BASKETBALL—College: UCLA beat Florida State 81-76 to win its sixth NCAA title in a row (page 30), while MARYLAND walloped Niagara 100-69 to take the National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden (page 84).
NBA: Los Angeles, which romped to the Pacific title by 18 games, closed out the regular season in a blaze of records. With eight players scoring in double figures, the Lakers started the week by crushing Golden State 162-99 for the biggest margin (63 points) in NBA history. They ended it with a 124-98 victory over Seattle, giving the team a season record 69th win, a record 36th home-game victory and an NBA mark for most games over 100 points (81). In between, L.A. beat Chicago 109-104 for its eighth straight win but lost Keith Erickson for the year when he tore a ligament in his right knee, lost a shocker to Cleveland as ex-Laker Rick Roberson scored 29 points and edged Phoenix 112-110 on Jerry West's 15-foot jumper with only two seconds remaining. Atlantic champion Boston won three of four to finish eight games ahead of New York, which split four. In a 98-83 victory over Cleveland the Knicks set an NBA season attendance mark of 785,298 for 41 home games. Milwaukee, the Midwest champion by six games over Chicago, won its last four, including a satisfying 43-point victory over New York. In that one Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was held to 20 points, but Oscar Robertson returned after a six-game absence to score 21 points in two quarters. Atlanta finished in a rush, winning its last six games as Pete Maravich averaged 23.8 points, to end up two games behind Central champion Baltimore, which dropped four of six. The two recent ABA jumpers—Charlie Scott and Jim McDaniels—met for the first time in the NBA, with Scott scoring 21 points for Phoenix and McDaniels 20 for Seattle as the Suns won 118-99.
Jabbar led the league in scoring with 2,822 points and a 34.8 average, followed by Cincinnati's Nate Archibald (28.2), Boston's John Havlicek (27.5), Seattle's Spencer Haywood (26.2) and Los Angeles' Gail Goodrich (25.9). Wilt Chamberlain of L.A. finished first in rebounds (1,572 for a 19.2 average) and field-goal percentage (.649), while L.A.'s Jerry West had the best assist average (9.7).
Atlantic—Bos 56-26, NY 48-34, Phil 30-52, Buff 22-60
Central—Balt 38-44, Atl 36-46, Cin 30-52, Clev 23-59
Midwest—Mil 63-19, Chi 57-25, Phoe 49-33, Det 26-56
Pacific—LA 69-13, GS 51-31, Seat 47-35, Hous 34-48, Port 18-64
ABA: With the season dwindling down to a handful of games. East champion Kentucky and West champion Utah continued to push ahead as if the playoffs had already started. The Colonels won four of five to raise their East margin to 21 games, while the Stars romped to four straight wins, lifting their West lead to 13½ games. New York crept within half a game of Virginia in the East battle for second place when the Nets edged the Squires 105-104, but by week's end Virginia held a 1½-game lead as New York lost to Utah 125-113 and the Squires defeated the Floridians 124-118 on rookie Julius Erving's 34 points to break a four-game losing streak. It was only the second win for the Squires in the eight games since Charlie Scott departed for the NBA. Earlier New York ran its winning string to seven with a 121-117 victory over Indiana before losing to Carolina 117-113.
BOWLING—Lefthander DON HELLING of St. Louis defeated Don Glover of South Bend 238-206 to take the $70,000 PBA Andy Granatelli's STP Classic in Metairie, La.
FENCING—DETROIT became the first non-Eastern college in 14 years to win the NCAA championships, edging defending co-champion NYU 73-70. Individual winners were ERNEST FERNANDEZ of Penn in the épée, defending champion TYRONNE SIMMONS of Detroit in the foil and Columbia's BRUCE SORIANO, who won a record third straight title in the saber.
GOLF—GARY PLAYER shot a final-round 69 for a 279 total to win the $125,000 Greater New Orleans Open by one stroke over Jack Nicklaus and Dave Eichelberger.
HOCKEY—With one week left in the regular season, third-place St. Louis held a slim lead for a playoff spot in the West behind Chicago and Minnesota, but California, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were all in a blanket race for fourth place (page 28). In the East, Boston just about clinched the title by smashing Minnesota 7-3 as Phil Esposito scored his 60th, 61st and 62nd goals (the first was his 26th season power-play goal, an NHL record) and whacking New York 4-1 with three goals in the last period to open up a seven-point lead. It was the Bruins' fifth win in a row over the Rangers and boosted their goal margin in the five games to 24-4. West champion Chicago then tied Boston 5-5 on Bobby Hull's 600th career goal as Bruin Goalie Gerry Cheevers ran his string of undefeated games to 32 (24 wins, eight ties), which is believed to be a record. New York lost two more All-Stars when Rod Gilbert went to the hospital with a strained neck and Brad Park joined him a day later with a strained right knee. Still, the Rangers picked up three points with a 5-3 victory over Toronto as Ed Giacomin became the first goalie in NHL history to make two assists in a game, and a 3-3 tie with Montreal to move five points ahead of the third-place Canadiens. Montreal's 12-game unbeaten streak ended when rookie Marcel Dionne scored his third goal of the game with 1:15 left to lift Detroit to a 7-6 win early in the week, then the Canadiens blew a 3-0 second-period lead over Toronto when Jim Harrison's goal with 1:44 remaining tied the game 3-3. Detroit won three of four to climb within three points of fourth-place Toronto, which lost two, tied one and won one.
HORSE RACING—Kentucky Derby favorite RIVA RIDGE ($3.20) won his first 1972 start, the $33,850 Hibiscus Stakes at Hialeah, by 2¼ lengths over New Prospect (page 78).
LACROSSE—Defending NCAA champion CORNELL opened the season with a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over Hofstra while Doug Schreiber, with three goals and one assist, and John Kaestner, with two goals and three assists, paced MARYLAND to a 12-10 win over Navy.
MOTOR SPORTS—MARIO ANDRETTI and Belgian JACKY ICKX, driving a Ferrari 312P, won the Twelve Hours of Sebring (Fla.) race with an average speed of 111.508 mph (page 26).
SWIMMING—INDIANA, led by Mark Spitz, who set two American records, won its fifth straight NCAA championship at West Point (page 22).
TENNIS—SOUTH AFRICA clinched the Federation Cup, the women's equivalent of the Davis Cup, 2-1 over Great Britain when Pat Pretorius and Brenda Kirk defeated Joyce Williams and Virginia Wade 6-1, 7-5 in the doubles in Johannesburg.
MILEPOSTS—APPROVED: By vote of the American League, the sale of the CLEVELAND INDIANS for approximately $9.7 million by Vernon Stouffer, the owner the past six years, to a hometown group headed by Nick J. Mileti, owner of the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers and the AHL Cleveland Barons.
AWARDED: The 1973 Super Bowl game to LOS ANGELES, to be played at the Coliseum on Jan. 14, and the 1974 game to Houston, to be played at Rice Stadium Jan. 13.
RESIGNED: JACK RAMSAY, 47, as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, after four seasons and a 174-154 record.
TRADED: To the New York Yankees, SPARKY LYLE, 27, a left-handed short reliever with six wins and 16 saves last season, by the Boston Red Sox for Infielder DANNY CATER, 32, who has an eight-season .279 batting average.