, 94-81, giving the Tigers their longest losing streak since Gene Bartow became coach three seasons ago. Louisville outscored Memphis State 22-7 at the free-throw line, where Cardinal Coach Denny Crum caused some of the action by drawing two straight technicals for questioning the officiating. "That was a lousy call," said Crum. "Look, even the player's laughing." First technical. "Look," insisted Crum, "the player's still laughing." Second technical.
Cincinnati was upset 99-82 by Ball State (on a rare five-game win streak) before rallying to beat Fairleigh-Dickinson 96-70. Ball State Coach Jim Holstein called his team's upset victory "the biggest win ever, personally and for the school." Oral Roberts put itself into enviable position for a postseason playoff berth with three wins, including a 70-68 thriller at Virginia Tech in which Eddie Woods tipped in his own free throw in the final nine seconds for the winning margin.
1. NOTRE DAME (10-0)
2. MARQUETTE (14-1)
Seventh-ranked Providence had its hands full and then some with lightly regarded but undefeated Massachusetts. With 2½ minutes to play, U Mass led 70-62. The Friars resorted to a full-court press and scored seven straight points and then took a one-point lead, only to fall behind again 76-73 with but 34 seconds remaining. In addition, Friar star Marvin Barnes had fouled out. But somebody was watching over Providence. Massachusetts still led 76-75 when Rick Pitino blew a free throw, and with six seconds left, Kevin Stacom, who had been shooting poorly all night, hit an 18-foot jumper for a 77-76 Providence win. After that a 67-62 win over St. Joseph's which had lost earlier in the week to Penn 55-53, seemed a breather.
Syracuse held high-flying Larry Fogle to 24 points, 14 under his nation-leading average, and stopped Canisius 87-74. The Orangemen also beat Temple 70-61 to up their record to 10-3. Fogle, meanwhile, had another below-par night with 26 points against St. Bonaventure, but this time teammate Charley Jordan picked up the slack as the Golden Griffins won 69-64.
Boston University, the team in the field least likely to succeed, took the fourth annual Beanpot Tournament with a 95-94 overtime win against Boston College. The game was tied 83-83 with 2:20 left in regulation, but neither team was able to score again. Sophomore Neil Burns finally ended it with a jump shot from deep in the corner with only three seconds remaining in overtime.
"We don't have a starting five, we have a starting eight. And we have 10 or 11 players who can do the job," said Coach Buzz Ridl of surprising Pittsburgh, which has won 14 straight since an opening loss to West Virginia. Still, the team's mainstay is 6'6" Forward Bill (Moony) Knight who scored 12 of his game-high 22 points at the beginning of the second half as the Panthers posted a 34-10 margin on their way to a 96-56 rout of George Washington. Buffalo also fell before the relentless Panthers, 101-75.
1. PROVIDENCE (13-2)
2. PITTSBURGH (14-1)
"What a difference a week makes," said Jerry Tarkanian whose Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels won twice at home to even their West Coast Athletic Conference record at 2-2. "Last week I was ready to blow my brains out." The Rebels sputtered onto the winning track, needing three overtimes and the nine points freshman Eddie Owens scored in them to beat Santa Clara 81-79, but kept on running and casually knocked off two-time defending WCAC champion University of San Francisco 83-69. Still ahead of the Rebels are 4-0 Seattle, which scored weekend wins over both Pepperdine and Loyola, and 3-1 USF, which had beaten Nevada-Reno earlier, 92-73.
Texas made a similar turnaround. Going into the start of Southwest Conference play last week the Longhorns were 1-11 and retrogressing. Then Coach Leon Black gave his charges a little pep talk. The result: a 104-53 rout of TCU, the Longhorns' widest victory margin in 46 years. Texas found victory infectious and went on to beat SMU 87-82.
Colorado State remained at the top of the Western Athletic Conference with a 57-46 win over Wyoming. The Cowboys led at intermission, but the Rams used a brutal man-to-man pressing defense in the final 20 minutes to hold Wyoming to seven second-half baskets. Texas-El Paso buried New Mexico 78-71 when the Miners' defense, ranked second nationally, held the Lobos to 23 points under their season's average. While connecting on only 31.5% of its shots in losing its third straight road game, New Mexico still led by 10 points near the end of the first half, but UTEP tied the score by intermission and opened the second half with a 9-2 barrage that determined the final margin. Miner Coach Don Haskins was ejected for the third time this season for picking up three technicals.
Utah State avenged an earlier loss to Utah with an 84-79 win in Logan. Utah's Mike Sojourner and Chas Menatti, who had combined for 52 points and 19 rebounds in the teams' first meeting, were held to a total of eight points and eight rebounds. The Aggies also whipped Brigham Young 93-86.
The University of Hawaii, which left the islands two weeks ago with an 11-0 record, was dunked two out of three times on the West Coast and returns home to Honolulu 13-3. Oregon State, with an 11-2 spurt in the closing 2½ minutes of the first half, downed the Rainbows 86-62. Then, after narrowly escaping Portland 57-52, Hawaii fell to Washington, loser of four straight Pacific Eight games, 80-70.
1. UCLA (13-1)
2. LONG BEACH ST. (12-1)
"The greatest effort I've ever seen in 17 years of coaching," is what Dale Brown, coach of LSU, called the play of his five starters against Mississippi State. Unfortunately, those five starters were also Brown's only five players; he had suspended seven others for breaking curfew. It seems that in a motel in Starkville, Miss, they found each other's conversation so stimulating that their discussion continued 90 minutes after bedtime. Fouls eventually reduced the five mutes to four on the floor, and LSU, which had upset both Kentucky and Vanderbilt, fell before the Bulldogs 89-75, the team's second loss in Southeastern Conference play. Kentucky also lost for a second time, to two-time loser Tennessee 67-54, before handing Mississippi its second loss, 93-64. Ole Miss, which started the week undefeated in the conference, lost earlier to Alabama 88-71. The Tide then slipped by LSU and the reinstated Starkville Seven 80-79 in overtime, winning on a free throw after almost blowing the game in the final minute of regulation time on three missed one-and-one tries. That tied Alabama at 4-1 with Vanderbilt, which dispatched Georgia 91-71 and Auburn 96-51.
Furman held its Southern Conference lead, beating second-place Citadel 50-42. The score was 16-all at the half as Citadel stalled, but the Bulldogs' poor shooting finally did them in. Earlier in the week Furman downed Manhattan 94-76 as 6'9" junior Clyde Mayes scored 29 points and gathered in 21 rebounds. But the Paladins were no match for Jacksonville, which got 29 points from Leon Benbow, survived a second-half case of the blahs and won 77-68.
Maryland had the easiest week of the ACC's triumvirate, breezing past Fordham 112-73 and Navy 72-50. North Carolina State enjoyed leads of 11-0, 20-2 and 28-4 on its way to routing Virginia 90-70 and also polished off North Carolina-Charlotte 104-72 for the next easiest week. Only North Carolina had trouble. After downing Wake Forest 95-78, the Tar Heels barely survived Duke 73-71 when Bobby Jones stole an inbounds pass and scored on a layup in the final four seconds.
South Carolina lost at Davidson 70-59, but returned on Saturday to its sacred Carolina Coliseum and beat Pennsylvania 67-57 to extend its home winning streak to 31 games. Gamecock sophomore Center Bob Mathias described it this way: "I don't want anybody coming in and taking anything away from my home, and the rest of the players feel the same way."
Mercer had its win streak snapped at 11 when Tennessee-Chattanooga whipped the Macon team 111-88, but Centenary upped its record to 12-0 with wins over Northwestern Louisiana 90-77, Houston 91-83 and Lamar 83-65.
1. N.C. ST. (11-1)
2. MARYLAND (11-2)