PRO BASKETBALL—Boston moved into a slim lead over Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division by winning a pair of close victories. The Celtics defeated Seattle 107-103 on Jo Jo White's four free throws in the final 44 seconds, then beat Chicago 115-109 in overtime. The New York Nets, who were supposed to have been ruined by the loss of Julius Erving, were fewer games behind their division's leader (three behind Boston) than any other NBA cellar-dweller. The Nets lost to Denver 126-124, but beat Atlanta 107-105. The Hawks also lost to Washington and New Orleans. Houston stayed close to Central-Division leader Cleveland with a five-game winning streak. Milwaukee remained consistent: the Bucks lost three straight; they've only won four times in 25 games. Chicago, meanwhile, ended its losing streak at 13 games with a 107-99 victory over New Orleans. Portland (page 20) increased its lead in the Pacific Division to 3½ games with four wins. Golden State won a pair, including a 116-114 victory over Los Angeles on Clifford Ray's jump shot over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with nine seconds remaining.
BOWLING—EARL ANTHONY won the men's division of the $100,000 AMF Grand Prix in Allen Park, Mich., defeating Roy Buckley 259-189 in the final. His $10,000 prize money gave him $109,758 in winnings for 1976, the most in the history of pro bowling. BETTY MORRIS of Stockton, Calif. defeated Patty Costello 215-205 to take the women's title.
BOXING—ALFREDO ESCALERA of Puerto Rico retained his WBC junior lightweight title on a controversial 15-round split decision over Tyrone Everett of Philadelphia. The verdict was loudly booed by the crowd of 16,019 in Philadelphia.
PRO FOOTBALL—Minnesota bounced back from a 20-16 Monday night loss to San Francisco by beating Green Bay 20-9. The 49ers, however, lost to San Diego 13-7. New England assured itself of at least a wildcard playoff berth by defeating New Orleans 27-6, as Quarterback Steve Grogan ran for two touchdowns and passed for two others. Dallas clinched its eighth divisional title in 11 years with a 26-7 win over Philadelphia, Roger Staubach completing 23 of 40 passes for 259 yards. Washington remained tied with St. Louis for second place in the NFC East by routing the New York Jets 37-16 on Billy Kilmer's three touchdown passes. St. Louis surprised Baltimore 24-17 by forcing Quarterback Bert Jones to fumble and throw an interception in key situations. The New York Giants beat Detroit 24-10 for their second victory in a row. Cleveland and Pittsburgh remained tied for second behind Cincinnati in the AFC Central, as both won. Cleveland took its fifth straight, 13-10, over Houston, despite losing three fumbles and having two passes intercepted. Pittsburgh held Tampa Bay to just 105 yards total offense and blasted the Buccaneers 42-0. Los Angeles wrapped up its fourth straight NFC West title with a 59-0 rout of Atlanta. Rookie Quarterback Pat Haden completed 13 of 21 passes for 214 yards, and Lawrence McCutcheon rushed for three touchdowns and 121 yards. Denver edged Kansas City 17-16, and Miami blasted Buffalo 45-27 despite O. J. Simpson's 203 yards rushing (page 65) as Freddie Solomon ran and caught passes for 3 TDs. Chicago defeated Seattle 34-7 as Walter Payton rushed for 183 yards.
December 13, 1976
HOCKEY—NHL: Los Angeles ended its 13-game winless streak by beating Detroit 4-1. It is a measure of the weakness of the teams chasing Montreal in the Norris Division that during the Kings' month-long 0-7-6 skid, they remained firmly in second place. In a game with Los Angeles, Montreal's Steve Shutt—the league's leading scorer—rifled his 28th goal in 28 games to gain a 3-3 tie for the Canadiens. Don Murdoch scored two goals in each of the New York Rangers' wins over Washington and Minnesota for a total of 22 this year. New York's other team, the Islanders, ended its four-game home losing streak by defeating Buffalo 3-0. Philadelphia, trying to stay in the thick of the Patrick Division race, managed only ties with Minnesota and Washington. Colorado mounted a three-game winning streak that included defeats of Cleveland and Vancouver. Toronto got its fourth straight win by beating Los Angeles 6-3; Rightwinger Lanny McDonald paced the Maple Leafs with his second hat trick of the season. Boston ended the week with a nine-point lead over Buffalo in the Adams Division, but the Bruins were winless three of four games.
WHA: Calgary—already last in the Western Division—was still fading. On consecutive nights, the Cowboys lost to New England 8-4, to Indianapolis 2-1 and finally to Cincinnati 6-4. As if that weren't enough, in the Cincinnati game Stingers Coach Terry Slater accused Calgary coach Joe Crozier of using "minor league" tactics in returning his team to the ice five minutes late after the break between the first and second periods. Winnipeg defeated Minnesota 4-3 and New England 6-2 to stay on top of the Western Division, while Quebec held onto the Eastern Division lead with a 1-0-1 record. Indianapolis won a pair of games, and Houston and Edmonton skated to the third scoreless tie in the league's five-year history.
HORSE RACING—Two jockeys, ANGEL CORDERO JR. and SANDY HAWLEY, won the 3,000th races of their careers. Cordero, 34, took his aboard Terry Pep at El Commandante Racetrack in his native Puerto Rico. Hawley, 27, became the youngest jockey to attain 3,000 wins, with his victory aboard Glad To Be at Greenwood in Toronto.
SOCCER—The University of San Francisco won its second straight NCAA title by defeating Indiana 1-0 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia (page 72).
WATER POLO—Getting four goals each from Doug Burke and Drew McDonald, STANFORD defeated UCLA 13-12 for the NCAA championship at Long Beach, Calif.
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: As winner of the 1976 Heisman Trophy, TONY DORSETT of the University of Pittsburgh. Dorsett, a 5'11", 192-pound tailback from Aliquippa, Pa., set or tied 18 NCAA records, including a career total of 6,082 yards rushing.
NAMED: As head football coach at Tennessee, JOHNNY MAJORS, 41, at present the coach of No. 1-ranked Pittsburgh. Majors, whose record at Pitt is 32-13-1, will remain at his present post for the Panthers' Sugar Bowl meeting with Georgia. F. A. DRY, 45, as head football coach at Texas Christian University. Dry, who replaces Jim Shofner, most recently coached at Tulsa, where his record was 31-16-1. Also named to new jobs were GARY MOELLER, 35, an assistant at Michigan, who becomes head coach at Illinois; CHARLEY PELL, 36, who replaces Red Parker as head coach at Clemson; and JIM YOUNG at Purdue, succeeding Alex Agase.
NAMED: As co-Rookies-of-the-Year in the National League, PAT ZACHRY of Cincinnati and BUTCH METZGER of San Diego, both pitchers. Zachry was 14-7 with a 2.74 ERA as a starter for the Reds; Metzger was 11-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 77 relief appearances for the Padres. In the American League another pitcher, MARK FIDRYCH of Detroit, was the league's top rookie. Fidrych was 19-9 for the Tigers with a 2.34 ERA, best among the AL's starters.
RESIGNED: DARRELL ROYAL, 52, as head football coach at Texas; and FRANK BROYLES, 51, as football coach at Arkansas after the Razorbacks were defeated by Texas 29-12. Both men will retain their jobs as athletic directors. Royal had a 167-47-5 record and three national championships in 20 seasons at Texas. Broyles led the Razorbacks to a 144-58-5 record and 10 bowl appearances in his 19 years at Arkansas. CARL SELMER, whose University of Miami team was 3-8 this season and 2-8 in 1975, was fired.
SENTENCED: To serve one year in the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston, R.I., MARVIN BARNES of the Detroit Pistons. Barnes, who was placed on three years probation in 1974 for assaulting a former Providence College teammate with a tire iron, violated probation by carrying a concealed weapon. A gun was discovered in his luggage at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Oct. 9.
DIED: DANNY MURTAUGH, 59, former manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates; of a stroke; in Chester, Pa. Murtaugh was hired to manage the Pirates four different times, and during his 15 years with the club Pittsburgh won two World Series. As a second baseman for the Phillies, Braves and Pirates (1941-51), he had a career batting average of .254.
DIED: GEORGE EARNSHAW, 76, a 20-game winner for three successive years for the Philadelphia Athletics; in Little Rock, Ark. The righthander's best season was in 1929 (24-8) and he had a 4-3 record and a 1.58 ERA in World Series play.