"We knew they would be great," The Citadel Coach George Hill said. "We told the team that on our way out to California. But after you meet them you have a different impression. They're awesome." "They," of course, were the Bruins of UCLA. Another basketball season, another UCLA team, another set of gasping superlatives. It's just too tiresome. The high point of The Citadel's 105-49 loss was managing to score—after four minutes and 22 seconds. Iowa put up more of a fight but lost 106-72. When center Bill Walton fouled out late in the second half, John Wooden was "forced" to play last year's redshirt Swen Nater. Swen scored 10 quick points, dominated the boards, directed the defense and displayed an effortlessly sure hook shot.
Southern Cal got Svengalied. When Arizona State played its freshmen in a pre-season tune-up, a Trojan assistant coach was spotted in the stands. Coach Ned Wulk told his Sun Devils to play like clodhoppers, and they did such a convincing job that USC was lulled. They were still lulled last week as the Devils unhorsed the Trojans 95-78. Guard Bill Kennedy scored 21 points and held Troy's Paul Westphal to 12. Southern Cal rebounded against San Francisco 102-82 with an effective 1-2-2 zone and a fast break.
When Houston stunned Stanford by 20 points, 87-67, Indian Coach Howie Dallmar gee-whizzed, "I would hate to run into a better team of one-on-one players." Basketball, however, is played five-on-five. When the Cougars crossed the Bay, California beat them in double overtime 82-81 without doing a lot of sagging and double-teaming on big Dwight Davis and Dwight Jones. A big man for Cal was hitherto hapless Harry Brown, who had been taunted last year by crowds shouting, "Kill, Harry, kill!" Harry, you see, weighed 268 pounds, and the floor shook when he ran. This year he is a svelte 225. Long Beach State began its less than frightening schedule by dismantling the University of Corpus Christi 91-51 but beat Nevada-Las Vegas only 83-72 in the State 2,300-capacity snake pit. "It was an unbelievable experience," shuddered Corpus Christi Coach Bill White. "I spent the entire evening yelling at my players and the refs, and no one ever heard me. I thought I'd lost my voice." All Las Vegas Coach John Bayer said about Long Beach was, "Either they aren't as good as everyone thinks or we're a lot better than everyone thinks."
"If your team's not playing very well, praise the opposing team," said philosophical New Mexico State Coach Lou Henson after a 77-71 opening loss. Good advice. But what if the team that beats you is that power of Southwestern basketball, Angelo State? Just cry. Henson's Aggies were so shaken that they lost their second game too, to New Mexico 78-76. The hungry Lobos got several baskets on fourth and fifth rebounds; Henson praised their rebounding.
"If you're ready, it doesn't matter how good your man is," Colorado State's Travis Lackey said after holding Stretch Bustion of Denver to four points, his lowest since junior high school. Denver lost 86-61. Where's that puck?
Milwaukee's infamous antijaywalking obsession gave Marquette more trouble than St. John's of Minnesota, its first opponent. Jim Chones, Bob Lackey, Marcus Washington and George Frazier were all pulled in when they crossed a street against a DON'T WALK light. After their release, Marquette walked all over St. John's, 89-50, as Chones scored 24 points. Bowling Green presented more trouble before yielding 84-64. Although he was still weakened by the puzzling fatigue that has bothered him all fall, Allie McGuire, the coach's son, played briefly.
"Season openers are supposed to be bad, but this was ridiculous," Ohio State's Fred Taylor said after the Buckeyes had beaten Georgia Tech 63-55. He felt exactly the same way about skinning past Oregon 68-57 in OSU's home opener. Tech stayed close despite a 6½-minute stretch without a field goal. State's Allan Hornyak was out with a heel injury and 7-foot Luke Witte fouled out. Witte scored 21 against Oregon (41 in the two games), but it remained for two Buckeye interceptions and a 14-point spurt by Bob Siekmann to put away the win.
Minnesota, sporting a Harlem Globetrotter warmup routine and three new regulars, pleased the crowd if not new Coach Bill Musselman. The Gophers coasted past a touring Australian Olympic team 76-46, and a North Dakota aggregation, which averaged six inches less per man, 68-49, but Musselman growled, "We didn't have the killer instinct." Imagine what he said when Iowa State led at the half before bowing 72-58.
Northern Illinois, with Jim Bradley romping in his first game, thoroughly enjoyed playing California State (Fullerton). The Huskies roasted the visitors 116-82.
Kansas hosted Kentucky in Allen Fieldhouse, named for Phog Allen, Adolph Rupp's old coach, and Rupp was moved to display sentiment. He visited the arthritic Allen and said, "You are always happy to return to the scene where you received your opportunity in life." The Jayhawks almost ruined Rupp's mellow mood by forcing Kentucky into a zone as Bud Stallworth scored 26. But the Wildcats pulled it out 79-69, ending Kansas' 28-game home winning streak. Kansas did beat Xavier 75-57 at home.
Wisconsin-Eau Claire, averaging over 101 points a game, won three in a row.
North Carolina made Rice Krispies out of the visiting Southwest Conference team, 127-69. Even with NIT Most Valuable Player Bill Chamberlain in the stands for skipping wind sprints in practice, the Tar Heels sank 27 of 35 field-goal attempts, a crackling 77%, and had Rice 70-39 at halftime.
North Carolina State made hay without grass. A district judge called a foul on the fuzz (illegal search), and starters Paul Coder and Bob Heuts were cleared of a marijuana possession charge. They were hardly needed as the Pack smoked past Atlantic Christian 113-75 and Georgia 92-81.
Maryland, high-rated despite starting three sophomores, looked green against Brown. Tom McMillen had only 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Maryland beat the visitors by only 100-83. Against George Washington, however, McMillen tossed in 35 and the Terps won 117-96.
Florida steam-pressed Louisville to ruin the head-coaching debut of Denny Crum, former John Wooden assistant at UCLA, with a 70-69 upset. A glum Crum conceded that the press had taken Louisville out of the scoring crease, and Guard Tony Miller put some starch in the Cardinals with a 27-point total. Louisville did, however, mangle tiny Bellarmine 116-58.
The day before Florida State's season opener, highly regarded sophomore Lawrence McCray, 6'11", came to practice with a doctor's note saying he had the flu. It was Oglethorpe that felt sick, however, losing to State 104-65. Eastern Kentucky felt a little better, losing only 96-83.
With 7-foot Tom Payne lost to the pros and 6'10" Mark Soderberg transferred to Utah, Kentucky's big man is Ronnie Lyons, who stands 5'10". Lyons broke up Northwestern's full-court press and set up several easy baskets, enabling Kentucky to scratch the other Wildcats 94-85. "The people will holler for me to use Ronnie, but I can't play him," Adolph Rupp said before the game. "He's too small, and he throws the ball away too much." Afterward, Rupp said, "The little man saved our life."
Auburn lost to South Carolina 84-63, and Jacksonville won two rousers, beating Biscayne College 110-75 and East Carolina 77-68. William & Mary which may brew up more trouble this season, upended defending Southern Conference champion Furman 110-91; the losers missed injured playmaker Don Jackson and Center Roy Simpson. "Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to come to Duke and play basketball," said Jim Hobgood. He did, but as a Virginia player, and he led the Cavaliers to their first win ever in Duke Indoor Stadium (86-77) by hitting 10 of 14 shots.
After a 50-20 halftime humiliation of poor King's College, Penn relented. The Quakers abandoned their man-to-man defense to experiment with a 1-3-1 zone, using 6'7" Corky Calhoun as point man, and kept the margin from mounting, winning 97-67. Maybe Navy Coach Dave Smalley was joking. "We will be bigger than ever," he said going to the Penn game. Navy's tallest starter was 6'5", Penn's smallest starter 6'5". Penn won 94-74.
If the Pilgrim forefathers had intended Harvard to play basketball, they would have brought some sneakers over on the May-flower. With all that high-powered new talent, the Cantabrigians fared ill, losing to Seton Hall 81-80 on a last-gasp tip-in by Ken House, who had missed his first eight shots. Jim Fitzsimmons scored 25 and Floyd Lewis 30, but the Crimson failed to function very well as a team. A 57-54 win over Northeastern was not terribly impressive either.
Princeton defeated Rutgers 99-68 but lost to Penn State 72-70. Ron Brown made a steal late in the game to assure the Lion victory. Darkhorse Dartmouth beat Connecticut 107-89.
Providence waited until the last nine minutes to smash Brown 81-61, scoring 14 points to none. Fran Costello led the spurt and added 20 points.
St. John's escaped Vanderbilt 98-81 in an error-filled game. Greg Cluess tallied 25 points, but sophomore Jan van Breda Kolff, son of former Princeton, Laker and Piston Coach Bill van Breda Kolff, held Mel Davis of the Redmen to a subpar 18.