The Big Ten racewas beginning to look like Russian roulette, and it was hard to say who wouldfire the next shot. The latest boom came from fast-rising Purdue's veterans,who were on target against Michigan State and sent the league leaders sprawling85-81. The Boilermakers, out-rebounded but not outshot, teased State'sjackrabbit, Johnny Green, into fouling out just when the Spartans needed himmost and then rode to victory on the hot shooting of Bob Fehrman, who flippedin nine baskets in 10 tries and scored 25 points.
But nobody wasquite as hot as Indiana's fast-breaking sophomores, who sent Big Ten recordsflying hither and yon with a 63.2% shooting spree while flogging Ohio State122-92. The young Hoosiers were of no mind to stop, even against Michigan, andhauled down the Wolverines 84-79 to grab second place; Herb Lee scattered thedefense with his deadly outside shooting for 21 points, and 6-foot 11-inch WaltBellamy picked the boards clean. Although Purdue, with three straight, muststill be considered, it was becoming more and more likely that the championshipcould be decided on February 28 when Michigan State and Indiana meet atBloomington.
Big Eight leaderKansas State matched Nebraska's slowdown with Bob Boozer and a zone defense andbeat the Cornhuskers 50-43, then moved on to Boulder, where they ran off 11straight points in the last three minutes to head off second-place Colorado70-59. Cincinnati, still on top in the Missouri Valley after whipping Tulsa84-71, also beat Dayton 96-74 and Temple 80-60, but the Bearcats were castinganxious glances in the direction of their two most persistent shadows, St.Louis and Bradley. St. Louis cracked down on North Texas State 98-57 for its12th straight; Bradley outslicked Wichita 60-52, clobbered strong Seattle 86-70and romped over Drake 71-50. Marquette turned loose its pell-mell offense toscoot past Detroit 78-63, Bowling Green 73-62 and Loyola of Chicago 90-60, thusrunning its winning string to 15.
While Kentuckyand Mississippi State prepared for a second-place showdown, unbeaten Auburncontinued to sail serenely along at the top of the SEC standings. Theadjustable Tigers found Georgia Tech using a zone to slow down their race-horseshuffle, promptly turned the offense over to playmaker Henry Hart, who poppedfrom the outside for 18 points to help beat the stalling Engineers 51-40.Georgia was next and Auburn simply ran the Bulldogs ragged to win 95-69 for its27th straight. Meanwhile, Kentucky ran away from Mississippi 97-72, andMississippi State eased by Tulane 55-46 and towering Tennessee 52-45.
It was the sameold story in the ACC as North Carolina and North Carolina State movedresolutely toward their February 18 date at Chapel Hill. First-place NorthCarolina pushed aside Maryland 64-57 and overhauled Duke's precocioussophomores 89-80 when Doug Moe began slicing across the pivot and put up enoughjump shots to score 32 points. State defeated Virginia 87-70 and South Carolina72-65 to clinch second place.
West Virginiafound a new formula for exciting victory-surfeited hometown fans, using itsnewly adopted zone press to come from behind to catch Pitt 73-64 and Holy Cross96-90. Meanwhile, supersophs Bob Ayersman and Chris Smith lifted Virginia Techto victories over William and Mary 74-68, The Citadel 76-69 and Davidson 94-63and into second place in the Southern Conference.
Dartmouth andPrinceton were still the class of the Ivies. Dartmouth squeezed by Cornell75-73 in overtime, but got much less resistance from hapless Columbia andtrounced the oft-beaten (16 straight times) Lions 95-55. Princeton kept pacewith the Indians, overcoming Brown 61-48 and Yale 78-63.
St. John's, afterabsorbing its third straight loss (by Notre Dame 72-70) in the Midwest, limpedback to New York and took Richmond 85-76. St. Bonaventure downed Siena 89-69and Niagara 92-79; Navy held off rallying Boston College 78-72; St. Francis(Pa.) scored over Xavier of Ohio 59-56 and Westminster 56-44; Duquesne upsetVillanova 73-61; Manhattan beat NYU 63-58, but lost to St. Peter's 57-56;Vermont came up with a Yankee Conference shocker, edging Connecticut 61-60.
It wascooling-off time in the SWC, and Texas Tech and Baylor got the full treatmentas TCU moved two games ahead of the pack. Tech, sporting title delusions, lost66-59 when TCU's H. E. Kirchner, the biggest Horned Frog of them all, threw hisweight around for 28 points and 19 rebounds. Baylor, after five straight,discovered there was no place like home when Texas A&M trapped the Bears65-52 at College Station.
Oklahoma Cityalso learned the perils of the road. Centenary had better eyes from the foulline and won 72-71, while Houston's tight zone did in the scampering Chiefs80-63.
California'sdeliberate offense and aggressive defense, robust rebounding by 6-foot 10-inchDarrell Imhoff and superb clutch-shooting by Al Buch, pulled the Bears back tothe top of the PCC. Buch's driving layup with one second to go knocked UCLA outof the lead, 60-58, and set the stage for an 82-55 rout of USC. But Californiawas hardly in the clear. Washington, an 82-73 winner over Washington State, wasstill in contention.
St. Mary'snuzzled its way past San Francisco 64-63 in an overtime throat-clutcher to takea near lock on the West Coast crown, as skin-topped Laroy Doss, who dropped inhis last 12 shots against Loyola earlier in the week, added five more for astring of 17 successful field goal attempts. Utah roped Wyoming's Cowboys86-57, but was only a breath ahead of stalking Denver, which bombed BrighamYoung 101-90, in the Skyline.
[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
OLD COLLEGE TRY by UCLA's Rafer Johnson carries him over head of California's Bill McClintock. Bears won 60-58.