THE TOP THREE:
1. VILLANOVA (11-1)
2. ST. BONAVENTURE (10-1)
3. LA SALLE (10-2)
While idle NYU brooded, talented VILLANOVA left little doubt that it was indeed the best in the East. St. John's went at the Wildcats with a deliberate attack, but it soon disintegrated. Wally Jones and George Leftwich, the front men in Villanova's aggressive zone defense, swarmed over the St. John's backcourters, forced them into errors, then peppered the harassed Redmen with 38 points. Villanova won 55-44.
Meanwhile, ST. BONAVENTURE was quietly packing away victories up in Olean. The latest: a 96-82 conquest of Niagara as Fred Crawford scored 40 points.
La Salle, after routing Lafayette 100-86, matched box-and-one zones with Syracuse and came away a 63-61 winner. The next afternoon, weary Syracuse gave it a good try but lost to ARMY 69-68. ST. JOSEPH'S and Temple played cautiously, but Steve Courtin's four points in the last two minutes won for St. Joe's 53-52.
Princeton and Penn were off and running at the expense of Brown and Yale in the Ivy League race. The Tigers licked Brown 86-56 and Yale 74-60; Penn squeaked by Yale 70-69 and beat Brown 75-64.
THE TOP THREE:
1. DAVIDSON (12-0)
2. VANDERBILT (12-1)
3. KENTUCKY (12-2)
It had never happened before, at least not in Adolph Rupp's time. Never had Kentucky lost its first two SEC games. And even an old campaigner like The Baron found VANDERBILT'S 85-83 victory hard to take. "We absolutely threw it away," he grumped. What happened was that Vandy's quick John Ed Miller stole the ball from Chili Ishmael at midcourt, then flipped a behind-the-back pass to fast-breaking Keith Thomas for the basket that put the Commodores ahead 83-81 with 22 seconds to go. Kentucky's Larry Conely tied the score, but Miller got away from Ishmael to put in a 20-foot jumper at the buzzer.
Vanderbilt went on to trounce Mississippi State 90-56 while KENTUCKY recovered its poise to thrash LSU 103-84 and winless Tulane 105-63. But TENNESSEE and GEORGIA TECH were still unbeaten in the SEC. Tennessee beat Tulane 82-55 and LSU 62-58; Tech defeated Mississippi 69-54.
Duke was still beating off challengers in the Atlantic Coast. Clemson battled the Blue Devils for a while but the Tigers succumbed 81-75. Then North Carolina tried a new twist against Duke. The Tar Heels moved Billy Cunningham to backcourt and held the ball. It was a mistake. Without Cunningham to rebound, Duke's two 6-foot-10ers, Hack Tison and Jay Buckley, beat Carolina to death under the boards. Jeff Mullins got 25 points, Tison 24 and the Blue Devils won easily 84-64. WAKE FOREST, too, beat North Carolina, 80-71.
Maybe it was just a midseason letdown, but unbeaten DAVIDSON suddenly found itself struggling for victories. VMI's agonizing slowdown troubled the Wildcats, and eventually they had to go to it themselves to win 70-58. Against Virginia, Davidson needed a 20-foot jumper by Barry Teague and two free throws by sub Charlie Marcon to hold off the Cavaliers 64-62.
Davidson also might have to worry about WEST VIRGINIA. The Mountaineers, running and pressing the way they used to, edged VMI 75-73 and thrashed George Washington 93-74. But Virginia Tech, another Southern Conference contender, ran into trouble. Tech's customary second-half surge was not quite good enough against GEORGE WASHINGTON and the Gobblers lost 96-89. But they did beat Furman 75-65 and Wake Forest 77-72.
THE TOP THREE:
1. MICHIGAN (11-1)
2. LOYOLA (11-1)
3. WICHITA (11-3)
Cincinnati Coach Ed Jucker's week started badly. He groused at a sportswriter who had called his team "deflated, dreary and demoralized," and then he lost sophomore Guard Roland West because of scholastic deficiencies. It got worse last Saturday when Ron Bonham fouled out with St. Louis leading Cincy 60-51 and only 5:12 to play. But junior Guard Fritz Meyer and George Wilson got the Cats back in the game and two last-minute baskets by sophomore John Serbin pulled it out for them 67-64.
Cincy's victory came in the nick of time, just when WICHITA was threatening to steamroll the Missouri Valley. While Dave Stall-worth shot in 32 points, the Shockers hounded Tulsa with a full-court press and beat the Hurricanes 88-66. Bradley, unable to crack DRAKE'S 1-2-2 zone, lost 64-60.
Michigan was living up to its Big Ten notices. The Wolverines, led by Bill Buntin and Cazzie Russell, beat Purdue 77-70. But defending co-champions OHIO STATE and ILLINOIS were not playing according to the book. They were winning. OSU's brash young Bucks, despite a disturbing tendency to play Minnesota's wild game, put the Gophers away 85-73. Illinois, with Tal Brody scoring 28 points, ran over Iowa 87-70.
While KANSAS STATE bumbled along, losing to COLORADO 60-59 and beating Iowa State 73-52, OKLAHOMA STATE looked more and more like the team to beat in the Big Eight. Oklahoma, a running team, foolishly elected to play State on its own terms. The Cowboys just played slower and won 67-56.
The shots flew like guided missiles when the nation's leading scorers, WESTERN MICHIGAN'S Manny Newsome and Bowling Green's Howie Komives, two little fellows, got together at Kalamazoo. Komives scored 42 points but Newsome got 39—and was still No. 1 with a 33.3 average—as Western won 95-85.
Loyola, the country's top independent, trounced Marquette 96-80, but the Ramblers had hometown competition, DE PAUL, smooth as silk with playmaker Emmette Bryant, was still unbeaten. The Blue Demons drubbed Notre Dame 86-73 at South Bend and whipped Portland 111-83 to make it 11 straight. After the game with De Paul Notre Dame Coach John Jordan resigned, effective at the end of the season. Said Jordan, referring to the taunts of hometown fans as the Irish lost, "You just can't stand to have your heart carved out that way."
THE TOP THREE:
1. TEXAS WESTERN (15-1)
2. OKLAHOMA CITY (10-4)
3. TEXAS A&M (8-4)
"If anyone had told me last summer that we would be 15-1 at the semester break, I would have told them they were ready for a nut house," said TEXAS WESTERN'S Don Haskins happily last week. But his Miners were 15-1 after they beat Arizona State 77-72 and West Texas State 84-66 for their 14th straight. Arizona State almost had Western, but not quite. The Sun Devils finally stopped 6-foot-8 Jim Barnes with a collapsing zone—after he scored 30 points—only to have back-liners Andy Stoglin and Orsten Artis shoot them silly.
The Southwest Conference was its old upsetting self again. Defending champion Texas was the first to fall. ARKANSAS' pesky Hogs gnawed away at a 12-point Texas lead until they had the game 58-53. Then along came TEXAS A&M and its Bennie Lenox, a wraithlike squirmer and jump-shooter who earlier had helped shoot down TCU 92-64 (with 27 points). Coach Shelby Metcalf shook up Texas with multiple defenses, sometimes a man-to-man, sometimes a zone that dropped back or spread itself over half the court. When the Longhorns began to close in on the Aggies, Lenox dropped in three clutch baskets and A&M won 65-60.
Meanwhile SMU showed some unexpected muscle, too. Coach Doc Hayes, mindful of the subdued lighting in Waco's Heart o' Texas gym, worked his troops under similar conditions at home before sending them against Baylor. It helped. The Mustangs, shooting accurately through the dimness, stomped the Bears 85-65. RICE, a 61-60 winner over Texas Tech, was a sitting Owl for SMU's running game. Gene Elmore got away from the Rice zone for 24 points and the Mustangs won easily 92-76.
Oklahoma City had to go into overtime to beat Loyola of the South 91-86 in New Orleans, and then the Chiefs lost to NORTH TEXAS STATE 77-74 at Denton.
THE TOP THREE:
1. UCLA (13-0)
2. OREGON STATE (11-2)
3. UTAH STATE (9-2)
USC's Forrest Twogood set out to play UCLA the only way you can against the Bruins' sticky press and withering fast break. He put his Trojans into a slow, patterned attack and hoped for the best. For 10 minutes last Friday the Trojans survived, but then the strain became too much. With Walt Hazzard quarterbacking and scoring 21 points, the quick Bruins ran off with the game 79-59. USC loosened up some the next night and took more outside shots. This approach almost worked. Allen Young hit for 26 points and the worried UCLAns had to win at the foul line, where they made good on 24 of 32 shots for a 78-71 victory.
Washington clung to STANFORD'S Tom Dose but forgot about the rest of the Indians. So Bob Bedell, Hollis Moore and Kent Hinckley fired away and Stanford beat the Huskies 75-52 and 64-47. Washington State was no tougher for CALIFORNIA. The Cougars bowed 72-64 and 72-56.
Utah found old rival UTAH STATE as disdainful as ever. In fact, the Aggies beat Utah at its own game. Coach LaDell Andersen sent his backcourt men after the Utes and they soon had Doug Moon out on fouls. Then Wayne Estes led Utah State to an 84-72 romp. UTAH had some strategy ready for New Mexico. It forced big Ira Harge outside and beat the Lobos 67-65 on Moon's last-second jumper.
Colorado State's proud defense, the best in the nation, was beaten twice, by ARIZONA 57-55 and ARIZONA STATE 76-62.
SOME BIG LITTLE MEN
[See caption above.]