Vanderbilt Coach Roy Skinner warned all who would listen that this was not the usual hound-dog Mississippi basketball team they were facing. Johnny Neumann, the 6'6" sophomore out of Memphis, is "as good as you've heard of," said Skinner, and Vandy Scout Wayne Dobbs added, "He just might be the best player I've ever seen." Neumann let neither Vandy seer down. Hitting from far out or getting free close in, he ended up with 53 points and set three Memorial Gymnasium scoring records, but Vanderbilt was a winner anyway, 130-112.
Two other men who specialize in wearing out nets, Rich Yunkus of Georgia Tech and John Mengelt of Auburn, met in Birmingham, and the 6'9" Yunkus won the point duel 33-22 and his team the game 87-76. Kentucky had defeated three Big Ten teams before it ran into so-so Purdue in the final of the Kentucky Invitational. There the Boilermakers ignored their 3-3 record and knocked off the Wildcats 89-83. It was UK's first loss at home since late 1968.
Surprising North Carolina State slapped Davidson with its first defeat 77-64, as Ed Leftwich scored nine points in 79 seconds and Paul Coder made six baskets in the last 10 minutes. The Wolfpack also took the Big Four Tournament, beating North Carolina 82-70 and Wake Forest 73-70.
Tennessee ran its streak to six by murdering road-weary Oregon State 89-61.
1. S. CAROLINA (6-0)
2. W. KENTUCKY (7-0)
St. John's, talented but inexperienced, got caught by Boston College and its hot guard, Jim O'Brien, who scored 26 points in a 69-66 win.
New Fordham Coach Digger Phelps, who as an assistant helped build strong Penn, must be wondering what is so tough about being a head man. His Rams have won their first eight games—none against top-20 teams, however. The latest victims were Miami (Fla.) 85-83 and Florida 72-65.
St. Bonaventure, undefeated in six games, lost scoring and rebounding star Matt Gantt for six weeks and maybe the season. He is suffering from pericarditis, a virus condition in the heart area.
Lowly Brown made it two straight over Yale in two weeks, 79-66 and 78-72, the first time since 1911 that the Bruins have beaten the Bulldogs twice in a season. Julius Erving scored 27 points and took 20 rebounds, just about normal for him, as Massachusetts beat Connecticut 74-68, and Penn riddled La Salle 107-88.
1. PENN (6-0)
2. VILLANOVA (8-1)
Marquette Coach Al McGuire loves to liven up road trips. If he has nothing to fuss about he will invent an issue. What set him off against North Texas State in Dallas was the supposed inexperience of the Missouri Valley Conference referees assigned to the game. Marquette won 67-57, and McGuire's personal tally read: two technical fouls, one wounded student and a startled sportswriter. McGuire aimed a kick at a water bottle but got team manager Tom Tiernan instead. A ricocheting empty ball rack got the writer and McGuire. Life was less hectic back home, where the Warriors shot over disappointing Long Beach State and won 83-66.
Houston, St. Joseph's, Villanova and host Kansas had a combined 17-2 record going into the Jayhawk Classic, so it figured to be a tough four-way scrap. Instead, Kansas won easily, beating St. Joe's 80-65 and Houston 89-73. Villanova beat St. Joe's 85-75 for third place, but it lost its important game to Houston 99-84. In the championship final the Jayhawks' 6'10" Roger Brown had his finest game, with 21 points and 23 rebounds. "Brown intimidated us like no one has since Alcindor," said Houston Coach Guy Lewis. Away from the cornstalks, Kansas lost to Louisville 87-75.
Drake ran its record to 8-0 by beating Canisius 87-74 in the opening round of the Queen City Classic Saturday night. It was the best start ever for the Bulldogs, who also won the Texas Classic by beating Texas-Arlington and TCU and then came home to blast Minnesota 83-66. Said Coach Maury John after the Minnesota victory: "I liked everything and everybody tonight."
Nebraska won its own Cornhusker Classic by giving Colorado State its first loss in the final 69-65. George McGinnis scored 38 points as Indiana rolled over poor Butler 111-94.
1. MARQUETTE (6-0)
2. DRAKE (8-0)
North Carolina arrived in Salt Lake City as the second-best offensive team among the nation's major colleges and made close to 80% of its field-goal attempts in the first half against Utah. But the Tar Heels lost when the Runnin' Redskins shot pretty well themselves, applied intense man-to-man pressure in the second half and loped away 105-86.
Michigan State ended New Mexico's winning streak at seven by double-teaming Center Willie Long, keeping the ball away from sharpshooter John Johnson and taking its chances with the rest. The Spartans came from behind by scoring 17 straight points and won 73-69. Later the Lobos hung on against New Mexico State for a 72-69 victory.
USC ran its record to 7-0 with an outlandishly easy victory over Alabama 122-75. "We're just a year older and a year better," said Trojan Coach Bob Boyd, whose team is dominated by juniors. UCLA had little trouble knocking off Missouri 94-75 and St. Louis 79-65, but something about the Bruins did not seem quite right. "We appear to have an inability this season to fire up for teams that our players subconsciously feel we should beat easily," said Coach John Wooden. UCLA should be quite excited come the USC game in February.
Only 312 fans turned out at San Jose Civic Auditorium to see Pacific edge San Jose State 74-68. Pepperdine beat NYU 86-84 for its fourth victory against no losses. Phil Vukicevich quit as coach at USF and was replaced by Freshman Coach Bob Gaillard.
1. UCLA (6-0)
2. USC (7-0)