Is there a coach who agrees with a referee's ruling that goes against his team on a critical play? Yes. After a traveling violation was called on one of his players on a layup attempt at the final buzzer in a 78-76 loss to Kansas, Colorado's Sox Walseth spoke up. "I think it was a good call," he said. Rick Suttle led the Jayhawks with 30 points and a dozen rebounds. Sharing first place in the Big Eight with Kansas was Kansas State, a 70-68 winner over Iowa State in a game during which the lead flipflopped 25 times. Applying the finishing touch was Guard Chuckie Williams, who tossed in three late baskets to top off a 28-point performance.
St. Louis has a rich basketball heritage, but financial woes and sagging attendance have spurred rumors that the Billikens may drop the sport. There is also talk of an emergency $200,000 fund-raising campaign to keep them playing, and enthusiasm for that drive could only be increased after St. Louis won at home against Memphis State 78-75 for the ninth straight year. There are no such problems at State, where the Tigers crumpled Mercer 93-75 before their 13th sell-out crowd of the season. That boosted home attendance for '74-'75 to 200,498.
Louisville wrapped up the Missouri Valley title by defeating West Texas State 75-69 and North Texas State 92-73.
In the Southwest Conference Texas Tech moved into a tie for first place with Texas A&M by beating the Aggies 73-63 and dehorning Texas 78-51.
1. LOUISVILLE (22-2)
2. MEMPHIS ST. (20-5)
"Some of the nicest young men I've ever had the pleasure of working with," is how UCLA Coach John Wooden refers to his present squad. There have been fears, though, that those nice young men may not be aggressive enough on the court, and they arose again when California led UCLA 27-20 at halftime. "The most miserable half I've ever had a team play in Pauley Pavilion," was how Wooden described it. But in the second period his Bruins got tough, swished 13 of 16 second-half shots and pulled out a 51-47 victory. UCLA then moved a step closer to the Pacific Eight title by beating Stanford 93-59. With one contest left, Oregon State stayed a game behind UCLA, downing Washington State 44-41 and Washington 86-78.
Coach of the Year Award was the label on a package delivered to Texas-El Paso Coach Don Haskins before a game at Utah. Inside was a scrawny plucked chicken. After the game, which the Miners won 71-65, Haskins said, "If I could find that Ute fan and could buy one at this time of night, I'd present him with a scalp." The next night, however, the Miners were trimmed 65-54 by Brigham Young and were eliminated from the WAC race. Arizona State took the league title, shooting down Wyoming 94-76 and then forcing 25 Colorado State turnovers in a 104-80 rout. For the first time in 24 years Arizona reached the 20-win plateau, clobbering Colorado State 107-97 and Wyoming 92-74. Al Fleming had 61 points in those games. Against the Cowboys the Wildcats set a conference record by sinking 67.2% of their shots.
1. UCLA (22-3)
2. ARIZONA STATE (22-3)
"It gets tougher and tougher," said Connecticut Coach Dee Rowe after a last-second foul shot by Boston College's Bob Carrington sent the Huskies down to a 68-67 defeat. Then Rowe pulled a small brown bottle from his coat pocket. "Nitroglycerine pills," he said. "Perfect to ease the chest pains." Rowe was less upset four days later, when UConn. overhauled Rhode Island 73-71 to run its record to 18-6 and earn a bid to the ECAC playoffs. Two other New England coaches, George Blaney of Holy Cross and Dave Gavitt of Providence, were jittery after losses to St. John's. The Redmen knocked off the ECAC tournament-bound Crusaders 72-65 and then cut the Friars' hopes of making the Eastern playoffs by zonking them 88-70.
Another anguished coach was Temple's Don Casey. After blowing a 44-30 lead and losing to Penn 57-55, Casey tried to explain how his Owls failed to get off a last-second, game-tying shot. "We had a set jam pick down," he said. "The ball was supposed to go to Kevin Washington or Timmy Claxton. But Penn firmed up on man-to-man and wouldn't let them pop." Penn went on to extend its winning streak to 14, crunching Yale 98-73 and Brown 89-59 and locking up its sixth consecutive Ivy League title.
After 22 years Maryland finally earned its first regular-season championship in the Atlantic Coast Conference by beating Clemson 70-64. Leading the Terp scoring with 20 points was freshman Guard Brad Davis. In a subsequent 108-82 romp at Duquesne, Davis had 18 points and 10 assists, and Steve Sheppard came off the bench to score 27 points. Maryland finished its regular-season play by downing East Tennessee State 104-87. Because of the way he bounces on the court when he is excited, freshman Guard Phil Ford is called Bugs Bunny by his North Carolina teammates. Ford had plenty of reason to jump up and down as he pumped in 22 points in a 76-74 win over North Carolina State. David Thompson had 32 points for the Wolfpack and added 36 more as State drubbed UNC-Charlotte 103-80.
1. MARYLAND (22-3)
2. N.C. STATE (20-5)
Following an 86-78 loss to Indiana, Ohio State Coach Fred Taylor said Hoosier juniors Quinn Buckner and Bob Wilkerson "can undress people." He also spoke of "a couple instances of rape." What Buckner and Wilkerson did was not criminal but merely superb basketball that resulted in 18 Buckeye turnovers. Buckner also had 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds while Wilkerson had 14 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two steals. With Scott May out with a broken arm, Steve Green took up the offensive slack. He scored 29 points against Ohio State and 30 in a 112-89 conquest of Illinois.
At 7 a.m. on Monday Alabama boarded a flight for a game against Georgia, but the plane was diverted to Atlanta because of bad weather in Athens, Ga. In Atlanta the team piled into taxis and hurried 60 miles to Athens, arriving at 4 p.m. Although there was no time for a workout and little for relaxing, the Tide held off the Bulldogs 73-64 to regain sole possession of first place in the SEC. Helping Alabama take command was Florida, which shocked Kentucky 66-58. The Gators then lost at Alabama 100-75, while Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt 109-84. Against the Commodores, both Kevin Grevey and freshman Center Rick Robey had 28 points for the Wildcats. Robey drew roars of approval from Kentucky fans with some of his maneuvers. After the first of his three steals, he drove the length of the floor, dribbled the ball behind his back to elude a defender and put in a left-handed layup. Moments later Robey made another steal, drove all the way and scored on a scoop shot. And after his third theft, he pumped in a jumper from the foul line.
Adrian Dantley had 61 points as Notre Dame toyed with Fordham 98-61 and Dayton 102-69.
In an 86-65 drubbing of Oklahoma City, Lloyd Walton of Marquette broke his team record for assists in one season, getting eight to boost his total to 144.
1. INDIANA (28-0)
2. ALABAMA (22-3)