Providence was tied with St.Joseph's College with less than five minutes remaining and faced the possibility of losing its third game of the season. But then the Friars' stringent defense took over and Providence won 81-75. Against Rhode Island three days later, Ernie DiGregorio scored a career-high 39 points as the Friars ended the week with a 102-81 victory.
Rhode Island's Steve Rowell had earlier been involved in a rare six-point play. He scored a basket, was fouled, hit the free throw and then sank three of four technical foul shots awarded the Rams when New Hampshire Coach Gerry Friel protested too loudly.
Syracuse prepared for its Valentine Day meeting with St. John's by whipping Fordham 73-71 and West Virginia 82-66. "We may have made Syracuse look better than they are but that's to Syracuse's credit," said the dismayed Mountaineer coach, Sonny Moran, afterward. "They did everything right and almost everything we tried went wrong."
Penn State Coach John Bach almost suffered apoplexy when he first spied Ron Brown at the start of fall basketball practice. During the off-season Brown's weight shot up from 207 pounds to a hefty 254. Opposition fans nicknamed him Fat Albert. Now slim and trim at 214 pounds, Brown scored 16 points and defensed the Temple ball handlers as if they were so many calories as Penn State beat Temple 64-49.
Massachusetts scored the final 15 points and beat Boston College 76-52. Colgate visited Canisius and suffered its ninth road loss 75-54, of an otherwise undefeated season. St. Bonaventure darkened its postseason hopes with two losses, to Fairfield 72-60 and to South Carolina 75-74.
1. PROVIDENCE (16-2)
2. ST. JOHN'S (17-2)
Louie Kelcher plays defensive tackle for the Southern Methodist football team but last week he came out of the stands and made a great short-yardage play late in a basketball game. With one second left and the Mustangs leading A&M by a point, a free-for-all erupted around SMU Coach Bob Prewitt. Kelcher blitzed out of the stands, picked Prewitt up and carried him back to the bench for safekeeping. With a 6'4", 260-pound peacemaker on hand, the brouhaha subsided. SMU won 64-62, but lost later in the week to Texas Tech, 64-59, in a face-off for the Southwest Conference lead.
In a major battle between two very big fish in the small-college pond, Sam Houston State beat Stephen F. Austin 81-67 to up its record to 19-0.
New Mexico edged closer to leader Brigham Young in the Western Athletic Conference with home-court victories over Arizona 93-73 and Arizona State 98-86, teams that had furnished two of New Mexico's three previous losses. "New Mexico is playing great," said Arizona State Coach Ned Wulk. "I think they're the best team in the league right now."
On its home court, San Francisco handled Santa Clara 78-69 with a nifty wrinkle. "We saved a new offense for them and it got us a lot of free shots," said the USF coach, Bob Gaillard. Then the two teams played at Santa Clara and the new offense looked like a secondhand rose. The Broncos won 83-72, and the teams remained tied for the West Coast Athletic Conference lead.
Pepperdine's William (Bird) Averitt, newly become the nation's leading scorer, pumped in 41 points against Loyola. But his team lost 103-91. Later in the week Bird pecked out just 19 points—birdseed for him—but added 13 assists and Pepperdine beat Loyola 85-80.
The UCLA of the West won its 63rd straight game and its 35th in a row in the Pacific Eight Conference, tromping Washington State 88-50. The Bruins allowed only 18 points in the first half. Long Beach State's two victories over San Diego State in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (97-76 and 84-66) were geared to Ed Ratleff's 51 points, 21 rebounds and seven assists.
1. UCLA (18-0)
2. LONG BEACH STATE (19-1)
Cincinnati has been about as consistent this year as a cheating weight watcher's diet. After nibbling on Louisville 81-79 the Bearcats were starving against Florida State. At halftime, Coach Gale Catlett heard Guard Dan Murphy question his game strategy. "Put on your street clothes," said the coach, "and get out of here." Murphy watched from the stands as the Bearcats went on to an 89-62 victory and later commented: "I really motivated them, didn't I?"
No one needed motivation for "The Rematch" between Ohio State and Minnesota, both of whom suffered painful and enduring bruises from their lurid brawl at Minneapolis last season. At Columbus this time, everyone was on his best behavior, especially Minnesota's Ron Behagen, one of the villains of the previous drama. He scored 33 points as the Gophers won 80-78. The game attracted the attention of a national TV audience and a capacity crowd that included Ohio Governor John Gilligan and Minnesota Governor Wendell Anderson. "I'm glad it's over," said Ohio State Coach Fred Taylor, whose team now has lost 15 of 27 games since that fateful day in Minnesota.
It was a rough week on the road for Indiana. First the Hoosiers lost 70-69 to Ohio State and the Buckeyes' rejuvenated Luke Witte. Then they were upended by Purdue 72-69, the eighth straight time Indiana has lost in West Lafayette, Ind. Indiana had 51 turnovers in the two turnaround games and the Big Ten Conference race tightened with four teams still in contention.
Xavier strolled into the visiting team locker room at DePaul and found a complete and meticulous scouting report on themselves lying on a chair. Was it a plot? If so, whose? Xavier Coach Dick Campbell was not sure but he threw out his game plan and installed a new one to beat the scouting report. The report won. DePaul mauled Xavier, 89-67.
Marquette mentor Al McGuire got lost driving to his team's game with Wisconsin. "It was embarrassing," he said. "Then when I got here, the guy wanted to charge me 50¢ for parking. I said, 'Hey, I'm the coach." He said, 'You look like a big enough man to pay 50¢ So I paid." And so did Wisconsin, losing 64-58.
Kansas State beat Iowa State 78-74, and then Colorado 81-62 at Boulder, taking a narrow lead in the Big Eight Conference.
1. MINNESOTA (16-2)
2. MARQUETTE (18-2)
The week started disastrously for Southeastern Conference leader Alabama and then got worse. First, Mississippi embarrassed the Tide 66-62. "It hurts," said Coach C. M. Newton, "but we're still sitting here with just two losses." Two nights later Alabama vas floored again when LSU's Mike Darnall sank a 30-foot desperation shot for a 72-70 victory. The defeat was Alabama's third in its last four conference games and Tennessee took the lead in the SEC.
Enigmatic Kentucky kept its SEC hopes flickering with victories during the week over Auburn 88-57 and Mississippi 88-70. Senior Center Jim Andrews analyzed a season that has been equally composed of beautiful and woeful performances. Said he: Weird's the word for it. Weird."
Memphis State's 14-game winning streak vas derailed at Louisville 83-69, and the Tigers' position atop the Missouri Valley Conference was momentarily threatened. Then, against Tulsa, they shored it up again. Despite taking 24 fewer shots, scoring seven ewer goals from the field and losing the battle on the boards, Memphis State triumphed 91-87 in overtime mainly by hitting 29 of 13 free throws.
"It's no big thing," said Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell, acquiescing to his team's demand that he name one player to run the offense and another the defense. "We've lost two games in a row and we're down," noted Driesell. "Ten days ago we were on op of the world." The reorganized and rehabilitated Terps (who once were No. 3 naionally) started their climb back by beating Fordham 83-72 and Buffalo 93-64.
No. 2 North Carolina State (the "UCLA of the East," they like to say) continued undefeated with narrow victories over North Carolina 76—73 and Clemson 68-61, erasing ate-game deficits each time. Then the Wolf-jack clobbered Georgia Tech 118-94.
This might just be the year of the Dolphin. After Jacksonville flippered past his team 78-62, Creighton Coach Eddie Sutton sang in praise of the Dolphins. "Quick?" he said. 'Man, they're super-quick. And they're physical along with it. We've got a big, strong earn but they pushed us around as much as my body we've played. They are going to go a long way in the NCAA's." The Dolphins also beat South Alabama 77-63.
Bothered by a chest infection, Southwestern Louisiana's national scoring champion Dwight Lamar played little more than a half against Lamar University. Still he scored 36 points. Three nights later he did not suit up for Southwestern's 69-65 win over McNeese, the first time in 103 games that he had not started. On Saturday night Lamar vas out of his bed but the Ragin' Cajuns lost anyway, 82-80 to Houston.
1. N.C. STATE (19-0)
2. MARYLAND (17-3)