BASKETBALL—ABA: The four-year-old league enjoyed a successful coming-out party in the national showplace, Madison Square Garden. Over 12,000 fans, undeterred by a nagging taxi strike and an imminent railway walkout, paid NBA-like ticket prices to watch Virginia defeat Denver 113-109 and Indiana trounce New York 129-108. As a thank you, the league gave away 6,033 of its red, white and blue basketballs. "This is it, playing in the Garden," said Net Coach Lou Carnesecca, who also enjoyed the return of Rick Barry, the ABA's most glamorous player. Barry scored 50 points in two Net losses, then led a 128-99 victory over East Division leader Kentucky with 27 points. The Colonels also lost to the Floridians 122-117 as Virginia, with five wins, tightened the race.
NBA: Bullish Chicago won four straight last week to move within a game and a half of second-place Detroit in the Midwest Division. Chicago ran through San Francisco 98-87, Buffalo 138-120, Atlanta 87-86 and San Diego 103-98 as Bob Love and Chet Walker combined for 187 points. First-place Milwaukee lost twice, 127-97 to Baltimore and 113-111 to Phoenix. Boston's winning streak finally came to an end at 10 games as Detroit scored a 121-118 overtime victory. Still, the Celtics remained in second place in the Atlantic Division as slumping Philadelphia lost its 10th game in 13 starts, 118-101, to pacesetting New York. Cleveland won its second of the year 108-106 over Buffalo, blowing an 18-point second-period lead in the process. Next time out the Cavaliers lost 114-95 to Cincinnati in a return to normalcy.
BOXING—ERMITO SALVARRIA of the Philippines won the World Boxing Council flyweight title by flooring champion Chartchai Chionoi of Thailand three times in the second round of their fight in Bangkok.
Mexico lost a share of another world title when WBC featherweight champion Vicente Saldivar failed to answer the bell for the 14th round in his Tijuana bout with KUNKAKI SHIBATA of Tokyo. Shozo Saiyjo, also of Japan, is recognized as champion by the World Boxing Association.
CHESS—BOBBY FISCHER won the Interzonal World Championships in Majorca, qualifying him for matches next year against former world champion Tigran Petrosian and Viktor Korchnoi.
FOOTBALL—Some semblance of order finally appeared in the American Conference. OAKLAND clinched the Western Division title by defeating Kansas City 20-6 (page 18), BALTIMORE won the Eastern crown by outskidding Buffalo in the snow 20-14 and CINCINNATI became the heavy AFC Central favorite by thrashing Houston 30-20 after second-place Cleveland lost 6-2 to DALLAS. The Cowboys were tied with NEW YORK for the National Conference's Eastern leadership following the Giants' important 34-17 victory over St. Louis. SAN FRANCISCO kept up its pace in the West, beating New Orleans 38-27, and NFC Central winner MINNESOTA enhanced the NFL's best record by trouncing Boston 35-14. With only one week to go there are still 13 teams eligible for playoff berths, but MIAMI seemed in the best shape for the AFC's runner-up opening following its 16-10 defeat of the Jets. The fourth playoff spot in the NFC was as wide open as that league's Eastern and Western Division races.
American Conference—Eastern: Baltimore (10-2-1), Miami (9-4-0), New York (4-9-0), Buffalo (3-9-1), Boston (2-11-0). Central: Cincinnati (7-6-0), Cleveland (6-7-0), Pittsburgh (5-8-0), Houston (3-9-1). Western: Oakland (8-3-2), Kansas City (7-4-2), Denver (5-7-1), San Diego (4-6-3).
National Conference—Eastern: New York and Dallas (9-4-0), St. Louis (8-4-1), Washington (5-8-0), Philadelphia (2-10-1). Central: Minnesota (11-2-0), Detroit (8-4-0), Green Bay (6-7-0), Chicago (5-8-0). Western: San Francisco (9-3-1), Los Angeles (8-3-1), Atlanta (4-7-2), New Orleans (2-10-1).
Tulane scored two second-half touchdowns to post a 17-3 upset victory over Colorado in the Liberty Bowl. Other postseason results saw the top-ranked small-college team, ARKANSAS STATE, blast Central Missouri State 38-21 in the Pecan Bowl, while the No. 1 NAIA team, Wofford, suffered its first loss in 21 games, 48-7 to TEXAS A&I, the defending champion, in the NAIA Champion Bowl. Elsewhere, DELAWARE won its third straight Boardwalk Bowl 28-23 over Morgan State, TENNESSEE STATE edged Southwestern Louisiana 26-25 in the Grantland Rice Bowl, NORTH DAKOTA STATE repeated last year's Camellia Bowl victory over Montana 31-16 and unbeaten JACKSONVILLE (Ala.) STATE downed host Florida A&M 21-7 in its annual Orange Blossom Classic.
GOLF—DOUG SANDERS birdied the 72nd hole to tie Chris Blocker for the lead, then won a sudden-death playoff for the $26,000 first prize in the Bahama Islands Open (page 26).
HARNESS RACING—DAYAN ($4.60), equaling the world record of 2:13[2/5] over the 1‚⅛ mile course, defeated Harness Horse of the Year Fresh Yankee for the second time in two weeks in the $100,000 American Trotting Classic at Hollywood Park.
HOCKEY—The New York Rangers blew a chance to take over the East Division lead when they stumbled through a Western road trip last week, losing to Vancouver 4-1, tying Los Angeles 2-2 and barely getting by California 2-1. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins, who boast the league's top three scorers in Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr and Ken Hodge, were whipping Pittsburgh 6-3, Buffalo 8-2 and Philadelphia 1-0. Minnesota played a 2-2 tie with Pittsburgh, significant because Ken Schinkel of the Penguins scored his 100th career goal. In a rematch, Minnesota shut out Pittsburgh 1-0. Chicago maintained its comfortable West Division lead over St. Louis.
HORSE RACING—By order of a Franklin, Ky. circuit court judge, DANCER'S IMAGE was declared official winner of the 1968 Kentucky Derby, overturning a Kentucky State Racing Commission ruling that the medication Butazolidin had been used illegally on the horse.
TENNIS—Californians TOM BROWN and NANCY NEELD won the men's and women's titles at the National Senior Hardcourt Championships in La Jolla, Calif. over Bobby Riggs and Mrs. Dorothy Cheney.
TRACK & FIELD—Women's world record holder CHI CHENG of Formosa (page 52) set new Asian Games marks while qualifying for the 100- and 200-meter dash finals in Bangkok with times of 10.6 and 23.7. She later won the 100 meters, then withdrew from the games when she aggravated a groin injury. JAPAN held a comfortable team lead.
WATER POLO—A sudden-death goal in the second overtime gave the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT IRVINE a 7-6 victory over defending champion UCLA in the NCAA finals.
MILEPOSTS—CHARGED: By a 12-member committee of trustees, faculty members and students at SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, that racism in the school's football program is "real, chronic, largely unintentional and sustained and complicated unwittingly by many modes of behavior common in American athletics." Chancellor John Corbally called this a "fair conclusion," but concluded that athletic personnel changes were not necessary.
HIRED: CHARLIE COFFEY, defensive coach at Arkansas, as head football coach at Virginia Tech.
HIRED: BOB JAMES, commissioner of the MidAmerican Conference, to succeed the late Jim Weaver as head of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
HIRED: East Carolina University Football Coach MIKE McGEE to replace the dismissed Tom Harp at Duke University. Succeeding McGee at ECU will be Assistant Coach—and former pro star—SONNY RANDLE.
REMOVED: BOB FOSTER'S light heavyweight title by the World Boxing Association because of his failure to defend it against the division's top-ranking contenders.
NAMED: TEXAS and OHIO STATE, both unbeaten and bowl-bound, as co-winners of the MacArthur Bowl, the National Football Foundation's award for the year's top collegiate team.