Every dog is supposed to have its day, and that's exactly what Georgia's Bulldogs had when they upset Tennessee 83-76. Georgia, last in the Southeastern Conference with a 2-13 record, won despite 41 points by the Vols' Bernard King. Giving the Bulldogs their bite were two freshmen, Center Lavon Mercer (11 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks) and Guard Jimmy Daughtry (19 points). Tennessee had earlier downed Mississippi State 76-68, but the loss at Georgia dropped the Vols half a game behind Kentucky. The Wildcats took their 17th-straight away game 81-69 at Mississippi behind Mike Phillips' 20 points, and came home to trounce Alabama 85-70.
Michigan clinched an NCAA berth by stopping Michigan State 69-65 in overtime after the Spartans had rallied from an eight-point deficit to knot the game at 57-all in regulation time. In a battle for second place in the Big Ten, Minnesota beat Purdue 84-78 in overtime as Ray Williams gunned in 29 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. Minnesota also squeezed past Illinois 72-70, Mike Thompson scoring 29 points.
Two independents, Notre Dame and Detroit, scored nearly at will. Duck Williams collected 52 points as the Irish decked Loyola of Chicago 111-86 and LaSalle 113-77. The Titans smothered Marshall 122-86 and Xavier 91-66, John Long and Terry Tyler combining for 80 points.
March 7, 1977
Miami of Ohio took a half-game lead in the Mid-American race by beating Western Michigan 76-66 and Ohio U. 83-62. Second-place Central Michigan lost to Toledo 69-61, then trimmed Western 77-61. Northern Illinois was toppled from first place as it was upset twice, 75-70 by Eastern Michigan and 64-57 by Toledo.
1. KENTUCKY (22-2)
2. MICHIGAN (21-3)
3. TENNESSEE (20-5)
Kansas State missed 17 of its first 19 shots against Oklahoma, but got 20 points and 13 rebounds from Curtis Redding for a 68-55 triumph. That clinched first place in the Big Eight for the Wildcats. Runner-up Missouri was dumped by Iowa State 95-86 as Andrew Parker and Leonard Allen teamed up for 45 points. Then the league playoffs began. Kansas State converted 37 of 41 foul shots to demolish Iowa State 97-62. Also on target from the foul line was Missouri, which made 36 of 41 free throws during a 92-74 conquest of Oklahoma State. Oklahoma beat Colorado 68-56 and Kansas held off Nebraska 61-58.
Louisville stopped Georgia Tech 91-80 in a Metro Conference contest as Wesley Cox scored 31 points. The Cardinals also throttled Northeast Louisiana 95-65 in a non-league game, even though Calvin Natt had 35 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Cincinnati drubbed three outsiders. After disposing of Buffalo State 79-60, the Bearcats swept past Biscayne 74-43 and Jacksonville 78-61.
Although it squandered most of a 15-point lead and committed 23 turnovers, Arkansas outlasted Texas A&M 63-62 to win its first outright Southwest Conference title since 1941. The Razorbacks also became the first team since 1956 to complete the regular conference schedule undefeated. By finishing first, Arkansas earned a bye into the finals of the SWC playoffs, which began with three of four home teams winning; A&M beat SMU 89-79, Texas Tech wiped out Rice 93-74 and Otis Birdsong tossed in 36 points as Houston walloped TCU 111-67. Baylor was the only visiting team in the conference to win, nipping Texas 72-70.
New Mexico State tied Southern Illinois for the Missouri Valley Conference lead, nipping West Texas State 84-82 in overtime, while the Salukis dropped an extra-period game at Tulsa 99-91, and then romped over Drake 80-61.
North Texas State avenged an 18-point loss at Creighton by beating the Bluejays at home in a 108-105 shootout.
1. LOUISVILLE (21-4)
2. ARKANSAS (25-1)
3. CINCINNATI (22-4)
A freshman, a Ford and a four-corners offense carried North Carolina to three victories and the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship. With Center Tommy LaGarde sidelined by a knee injury and with Guard Phil Ford triple-teamed, freshman Forward Mike O'Koren scored 23 points as the Tar Heels edged Virginia 66-64. Ford's 24 points and 14 assists next led Carolina past North Carolina State 90-73. And then, leading Duke 64-58, the Tar Heels went into their four-corners attack. They scored on 11 of their next 14 possessions, Ford netting 12 of his 23 points during that surge to lock up an 84-71 win. Maryland's Brad Davis flicked in a game-winning basket with three seconds left to stun Wake Forest 81-80.
At North Carolina State, the Deacons, who had begun the week atop the ACC, blew a nine-point lead and lost 91-85 as State's Clyde Austin had 27 points, and Kenny Carr 31 points and 13 rebounds.
"Jump shooting depends a lot upon the composition of the court," said Joe Hassett of Providence after he sank 13 of 20 shots and scored 26 points in an 84-71 win at Villanova. "This court has great cushion. I got really good spring and it made it easier to shoot." At St. John's, though, the Friars struggled to a 69-66 verdict.
Joe Senser of West Chester (Pa.) State set an NCAA record by finishing the season with a 69.9% shooting average. Although the 6'5" sophomore made only five of nine floor shots during a 94-86 loss to Bucknell, he surpassed the old mark of 66.7%.
Marquette's Butch Lee, who played on Puerto Rico's Olympic team, had 25 points in a 73-58 win at Wisconsin, and 22 more as the Warriors held off Virginia Tech 75-70.
Essie Hollis poured in 68 points as St. Bonaventure (18-5) defeated Siena 98-76, Fairfield 73-68 and Canisius 79-54.
Villanova started three brothers, which is believed to be an NCAA first, and went on to down Colgate 82-66. The Herron brothers scored 39 points, Keith getting 22, Larry 11 and Reggie six.
Despite a superlative effort by Glenn Mosley—29 points, 25 rebounds and six blocks—Seton Hall lost to St. Peter's 90-89.
1. PROVIDENCE (23-3)
2. N.C. (20-4)
3. WAKE FOREST (20-6)
"They're as good as they want to be," said Stanford Coach Dick DiBiaso after losing to UCLA 114-83. Best of the Bruins was Marques Johnson, who pumped in 30 points that night and 37 more in a 91-69 romp over California. During those two outings, Johnson hit on 27 of 38 field-goal tries. During the second game it was announced that Washington had dumped Oregon 74-62, a verdict that would have clinched the Pac-8 title for UCLA. That report, though, was erroneous, for the Ducks won the game 61-60. Two nights earlier, Oregon had been knocked out of a tie for the lead by Washington State 55-53. Washington's James Edwards canned 12 straight shots and had 29 points in an 81-69 victory over Oregon State.
Portland was on the verge of the biggest upset of the season, leading by 11 points midway through the second half at San Francisco. Then Bill Cartwright spurred a comeback by the Dons, who won 95-92 as he finished with 33 points. In an earlier 112-77 romp over Seattle, Cartwright had 28 points. Chubby Cox of the Dons set single-game and season highs for assists in that game, his 15 bringing his total to 154.
Arizona won twice while Utah split, leaving those teams deadlocked for the Western AC lead with one game left. With Bob Elliott out with a sore knee, the Wildcats had to scramble to overcome Colorado State 91-86. Gary Harrison tossed in 27 points for Arizona, but State's Alan Cunningham led all scorers with 35. Then, with Elliott scoring 16 points and Herm Harris 20, the Wildcats zapped Wyoming 88-63. Utah nipped Texas-El Paso 66-65 as Jeff Jonas and Greg Deane each hit both ends of one-and-one free-throw situations in the last minute. Despite 62.4% shooting, the Utes were then shocked 81-77 at New Mexico.
Playing a rare road game, Nevada-Las Vegas held only a 37-35 halftime edge at Denver. But Sam Smith flipped in 24 of his game-high 30 points in the second half, and the Rebels coasted 99-82.
San Diego State topped San Jose State 73-64 and Pacific 64-63 to finish in a tie for the Pacific Coast AA title with Long Beach State, which whipped Fresno State 85-46.
1. SAN FRANCISCO (29-0)
2. UCLA (22-4)
3. NEV.-LAS VEGAS (23-2)