It was a laugher in more ways than one. With five minutes left the Michigan players laughed right out there on the floor as they drubbed the Ohio State Buckeyes, 91-68, making up, in small effect, for the indignity the Wolverines felt after their football team came in tied but second best to OSU. The game also was some vindication for Coach John Orr, who had been subjected to a dump-Orr campaign by a candidate for the student government council last fall. Orr's men are deadlocked for the Big Ten lead with Purdue, a 64-45 winner over Minnesota. Haifa game back was Indiana, which breezed past Illinois 107-67.
A last-second basket by Billy Paterno gave Notre Dame a 91-89 win over Michigan State. John Shumate had 27 points for the Irish in that game, a figure matched by Adrian Dantley in an 87-68 thrashing of Duke.
Wisconsin led Marquette much of the way—only to have Maurice Lucas' 20-foot jumper save the game in the last second for the Warriors 59-58. Against Creighton, Marquette zipped to a 14-2 lead, but then the Bluejays thwarted their press with back-door layups that led to a 75-69 win. "A team that presses as far out as Marquette usually is vulnerable to back-door shots," said Creighton Coach Eddie Sutton after handing the Warriors only their second home loss in 101 games.
Colorado Coach Sox Walseth had a rotten time at Kansas, falling off his chair during an 81-66 loss, but the Jayhawks were stable—they later upped their Big Eight mark to 7-0 by beating Oklahoma State 80-71 behind Danny Knight's 34 points. Kansas State, halting Oklahoma State 65-48 and Iowa State 72-56, stayed half a game behind Kansas as its coach, Jack Hartman, was credited with putting a wildcat in the team's tank. Explained Guard Lon Kruger: "He said something like, 'If you're going to just watch the game, you oughta pay admission.' Except he didn't say this. He, well, shouted it."
SMU handed Texas Tech its first Southwest Conference loss 73-71 and Texas its second when Zack Thiel sank two free throws in the last seven seconds to break a 72-72 tie. Starring in. defeat, Larry Robinson of the Longhorns had 32 points and added 29 more in a 93-79 conquest of Baylor. Tech, too, trimmed the Bears, 85-69.
In the Missouri Valley Conference the spoiler was New Mexico State, which sent Louisville to its first league loss 76-73 and toppled second-place Bradley 85-76. Both front-runners, however, won their other league games, the Cardinals beating West Texas State 81-62 and the Braves stopping Tulsa 81-73.
1. NOTRE DAME (18-1)
2. MARQUETTE (18-3)
"He makes unusual shots that rip you up. Bizarre, unusual plays." So said La Salle Coach Paul West-head of Notre Dame's Gary Brokaw, whose 28 points led a 98-78 Irish romp. But the Explorers won their other two games, beating Temple 78-54 and then, with Billy Taylor pouring in 39 points, downing American University 95-83.
After losing a day's practice to the flu, Larry Fogle, the major-college scoring leader with a 34.7-point average, set Canisius records with 20 field goals and 55 points in a 129-109 win over St. Peter's.
Also scoring heavily was Marvin Barnes of Providence, whose 52 points helped the Friars bomb Seton Hall 91-60 and get past St. Bonaventure 74-69. The Bonnies later lost to Niagara 64-63 when Dave Tita, who had scored just 18 points all season, tipped in a shot with five seconds to go.
"He's the boss," said St. Joseph's Coach Jack McKinney after Guard Jim O'Brien led the Hawks past Georgetown 70-64. "He calls all the offenses and changes defenses any time he wants to." But O'Brien and the Hawks came up short against Manhattan, losing 79-73 in double overtime. Pulling the Jaspers to victory was John Hurley, who came off the bench to score eight points in the extra periods.
Just as it had last season, Brown beat Princeton and Penn on successive nights, with Eddie Morris scoring the winning points in the last seven seconds of both games. Morris broke a 59-all tie with a 20-foot jumper as the Bruins downed the Tigers 64-59 in overtime. Against the Quakers, his two free throws did the trick in a 66-65 victory that locked the two teams atop the Ivy League with 7-1 records.
1. PITTSBURGH (19-1)
2. PROVIDENCE (18-3)
"We don't get shook," said Lee Fowler of Vanderbilt after the Commodores had taken a solid one game Southeastern Conference lead over Alabama with a 67-65 win. For 39½ minutes the Tide led—once by 10 points—but the Commodores forged ahead 64-63 on two foul shots by Terry Compton, and with 12 seconds left tucked the game away when Fowler stole the ball and was fouled. Next the unflappable Commodores took Mississippi State—by still a closer margin, 60-59—when Jan van Breda Kolff bull's-eyed a jumper with 15 seconds remaining. Alabama, playing at home, kept its conference hopes afloat, crunching Tennessee 73-54.
"My team's so young I feel I ought to burp them when they come off the court," said Auburn Coach Bob Davis. There were other worries that began when three black football players were recommended for suspension for violating Coach Shug Jordan's rule against mustaches. Quickly, 14 other black athletes, six of them basketballers, took a holiday from sport, but all was patched up early enough for Gary Redding and Eddie Johnson to contribute 42 points as the Tigers put it all together and upset Mississippi 85-75.
Another SEC hassle took place at Florida, where Mississippi State Coach Kermit Davis argued long and loud that the last four seconds of their contest had ticked off illegally. Remarkably, Davis won his point, and 25 minutes after the Gators had gone to their dressing room, apparent 76-75 winners, they were called back to the court. But Florida's Bruno Caldwell, still wet from an aborted shower, sank two free throws to swell the Gators' winning margin to 78-75.
North Carolina State beat three teams: Duke (92-78), Georgia Tech (98-54) and Furman (111-91). North Carolina shackled Furman 95-69 and Georgia Tech 112-70; Maryland took Virginia 88-81 and George Washington 92-71, and independent South Carolina put down Canisius 76-58 and Dayton 81-68.
1. N.C. ST. (18-1)
2. N. CAROLINA (17-2)
"I want a street-fight defense tonight," Coach Norm Ellenberger told his New Mexico players before a game at Brigham Young. "If we don't win, we might as well get ready for the spring dance." Thus prodded, the Lobos rattled the Cougars with a relentless trapping man-to-man, sank 65% of their shots and won 96-77. Next came another away match for the Lobos, this one at Utah, which the day before had dumped Texas-El Paso 73-72. This time the Lobo pressure tactics failed, the shooting fell off to 45% and the Utes won 92-76. Providing much of the impetus for Utah's victories were Mike Sojourner (30 rebounds) and Luther (Ticky) Burden, who made 24 of 38 field goal tries and had 59 points. Those wins moved Utah into a tie for the Western Athletic Conference lead with Arizona and Arizona State, both of which were two-time winners.
Battered, bruised but still unbeaten in the Pacific Eight—that was UCLA following hard-earned wins over Oregon (84-66) and Oregon State (80-75). After the tussle with the highly aggressive Oregon Ducks, Bruin Guard Greg Lee said, "It's the most I've ever been on the floor." But Oregon Coach Dick Harter insisted, "It was a ballet. There were no cheap shots." Oregon State forced 16 UCLA turnovers and led 19 16 before Lee came in and got the offense unglued. Bill Walton had both hands in the wins with 56 points and 36 rebounds. USC also took care of the Ducks (59-53) and Beavers (81-71). And Stanford convincingly whipped Washington 88-68 and Washington State 65-51 as seven-foot Rich Kelley had 51 points. Speaking of Kelley, Huskie Coach Marv Harshman said, "Nobody except Walton is as good."
Seattle's Frank (Magic) Oleynick, a sophomore guard, pulled a couple of West Coast AC victories out of the hat against St. Mary's. He popped in 10 of 15 shots and had 25 points in a 70-60 home win and then, in the Gaels' padded-cell court, he was 17 for 25 and put in the last of his 45 points just before the buzzer for a 72-70 triumph. Tied with the Chieftains for first place was San Francisco, which topped Santa Clara 78-48 and 77-69.
Long Beach State put down San Diego State twice, 64-48 and 98-72.
Dan Cramer of Denver missed his first three shots against Southern Mississippi and quickly earned a seat on the bench. But he got a reprieve, sank 24 of his next 36 tries and set a team record with 50 points in a 112-93 win.
1. UCLA (18-1)
2. LONG BEACH ST. (18-2)