It was what's happening, baby! when UCLA'S Lew Alcindor made his varsity debut against USC before 12,800 in Pauley Pavilion. USC Coach Bob Boyd elected to play Lewie straightaway man-to-man—no sag, no collapse—with 6-foot-6 Bill Hewitt stationed behind him. When that proved futile, 7-foot Ron Taylor came in to front him. It made no difference. Alcindor scored on turn-around jumpers, banked shots, layups and dunks, and when it was all over he had 56 points and 21 rebounds, had blocked five shots and intimidated most Trojans who ventured into the key. "I was surprised USC used a man-to-man," said UCLA's Johnny Wooden. "Lew is such an awesome scorer, sometimes he scares me." But, added Wooden, "he has a weakness on defense." Hewitt, a talented shooter in his own right, found it. He scored 39 points, many of them in direct confrontations with Alcindor. UCLA won 105-90.
That was hardly good news for UCLA's other AAWU opponents. But STANFORD got in a couple of good licks before starting to worry about the Bruins. The Indians edged San Francisco 56-53 in overtime and then beat Arizona State 87-73. CALIFORNIA, WASHINGTON STATE and OREGON STATE all won, but WASHINGTON split a pair with IOWA, losing 66-50 and winning 76-55. PACIFIC, the best in the WCAC, also got off to a good start, taking Hayward State 76-54 and Hardin-Simmons 81-71.
New Mexico, not quite at home in its new 14,831-seat arena, had trouble with Abilene Christian and Santa Clara. Both teams sagged around 6-foot-9 Mel Daniels, and the Lobos had to rely on outside shooters Ben Monroe and Frank Judge to bail them out. They came through, and New Mexico beat Abilene 62-53 and the Broncos 72-54. BRIGHAM YOUNG and UTAH, the Lobos' chief challengers in the WAC, won easily. BYU ran over New Mexico State 97-66; Utah squashed Pepperdine 117-64 and beat New Mexico State 51-42. COLORADO STATE looked like the West's strongest independent, battering Montana State 90-73 and Idaho 96-71.
One thing Duke Coach Vic Bubas learned against VIRGINIA TECH was that he can't expect to get all his points from one shooter. His Blue Devils kept trying to get the ball to Bob Verga, who was having a miserable night, and it cost them the game. Tech's Ron Perry and Glen Combs popped in shots from outside—for 23 points apiece—and the Gobblers upset Duke 85-71. It was a lot different from last year's opener when the Devils bombed Tech by 33 points. "We didn't change a thing," said Coach Howie Shannon. "We just did it a little better."
Duke was better prepared for Michigan. This time sophomore Dave (Slinky) Golden came off the bench to take the pressure off Verga. He tantalized the Wolverines with his footwork, shook them up with 25 points, and Duke won easily 96-75. Virginia Tech had another victory, over Purdue, 79-63.
Western Kentucky, with visions of a national championship, could not wait to get at VANDERBILT. More than 13,000 jammed Diddle Arena, former Coach Ed Diddle led the cheers before the game, and then Vandy messed up everything. The Commodores outran Western and, when the Hilltoppers got close, Jerry Southwood dropped in 10 straight foul shots in the last three minutes for a 76-70 victory. "We ought to burn our press clippings," lamented Coach Johnny Oldham. But WESTERN KENTUCKY had better luck against Memphis State. Clem Haskins poured in 29 points, and the Hill-toppers won 52-44. Vanderbilt went on to beat SMU 89-76 as Bo Wyenandt scored 25 points.
Kentucky had it easy beating Virginia 104-84 as Louis Dampier and Pat Riley pitched in 54 points between them. But Adolph Rupp had some things to think about—like maybe putting his Wildcats into a 1-3-1 zone defense. Playing man-to-man, Dampier let Chip Case, Virginia's good sophomore, get away for 27 points. "We don't think defense," complained the Baron.
Vanderbilt, TENNESSEE and FLORIDA also were on Coach Rupp's mind. Tennessee crowded Michigan with its tight defense, Ron Widby threw in 27 points, and the Vols whipped the Wolverines 72-54. Florida, and especially big Gary Keller (he got 64 points in two games), looked smart trouncing Jacksonville 93-59 and Miami 113-88. GEORGIA TECH feasted on SWC teams, beating SMU 87-70 and Rice 87-61.
Back in the ACC, NORTH CAROLINA took a while to get started against Clemson. Then Larry Miller hit nine for nine in the second half, sophomore Dick Grubar stole the Tigers blind, and Carolina won 76-65. Penn State, a 76-53 loser to MARYLAND, fell to the Tar Heels 93-63 as Miller scored 26. SOUTH CAROLINA, playing without Mike Grosso, took Erskine 87-57.
West Virginia, the Southern Conference favorite, came up with the jitters and barely got by East Carolina 59-55 and William and Mary 73-67. The Mountaineers had better start worrying about DAVIDSON, which beat Wake Forest 73-63 and Pitt 97-59. LOUISVILLE was sharp enough to impress even critical Coach Peck Hickman while burying Georgetown (Ky.) 99-81. Sophomore Butch Beard got 27 points, and Westley Unseld, slimmer and quicker, scored 23 and picked off 18 rebounds.
Boston College's Bob Cousy got a scare one day last week when 6-foot-8 Willie Wolters, his star rebounder, suddenly collapsed during practice. It turned out to be nothing worse than a virus. So while lanky Jim Kissane took over the rebounding, Terry Driscoll, a fine 6-foot-7 sophomore, filled in for Wolters and scored 23 points as the Eagles routed Quantico Marines 101-80. Two nights later, with another sophomore—Billy Evans, a poised little left-hander—wheeling and dealing a la Cousy, and Steve Adelman shooting in 20 points, BC outran Massachusetts' slowdown 86-63.
Providence was not exactly overwhelming against tough little Assumption, but Coach Joe Mullaney saw enough to be hopeful. JC transfer Tony Koski gave the Friars some rebounding (18) and 15 points, slick Jim Walker threw in 19, and Providence won 73-59. ST. JOHN'S, another team with national aspirations, got away smoothly by beating Georgetown 70-62 as Sonny Dove and Rudy Bogad scored 39 points.
Philadelphia's Big Five has a new leader—LA SALLE. The Explorers, getting 43 points and 28 rebounds from their flashy sophs—Stan Wlodarczyk, Larry Cannon and Bernie Williams—and 47 more points from old-timers Hubie Marshall and George Paull, trounced Gettysburg 103-67. VILLANOVA'S prize sophomore, 6-foot-6 Johnny Jones, showed off all his good moves and scored 35 points as the Wildcats beat Philadelphia Textile 72-63. TEMPLE, down 30-29 at half time, had to scurry to overtake American U. The Owls did it, 81-63, with a 2-1-2 zone press. ST. JOSEPH'S had its troubles, too, but managed to beat Albright 76-59 and Hofstra 81-67. Penn, however, went down. RUTGERS' Guards Bob Lloyd and Jim Valvano bombed the Quakers for 45 points, and the Knights won 80-68. PENN recovered to edge Navy 77-76 in overtime while Rutgers went on to trim Boston U. 87-71.
Princeton and Yale, meanwhile, were hoping to succeed Penn in the Ivy League. The Tigers clobbered Lafayette 108-59 and beat Army 67-63, while Yale smashed Colgate 108-74 and upset Connecticut 65-57. Columbia lost its chance when ailing 7-foot-1 Dave Newmark dropped out of school for a year. Without him, the Lions lost to CCNY 50-48.
In other openers, NYU outscored Seton Hall 77-60; HOLY CROSS beat Dartmouth 72-55; SYRACUSE ran over George Washington 99-83; NIAGARA held off Fairfield 85-82; CANISIUS defeated Murray State 78-69 as Andy Anderson scored 41 points.
For weeks MICHIGAN STATE Coach John Benington has been talking down his good sophomore, Lee Lafayette. He makes mistakes, Benington protests. But Lafayette, it seems, plays better than he practices. Along with chubby 6-foot-7 Center Matthew Aitch, he wrecked Western Michigan 77-55 and more stubborn Miami of Ohio 63-51. Lafayette scored 43 points in the two games.
But Michigan State's Big Ten rivals are ready for the chase. ILLINOIS warmed up by walloping Butler 82-51, while MINNESOTA surprised Kansas State 60-59 on Leroy Gardner's free throw with eight seconds to go after husky Tom Kondla piled up 33 points. OHIO STATE also beat Butler, 74-67, and then surprised Iowa State 79-77 on the road. NORTHWESTERN, after an early cold spell, got its fast break and pressing defense working in the second half and ran away from Ohio U. 93-67. Coach Larry Glass, however, was not exactly enchanted by his offense. "Slushy and mushy," he called it.
Anxious to play the proper host, NEBRASKA banned drum beating at its games and installed better lighting. But the Huskers were inhospitable to visiting Oregon. They hit the Ducks hard with their usual full-court press, Tom Baack flipped in 29 points and Nebraska coasted 79-56. Then KANSAS STATE played slowdown against Oregon and took the Ducks 52-45. KANSAS, the Big Eight team Nebraska worries most about, got two strong performances from Rodger Bohnenstiehl and beat Arkansas 73-57 and Xavier 100-52. OKLAHOMA STATE, playing its cautious game, lost to CREIGHTON 78-76 but beat Wyoming 73-64.
Cincinnati had no trouble getting by George Washington 86-51, but Wisconsin was tougher. The Bearcats were down by four points with eight minutes left when John Howard, who scored 30 points, got a hot hand. He tipped in a basket and hit five in a row from outside, but still Cincy was in a 63-63 tie at the end. Howard got four more points in overtime, and Cincinnati won 77-70. St. Louis, unable to handle DAY-TON'S Donny May off the boards (he got 27 rebounds), was beaten by the Flyers 80-78.
Loyola of Chicago pressed and ran South Dakota State ragged 119-85, and DEPAUL clobbered North Dakota 82-47. TOLEDO buried Notre Dame 98-80.
Even in the very first week it was evident that the Southwest would have to look to its independents for glory and national rankings. While SWC teams wallowed around in their usual early-season mediocrity, defending national champion TEXAS WESTERN and HOUSTON more or less lived up to their notices. The Miners (page 26), despite some sloppy play that left Coach Don Haskins unhappy, beat Sam Houston State 78-54 and Abilene Christian 85-46. Albuquerque took some early liberties with Houston, but in the end 6-foot-9 Elvin Hayes and Melvin Bell, who shared 62 points, were too much for the precocious Dons. Hayes threw in 12 points in the last five minutes, and the Cougars won 96-84. Minnesota held Houston for a while, too, but Hayes, Bell and Don Chaney finally got the Cougars going for an 86-75 victory. Oklahoma City, however, lost to NEW MEXICO STATE 82-64.
The conference teams, meanwhile, were suffering. SMU, the favorite, was not the only team to fall. TCU lost to OKLAHOMA 90-76 before beating Centenary 102-77. TEXAS TECH held off Colorado 72-67 but lost to WICHITA STATE 90-77. Arkansas was beaten by MISSOURI 73-66, and LOUISIANA TECH outlasted Texas A&M 53-50. But there was hope at RICE. The Owls took Trinity 85-73 and already had as many victories—one—as they got last year.
TENNESSEE DEFENSE, with Ron Widby (52) and Tom Hendrix applying tight double-team, traps Michigan's Sullivan in a corner.