The 1965 college basketball season was barely a week old and already the field was littered with important casualties. Rarely had so many suffered such ignominy so quickly. UCLA, the defending national champion, Davidson, Kansas, Duke, Seattle, North Carolina, Syracuse and Georgetown were all beaten. The usually stalwart Atlantic Coast Conference, almost for the first time in memory, had only a single undefeated team; the Southern Conference and the Big Eight each were down to one, too; the Southwest Conference and the West Coast's AAWU had only two each, and one of them had not yet played a game. It looked like a long, hard winter for the favorites.
This area was just no place for ranking teams last week. They tumbled like Humpty Dumpties. Davidson's demise (below) was the rudest shock but by no means the only one. PENN STATE got Syracuse up in the cold Nittany mountains and clobbered the Orange 81-59 with a 34-11 burst in the last 11 minutes. While State's nagging defense swarmed all over Syracuse's Dave Bing, holding him to 11 points, Bob Weiss, Carver Clinton and Ray Saunders pounded the Orange with 17 apiece.
The Bob Cousy touch was beginning to show at BOSTON COLLEGE. John Austin, a hot-handed backcourt whiz, fired in 22 points as the Eagles whipped Dartmouth 104-76. He was even better against Georgetown, scoring 32 as the favored Hoyas were beaten 89-71.
VILLANOVA was one team that did not slip. The well-coached Wildcats defended diligently and shot accurately to beat Scranton 88-42 and Xavier of Ohio 93-89. PROVIDENCE also shows signs of being able to stay with the pack. The Friars took Catholic U. 71-62 and Assumption 91-65. But Temple faltered. Coach Joe Lapchick's last ST. JOHN'S team matched the Owls in a sloppy first half, then ran off 16 straight points to win 60-50. NYU won its opener, over Catholic U., 90-42. PRINCETON's Bill Bradley got 29 points as the Tigers beat Lafayette 83-74, and 26 in a close 64-60 win over Army. PENN, too, shaped up as an Ivy League contender. The Quakers beat Rutgers 100-75 and Navy 61-58.
Rick Barry, a New Jersey boy who found his way to MIAMI, put on a show in Pittsburgh's Steel Bowl. After warming up with 55 points in a 136-119 shooting match with Tampa down South, he poured in 75 more as the Hurricanes outscored Duquesne 99-95 and Pitt 85-71 in the final.
UCLA's NCAA champions had a 30-game winning streak when they got to Champaign, but ILLINOIS, an outsider in the Big Ten race, was not impressed. The Illini, suspecting that the Bruins were not quite so racy without Walt Hazzard's slick quarterbacking and dazzling passes, decided to go right at them with a free-wheeling, shooting game. UCLA never had a chance. Illinois shot an amazing 58% (46 for 79) for a new school record and down went the champs, 110-83. Skip Thoren bombed them for 20 points, Bill McKeown got 18, Bogie Redmon and Don Freeman 17 each.
Illinois was on the verge of another upset the next night at ST. LOUIS. The Bills had beaten North Dakota State 114-50 and Ohio State 79-70 after a superb comeback, but Illinois led by eight points early in the second half. Then the Illini, in serious foul trouble, were forced to shy away from St. Louis' 6-foot-10 Gil Beckemeier and he killed them inside. Beckemeier scored 23 points, sophomore John Kilo dropped in 12 foul shots in the last 10 minutes and the aggressive Bills took their third straight, 79-64. UCLA, meanwhile, found Indiana State, where Coach Johnny Wooden spent two years back in the '40s, more hospitable. Gail Goodrich scored 29 points and the Bruins won easily, 112-76.
Everyone knew that Michigan was the team to beat in the Big Ten, but MINNESOTA, INDIANA and NORTHWESTERN were acting like mighty strong contenders. Minnesota beat South Dakota State 101-55, Drake 67-60 and Iowa State 63-53. Indiana, after an 81-70 win over Ohio U., startled Kansas State with a deliberate pattern offense instead of its usual racehorse style, and upset the Wildcats 74-70. NORTHWESTERN'S young bloods caught Kansas fretting over the absence of 6-foot-7 George Unseld, who had not been seeing eye-to-eye with new Coach Ted Owens. The Jayhawks had managed to beat Arkansas 65-60 and New Mexico 59-40 without Unseld, but Northwestern outhustled Kansas in the second half, rallying to win, 58-55. Purdue, another possible contender, stumbled against NEBRASKA, 96-85.
MIAMI of Ohio, which had not beaten Cincinnati since 1957, finally got a piece of the Bearcat hide—and in Cincy, too. Lean Jeff Gehring and Charlie Coles got the points (33), little Johnny Swann came off the bench to provide the spark, and Miami won, 65-55. Two other Missouri Valley teams were still unbeaten. BRADLEY, struggling along without a big man, had trouble controlling the boards, but Eddie Jackson, a lithe 6-foot-6 jumper, carried the Braves past Northern Michigan 97-81 and North Dakota 75-72 in double overtime. WICHITA STATE whomped Long Beach State 114-78.
New NOTRE DAME Coach Johnny Dee had the Irish shooting better, but he was troubled by their defense. Notre Dame gave up far too many points while trouncing Lewis 99-87 and Ball State 116-82. LOYOLA of Chicago won twice, over Southwest Missouri 87-83 and Western Ontario 106-35; DE PAUL ran over Northwest Missouri 80-60, Christian Brothers 80-59 and North Dakota 86-58.
SEATTLE, a West Coast independent, found the ways of the Midwest odd, to say the least. At Norman the Chieftains sat around for nearly an hour and a half between halves when an electrical blackout delayed their game with Oklahoma. But they won anyway, 98-81. TULSA had only one surprise for the West Coasters—a 98-76 drubbing.
If KENTUCKY'S cagey old Adolph Rupp looked envious when he heard how MICHIGAN'S big boys handled Duke 86-79 (page 20), he had good reason for it. "Why, our biggest man [John Adams] is 6 feet 6½," he said wistfully, "and you invite guys that size to come court your 5-foot daughter." The Baron was right about Adams, anyway. He played only 10 minutes against Iowa before he fouled out, and he might just as well have been off courting someone's daughter for all he helped Kentucky. The Wildcats had to struggle to hold off the mediocre Hawkeyes, 85-77. Rupp shifted Kentucky in and out of a man-to-man and 1-3-1 zone and, in the end, the Wildcats' "Little Kids"—6-foot sophomore Louis Dampier and 5-foot-11 Randy Embry, who scored 34 points between them—pulled Kentucky through.
If Kentucky was not quite up to the fight for the Southeastern Conference title, VANDERBILT and TENNESSEE were. Vandy's patience against deliberate Rice was commendable. The taller Commodores just gathered in the rebounds and turned them into baskets for a 78-49 victory. SMU was braver but went down just as easily, 99-67. Tennessee's Ray Mears, who finessed his Vols into second place last year with a prissy, disciplined offense, gave them their heads against Richmond. Austin Robbins, a 6-foot-8 junior college All-America, scored 18, and the Spiders were crushed in the stampede, 97-66. AUBURN, shuffling no more since Bill Lynn took over from Joel Eaves, ran freely to beat Georgia Tech 60-52 and Florida State 92-68. TECH recovered to take SMU 83-75 and Rice 71-56.
Duke was not the only Atlantic Coast team to be clipped early. NORTH CAROLINA, after an unimpressive 77-59 win over Clem-son, got it from GEORGIA, 64-61, despite 22 points and 24 rebounds by Billy Cunningham. Two days later CLEMSON pointed up the vagaries of college basketball. The Tigers shocked Georgia 72-60. NORTH CAROLINA also came back strong, spoiling Coach Frank McGuire's conference debut at South Carolina. The Tar Heels won 82-71. MARYLAND squeaked past Penn State 72-71 and George Washington 83-80 but lost to VIRGINIA, the ACC's only unbeaten team, 61-59.
The Southern Conference race is no longer the runaway it used to be for West Virginia. The Mountaineers lost to THE CITADEL 75-73—and at Morgantown, too.
After a week of early-season battering by intersectional rivals—nine defeats in 15 games—the Southwest Conference race had a most unexpected look. Texas Tech, the favorite, had been soundly thumped by NEW MEXICO 72-57 and only BAYLOR and TEXAS, two teams hardly likely to succeed, were still unbeaten. Baylor smashed Arlington State 103-85, Tulane 102-87 and LSU 84-72; Texas defeated Texas Wesleyan 104-84, Mississippi 94-67.
TCU, however, enjoyed a temporary delusion of grandeur. The Frogs, who had lost 15 straight, used a crackling fast break to trample little Austin 91-66. But OHIO STATE brought TCU back to reality as it beat the Frogs 84-79.
SMU'S young Mustangs, led by sophomores Denny Holman, Charlie Beasley and Bob Begert, survived a tight press by Oklahoma City and surprised the Chiefs 89-76. Coach Abe Lemons was aghast. "The worst game anybody has ever played for me," wailed the Oklahoma City philosopher. "I hope SMU's the best team in the nation. If not, we're in trouble." Lemons' Chiefs may be in trouble at that. SMU is far from the best and OKLAHOMA CITY was not exactly devastating as it edged Centenary 78-76.
HOUSTON, despite a 76-65 loss to WISCONSIN, may have the most enterprising Lebanese since Danny Thomas. Joe Hamood, a 5-foot-11 playmaker, scored 27 points as the Cougars belted Texas A&I 94-71.
SAN FRANCISCO's Ollie Johnson figures it is a night wasted when he does not get more rebounds than anyone else. He gave Oregon State a sample of his skills and the Beavers succumbed, 66-58. Stanford was supposed to give San Francisco more of a fight, but Johnson was on the job again. He took down 17 rebounds, fired in 20 points and the Dons won, 77-50. But San Francisco was one of the few West Coast AC teams that could win. CALIFORNIA'S pressing defense so thoroughly intimidated St. Mary's that the Gaels were swamped, 62-44. "This team is so highly touted that it scares me," said Stan Watts of his BRIGHAM YOUNG crew. Then he sent his dozen talented young Cougars racehorsing up and down the court against Oregon. They scared the Ducks, too. Lanky John Fairchild arched in 30 points, and BYU won 99-70. The next night, cocky Mike Gardner shot over Oregon for 26 points and BYU won again, 98-79.
Brigham Young, however, will not lack for challengers in the Western AC. UTAH, supposedly a collection of misfits, turned out to be a typical Jack Gardner team—fast-breaking, ball-stealing and tough on defense. The Utes racked up New Mexico State 98-65, Loyola of Los Angeles 99-65 and Butler 95-66. WYOMING, with Flynn Robinson shooting for 52 points, walloped Nebraska 94-68 and Weber State 89-75. ARIZONA took Seattle by surprise, 76-71.
Six-foot-six Wayne Estes, slimmer, swifter and even more adept, was back at his old tricks for independent UTAH STATE. He led the Aggies to victories over Idaho State 107-60, Butler 88-74 and Loyola 96-69. COLORADO STATE outlasted Air Force 68-66 in overtime, then beat Denver 79-65 in the Mile High Classic final in Denver.
THE BIG UPSET
Visiting teams are usually received warmly in Philadelphia's cozy Palestra, but rarely has one received the sizzling treatment that Davidson, a top-ranked team, got from un-ranked St. Joseph's last Saturday. St. Joe's upset the Wildcats 77-64. The aggressive Hawks chose to play Davidson man-to-man most of the way, and the tough defense shown at left, with Cliff Anderson and Steve Chapman (22) surrounding shooter Paul Briggs, stymied the Wildcats. Anderson grabbed 21 rebounds away from Davidson's celebrated Fred Hetzel, and Billy Oakes, a swift jump shooter, scored 22 points.