USC and UCLA both won impressively. The Trojans crunched Oklahoma State 107-88 and Utah 102-82. Against the Cowboys, they set a school record with 70% shooting and received 26 points from Guard Gus Williams. The next night USC had early difficulty controlling Utah's run-and-gun offense, but with John Lambert putting in 29 points and Williams adding 20, most of them on double-pump midair layups, the Trojans pulled away. UCLA defeated Loyola of Chicago 84-67, making up for 39% shooting by cashing in on 22 of 28 free throws. Ralph Drollinger, who had 18 points against the Ramblers, was scoreless the following evening against Oklahoma State. But the Bruins improved on USC's 19-point margin by drubbing the Cowboys 82-51. Forward Marques Johnson, who has made a record recovery from hepatitis that hospitalized him in November, picked up 13 points in 14 minutes.
California looked as if it might be another West Coast power after upsetting Seattle 73-71 and Purdue 76-73. But then Cal was upended by Stetson 59-43. Restraining his anger over the referees' calls (30 fouls against Purdue, 13 against Cal), Purdue Coach Fred Schaus said after his Boilermakers lost, "Not many major-college teams lose to an opponent scoring nine fewer field goals."
With its pressure defense forcing 54 turnovers, Arizona State took the Sun Devil Classic on its home floor by defeating Montana 93-66 and Nebraska 83-62. Earlier, State had won a 103-67 tuneup against Whittier. Arizona worked over UC-Davis 84-58 and San Diego State 81-79.
December 16, 1974
1. UCLA (4-0)
2. USC (3-0)
David Thompson ascended to new highs. Using his leaping ability for numerous "Alley-Oop" baskets, he dropped in 123 points in North Carolina State victories over UNC-Asheville (111-68), Buffalo State (144-88) and Virginia (101-72). Thompson had 42 points in the first game, set a record for an Atlantic Coast Conference player with 57 in the next as he made 27 of 37 shots, and concluded with 24.
Wake Forest showed plenty of life as it led Maryland 45-38 in the first half of an ACC game, but the second half was a wake for the Deacons as the Terps rolled up 61 points and won 99-78. The main difference between the halves was that Wake Forest's quarterbacking Guard Skip Brown was unable to play the second because of an intestinal disorder. Maryland also had trouble with LIU, wasting all but three of a 21-point advantage before surging to a 99-84 win.
Trailing Bucknell 9-8 midway through the first half, South Carolina Coach Frank McGuire sent in freshman Guard Jack Gilloon to see if his ballhandling wizardry could un-track the Gamecocks. It did. Within five minutes they were in front 30-11 and well on their way to an 88-74 triumph.
An effective zone defense and 20 points by Ron Haigler carried Penn past Navy 65-54. George Bucci's 29 points helped Manhattan put down Fairfield 86-74. Boston College toyed with LeMoyne 113-66 but had to huff to stop Harvard 70-66. North Carolina whipped East Tennessee State 93-71.
1. N.C. STATE (4-0)
2. PENN (3-0)
After losing to Louisville 91-87, Houston Coach Guy Lewis labeled the Cardinals the best team ever to appear at Hofheinz Pavilion. Then, following a 96-87 loss to North Carolina, he said, "I think North Carolina is better than Louisville. North Carolina does everything well—run, play defense, pass. And they shoot pretty well, too." To be precise, the Tarheels shot 61.2%, with Mitch Kupchak sinking 13 of 19 and scoring 31 points. In the opener against the Cardinals, the Cougars twice led by eight points and barely missed tying the score at 89 when a shot bounced over the rim with three seconds left. Wesley Cox led Louisville with 21 points and 16 rebounds, but Houston kept things close by blocking an astonishing total of 15 shots.
Oklahoma handled South Carolina with remarkable ease, shooting 59%, outrebounding the Gamecocks 33-24 and running up a 17-point lead en route to a 90-84 upset. Alvan Adams popped in 20 points for the Sooners, and when he sat down with four fouls, Rick McNeil stepped in for him and hit four quick baskets.
At home against Indiana, Kansas took the shooting skirmish 55% to 42% and the battle of the boards 41 to 37, but the Hoosiers won the war 74-70 in overtime. Indiana did it with a sturdy man-to-man defense that provoked 25 turnovers (the visitors committed only nine) and thwarted a new Jayhawk power offense designed to score from inside. Hoosier Quinn Buckner was 0 for 8 from the field, but Forward Scott May made up for his inaccuracies. He put in the Hoosiers' first nine points in overtime and finished with 29. Sandwiched around that loss were two Kansas wins, 85-50 over Augustana (S. Dak.) and 89-54 over Iowa. Earlier the Hawkeyes, surprised Drake 86-81, with new Coach Lute Olson using only two leftovers from last season's 8-16 squad.
Another team jolted by an upset was Texas, mauled by little Centenary 96-71. Creighton's 7'1" Mike Heck, 20, died in his sleep, apparently from a cardiac disorder. Wearing armbands, bearing Heck's number, the Bluejays lost the final of their Creighton Cage Classic to Texas-El Paso 69-63. Alabama labored past Oklahoma State 74-67.
1. LOUISVILLE (2-0)
2. KANSAS (3-1)
Ricky (Imperial) Gallon displayed a magnum of talent as Louisville, down 36-33 at halftime, overcame Dayton 76-65. Coming off the bench to play 19 minutes, the 6'10", 225-pound freshman center had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Bridgeman added 16 points and Allen Murphy 15.
The highlight—or the low point?—of Indiana's 98-74 conquest of Kentucky was not the 26 points and 12 rebounds by Kent Benson or 25 points by Scott May. What set off the fans in Bloomington were the antics of Hoosier Coach Bobby Knight, who became embroiled with Wildcat Coach Joe Hall and tapped him on the head as they argued.
Ron Norwood did it all and then some as DePaul struggled past St. Mary's (Calif.) 77-70. He started at guard, finished at forward, scored 23 points, had nine assists and grabbed six rebounds. Norwood was at his best in the second half, getting 19 points and five steals, and putting the clamps on the Gaels' Ralph Walker. There were eight minutes 54 seconds left in the game and DePaul trailed 58-50 when Norwood was assigned to cover Walker, who already had 20 points. From then on, Walker scored just six more.
Marquette played St. John's (Minn.) and St. Mary's (Calif.) and beat the devil out of both. The Warriors doubled the Johnnies' scoring (92-46) and took the Gaels 93-66. Bo Ellis had a total of 35 points, Lloyd Walton 34 and freshman Butch Lee 27. Still, Warrior Coach Al McGuire fretted and fumed. Of the opener he said, "Everybody knew we could win but me. It's like going into a guy's house and he says his big dog won't bite. Well, he may know it, and the dog may know it, but I don't know it."
Detroit was supposed to have a laugher against Wisconsin-Parkside, but the Titans almost ended up in tears before winning 66-59. They blew a 12-point lead and might have lost had freshman John Long not come off the bench to get 14 points. Detroit then blasted Hillsdale 116-85 as Long had 21 points in 15 minutes. Titan Coach Dick Vitale, who made 77 substitutions in those games, once substituted for a sub who had not yet entered the game.
"We missed the band," cracked Florida State Coach Hugh Durham after squeaking past Illinois State 72-70. Although the pep band could not attend the first game, it was there for the next one, a 90-63 waltz over Marshall. That caused Durham to say, "The band took the challenge." It also helped that Larry Warren, a 21-point scorer against Illinois State, went 16 for 22 and had 33 points.
It was a rough week for Florida. The Gators lost 86-85 to Virginia Tech in the closing seconds, then emerged from a 55-foul tussle against UNC-Charlotte with an 89-78 win and five split lips.
Purdue beat Ball State 104-77, Memphis State downed Wisconsin-Green Bay 75-67 and Alabama stopped East Carolina 99-86.
1. INDIANA (3-0)
2. ALABAMA (2-0)