"I'm sorry you had to come," Washington State Coach George Raveling told reporters. "This set basketball back 50 years." It was Washington 58, Washington State 51 in a non-game that featured pace—snaillike—and shooting-stone cold. Luckily for State's pride, Center Mike Dolven had 19 points in the first half; none of his teammates scored a field goal until the second.
At Long Beach State the fourth-ranked 49ers won their 59th and 60th straight at home, but Coach Jerry Tarkanian was talking the blues. Against UC Santa Barbara State allowed a 20-point second-half lead to dwindle to five before digging in to win 77-69. Gregarious Tarkanian set something of a personal record by keeping reporters waiting for 10 minutes after the game. "I told the boys how badly they played," he said later. "We had no concentration at all, but maybe we can learn from this." Long Beach also beat L.A. State 103-82.
With No. 1, though, all was well. The UCLA machine hummed along, running over 20th-ranked USC 79-56 for its 62nd straight win. The score hardly told the story. For all purposes the game ended in the first half when SC shot a respectable nine for 18 and was blitzed off the court by the Bruins, who were 20 for 29. Said John Wooden, "Our pressure defense got to them. It created mistakes, and mistakes usually mean baskets for us. That run in the first half was the difference."
At San Francisco and Santa Clara the West Coast Athletic Conference rivals were battening down for the storm. Both won twice, SF 87-83 and 89-66 over Nevada-Las Vegas and Nevada-Reno, Santa Clara 75-52 and 95-78 over Reno and Vegas. Each has a 6-0 record, and this week they collide. Twice.
1. UCLA (17-0)
2. LONG BEACH STATE (17-1)
North Carolina State was about to take Maryland for the second time this season and in celebration from the Wolfpack stands came...Maryland's victory song! "A-amen, A-amen," State's rooters shouted. Later State's coach, Norm Sloan, said, "I didn't know they knew that song." When 7'4" Tom Burleson collected three fouls in only seven minutes, and his replacement, Tim Stoddard, quickly totaled the same, Sloan was forced to an unfamiliar 2-3 zone defense. But it worked. "It's not because I'm so smart," Sloan said. "We only did it because of fouls." State won 89-78. David Thompson, who scored 37 in State's earlier win over Maryland, this time got 24. Burleson reentered the game to score 18 points, 14 of them in the second half. Later the Wolfpack downed Virginia 64-59, and Maryland, having trouble again away from home, was upset by Duke 85-81. A-amen. A-amen.
Over at Chapel Hill a very different North Carolina was recovering from consecutive losses to Virginia and Maryland. The Tar Heels penetrated Wake Forest's tight zone defense and won 69-51. The key to their showing was strong outside shooting by Guards Darrell Elston, George Karl and Brad Hoffman, who had 15, Hand 12 points.
Way down yonder near New Orleans those sparks in the winter night came from Dwight Lamar of Southwestern Louisiana. He set a Southland Conference record with 23 goals for 50 points, and his team, ranked 13th nationally, hit 56% from the field and won its 15th game in 16 starts with a 123-91 sacking of Houston Baptist. Lamar made 23 of 38 field-goal attempts, many of them from beyond 20 feet, and he pitched in with seven assists and seven rebounds. "I enjoy our offense because it's wide open and allows for more scoring," Lamar said.
The week's upset was suffered by sixth-ranked Alabama, a 95-93 loser to Kentucky. The winning coach, Joe Hall, said, "There will be rejoicing throughout the Southeastern Conference because of this game. It proves they can be beaten, and it opens up the race again." Alabama, whose freshman Leon Douglas led all scorers with 34 points, shot 59.7% from the field. Kevin Grevey had 33 points for Kentucky, but the difference was free throws. Kentucky sank 17 of 20 while Alabama managed only seven of 17. Hall said, "This is the way these boys can play; these men, rather; they grew up tonight." Alabama rebounded against Mississippi State 96-86 while the Kentucky men were losing to Vanderbilt 83-76.
Florida State buried South Florida, 95-53, and Coach Hugh Durham said, "For the first time we played like last year," when FSU went to the NCAA finals before losing to UCLA. Days later the Seminoles played more like this year and lost to Virginia Tech 91-82. Said a Tech player: "I'm sorry they weren't ranked higher, but our win should convince someone about our record, 13-2." Wake Forest was convinced, losing to Tech 71-67. Florida State revised its fortunes somewhat, besting Seton Hall 80-61.
1. N.C STATE (16-0)
2. SW LOUISIANA (15-1)
St. John's is playing livelier ball than ever, beating Villanova and Army. The liveliest Redman of all is the team's best pro prospect, Bill Schaeffer, who scored 22 and 23 points in two games and grabbed 11 rebounds in the 87-77 win over Villanova. A 5'8" freshman named Frank Alagia came off the bench in that one to dazzle the Wildcats with behind-the-back passing and a newfound scoring touch. "It's easy for me," he said. "I've been practicing since I was six years old." Said St. John's Coach Frank Mulzoff, "I've been using psychology with some of our young players and it works. We've become believers. Now my kids feel we can match any other team in the country."
At 12th-ranked Providence, Coach Dave Gavitt is using philosophy. He says, "I always tell my players, 'When you're having trouble putting the ball in the basket, you have to play good defense to win.' " Not Nietzsche, but it works. After beating Boston College 73-64, the Friars trailed Niagara at the half 30-26. They had suffered 17 turnovers. Later Gavitt would say, "Our defense saved us. That's what we practice 75% of the time, and I guess we looked it in that first half." Providence started hitting, though, and went on to win 70-66.
La Salle's fast break all but blew Western Kentucky right out of Philadelphia's Palestra 108-80, but the key was ice cream, not psychology or philosophy. Jim Crawford scored 21 and Coach Paul Westhead knew it was coming. "At our meal he served the whole team ice cream," Westhead said. "Then he went around and poured chocolate sauce on it. When you see him do something like that you know he's ready to fly."
Another flyer in Philadelphia was Penn, victor over Brown 88-60. Sophomore Ron Haigler scored 27 points and took 19 rebounds, and Phil Hankinson got his 1,000th point, scoring 16 and being credited with 12 rebounds and eight assists.
1. PROVIDENCE (14-2)
2. ST. JOHN'S (15-2)
Minnesota was playing a clean, precise game, but for the opposition the results were rough. After losing 81-64 to the Gophers, Wisconsin Coach John Powless said, "We've had three games this season when we've been blown off the floor, once at UCLA, our earlier game at Minnesota, and now this one." The next lamb led to slaughter was Purdue. Its solid 12-4 record was no big help as Minnesota won easily, 70-53, outrebounding the Boilermakers 54-35 and at one point outscoring them 18-1. The big confrontation with Ohio State was paling into insignificance. More to the point will be Minnesota and Indiana head to head. The Hoosiers easily took Northwestern 83-65 to hold their lead in the Big Ten.
When Iowa's Kevin Kunnert came down with his 17th rebound to break a school career record, the game did not stop for a presentation. It stopped with three seconds left when Kunnert was lying flat on the floor, the result of an unscheduled meeting with the fist of Michigan's John Lockard. It was a rugged game all around. Once Michigan Coach Johnny Orr seemed about to punch an official but was restrained by an assistant. "He'd have been out of basketball for good," said Iowa Coach Dick Schultz. Oh yes, Iowa won 75-68.
Marquette took DePaul 70-55, but Coach Al McGuire was not smiling. At one point DePaul tossed in 11 straight points, and McGuire called time out. When the team gathered around he glared at his players but never said a word. "I wanted to show them there really is something to coaching," he said later. "It was garbage time, or agent's time, or something," he added, referring to his team's infatuation with what might be in the pros next year rather than with what is right now in this college season.
Missouri threw a scare into Coach Norm Stewart. With his team down by as many as eight points to Oklahoma State, Stewart assigned Al Eberhard to guard Kevin Fitzgerald, who had been popping the ball in from 15 feet. State's bubble burst, Missouri went on to score nine points in one 48-second period and won 85-73.
1. MINNESOTA (15-2)
2. MARQUETTE (16-2)