BASKETBALL—NBA: With a 119-103 victory over the San Diego Rockets, the New York Knicks capped the most successful season in their history by clinching the Eastern Division title for the first time in 16 years. The Knicks missed being in first place only two days this season, back in October, and every win added to the 59 they now have sets a new club mark. The other playoff teams in the East are Milwaukee, Baltimore and Philadelphia. The Western Division championship is still to be settled. Los Angeles pulled within one game of first-place Atlanta after the Hawks lost 130-119 to fourth-place Phoenix. Chicago, Phoenix and Seattle are battling for the last two playoff spots.
ABA: It was a high scoring week in the West with Denver's star rookie, Spencer Haywood, starting things off by making 46 and 47 points in two consecutive games, a 108-103 Rocket win over New Orleans and a 124-116 defeat by Dallas. Then Haywood, the league's leading scorer (28.6 average) and rebounder (19.6), hurt his foot and hit for 14, 26, and 31 in his next three games. Meanwhile, third-place Washington, led by Rick Barry, who had 42, defeated second-place Dallas 162-158 in double overtime. It was the highest-scoring game in ABA history. In the East, Carolina gained a tie for second place with Kentucky, but both teams are 16½ games behind division-leader Indiana.
NBA—East: New York (2-2), Milwaukee (2-1), Baltimore (2-1), Philadelphia (2-1), Cincinnati (1-2), Boston (1-3), Detroit (1-1). West: Atlanta (2-1), Los Angeles (3-0), Chicago (3-0), Phoenix (1-0), Seattle (1-3), San Francisco (1-2), San Diego (0-5).
ABA—East: Indiana (3-0), Carolina (2-1), Kentucky (2-2), New York (1-2), Pittsburgh (1-1), Miami (0-4). West: Denver (3-2), Dallas (1-3), Washington (1-1), New Orleans (2-1), Los Angeles (2-1).
COLLEGE: Berths in the semifinals of the NCAA championship were won by ST. BONAVENTURE, which trounced Villanova 97-74 for the East Regional title; JACKSONVILLE, with a 106-100 win over Kentucky in the Mideast; UCLA, beating Utah State 101-79 in the West; and NEW MEXICO STATE with an 87-78 victory over Drake in the Midwest (page 26). In the early rounds of the NIT scores were: MARQUETTE over Massachusetts 62-55; UTAH over Duke 78-75; MANHATTAN over North Carolina 95-90; ARMY over Cincinnati 72-67; ST. JOHN'S over Miami of Ohio 70-57; GEORGIA TECH over Duquesne 78-68; LOUISIANA STATE over Georgetown 83-82; and OKLAHOMA over Louisville 74-73. The NAIA title was won by KENTUCKY STATE over Central Washington 79-71 in Kansas City.
BOWLING—MIKE LIMONGELLO of North Babylon, N.Y. bowled a final-match 228 to beat Mike McGrath of EI Cerrito, Calif., who had a 192, for the $7,500 first-prize check at the $60,000 Don Carter Classic at Madison Square Garden. Carter, who dominated the game from 1952 to 1962, failed to make the semifinals because, "The ball doesn't go where I want it to anymore."
BOXING—After losing his last four bouts, TOM (The Bomb) BETHEA of New York knocked out World Middleweight Champion Nino Benvenuti when Benvenuti quit in the eighth round of a non-title fight in Melbourne, Australia. It was the first knockout of Benvenuti's career.
Five-time World Champion EMILE GRIFFITH scored a unanimous decision over Carlos Marks of Trinidad in a 12-round match in New York.
In Tampa, Fla., Light Heavyweight Champion BOB FOSTER scored his 11th consecutive knockout when he floored Cookie Wallace of Dallas with a looping right at 1:36 of the sixth round.
GOLF—DICK LOTZ won the $150,000 Monsanto Open at Pensacola, Fla. with a nine-under-par 275 to register his second win in seven years (page 60).
HOCKEY—NHL: Only seven points separated the first five teams in the East Division, though Boston, the division leader, held a reasonably comfortable four-point advantage. The New York Rangers, who have failed to win a game in their last eight tries, slipped to a tie for second with Chicago after the Black Hawks defeated them 7-4 to remain unbeaten in six games. Chicago has risen from fifth to second in three weeks. Fifth-place Montreal is only one point away from a playoff berth (page 24). Hawk Goalie Tony Esposito registered his 12th shutout in a 0-0 tie with the Bruins to come within one of the NHL record. First-place St. Louis had the only winning week in the West, while Oakland, with two ties, was the only team to change position in the division, falling to fifth place.
NHL—East: Boston (1-1-1), Chicago (2-0-1), New York (0-2-1), Detroit (1-0-1), Montreal (2-1-0), Toronto (1-1-0). West: St. Louis (2-1-0), Pittsburgh (0-2-2), Philadelphia (1-2-0), Minnesota (1-1-1), Oakland (0-0-2), Los Angeles (1-1-1).
HORSE RACING—In the two $40,000 divisions of the San Felipe Handicap, major prep for the Santa Anita Derby, Bill Shoemaker rode TERLAGO ($7.40), owned by S.J. Agnew of Centralia, Wash., to a 3-length victory over favorite George Lewis, and COOL HAND ($13.20), with Jerry Lambert in the saddle, came in the stretch to win by a nose. Both colts ran the 1[1/16] miles in 1:41[4/5].
At the Fairgrounds, ETONY ($36), a five-year-old bay owned by Sam Gray and George Schmiedeskamp and ridden by Phil Rubbicco, won the 1‚⅛ mile, $75,000 New Orleans Handicap by 2½ lengths over Vif in 1:49[1/5].
In Paris, GRAVELLE ($5.40), ridden by Robert Lautier, completed the 2 5/8 mile, 17-fence Auteuil course in 5:03 to win the $36,036 Prix Murat Steeplechase by half a length.
POLO—YALE won its fourth consecutive national indoor intercollegiate title by beating Cornell 22-10. Alan Harris scored nine goals for the Bulldogs, while Captain Danny Ladd of Cornell made five.
SKIING—KARL SCHRANZ of Austria won his second straight World Cup combined title when runner-up Patrick Russel of France finished behind Austria's Werner Bleiner and Schranz in the giant slalom at Voss, Norway. Russel took the slalom (page 58). At the National Alpine championships in Waitsfield, Vt. BILL McKAY of Vancouver and ROSI FORTNA of Warren, Vt. won the men's and women's combined titles respectively. Individual winners included 18-year-old PATTY BOYDSTUN of McCall, Idaho in the women's slalom. TYLER PALMER of Kearsarge, N.H. in the men's giant slalom, ROD TAYLOR of West Hartford, Conn. in the men's downhill and BOB COCHRAN of Richmond, Vt. in the slalom.
TENNIS—In a $20,000 Davis Cup-style tournament at Cambridge, Mass., a two-man Australian team defeated a U.S. team five matches to two. Cliff Richey beat Fred Stolle and John Newcombe for the only two U.S. wins, but Newcombe twice beat Stan Smith, Stolle defeated Arthur Ashe and the Australians took both doubles matches.
TRACK & FIELD—At the NCAA indoor championships in Detroit, HOWELL MICHAEL of William and Mary ran the mile in 4:03.1 to beat Villanova's Marty Liquori by three yards as KANSAS won the team title for the second straight year. The Jayhawks took the two-mile relay with a world record 7:25.7 for the 11-lap track and the shotput with a meet-record toss by KARL SALB of 67'2½". HERB WASHINGTON of Michigan State tied the world mark in the 60-yard dash with 5.9 (page 64). World marks fell in Vienna at the European indoor championships as MARYLIN NEUFVILLE of Britain set a women's indoor record in the 400 meters with 53 flat, .7 second faster than the old record set in a heat only a few hours earlier by Christel Frese of West Germany. RICHARD WILDE of Britain won the 3,000 meters with an indoor mark of 7:47, VIKTOR SANEYEV of Russia took the triple jump with a record 55'7¼" and NADEZHDA CHIZHOVA put the shot a record 61'¼".
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: As head basketball coach at La Salle, PAUL WESTHEAD, 31, freshman coach at rival St. Joseph's of Philadelphia, who this season compiled a 21-2 record, the best freshman-team record in St. Joseph's history.
RESIGNED: As presidents of the two merging pro football leagues, ARTHUR B. MODELL, owner of the Cleveland Browns and NFL president since 1967, and MILT WOODARD, AFL president from 1966.
RESIGNED: As general manager of the NBA's New York Knicks, EDDIE DONOVAN, to take the same job with the new NBA team in Buffalo, closer to his home in Olean, N.Y. Red Holzman, the Knicks' coach, will take over Donovan's duties and plans to wear both hats "until somebody tells me I'm doing a bad job."
RESIGNED: As basketball coach at Mississippi State, JOE DAN GOLD, a former MSU star who played on three SEC championship teams, after leading the Bulldogs to a five-year 51-74 record.