"We'll play the Jayvees and face the music," said Michigan State Coach Gus Ganakas after suspending 10 black players for walking out before a game against Indiana. At the vortex of the situation was Jeff Tropf, a 6'7" white freshman. When Ganakas announced that Tropf was to start and guard Steve Green of the Hoosiers, the dissidents objected and left. Urgent calls were made to round up jayvees, some of whom were home for the holidays. With them, the Spartans faced the music, and neither generous substituting by Indiana Coach Bobby Knight nor 21 points by Tropf could keep Michigan State from its worst-ever loss, 107-55.
"We were just kind of floating," said Purdue Coach Fred Schaus after Minnesota had submerged the drifting Boilermakers 54-51. Minnesota also won 61-46 over Wisconsin, which shot 28.8% and scored its fewest points in a Big Ten game since 1951-52. Michigan outlasted Illinois 86-84 in double overtime and bopped Ohio State 85-73.
It was a dream pairing for opening night of Southeastern Conference play when last season's co-champions, Alabama and Vanderbilt, squared off in Tuscaloosa. For the Commodores it wound up more like a nightmare as they committed 25 turnovers to just seven by the Tide and lost 104-77. Two other lopsided winners in SEC contests were Tennessee, 96-81 over Auburn, and Kentucky, 115-80 over LSU. Freshman Bernard King of the Volunteers had 28 points and 20 rebounds. Soph Forward Ernie Grunfeld, recovered from a broken wrist, added 26 points for the Vols. Kentucky got 33 points and 26 rebounds from its freshman centers, Mark Phillips and Rick Robey.
In the first round of the Sugar Bowl tournament earlier in the week, Alabama beat Houston 105-88 and LaSalle downed Furman 69-64. The Explorers then shocked the Tide 77-73 in the showdown, dedicating their efforts to Dr. Gene Gallagher, their team physician who had suffered a heart attack during their first game and died. With the score 73-all, 6'10" Forward Joe Bryant of LaSalle put in the game's final four points.
A new play, call it Screen Out the Refs, helped Marquette to fend off DePaul 61-60. Ron Norwood had put the visiting Blue Demons ahead 60-59 with 18 seconds left by hitting a 15-foot jumper, and when the Warriors tossed the ball out of bounds with nine seconds to go, the verdict seemed sealed. But both officials' views were blocked when the ball went astray and it was awarded to the Warriors. Marquette inbounded the ball and Jerry Homan tipped in a missed shot for the decisive points with four seconds remaining. "I can hardly wait till they come to our place Feb. 1," said DePaul Coach Ray Meyer of the impending rematch. His counterpart, the usually verbose Al McGuire, said little except, "I'm not looking forward to Feb. 1."
1. INDIANA (12-0)
2. ALABAMA (7-1)
"If UCLA played North Carolina State now, they'd beat them badly," said Davidson Coach Bo Brickles after being zapped 91-64 by the Bruins. Two weeks earlier he had lost to the Wolfpack 95-79. No less impressed was Oklahoma Coach Joe Ramsey, who said following a 111-66 shellacking by the Bruins, "They have the greatest bench Wooden has ever had."
USC knocked off Villanova 101-74 and Furman 91-84, but it wasn't all that easy. Although three Wildcat starters were benched for 10 minutes in a mild disciplinary move, the Trojans labored before pulling away. Against Furman, they trailed 39-36 early in the second half before rallying.
Oregon tripped Washington State 74-65 to win the Far West Classic, then beat Providence 86-73. Greg Ballard of the Ducks had 19 of his 23 points in the second half against State. Playmaker Ron Lee was named the Classic's MVP and later tallied 19 points and 11 assists against the Friars. Providence also lost 96-68 to San Francisco.
Arizona State upped its record to 11-1 with 80-71 and 76-70 wins over Oregon State, and Arizona was 10-1 after edging past Texas Tech 62-61 in overtime. Utah (9-2) defeated Nevada-Reno 101-77 and Utah State 83-77. And BYU's revitalized run-and-gun offense did in Bradley 100-87.
1. UCLA (10-0)
2. USC (10-1)
"If were supposed to have all the big trees up front, then we must be a bunch of lumberjacks," said Fordham's Kevin Fallon after the Rams had reduced heavily favored Southern Cal's tall timber to kindling by taking the finale of the ECAC Holiday Festival 83-66. Fallon had 22 points in that game and tournament MVP Darryl Brown scored 24.
Another New York City team, St. John's, took the ECAC Ocean State Holiday Classic by handing Providence its first setback 91-79. Tournament MVP Mel Utley of the Redmen had 25 points as the Friars' home winning streak was ended at 41 games. In the battle for third place, Drake took care of South Carolina with surprising ease, 92-71. Back home four days later, the Gamecocks beat Manhattan 82-63 as they put some English on the ball in the form of 6'8" Forward Alex English, who had 22 points and 14 rebounds. It was the best performance of the season for English, who played with a head cold and chest pains and admitted to a unique success formula: "I just play better when I'm sick."
Maryland bumped off Appalachian State 96-50 and Notre Dame 90-82. Adrian Dantley poured in 29 points for the Irish, but the Terps received 23 from John Lucas, 22 from Owen Brown and 15 from Tom Roy.
Princeton's defense Penned up the Quakers 50-49.
1. N.C. ST. (9-1)
2. MARYLAND (9-1)
Louisville's Cardinals were nearly defeathered at home by Bradley, but given a late break, the undefeated Cards winged their way to an 82-80 overtime victory in their opening Missouri Valley Conference game. A missed free throw with 10 seconds remaining in regulation time cost the Braves an almost certain win. Had the shot gone in, they would have led 71-68. As it was, the Cardinals rebounded the missed shot, called a time-out and sent the game into overtime on Ricky Gallon's tip-in.
Wichita State's Shockers lived up to their nickname, upending Memphis State 95-91. Wichita had 25 points from 6'10" Bob Elmore and 18 from 5'9" Calvin Bruton, who wore a knee-to-ankle Fiberglas cast, plastic braces and a supporting cup under his injured foot. Memphis State, struggling ever since leading scorer Dexter Reed was hurt in mid-December, then whomped Georgia State 102-76 and, with Reed's replacement, John Tunstall, getting 22 points, stopped Western Kentucky 79-72.
Kansas held off Iowa State 76-75 to wrap up the Big Eight tournament title.
1. LOUISVILLE (8-0)
2. KANSAS (7-4)