It's the hunter and the hunted," said North Carolina Coach Dean Smith after his Tar Heels gunned down Wake Forest 99-74. "They were the hunters in the Big Four Tournament [where the Deacons jolted the Heels]. This time we were." Leading the safari were Phil Ford with 30 points, Walter Davis with 23 and Mitch Kupchak, who added 18 and grabbed 19 rebounds. Winning at Duke was harder for Carolina. The Tar Heels trailed by eight with 8:18 to go before surging back for an 89-87 victory. Davis scored 11 of their final 24 points and finished with 21. Ford had 22, and Kupchak added 20 to go with 13 rebounds. That win put North Carolina (4-0) atop the ACC.
Maryland defeated conference foe North Carolina State and Navy by identical 87-69 scores. Against State, Coach Lefty Driesell broke up his three-guard offense for the first time this season, benching Mo Howard so he could use a taller player for inside strength. But six minutes into the game, with the Terps leading only 12-10, Howard came in and ignited the offense with 25 points.
There is no such thing as a sure winner in the ACC—except when Clemson and Duke square off. Then the victor has to be a coach named Bill Foster. That's because the Tigers are coached by a Bill Foster, and so are the Blue Devils. Last week Clemson's Foster savored a 102-96 overtime triumph. His Tigers then stunned Wake Forest 86-81.
January 26, 1976
Princeton Coach Pete Carril says his bunch of Tigers lack "rejecters and quickness," but are "excessively smart," which to Carril's way of thinking means they understand that they must play stingy defense to win. That's exactly what Princeton (10-3) did, beating St. Joseph's 56-46.
Last-ditch efforts led to Providence's downfalls at Seton Hall (57-55) and Rhode Island (75-73). Mike Buescher scored a decisive basket for the Pirates an instant before the buzzer, and Lem Johnson of the Rams blocked a final Friar shot.
Glen Williams had 23 points as St. John's (13-1) beat Hawaii 74-71 in overtime, then scored 20 as the Redmen held off Villanova 57-53.
1. RUTGERS (13-0)
2. MARYLAND (13-1)
SEC stands for Southeastern Conference, but last week it might as well have stood for Surprises, Excitement and Chaos. First came the chaos. Kentucky Coach Joe Hall started it by alleging that during the previous week's loss at Tennessee, Ernie Grunfeld of the Vols sank four free throws after sneaking to the foul line in place of teammates who had been fouled. Hall called it a "premeditated conspiracy" and said other SEC coaches planned to scan films of their games at Tennessee. Grunfeld denied the charge, and his coach, Ray Mears, labeled Hall's remark "pretty strong language." Mears also said it was "not unusual for a taller man to step in on a jump ball or for a better foul shooter to go to the line in place of a teammate." Retorted Hall, "Is it usual to cheat?"
The surprise occurred when Tennessee lost at Vanderbilt 77-66. On defense, the Commodores concentrated all five players on the Vols' big guns—Bernard King, Grunfeld and Mike Jackson—and held them to 54 points. Excitement abounded in Florida as the Gators upended Alabama 71-70 on Gene Shy's short, banked "half-hook" at the buzzer. Kentucky beat Georgia 92-76, with Jack Givens scoring 26 points, and nipped Vanderbilt 77-76 as Mike Phillips had 30.
After the Vandy loss, Tennessee got its Bernie and Ernie show in gear, trimming Florida 93-84, King scoring 43 points and Grunfeld 26. Alabama smothered LSU 113-75 to give it a 4-1 league record and a tie for first place with Auburn, which stopped Mississippi State 75-70 and Georgia 94-70.
"I knew I would need strong legs, so I jumped rope all week," said Michigan's Wayman Britt of his preparation for his matchup against Michigan State's Terry Furlow. In the game Britt roped Furlow, who was leading the Big Ten with a 36.6 scoring average, by limiting him to 13 points. Michigan, behind by 15 at the half, won 66-63 with Britt contributing 18 points. The Wolverines, who earlier had downed Ohio State 84-81, still trailed first-place Indiana by a game. Hoosier Coach Bobby Knight, who insists, "I don't understand my own team," had no trouble deciphering what makes Scott May so superior. Said Knight, "Work. Hard work." May worked his way to 27 points as Indiana beat Illinois 83-55. And when May got into foul trouble against Michigan State it was Kent Benson who got the job done, scoring 23 points in a 69-57 victory.
Marquette polished off DePaul 79-72 and Pitt 73-62.
1. INDIANA (14-0)
2. MARQUETTE (11-1)
A 93-87 defeat of SMU and a 64-62 decision over Texas Tech left Texas A&M (3-0) the only team unbeaten in Southwest Conference play. Tech (4-1) stopped Texas 67-61 and Rice 83-58. Houston, which the week before lost at Arkansas by 45 points, rallied from a 51-31 deficit with 18:22 left to shave the Razorbacks 72-71.
Surprising Missouri continued its impressive play. After trampling over MacMurray 106-34, the Tigers opened their Big Eight schedule by blistering Kansas 99-69. Willie Smith topped off a 25-point effort against the Jayhawks with a four-minute, 11-point spree. Kansas State's troubles persisted as the Wildcats lost to Nebraska 65-59.
Louisville Coach Denny Crum scheduled a game at Idaho State because he has relatives living nearby. That may be the last time Crum calls on his kin. The Cardinals needed Wesley Cox' basket with one second left for a 52-51 double-overtime win. Louisville then downed Tulsa 78-68 and, with freshman Larry Williams flipping in 28 points, defeated Drake 95-79.
Cincinnati earned a 79-56 victory at Temple, then returned home to knock off Wisconsin-Milwaukee 76-61.
A 61-59 overtime defeat of New Mexico State ran West Texas State's record to 12-1.
1. CINCINNATI (13-2)
2. MISSOURI (13-2)
Capacity at University Arena in Albuquerque is 17,121, but that did not deter about 20,000 fans from sardining their way in to see New Mexico challenge Nevada-Las Vegas and its 107-point-per-game offense. The visitors won 80-73 on a succession of long shots by Forward Eddie Owens, who scored 25 points. Owens had 32 more as the Rebels outlasted Portland State 129-114.
Oregon State topped Washington State 82-73, and Washington stopped Oregon 77-70, setting up a Pacific Eight showdown two nights later in Seattle. The Beavers moved into first place by defeating the Huskies 72-70. Washington's James Edwards had 37 points, but State riddled the basket from outside and got 23 points from Lonnie Shelton, whose soft jumper, with eight seconds to play, settled matters.
After shading Stanford 68-67, despite being outrebounded 54-26, UCLA's players met without their coaches for 2½ hours. "Now we are a unit," said Guard Ray Townsend following the meeting that concluded at 1:30 a.m. United, the Bruins defeated California 80-71.
Arizona squirmed past Brigham Young 79-78 and downed Utah 87-77 as the WAC race began. Arizona State, an 80-72 loser to Utah, throttled BYU 83-68.
1. NEV.-LV (18-0)
2. WASHINGTON (14-1)