While UCLA was resuming its accustomed position atop the whole of basketball, two Pacific Eight opponents were readying themselves for what always has been the conference race for second place. Southern Cal journeyed to New York to polish off Seton Hall 79-68 and Fordham 70-60 in Madison Square Garden. Oregon, on the strength of having played more games, took over the conference lead with a come-from-behind 67-61 win over Oregon State. Fouls helped the Duck cause by limiting the playing time of the Beavers' 6'8" Lonnie Shelton to nine minutes and 6'11" Steve Ericksen to 11.
Texas disposed of Rice 82-71 and Texas Tech downed Texas A&M 63-61 early in the week to raise the Longhorns" and Red Raiders' conference records to 3-0 and set up their battle for first place in the Southwest Conference. Surprise of the league after winning only one of a dozen nonconference games, Texas made it a fight on the strength of Larry Robinson's 38 points, his career high (and six more than he scored against Rice). Tech won, though, 85-81 thanks to a couple of reserves: Steve Trncak, who hit a pair of free throws to put Tech ahead 82-81 with 36 seconds remaining, and Phil Bailey, who 20 seconds later assured the victory with a layup.
Texas-El Paso took over first place in the Western Athletic Conference with a 5-2 league mark after beating Colorado State 53-52 and Wyoming 68-38. With four seconds left State's Rudy Carey collided with the Miners' Beto Bautista as Carey was going for the potential winning basket. While both men wore guilty expressions, the referee gave the foul to Carey—and the game to UTEP. "Beto's quite an actor," said CSU's Coach Jim Williams. Arizona State moved into second place at 4-2 by snapping a 13-game home winning streak for Utah, scoring 16 straight first-half points on the way to an 82-74 victory. Two days before, the Sun Devils had converted only 12 of 46 second-half field-goal attempts in losing to Brigham Young 89-71. New Mexico, which had lost three straight, showed renewed vigor by beating conference foes Wyoming 91-68 and Colorado State 54-49.
Long Beach State, still smarting over its narrow loss to Marquette, thrashed UC Irvine 82-58 and Northern Illinois 106-71. Guard Rick Aberegg had nine assists in an eight-minute span for the 49ers during the second half against UC Irvine, then came back with a school-record 15 as Long Beach made NIU its 71st consecutive home-court victim. Houston continued its domination of Nevada-Las Vegas, beating the favored Rebels, 75-72, for the sixth straight time. With 22 points in the first half and 27 overall, the Cougars' Louis Dunbar had the largest hand in ending the Rebels' modest home-court winning streak at eight. Hawaii lost its first home game of the season 86-85 to St. Mary's, but came back the next night to stop the Gaels 89-68.
1. UCLA (15-1)
2. LONG BEACH ST. (14-2)
Excitement was high last week in Chapel Hill, where North Carolina's Tar Heels took on their ACC archrivals, N.C. State and Maryland. Five freshman women headed a line of students that started lining up 26 hours early in 20° weather to obtain choice tickets to the State game. One even brought her TV set so as not to miss "my favorite soap operas." Unfortunately, the anticipation far outshone the event. State led by as many as 11 points in the first half and when the Tar Heels finally narrowed the margin to two with 50 seconds left, 5'5½" Wolfpack Guard Monte Towe settled the outcome with a broken-field dribbling display that ate up 39 seconds before North Carolina could foul. The 83-80 win was Coach Norm Sloan's sixth in a row over the Tar Heels. North Carolina, which has never lost two consecutive games played in Carmichael Auditorium, showed its heels to Maryland's Terrapins there later in the week. Maryland had prepped for the shootout by downing Canisius 86-73 as Tom Roy virtually shut out the Golden Griffins' Larry Fogle, the nation's leading scorer, holding him to five for 18 from the field before fouling out late in the game. But none of the Terrapins could stop 6'4" Tar Heel Guard Darrell Elston, who had scored 23 points against State and then sparked North Carolina's 82-73 win over Maryland by hitting his first nine shots from the floor. North Carolina bombed Maryland with 18 baskets shot from 15 feet or more.
Alabama and Vanderbilt continued to set the pace in the SEC. The Tide had a rough time with Kentucky, trailing by 11 points in the first half before pulling out an 81-77 victory. Sophomore Center Leon Douglas scored 24 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for Alabama. After that, Alabama relaxed, easing past Georgia Tech 102-83 and Georgia 86-71. In a breach of etiquette, Coach C. M. Newton even admitted that his team did not practice for Tech. Vanderbilt also won twice by comfortable margins, although it had a scare. Led by the corner shooting of Jeff Fosnes (20 points) and Jan van Breda Kolff (18) and the keyhole work of Terry Compton (19), the Commodores scored an emphatic 82-65 win over Tennessee on the Vols' home floor. But the team was concerned over van Breda Kolff, who complained of a shortness of breath after the game and the next day found himself getting winded "just walking." Doctors diagnosed a partially collapsed lung. The Commodores worried the rest of the week whether their star center would be able to play against Mississippi on Saturday. Much ado about nothing. With van Breda Kolff scoring six of his team's first 12 points, Vandy led almost the entire way and won handily 71-56.
Coach Hugh Durham of Florida State can be excused if he felt a certain sense of almost-instant replay in the final 10 seconds of the game against Jacksonville. Last week against South Florida, Seminole Guard Carlton Byrd missed the front half of a one-and-one situation with his team leading by two points and just nine seconds left. South Florida tied the game and won by a point in overtime. This week there were 10 seconds left and another two-point margin when Byrd got his one-and-one opportunity. He responded this time by making both for a 78-74 win. Durham rushed onto the court and kissed him.
The two best teams in Georgia met in Statesboro and Georgia Southern upped its record to 12-4 with a 94-83 win over Mercer. Mercer is now 13-4.
1. N.C. STATE (13-1)
2. N. CAROLINA (13-2)
Penn won its fifth straight Big Five championship in Philadelphia with a 4-0 mark when it downed Villanova 83-61. The Quakers, who after some early-season losses went to the methodical, work-it-around offense that had served them so well for years, suddenly changed form again, going to the boards and running with effectiveness. True, they turned the ball over 25 times, but as Coach Chuck Daly pointed out, "If you can play with fire, you don't have to be technically correct."
Canisius beat La Salle 89-81. Larry Fogle got just 22 points this time, but his coach, John Morrison, said the sophomore forward had "his best game yet." Playing in borrowed basketball shoes (the team managers had left his behind), Fogle got 19 rebounds, drew seven fouls, broke the La Salle press and played well on defense. "We want the NIT," said teammate Mike Roberts, "and Larry is giving up points to get us there." At the start Canisius acted as if it were going nowhere. La Salle scored 23 straight points to take a whopping 25-2 lead, but then a seldom-used reserve, Mike Walton, came in to get some key baskets and settle the Golden Griffins down.
Despite its woes, La Salle still ranked with St. Joseph's as unbeaten in the Eastern Division of the Middle Atlantic Conference. St. Joseph's won twice over conference opponents, defeating Drexel 78-50 and American University 62-49. American had won eight of its previous nine games but St. Joe's out-rebounded the Eagles 33-25 and with an early 10-point lead concentrated on taking only high-percentage shots. The Hawks later beat nonconference Xavier 77-71 while American rallied to beat West Chester 47-38.
St. John's drubbed Temple 64-49 and Dartmouth 76-62. Temple, obviously missing Joe Anderson, who was suspended for missing practice, failed to hit on 18 of its first 24 shots and 12 of its first 17 in the second half. Syracuse displayed some muscle in pounding Bucknell 110-53 and Massachusetts 76-60, and Pittsburgh made it 15 in a row by beating rival Penn State 83-61.
1. PROVIDENCE (15-2)
2. PITTSBURGH (15-1)
Sixth-ranked Marquette finally got a taste of some real competition and barely survived ninth-ranked Long Beach State despite an astonishing statistical advantage. The Warriors took 80 shots to Long Beach State's 35 and committed just 10 turnovers to State's 31, but shot a dismal .250 to keep the contest close. The 49ers fumbled the ball all the way to the finish. Given one last chance to send the game into overtime, they assured themselves of defeat 54-52 with their 31st turnover. Long Beach Coach Lute Olson summed it up: "I didn't think either team deserved a ranking tonight." The Warriors had an easier time with Loyola of Chicago, cruising to a 71-54 win.
Purdue and Michigan, at the start of the week the only two teams left undefeated in the Big Ten, fought it out for first place and football has seldom been more bruising. Fifty-five fouls were called—31 against Michigan and 24 against Purdue. The Wolverines lost four starters on fouls, the Boilermakers three, before Purdue won the war, 85-84, in overtime. To do it Purdue had to dig itself out of a big hole for the third time in five conference games. With only three minutes left Michigan led by 12, but with eight seconds on the clock a short jump shot by Purdue Center John Garrett tied the game at 79-79. Then substitute Guard Mike Steele connected on both ends of a one-and-one foul with 1:38 remaining in overtime to give Purdue sole possession of first place. Later in the week the Boilermakers threw a scare into North Carolina State by surging off to a 15-point lead, but State's David Thompson ignited a second-half rally that sank Purdue 86-81. Michigan, perhaps still in shock, frittered away a 13-point first-half lead and needed a field goal from Campy Russell with 41 seconds left to send its game with Iowa into overtime. And then the Wolverines had to overcome a four-point deficit in the extra period to win 86-84. Indiana and Wisconsin stayed in the race with easy wins, the Hoosiers taking advantage of 37 turnovers to beat Northwestern 82-53 and Wisconsin, which led at halftime by 17 points, holding off an Ohio State rally for a 69-64 victory.
Kansas and Oklahoma played for the Big Eight lead and the game was tied 21 times. It might still be tied but for the Jayhawks' Rick Suttle, who had a career high of 31 points and scored 14 of Kansas' last 18, including 10 in a row. The Jayhawks scored the final eight points to overcome a five-point Sooner lead and win 82-79. Defending champion Kansas State moved into second place by beating Nebraska 73-65 and Iowa State 92-66. Earlier in the week Kansas was just edged by No. 1 Notre Dame 76-74.
Cincinnati won three times, beating Drake 73-67, Northeastern Illinois 109-73 and Brown 95-71. Amid hints from Coach Ken Trickey that pressure from evangelist Oral Roberts would cause him to resign at the end of the season, Oral Roberts University broke the 100-point mark for the fourth time in its last five games, crushing Lamar 109-75 and Pan American 107-90. Southern Illinois retired Walt Frazier's jersey and, perhaps inspired by the former star's presence, beat Florida State 77-73. The Salukis also downed Indiana State 84-79 before blowing an eight-point lead to lose to Creighton 67-64. Earlier in the week Creighton had beaten Bradley 79-53 and St. Louis 60-54 and now has won nine of its last 10 starts.
1. NOTRE DAME (12-1)
2. MARQUETTE (16-1)