PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: Los Angeles' Pat Riley scored a career-high 38 points in a 127-122 victory over New Orleans. He was not even supposed to play because of his bad knee. Coach Bill Sharman said Riley's performance "was the most gutsy I've ever seen." The presence of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (page 22), stimulated the Bucks, who defeated the Midwest Division leader Kansas City-Omaha 102-99 by closing the lane to the Kings' Nate Archibald. Chicago halted Buffalo's 11-game streak 91-89 but had a 1-2 week, despite the return of holdout Bob Love. The Braves went on to lose three of four, including a 118-111 tussle with New York, which beat Boston the previous night. Central leader Washington had a 4-1 week. Houston dropped four games. Pacific leader Golden State continued to get consistent performances from rookie Keith Wilkes. The backcourt combination of Geoff Petrie and Larry Steele guided Portland to a 3-0 week. The Blazers walloped New Orleans 117-85 as the Jazz dropped three more games. Detroit's Bob Lanier scored 36 points in a victory over the Knicks. Billy Cunningham's legal troubles were solved, but Philadelphia, last in the Atlantic, still had court problems. Phoenix, Cleveland and Atlanta each won two, lost one, while Seattle won one and lost four.
ABA: The New York Nets relied on a change of pace, pulling the reins on the Denver Nuggets 99-90, but Denver, the Western leader, won its other four games and topped the ABA in scoring with a 122-point average. The Nets also beat Kentucky, the Eastern leader. The surprising San Antonio Spurs slumped and failed to win during the week. The second-place Spurs lost to the third-place Utah Stars, who lost to the fourth-place San Diego Conquistadors, who lost to last-place Indiana. The Pacers' Darnell Hillman had 30 points to provide the winning margin and then some over the Qs. Memphis won a pair, nipping St. Louis 103-94 and trouncing Virginia 118-83.
BOXING—Colombia's RODRIGO VALDES retained his World Boxing Council middleweight title with an 11th-round knockout of France's Gratien Tonna, in Paris.
Guts Ishimatsu of Japan kept his WBC lightweight championship by knocking out Rodolfo Gonzalez of Mexico in the 12th round, in Osaka, Japan.
December 9, 1974
CROSS-COUNTRY—JOHN NGENO of Kenya and Washington State won the 10,000-meter AAU Cross-Country Championship at Belmont, Calif. in 29:58.8, 16 seconds ahead of Neil Cusack of Ireland (page 93). The COLORADO TRACK CLUB, led by third-place finisher Ted Castaneda, won the team title.
Oregon won the NCAA cross-country championship over the six-mile Indiana University course in Bloomington. NICK ROSE of second-place Western Kentucky captured individual honors.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—Texas A&M's 32-3 loss to Texas gave Baylor, a 24-3 winner over Rice, its first Southwest Conference championship since 1924 and its first Cotton Bowl bid ever. The Bears will meet Penn State, which beat Pitt 31-10, while Texas heads for the Gator Bowl. Oklahoma strengthened its hopes for an unofficial national championship by blasting Oklahoma State 44-13. Alabama beat Auburn 17-13 (page 75) and USC's 55-24 comeback (page 30) handed Notre Dame its worst defeat in 30 years. Arizona beat Arizona State for the first time in 10 years, 10-0. Bob Jackson's two touchdowns guided Navy past Army 19-0, while Vanderbilt settled for a 21-21 tie with Tennessee. Florida sank Miami 31-7. Fred Solomon's hand in five touchdowns led Tampa past Florida A&M 35-10. Mississippi dealt Tulane its sixth straight loss, 26-10.
PRO FOOTBALL—NFL: Minnesota's NFC Central clinching 29-9 victory over New Orleans left three divisions still undecided. AFC Central leader Pittsburgh was set back by the resurgent Houston Oilers 13-10 on Skip Butler's 34-yard field goal with 2:32 remaining. The Buffalo Bills dealt Baltimore a 6-0 loss and waited for Miami's Monday tussle with Cincinnati to see if they had first place to themselves in the AFC East. St. Louis succumbed to Kansas City 17-13 but clinched a playoff berth anyway, and second-place Washington lost to Dallas 24-23 (page 26). The New York Jets won their fourth straight, beating San Diego 27-14 behind John Riggins' three touchdowns. Cleveland beat San Francisco 7-0. In Chicago, before 18,802 spectators and 36,951 no-shows, the Bears downed the New York Giants 16-13, while in Atlanta (18,648, with 40,202 no-shows) Los Angeles whacked the Falcons 30-7. Philadelphia snapped a six-game losing streak with a 36-14 thumping of Green Bay. Otis Armstrong rushed for 144 yards as the Denver Broncos beat Detroit 31-27, and AFC West champ Oakland beat New England 41-26 on four touchdown passes by Ken Stabler.
WFL: The Birmingham Americans, 15-5 for the season, and the Florida Blazers, 14-6, made it to the first, and perhaps only, World Bowl with victories in the semifinals. The Americans edged past the Hawaiians, who were 10-11, by a 22-19 score, while the angry Blazers, who had not been paid in 13 weeks, upset the favored Memphis Southmen 18-15. Memphis' 17-3 was best in the league.
HARNESS RACING—KEYSTONE SMARTIE ($27.40), Peter Haughton driving, was an upset winner in the 1‚⅛-mile $113,350 American Pacing Classic at Hollywood Park.
HOCKEY—NHL: The Atlanta Flames continued to show little hospitality at The Omni, where they extended their home unbeaten streak to 13 games with a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers. The Flames tied Philadelphia for the Patrick Division lead with 31 points each. They began the week by beating the Flyers, who had a victory over Detroit. The Red Wings had just two wins in 16 games and led only expansionist Washington in the Norris Division, where Los Angeles was king. The Kings shut out Boston, which still trailed Buffalo in the Adams. Vancouver stretched its lead in the Smythe, and Minnesota beat Chicago to move into second place. Toronto Coach Red Kelly, criticized for lack of discipline among his players, carried a six-foot leather bullwhip to a game with the Rangers, but his team lost anyway. The Maple Leafs still were five points ahead of last-place California and were thankful for a tie with St. Louis. Phil Esposito's 21st goal of the season helped the Bruins down the Seals. Bart Crashley cashed in a third-period goal to give Kansas City a 4-3 victory over Vancouver. It was the fourth win in 20 games for the expansionist Scouts.
WHA: New England, East Division leader, breezed past Chicago 9-5, but had a harder time with Quebec before winning in overtime. Cleveland beat Quebec, too, and with four victories during the week picked up four points on New England. Houston, leading the West, beat Edmonton twice. Bobby Hull continued to make new believers, this time Indianapolis Goalie Andy Brown, as the aging Golden Jet propelled Winnipeg to a 4-0 win. Canadian leader Toronto beat the Racers, too. Vancouver had three wins and outscored its opponents 16-4. Phoenix had a big week, winning a pair. San Diego, Minnesota and Michigan each won once.
TENNIS—JOHN NEWCOMBE rallied in the finals for a 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 victory over Cliff Drysdale to take the men's title in the $100,000 Gunze Open at Osaka. CHRIS EVERT beat Rosemary Casals 6-0, 6-2 in the women's finals.
MILEPOSTS—FORMED: A 10-team professional INTERNATIONAL VOLLEYBALL LEAGUE, with a 40-game schedule, to begin in June 1975. Cities are Cincinnati, Chicago, El Paso, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Toronto and Vancouver.
RESIGNED: JIM OWENS, after 18 years as head football coach at the University of Washington. He had a 99-82-6 record.
SELECTED: As major league rookies of the year, Texas' MIKE HARGROVE (American) and St. Louis' BAKE McBRIDE (National). First Baseman Hargrove led the Rangers in hitting with a .323 average. Centerfielder McBride batted .309 and stole 30 bases.
SELECTED: PENN STATE, as winner of the Lambert Cup, presented annually to the outstanding college football team in the East.
SUSPENDED: GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER III, majority stockholder of the New York Yankees, from any association with his or any other major league club for two years, by Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, because of his recent conviction on charges of unlawful corporate contributions to political campaigns.
DIED: JAMES J. BRADDOCK, 68, the "Cinderella Man" who won the world heavyweight championship in 1935 by outpointing Max Baer in one of boxing's biggest upsets; in North Bergen, N.J.
DIED: DeORMOND (Tuss) McLAUGHRY, 81, who in 1926 coached Brown University's only undefeated football team; in Norwich, Vt. McLaughry also coached at Westminster, Amherst and Dartmouth.